As I look out over this new MBA class, do you know what I see? Imposters. Two hundred imposters wondering if you should be here. But what is amazing is that is exactly why all of you do, in fact, belong. Even though you felt like an imposter, you came anyways, because you believed in yourself enough to invest in your own education.
In my favorite podcast “How I built this,” Guy Raz interviews start-up founders. The episodes always start with a devastating moment when the founder had failed: out of money, rejected, a friendship ruined. You realize that inevitable success was never certain. They were just too stubborn to give up. Every Single Time. They failed. They were imposter CEOs. But that didn’t stop them. They changed the world: Airbnb, Netflix, Lyft, Wikipedia, Khan Academy.
Consider this quote from Raz: “Take a look around you right now. At the seat you’re sitting on. The light bulbs illuminating the space you’re in. Even the cover of this book you’re reading. If these items have anything in common, it is that none of them looked like they do now when they were first conceived by the people who designed them. A lot happens between conception and first production. Shape changes. Materials change. Offerings changes. Names change.”
You are not the finished version of yourself. It is time to stop thinking of yourself as an imposter and instead see a masterpiece in progress. You are becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.
Many of you may think that your investment in your education was tuition payments and foregone salaries, but your most important investment just began. Time is your greatest asset – it is your primer for remodeling the masterpiece of your professional self. My husband told me at the outset of my program, “Honey, this is your year. We’ve given up a lot for this, take every opportunity they give you.” I followed his advice, and I feel like I acquired 10 years of professional experience in a single year. I emerged a confident leader, an astute businesswoman, and a proud alumnus. I am the best version of myself that I have ever been.
Now it is your turn. Here is my advice:
What will you commit to do? Write it down and get started.
Remember, you will carry the Frankfurt School with you for the rest of your professional journey. It is always going to be there on your resume – the school where you got your MBA. When you raise the bar this year, when you graduate smarter, more confident, and better equipped to become world-changing leaders and entrepreneurs, you affect everyone who graduated before you. As you become the best version of yourselves, you will also make the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management the best version of itself that it has ever been. And that, my friends, is something to be proud of.