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GIE East Asia Excerpt: 10 Days in China

Laura Pattison (M.S. in Commerce ’15) and 23 of her classmates visited Beijing and Shanghai as part of the East Asia Global Immersion Experience. Below, she chronicles ten days of company visits and cultural excursions in China.


Beijing, Day 1   Today we flew from Seoul to Beijing (apparently just in time, with all this MERS talk). As soon as we landed, I realized Beijing is quite different from other cities we’ve visited so far, like Tokyo and Seoul. Upon arrival, we joined a swarm of people to get in a line for immigration. Because we were running behind, and traffic is insane, we went straight from the airport to an acrobatic show. It was fantastic, and had everything from a ballerina doing pointe on a guy’s extended arm to eight motorcycles in a sphere driving around at one time. We unfortunately were unable to take pictures or video during the show. Finally, we arrived at our hotel. I grabbed a bite to eat and then crashed. I can’t explain to you how many people are constantly out and about in Beijing, how many cars there are on the streets, or how surprised I am that there aren’t more collisions with pedestrians or bicycles. Bicycles literally have their own stoplight here, though neither cyclists or pedestrians seem to pay any attention to traffic rules. Yet, they somehow make it across eight (optional) designated lanes of traffic unharmed.


Beijing, Day 2  We spent a majority of the day at Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. We had two sessions on “Doing Business in China” taught by Guanghua faculty. The first session focused on what has led to China’s rapid growth over the last 30 years and how the Chinese must proceed in the future. The second session instructed us on how to do business on an individual level with Chinese professionals. School representatives took us on a tour of the school’s beautiful grounds, which were once royal gardens during the Ming and Xing dynasties. On the way home from Peking University, instead of waiting in traffic for a few hours, we stopped for dinner at a Peking duck restaurant. (Photo: Peking restaurant’s mascot. He looks pretty happy, considering.)

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Beijing, Day 3  We’re halfway through GIE! We started the day early in order to have more time for amazing cultural events. We started by visiting Tiananmen Square and then walked to the Forbidden City. In Tiananmen Square, there are peddlers ready to spring on tourists. These guys and girls were very persistent but also willing to negotiate. The Forbidden City is so much bigger than I thought. Every time we passed through or by a palace, there was a gateway to another area of the city. It was quite impressive. We then headed out of the city for lunch and then on to the GREAT WALL, something I have been excitedly waiting on for a long time. Unfortunately, the moment we got up there, it started to rain, and by rain, I mean pour. We still walked along the wall a little bit, but I definitely didn’t get to soak in the wall (no pun intended) nearly as much as I would have liked. Still, it was an awesome and humbling experience, especially as the rain poured and lightning cracked all around me. The views were spectacular, and overall, the Great Wall is at the top of my list of favorites on the trip. After a long trek back to the hotel, I attended a small group dinner with the two UVA staff members leading the trip and five other students. We had an amazing dinner of dim sum, dumplings, small buns, and cucumbers in sesame and chili oil. Quite a day for the books! (Photos: Tiananmen Square and view from the Great Wall)
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Beijing, Day 4 Since today was a free day for us, many of us decided to explore the Silk Market. We browsed through pearls, silk, sunglasses, electronics, clothing, and much more. After spending the morning shopping, we headed to a more traditional area of the city where we wandered through street shops and ate a delicious lunch. I had shrimp in chili sauce with cashews over rice; it was the best meal I’ve had since having sushi in Tokyo. After a late lunch, our group made it back to the hotel, where I took the rest of the evening to relax and prepare for our travels to Shanghai!


