How to Craft Your Personal Experience Interview Story for McKinsey

Preparing for a McKinsey Personal Experience Interview (PEI) can be a daunting task. One of the most important aspects of the interview is telling your personal experience story in a way that demonstrates your skills and abilities to the interviewer. In this blog post, we will provide guidance on how to structure and present your personal experience story using the PARADE framework.

Let’s take a closer look at each component of the PARADE framework and how it can help you to craft a compelling personal experience story.

  1. Problem: The first step in crafting a strong personal experience story is to identify the problem you were facing. This should be a specific, tangible problem that you were tasked with solving.
  2. Anticipated consequence: Once you have identified the problem, the next step is to consider the consequences of not solving it. What would happen if the problem was not addressed? What were the risks involved?
  3. Role: In this step, you need to clearly define your role in the situation. What was your specific role and responsibilities? What were the expectations of you in this situation?
  4. Action: This is where you describe the actions you took to address the problem. Be specific and provide details about the steps you took to address the problem.
  5. Decision-making rationale: As you describe the actions you took, it’s important to explain the reasoning behind your decisions. What factors did you consider when making decisions? What was your decision-making process?
  6. End-result: Finally, you need to describe the end-result of your actions. What was the outcome of your efforts? What were the benefits or positive results?

Using the PARADE framework can help you to craft a compelling personal experience story that effectively demonstrates your problem-solving skills. Here’s a short, simplified example of how you might use the PARADE framework to craft a personal experience story:

Problem: The company was losing customers due to long wait times on the phone.

Anticipated consequence: If the wait times continued, the company risked losing even more customers and damaging their reputation.

Role: As the customer service manager, I was responsible for addressing the problem and finding a solution.

Action: I worked with the IT team to implement a new phone system that streamlined the call center operations and reduced wait times. (This is where the interview goes really deep and you explain the details of your action steps.)

Decision-making rationale: I considered several factors when making the decision, including the cost of the new system, the potential impact on customer satisfaction, and the feasibility of implementing the system within a tight timeline. (Simply speaking, for each action step which you explain in your storyline, have a solid decision-making rationale prepared.)

End-result: As a result of our efforts, we were able to reduce wait times by 50%, which resulted in a 10% increase in customer satisfaction ratings and a 5% increase in customer retention.

In summary, using the PARADE framework can help you to structure and present your personal experience story in a clear and compelling way. By focusing on the problem, anticipated consequence, role, action, decision-making rationale, and end-result, you can effectively demonstrate your problem-solving skills and showcase your ability to drive results. Remember to practice your story ahead of time and be prepared to answer follow-up questions from the interviewer. Good luck!

Looking for McKinsey PEI Coaching with an expert to kick-start your prep and finally secure your McKinsey offer? Click here!

What we typically do together during our coaching:

  • Choose the best stories out of all your experiences and match them with the McKinsey PEI dimensions
  • Define and structure the overall storyline of your primary and secondary stories
  • Crystallize the core challenges to highlight in your Personal Experience Interview (by the way, this is the core part of your evaluation)
  • Fine-tune the communication of your story to McKinsey expectations
  • Running mock interviews to get a real-life experience of your PEI

Click here for more information to virtually guarantee your PEI success!