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How To Succeed in B-School As An Introvert

The field of business may seem like an extrovert’s world.

It’s filled with client presentations. It emphasizes networking. You’re required to Interview with gatekeepers and decision-makers to land jobs.

Yet, at a b-school like Harvard Business School, an estimated 35% to 55% of students are introverts, a Harbus article finds.

All this brings about an interesting question: What exactly does it take to succeed in b-school as an introvert?

Karl Moore, a professor at the Desautels Faculty in McGill University and contributor at Forbes, recently discussed what it takes to make it in b-school as an introvert.

NETWORKING

Moore says most introverts in b-school think they have to “fake it until they make it.” This is especially apparent when it comes to networking events, he says.

“For most introverts, networking events typically mean awkwardly sipping wine while listening in on a conversation, but adopting select extroverted tendencies can help to facilitate meaningful connections,” Moore writes.

But, according to Moore, introverts actually have unique strengths when it comes to making connections.

“Introverts can leverage their strengths by asking insightful questions and actively listening to leave a memorable impression, especially in a one-on-one setting,” he writes. 

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO RECHARGE

The main difference between extroverts and introverts is that extroverts tend to get their energy from active interaction around other people. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to get their energy from being alone, according to the Myers & Briggs Foundation.

That’s exactly why, Moore says, it’s important for introverts to remember to take alone time to recharge throughout b-school.

“Some make a conscious effort to schedule these into their week so that they don’t reach a point where they feel overwhelmed,” Moore writes. “Starting or ending the day with an introvert break like reading, completing a crossword puzzle, or taking a walk can help to avoid the “introvert hangover” that comes with too much time around others.”

For introverts, the secret to b-school success lies in knowing when to balance introverted and extroverted qualities.

“The key to thriving as an introvert in business school and beyond is to embrace introverted tendencies and leverage them appropriately,” Moore writes. “By ‘faking’ extroverted qualities in the right moments and taking time to recover from these taxing interactions, introverted business students looking to snag in-demand positions can be just as successful as their extroverted peers.”

Sources: Forbes, The Harbus, Myers & Briggs Foundation.

 

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