Dealing with Impostor Syndrome at B-School

When you have your sights set on one of the top business schools in the world, you probably feel rather confident that your skills and experiences will sufficiently sway the admissions committee to take a closer look at your application.

However, despite that confidence, many accepted candidates go through a period of self-doubt once they start learning more about all of the amazing people they will be working alongside in class.

If you take a look at Poets & Quants‘s terrific series highlighting noteworthy members of the Class of 2018, you’ll see that the elite programs worldwide have admitted candidates from all walks of life, from skydivers, former White House employees, chess champions, Navy Seals and rocket scientists, to opera singers, cheese experts, and professional dancers.

With all of these impressive backgrounds, anyone might feel intimidated or experience self-doubt about whether you’re acceptance was…maybe…a mistake? That’s why we think this post from the INSEAD MBA Experience blog is an important read for both applicants and the newly admitted.

Everywhere I turn at INSEAD, I see bright, talented, young people, with rich life experiences, careers spanning several countries and incredible stories. And when I hear all that, I quietly think to myself: “What am I doing here? These people are so amazing, have such incredible career successes, they sound extraordinary compared to my puny engineering background… how did I ever get in?”

Yann Parer, MBA ’17D, writes frankly about impostor syndrome: “A psychological condition in which the subject, usually a high achiever, is convinced that they are not deserving of their success.”

When you’re used to being the smartest person in the room, it’s very unnerving to suddenly find yourself completely surrounded by gifted individuals.  “In the face of such talent and success you feel like your own personal achievements are trivial,” he explains.

Take a look at Parer’s post and see what conclusions he has arrived at regarding impostor syndrome now that he’s six weeks into the INSEAD program. We promise, you’ll feel much better about your own possible affliction!

You may also be interested in:

CBS Professor Offers 5 Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence
4 Bad Reasons to Skip Applying for B-School 
Don’t Let Fear Derail Your MBA Dreams

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