Our Stories

Beating Impostor Syndrome

Crowe gains skills and confidence for consulting career

Libby Crowe
Associate, McKinsey & Company

Vanderbilt MBA 2023

At Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York, Libby Crowe was part of a small team that launched Bloomberg New Economy, which brought together more than 500 of the world’s leading policymakers, thought leaders, and CEOs to engage in public-private partnerships that advance the global economy. By the time she left, the initiative had become the company’s largest revenue-generating property.

Though she worked hard at Bloomberg, learned the landscape and history of U.S.-China relations, built a mobile app, and collaborated extensively with McKinsey & Co. (her future employer), Libby suffered from impostor syndrome. “I thought I was tremendously out of my depth, and people were going to realize I was a fraud,” she says. “Even my own sister kept asking, ‘How did YOU get this job?’”

So, Libby decided to gain the knowledge and skills to no longer feel like an impostor. Her work on the global economy, meanwhile, gave her a passion for “trying to figure out strategies to get companies to think differently about climate change and build it into their long-term goals. Getting my MBA would give me a holistic picture of how to tackle the problem from multiple angles.”

Characteristically, Libby immersed herself in everything Vanderbilt had to offer. She made a point of getting to know each of her 180 classmates. (“I learned as much, if not more, from them as from my coursework,” she says.) Over the program’s final year and a half, she attended almost every single school event, from the Hot Ones Challenge to football tailgates, lunch-and-learns, karaoke nights, dancing at Closing Bells, participating in student government (her colleagues elected her class president), and even attending Oktoberfest with a fellow student from Germany. She participated in the Leadership Development Program, which she describes as “the best hands-on learning I did.” The entire experience, she says, has been “a blast.”

In particular, Libby credits the staff and faculty with making her feel like she belonged. “I knew I wanted to go into consulting with McKinsey, and I wanted to work in the energy and sustainability space,” she says. “No one at the Career Management Center told me I was out of my mind. In fact, they built me up so much, my impostor syndrome completely went away. I’m very thankful to look back and say that all my goals in coming here were accomplished.”

Fun Fact: At Vanderbilt, Libby carried on a family tradition of throwing a huge party with themed food for one Florida Gators home football game each fall. “It’s been a great way to bond with my classmates,” she says.

I knew I wanted to go into consulting in the energy and sustainability space. No one at the Career Management Center told me I was out of my mind.