Can I pause for 60 seconds at the start of my McKinsey PEI?

Contrary to the case interview, I don’t recommend to pause for 60 seconds at the beginning of your McKinsey PEI to structure your story.

Looking at the overall time frame of roughly 12-15 minutes for the whole Personal Experience Interview, 60 seconds is already quite some time. And during this time, your interview would be probably bored, watching you thinking in silence about your PEI story.

Also, the whole McKinsey interview procedure is clear and transparent, and you also know that you need to prepare PEI stories for the 3 dimensions Leadership, Personal Impact and Entrepreneurial Drive.

In other words: you should prepare your PEI stories upfront. Therefore, as an McKinsey interviewer also I expect a rather quick answer to my starting question.

It’s perfectly fine though to pause for a few seconds before you start off with your Personal Experience Interview example. Especially if the interviewer asks a starting question with a slight spin, so that you need to frame your example accordingly first.

In that situation it’s mostly the case that you don’t need to rethink your whole example, but you will mostly need to tailor only the “P” (Problem) of the “PARADE” framework to the specific question of the interviewer. And this should take siginifcantly less time than 60 seconds. (You can find more information concerning the PARADE framework and structuring your PEI here)

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