How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Feeling like an imposter is a common feeling for many. And it’s especially common amongst minority students.
The feeling of imposter syndrome is based on that “you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications,” according to Time.
Brandon Monteith, an Harvard Business School alum, says he felt imposter syndrome throughout business school, despite being admitted to one of the top MBA programs in the world. He wrote about his experience with imposter syndrome for Forbes and offered a few tips for overcoming it.
“I was anxious—doing my best to defy my introverted tendencies, impress admissions officers, and make lasting connections with my cohort,” Monteith writes. “As I looked around, I just knew that I didn’t measure up. I was an imposter. This was a feeling I couldn’t shake even after I was admitted to HBS. Even after I worked through hundreds of case studies, passed exams, and walked across the graduation stage last May.
STAYING TRUE TO YOURSELF
Many feel imposter syndrome because they look around and don’t see others who look like them or have come from the same experiences as they have. And while this may contribute to feeling as if you don’t belong, Montieth says, being yourself is actually one of the best ways to overcome imposter syndrome.
“Don’t try to fit the mold of who you think the archetypal ‘HBS student’ or ‘Kellogg student’ is,” Monteith writes. “Admissions officers have amassed a pretty large sample size at this point. They can tell the difference between genuine and feigned behavior.”
It’s important, Monteith says, to keep an open mind throughout B-school – from exploring potential careers to engaging with others.
“As you explore post-graduation career paths, don’t limit yourself to what you wrote in your essays,” Monteith writes. “Have in-depth conversations with classmates from different backgrounds. Take classes outside of your comfort zone. Life may take you down a completely unexpected career path.”
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
For those suffering with imposter syndrome, it may feel like there is nobody who looks like you or understands your experiences. Despite this difficulty, Monteith says, it’s worth taking the time to learn the culture of your B-school and, ultimately, find your people.
“Every school has its own culture. Even if your personal values don’t perfectly align with those of your classmates and/or the administration, learn how to navigate it effectively,” he writes. “Lean on your community for support and become friends with people from your respective affinity clubs on campus. This is where you’ll find your ‘ride-or-dies’ for when times get tough.”
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