The Importance of Stories

As a part of GCOM 7070, Seeking Authenticity and Thinking as a Leader, we learned how valuable storytelling can be when you meet new people and start to form relationships. Storytelling is also important in the job search process when you have limited time during an interview to make an impression on someone you don’t know.

To help us with this skill, we were tasked with figuring out our own transition story, to help our classmates and professors learn about the key influences in our life that ultimately brought us to the McIntire School of Commerce. Learning about each other really brought us together as a class and helped us understand each others backgrounds, as well as our goals for the future. Here are two transition stories from the M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015, so you can get a sneak peak into the interesting lives of our classmates!

Name: Annie
Concentration: Marketing & Management
Undergraduate Institution: Duke University
Undergraduate Major: Public Policy
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Name: Dave
Concentration: Financial Services
Undergraduate Institution: College of William & Mary
Undergraduate Major: Chinese and Neuroscience
Hometown: Sewell, New Jersey

Written By: Ellie Reed

The Inside Scoop: Cleo Chang

Cleo standing at the top of a mountain
Cleo standing at the top of a mountain

Name: Cleo Cheng

Concentration: Financial Services

Undergraduate: Beijing Institute of Technology

Undergraduate Major: International Economics and Trade

Hometown: Beijing, China

How would you compare the M.S. in Commerce Program to your undergraduate education?

My undergraduate major was more theoretical. Here, we work with real companies. We look at what’s actually happening in the business world.

Is the classroom environment different?

At Beijing Institute of Technology most of the classes were lecture based. At McIntire there’s a lot more participation and group work. My classmates all have different backgrounds and this makes the group work really interesting.

What’s been your favorite part of McIntire so far?

Free food! I’m kidding. But I’m also kind of serious. I’m pretty impressed with our professors—how passionate they are about their work and their approachability. They are great resources not only for coursework but also the job search.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from McIntire?

I was hoping to be a financial analyst at first, but since coming to McIntire I’ve been exposed to new career options I hadn’t even heard of such as business analytics. I really hope to work in the United States after graduation.

Do you have any hobbies?

I really love to hike around Charlottesville. Right now I am also pledging a business fraternity (Alpha Kappa Psi).

What’s the pledging process like?

I’m not allowed to tell you, but I will tell you why I decided to join Alpha Kappa Psi. I wanted to apply because I love the M.S. in Commerce program. I’m gaining so many skills—memo writing, networking, etc. As an international student, there are some linguistic and sociocultural barriers. Being part of a sorority will help me practice these skills. Plus, in China, there weren’t any sororities! Mostly, I’m just looking to get out of my comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities McIntire has to offer. I’m trying to get the most out of this experience by becoming friends with people different from me. I want to immerse myself in this environment.

Get to Know Our M.S. in Commerce Students


Without a doubt, UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce is renowned for its undergraduate program; in 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked McIntire as the #2 undergraduate business school in the nation, making it the only program to be consistently ranked either first or second in the nine years the publication has ranked undergraduate programs. But did you know that we have a successful graduate business program as well?

The one-year, 40-credit-hour M.S. in Commerce Program at McIntire is tailored for recent liberal arts, science, or engineering graduates who are looking to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a dynamic business environment. This program offers specialization in Finance, Marketing & Management, and Business Analytics, and concludes with a month of global immersion in Europe, Latin America, East Asia, or Southeast Asia (M.S. in Commerce students in Bangkok, Thailand, pictured above).

Each year, our M.S. in Commerce graduates secure full-time, entry-level positions in the consulting, finance, and marketing/sales industries. Employers are consistently impressed with these graduate students’ solid foundational knowledge of business, gained through comprehensive, case-based education characteristic of the McIntire curriculum, and vividly contextualized in the international marketplace through the global immersion program. As a testament to the competitiveness of M.S. in Commerce students in the business world, 38 companies, including Bain & Company, comScore, Ernst & Young, and Morgan Stanley, have hired two or more students from this program since its launch in 2008.

Since M.S. in Commerce students studied non-business subjects in college, they are able to supplement their business acuity with rich and varied backgrounds in engineering, health sciences, liberal arts, or social sciences. As a result, M.S. in Commerce students make for some of the most versatile hires in that they arrive on the job with multidimensional, problem-solving skill sets.

Another unique element of the M.S. in Commerce degree is that since it is only a one-year program, unlike our two-year undergraduate degree, students are typically looking for full-time positions in both the fall and the spring. In other words, M.S. in Commerce students are a great fit for companies with more flexible or less traditional recruiting schedules.

