What Exactly Does Confidence Mean?


“Build Your Confidence” is one of many enticing phrases we use when describing our Executive MBA experience to prospective students. In fact, we may mention it as much or more than “Build Your Network.”

As often happens with words or phrases we use over and over again, we tend to forget their true meanings. Simply put, the meaning of confidence is “belief in oneself.”

Our students come to us with a healthy dose of confidence already. Without it, admission into our program would be difficult! We want students who challenge ideas and collaborate with one another and with our faculty. Without confidence, our students would be lost in our learning environment.

But confidence takes on a new definition during our program. “Belief in oneself” expands to encompass the belief that taking well-thought out risks and being open to new experiences is vital for success in today’s world.

We see signs of this on a regular basis at Chicago Booth.

This week, one of our second-year executive MBA students illustrated exactly what “build your confidence” means in our environment.

Ram Krishnan spent 15 years as a successful executive at GE Healthcare. Now that he is nearing the end of his MBA program, he decided to join a company in a completely different industry with a different culture in a new city across the country. On top of that, his wife is expecting their second child.

He is eager for the adventure.

Now that’s confidence.

- Patty Keegan