Harvard Business School Post-Interview Reflection Tips

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as an MBA Applicant

Applying to business school can be a challenging process. For many, an MBA can mean a big career change or stepping into a new world of professional opportunities and personal growth.

Sophie Hilaire, an admissions consultant at Stratus Admissions Consulting, recently offered a few tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome as an MBA applicant, and how to reframe those nagging self-doubts as empowering self-truths.


It can be easy to count yourself out during the MBA admissions process. Rejections hurt and after a few, it can start to feel like the cards are stacked against you. But, Hilaire says, it’s important to remind yourself why you belong in business school.

“Reflect on the unique perspectives and skills you bring to the table,” Hilaire says. “Reread glowing letters of recommendation from managers, mentors, or professors who affirm your talents and potential. You can also ask your colleagues or close friends what they think your best qualities are–these could become key items in your essays down the line.”

In other words, remembering your why can help keep you going until you reach the finish line.

“It will help you stay motivated and focused, make better decisions about courses, extracurricular activities, internships, and job opportunities, and ultimately achieve your most ambitious career aspirations,” Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, says. “So take some time to reflect on your goals, write them down, and keep them in mind as you navigate your way through business school.”


Whether it’s with your close friends or current MBA students, connecting with a community can help you feel less alone during the admissions process and quiet your thoughts of self-doubt.

“Open up to close confidants or current MBA students about how you’re feeling–you’ll quickly discover that you are not alone in how you feel,” Hilaire says. “If you don’t have a roster of current or former MBA students in your network just yet, hop on an active online forum, such as GMAT Club, to seek out advice and reassurance. Almost everyone there is navigating the same space as you and is feeling the exact same way.


It’s completely normal to feel unsure about yourself during the MBA admissions process. Rather than reject these feelings, Hilaire recommends channeling your nerves into enthusiasm to pull forward even stronger.

“When doubts around belonging arise, get curious about what you’ll learn or how you’ll grow rather than fixating on some arbitrary admissions metric you don’t meet,” Hilaire says. “Approaching the process from a growth mindset makes it an exciting opportunity, not just a hurdle.”

Sources: Stratus Admissions Counseling, Stacy Blackman Consulting

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