Think our talented M.S. in Commerce students might be a good match for your company? Learn more about the program on our website, and get the student perspective on the popular M.S. in Commerce Student Blog. If you’re interested in opportunities to engage with our M.S. in Commerce students on a deeper level through targeted sponsorships, contact us!

This blog post was reprinted in its entirety from the Corporate COMMunity Blog. To view the original click here.

Interview with M.S. in Commerce alum Ian Fuller

Ian Fuller

Name: ​Ian Fuller
Before: M.S. in Commerce 2013, Finance Track
William & Mary 2011, Economics
After: Kurt Salmon, Consultant

What skills from the M.S. Commerce Program have helped you in your current job?

As a consultant, I spend a lot of my time looking at lots of data and interpreting it. My marketing analysis classes certainly helped prepare me for that, as did my finance classes especially when it comes to building complex models and working in Excel. I also think the professional environment at McIntire reinforced how to best carry yourself in the business world.

What brought you to Kurt Salmon?

I always knew that I wanted to work in consulting. I chose Kurt Salmon specifically because of the culture and, as a smaller firm, the opportunity to make an impact early.

What is your favorite project that you have been a part of at work?

We were hired to work for a large Canadian grocery retailer and redesign their assortment planning process – helping to define the way products were chosen in stores across the country. We were tasked with making the process more consistent across categories and overall more analytically driven. Following the design phase, I led two categories through implementation and eventually had the chance to walk into a store and see products that I had personally selected. Very cool.

As a consultant you do a lot of traveling, what does your evening look like when you are done at work for the day?

When you are traveling to work with a client, 90% of waking time is spent on client work.  I usually just push through until Thursday night when I can go home.  Fridays in the office are usually more relaxed. And although there’s a lot of work, there are a number of perks to the job.

Where did you go on the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) as a part of the M.S. Commerce program?

I went on the Latin America track. I’ve travelled abroad quite a bit, but had never approached a trip in such an academic light. It was an incredibly rewarding way to see a foreign country – hearing about current issues from local professors and politicians and truly experiencing the uniqueness of a place.

Where was your favorite place that you went to in Latin America?

Santiago, Chile.  I lived in Singapore after undergrad and thought Santiago was very similar: very well developed and safe.  It is close to the Andes Mountains, which are great for skiing. Valparaiso and the Pacific coast are also not too far away. You sort of have the best of everything.

What advice would you give to prospective or current students in the M.S. Commerce Program?

First semester is really busy, but don’t let your workload take over and cause you to miss out on experiencing Charlottesville in the fall.  When you have some free time, go apple picking, go to a local brewery. We are obviously all here for a purpose, but don’t approach everything so single mindedly that you miss out on life. Also – and this is for the consulting recruiting process – practice, practice, practice case interviews. You need to learn how to play the game.

What’s your go to quick meal?

Sushi is always great.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I interview food and apparel retail start-ups and write about them on my blog, Check it out – a number have either just wrapped up or are currently running a campaign on Kickstarter. There are tons of great companies with a lot of upside.

Written by Ellie Reed

The floor of JPJ was filled with recruiters and students.

Commerce Career Day

On Wednesday, September 17th, 87 companies came to Commerce Career Day, a giant career fair held in John Paul Jones Arena for the McIntire School of Commerce.  Top employers from Deloitte to Amazon to Under Armour were in attendance.  They want US!  Class was canceled all day for the event.  We printed off twenty resumes, dressed up in our classiest power suits, and hobbled over in uncomfortable dress shoes.

Walking through the double doors, we were greeted by our friendly Commerce Career Services staff to support us.  After filling out nametags, we wandered around the fair and talked to employers.  A couple students started their day off with AlphaSights headquartered in New York City.  The recruiter was at McIntire the night before for the ‘Entrepreneurship & Start-Up’ panel.  She remembered some of us and mentioned that the company was looking to grow by 100 new business analyst hires during the upcoming year.  She had graduated from McIntire in 2008, and it was a true comfort being able to talk to a former Wahoo.  McKenzie Roese, one of last year’s M.S. in Commerce bloggers, now works at AlphaSights as well!

As the day wore on, we all continued to talk to more companies, handing out resumes, and seeing which office locations we may want to work in. All in all, Commerce Career Day was a smashing success!

