No one is here because they are great.

Before Brandcenter my occupations ranged from blue-collar industrial worker to software trainer and corporate office manager. For years I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and my resume showed it. When I came into this program, I felt like the one oddball who was here by mistake. Everyone around me seemed to have these perfect linear paths, some even coming straight from undergrad with multiple internships under their belt. My first team meeting I was terrified to speak up, afraid that if I did everyone would realize that I didn’t belong here. I had no idea what I was doing and felt like an imposter.

I soon realized I wasn’t alone. In the beginning, none of us knew what we were doing. Some would fake it, but at the end of the day, we were all terrified of looking foolish in front of each other because we had already convinced ourselves that everyone else deserved to be here and we didn’t.

My most memorable day at Brandcenter was when I realized I wasn’t in the wrong place. Imposter syndrome was my biggest weakness, but when I finally embraced my background, I found my strategic superpower: tapping into the thoughts and feelings of all the different types of people who were a part of my life in the years before I came here.

The struggle with imposter syndrome is both a necessity of success as well as the quickest route to failure. It’s a rite of passage for all those who walk through these doors. As I look back on these two years, I now realize that the single unifying trait my classmates and I shared on our first day wasn’t talent but potential. No one is here because they are great. We are here because we have the potential to be great.

-Kyle Stolcis, strategy track, class of 2019