How To Deal With And Overcome The Imposter Syndrome At A B-School

Existential crisis. Self-doubt. Feeling worthless. Imposter syndrome.

Welcome to a B-school. Or rather should I say, life?

Well, come on, smile. Life at a B-school is still going to be great and you are bound to have a great time.

When I first got my letter of admission to XLRI, I was elated. Not many from my batch had gotten admission in b-schools and the joy of being the first few drops of the faucet of my undergrad college which was soon going to overflow with B-School graduates was unparalleled. Little did I know, I was in for a shock.

Fast forward to two months into the first semester of MBA, and a horrible truth slowly set its claws on my thoughts. I have done nothing in my life.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I was a couch potato. I had decent academics, had played basketball for almost the past ten years and loved reading. Though that was enough to get me an admit into XL, it surely wasn’t enough to fill up my one-page CV.

Being a fresher, I didn’t have a job that I could brag about. Never organized a fest at my college. Not because I shirked away from responsibility, but because I hated crowds and didn’t want to deal with them. I liked writing, but whatever I wrote stayed hidden in my personal diaries, I never bothered to publish it anywhere. Though I managed to bring decent marks, I was never at the top. Though I had played basketball for so long, I’ve never managed to win an inter-college tournament.

Suddenly, it seemed maybe being at the top really does matter. All those negative sentiments I started with were beginning to creep in and hence the thought, I’ve done nothing in my life.

Coming to the good part now, I did come to XLRI, completely on my merit, which got me thinking that maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. But the realization did not just dawn on me out of nowhere. Apparently, in a B-school, you’ll find many like you who are dealing with existential crises. I found freshers like me who had the same difficulties as me. There were the work-ex-students too who felt they just sat through their jobs and have done nothing productive. I realized I was being too harsh on myself. Thanks to some awesome seniors, I did manage to complete my CV and merrily sailed through the SIPs.

This entire CV making process did teach me an important lesson though. A lot of times, we don’t take up opportunities even when they are knocking on our doors. There are many excuses we give ourselves like we are not suited for the work, we won’t win so what’s the point or let’s just rest now we’ll see to it later and the like. I missed out on a lot of things because of these excuses. Now I realize that organizing fests or following your passion which at the moment might just be a hobby are not just CV fillers, but they teach important lessons on teamwork, responsibility and accountability, communication and other essential life skills. These skills not just help in the corporate and our management career but are imperative to lead a happy and satisfied life.

Dumbledore said, “It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”. So today, why not choose to make the most of everything that life throws at us!  

Carpe Diem.

Featured image credits – IEEE Spectrum

You might also be interested in reading MBA Summer Internship Experiences


Srijoni Nandy

DPS to NIT to XLRI. Part time adult, full time reader. Still figuring out life. Teetotaler, so asocial. Conversations going in my head are far more interesting than actual ones, so I pen them down.