Ken, a Financial Services concentration, spoke with an IBM recruiter.
Ken, a Financial Services concentration, spoke with an IBM recruiter.
Amazon came to the career fair to recruit specifically for a Brand Specialist position.
Amazon came to the career fair to recruit specifically for a Brand Specialist position.
Chase, Carla, Nicholas, and Hampton (from left) brought their smiles and power suits to make a good first impression.
Chase, Carla, Nicholas, and Hampton (from left) brought their smiles and power suits to make a good first impression.
Colleen, Blair, and Emily (from left) receive encouragement from Emma Candelier, our Associate Director of Graduate Recruiting.
Colleen, Blair, and Emily (from left) receive encouragement from Emma Candelier, our Associate Director of Graduate Recruiting.




Commerce Picnic at Dean Z’s

Dean Carl Zeithaml invited the M.S. in Commerce class over for a Friday night picnic at his home in Charlottesville in early September. At the picnic, faculty and staff were able to spend quality time getting to know us over delicious Mexican food. We all really appreciated the chance to meet the Dean at his lovely home and had so much fun spending time with faculty and staff outside of the classroom. Check out Grad Life in Photos for more pictures from the event.


Get To Know Us

The three new bloggers!
The three new bloggers! (From Left to Right: Ellie, Joseph, Kaylee)
kaylee's photo
Kaylee Lucas

Name: Kaylee Lucas

Concentration: Finance

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia

Undergraduate Major: Religious Studies

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia




What is your spirit animal?: Rooster.  I’m definitely a morning person.

What do you get on your Chipotle burrito?: I ask the burrista (burrito conjugation of barista) what his or her favorite burrito is and order that.

Background: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia and lived in the same pink floral bedroom for the first 18 years of my life.  As a child, I began my running career at age 8, aiming to win the fourth grade girls’ mile at Springfield Park Elementary School.  I accomplished my goal with a record-setting time of 8:10 and have been #winning since 1999.  Post Y2K, my athletic accomplishments were less impressive, but I found new dreams to chase.  After majoring in Religious Studies, I developed a passion to work in poverty alleviation, but felt I lacked the skill set to do so.  I came to McIntire with the aspiration of working in the nonprofit sector and with hopes to enter the field of microfinance.

Future Aspirations: After spending last summer in Kenya working in a microfinance loan hub, I dream of being able to empower entrepreneurs across the globe who don’t have access to credit.  I hope the studies this year will equip me with the knowledge I’ll need to work in consulting with nonprofits and microfinance institutions.


Joseph Labetti
Joseph Labetti

Name: Joseph Labetti

Concentration:  Marketing & Management

Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame

Undergraduate Major: Science-Business

Hometown: Germantown, Tennessee




If you could open any franchise, what would you pick?: Fazoli’s, because what’s better than Italian drive thru #EndlessBreadsticks #GarlicBreath

If you were on American Idol, what song would you sing? “Oh What A Night” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. It is a classic song, and I am pretty sure it would be funny to watch me hit the high notes.

Background: I was born outside of Hartford, Connecticut on June 15, 1992.  In October of 1997, my family packed up and moved down to Germantown, TN (a suburb outside of Memphis). As a kid, I loved to play sports and was able to play football, basketball, and soccer. I went to Christian Brothers High School, an all male Catholic school, and won two state championships as a goalie in soccer. After graduating from high school in 2010, I attended the University of Notre Dame and began my journey to medical school. In April of 2014, a group of fellow students and I started a healthcare analytics business that failed miserably. That project ended up driving me to apply to business school instead of medical school because I realized I had no idea what I was doing (oops).

Future Aspirations: After the M.S. in Commerce Program, I want to start a career in consulting and eventually become an entrepreneur. My dad has always told me to be my own boss, which is what drove me to medicine in the first place. But after realizing I didn’t want to be a physician, I still want to be my own boss. As of now I have a multitude of business ideas that I would like to pursue (but again, no idea what I’m doing), but I am holding them off to finish my degree. In a few years, I want to go back to school and get an MBA from Harvard. _______________________________________________________________


Name: Ellie Reed

Concentration:  Marketing & Management

Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia

Undergraduate Major: Advertising

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia



What’s your biggest fear?: Birds: aka flying rats.  Large birds like owls and eagles don’t scare me; but small birds like pigeons terrify me.  For example, being surrounded by birds on the token fast food patio in an amusement park sounds awful.

What’s your favorite TV show?: Scandal because it’s full of suspense, romance, and Kerry Washington has great style! #PassionForFashion

Background: I was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on October 10, 1991.  When I was four years old, my family moved to Alpharetta, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta).  I grew up playing many sports, loved arts and crafts, and spent a lot of time hanging out with friends.  I went to high school in Johns Creek, Georgia where I competed as a football cheerleader, played tennis, and belonged to multiple leadership and community service clubs.  After graduating from high school in 2010, I attended the University of Georgia where I majored in advertising and minored in communication studies and fashion merchandising.  While there, I was lucky enough to be on Leadership Council for my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and spend Saturday’s rooting for the Dawgs between the hedges in Sanford Stadium. During my time in college, I held two professional internship positions where I performed well, but felt that a business degree would help me become an extremely valuable employee in the future.

Future Aspirations: After the M.S. in Commerce Program, I would like to travel the world and work in corporate marketing for a global fashion/retail company.  I grew up learning from my parents the importance of independence and always trying my best.  They have instilled in me a great work ethic; however, I know that working around something I love will make work seem like it is not work at all.

MSC First Day 1

Orientation begins for M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015

Orientation kicked off today for the M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015.  Orientation will be Wednesday through Saturday and includes presentations on Program expectations, graduate student resources, the Global Immersion Experience (GIE), Commerce Career Services, and financial services and consulting preparation.

Program Director Ira Harris welcomes the class of 110 students
Program Director Ira Harris welcomes the class of 110 students

It’s Been Quite a Ride: Farewell and Advice from McKenzie

It’s sad to say, but this is my last blog post. Even as I sit in a cafe in Cambodia, I still feel like it was yesterday when I walked into the McIntire School for the first time. I remember walking into orientation meeting peers who would become my future friends and travel companions. When I think back on my year at the University of Virginia, I cannot help but think of my amazing classmates. Yes, I’ve learned so much from my academic experiences throughout the year; but the people make the M.S. in Commerce Program so special.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
With my classmates at Angkor Wat, a temple in Cambodia.

It was a truly enriching experience to learn from students from all over the world. The international students brought a great perspective on different cultures and business practices. American students who studied at similar liberal arts colleges also brought a wealth of knowledge to my class discussions.

It’s funny to think I have only known my classmates for less than a year, but I know I will stay in touch with them for years to come. I’m excited to see where everyone ends up and how their careers take off. I hope to be a part of their adventures in the future.

For the future students, I have three pieces of advice for you this upcoming year.

1)       Get ready to jump in. From day one, be prepared to immerse yourself. Be open to meeting new people especially during orientation. You never know who you are going to end up in a group with or traveling with for GIE. And don’t forget about the faculty and staff!

2)       Prepare to be busy. The Program is truly time-consuming. Group work is unlike the individual work during undergrad. Don’t be afraid to take leadership roles.

3)       Explore Charlottesville. Make the most of your weekends. Go to Football games, take a weekend hike, go out in the downtown mall — Charlottesville has a lot to offer.

Charlottesville 2
Apple picking outside of Charlottesville in the fall.

Since I’m fresh off of GIE from Southeast Asia, I’ll give you three pieces of advice for GIE.

1)       Take risks. Step outside of your comfort zone. Seriously, GIE is the time to do it. Try new things, explore new places, and try different foods. You won’t regret it.

Talking with local children in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Talking with local children in Jakarta, Indonesia.

2)       Be open-minded. You will definitely experience norms that are different from American customs; so be patient and learn why other cultures do things differently.

3)       Backpack around before or after GIE. I’m so glad to be traveling for 3 weeks after GIE; it allows me to see what I want to see and be on my own time table while immersing myself into other cultures.

A group of us met in Bali after GIE.
A group of us from the East Asia and Southeast Asia GIE tracks met in Bali after GIE.

Well that’s all, folks. Good luck to you all and best of luck!

Written by McKenzie Roese

Welcoming Summer Interns!

In partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce, the University of Virginia Financial Area had five new members start this week. Please join us in welcoming these summer additions.


Yafei Zhang graduated from Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business in May prior to moving to Charlottesville to work with Lynne Schwar. She will matriculate into McIntire’s Accounting program this fall.

Managerial Reporting
Lubna Al-Nsour graduated from UVa in 2013 and spent the following year with Amtrak in Washington, D.C. She is working with Judy and new hire Andrew Yeung on Data Stewardship prior matriculating into the Financial Services program at McIntire in the fall.

Annie Helbling just moved to Charlottesville after graduating from Duke University in May and is working with Jessica Rafter in the Project Management Office. She will matriculate at McIntire in Marketing and Management this fall.

Brandan Hummell is a recent UVa graduate and will matriculate to the McIntire School of Commerce Marketing and Management program in the fall. He is working with Mark Anderson and new hire Tom Kim on Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management and Cost of Education (HPCM/COE).

Joseph Ripple is new to the area after graduating from Marquette University. He is working with Julie Richardson this summer before matriculating into McIntire’s Financial Services track in the fall.

This blog post was reprinted in its entirety from the AVP for Finance News Blog. To view the original click here.