Shanghai, Day 1 Today we left Beijing and traveled to Shanghai by a high-speed train that reached 303 km/hour, or about 186 mph. After arriving in Shanghai, I settled into our hotel, which we’ll be in for almost a whole week (hooray!), and then went out to dinner with friends. The group wanted dim sum, so we found a place relatively nearby (but still took forever to get to by cab). We then returned to the hotel to enjoy a quiet evening in preparation for a full week of company visits.
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Shanghai, Day 2  We had two company visits scheduled, so we started early. The first visit was to Baosteel, the largest steel producer in China and one of the more environmentally friendly steel producers in the country. It was very interesting (and warm) to see steel being made. Next, we stopped for lunch before heading to Allergan, the second company visit. Allergan is best known in China and the United States for Botox and breast implants, but the company also makes eye-care products, including Latisse. Its office is on the 56th floor, so the views of Shanghai were impressive, despite the fog and smog of that day. After returning to the hotel, I walked to the river to see the skyline and back to the hotel, only to return to the river to see the skyline views at night.
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Shanghai, Day 3 Today we visited Shanghai Media United Group (SUMG), the largest media group in China, which produces two major newspapers, magazines, and many weekly newspapers. It was very interesting to hear about media (and where print media is headed) from a state-owned enterprise in China, and the president of the company generously took the time to speak with us. After an authentic Chinese lunch at the company cafeteria, we traveled to the printing facility, where we saw how the templates are sent over from the main office and the newspapers then printed. After the company visit, we went on a cultural tour and walked around Yu Garden. After returning to the hotel, a group of fellow students and I headed to the French concession to have Thai food (yes, we went to the French concession in China to have Thai food). Afterward, we walked around the French concession, and after dinner I returned to the hotel for some rest before another day of visits. (Photos: Newspapers ready to be delivered and Yu Garden)
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Shanghai, Day 4 We visited Yangshan Port, the largest port in the world. It felt like I was right back in Norfolk! After learning about the port, and the construction of all the facilities, we went to lunch as a group. After lunch, we went to the Yangshan Free Trade Zone. After heading back to the hotel—and it was a long trek—I went shopping with a couple of friends on the walking street by the hotel and grabbed some dinner at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut in China is almost like Olive Garden, more of a sit-down restaurant. After dinner, a few of us went to the hotel pool deck to enjoy the evening.
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Shanghai, Day 5  Today we visited Nike. It was interesting to hear how Nike’s approaches in China are different from its approach in the United States because of the culture, which is far less focused on sports and exercise. We asked many questions as we toured the facilities, and then shopped at the employee store. After the Nike visit, we had a short break for lunch before heading to an alumni panel. It is always informative to hear what business is like in China and how it differs from business in the United States. After the alumni reception, I took a quick dip in the hot tub at the hotel to relax before heading to bed. I’m really getting spoiled by these nice hotels.
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Shanghai, Day 6  Today we had a free day, and most everyone took advantage of it as a lazy day. I decided to walk around some side streets and found myself at the river. After walking back to the hotel, I met up with some friends, and we headed to Yuyuan Bazaar, where we did a little light shopping. We returned to the hotel area and grabbed a late lunch at a local cafe. I then took some time to pack for our next stop, Hong Kong. To round out the week in Shanghai, a large group of us went to dinner at an Italian restaurant by the river, and I spent one last evening enjoying the lights of the city.
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A Snapshot across All GIE Tracks

The M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015 just crossed the halfway point of their Global Immersion Experiences in Latin America, Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and India. The 108 students are divided among the five GIE tracks, visiting on average five cities and more than 25 companies over four weeks, as well as enjoying multiple cultural excursions. By studying global business in person and in context, M.S. in Commerce students learn to appreciate how economic, social, political, and cultural dynamics drive both the opportunities and challenges facing today’s global organizations. All trips are led by McIntire faculty and conducted in English. Below is a snapshot of M.S. in Commerce students around the world.


Latin America

Salt Cathedral of ZipaquiraA visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, a church carved from salt deposits 650 feet underground. It was originally created in the 1930s to give salt miners a place to worship and ask for protection.

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Students take a tour of a neighborhood just outside of Peru, an eye-opening experience..

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A company tour of La Gaitana Farms, a leading grower of carnations and spray carnations, in Bogotá, Columbia.

Ciclovia Cra 7 bogotaThe best way to see Bogotá? A four-wheeled bicycle for two.


Europe

IMG_5121Students at the BMW showroom and plant for a factory tour of the company’s facility, which is 97% automated.

IMG_5116Christian at Deloitte’s Berlin office, discussing analytics. He’ll be working at Deloitte in advisory this fall in its New York office.

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A visit to one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall while on a cultural tour of the city.


East Asia

Tokyo DisneyStudents spend a day at Tokyo Disney.

image1A company visit to Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul, Korea.

Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Tokyo Buddhist monksAn impromptu photo with young Buddhist monks in Beijing.


Southeast Asia

10989242_10153870754317995_7997214980000207478_oGIE Southeast Asia starts in Singapore and includes courses and company visits organized by NUS Business School, a partner school of McIntire.

10382336_10153870760992995_3689420035881931419_oSingapore company visits included Google.
11336884_10153882115632995_9016946325046546519_oStudents, faculty, and staff participate in a 25-mile bike tour near the Twantay region in Myanmar.

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A company visit to Intel’s Ho Chi Mihn office.

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Students explore a traditional floating market outside Bangkok.

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A very hands-on company and culinary visit to Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok.


Middle East and India

turkey-receptionA UVA reception in Istanbul for alumni and friends

DSC_0049Discovering the Spice Bazaar in the historic area of Istanbul.

DellStudents visit Dell India, where they learn about being a leader in entrepreneurship.

tombStudents in the Middle East and India GIE visit Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, where they meet with one of the lead architects in charge of designing a new museum to display precious art and history about India and the tomb.

Flipkart in BangaloreStudents visit Flipkart in Bangalore, the leading online marketplace in India.

reserve-bank-india-mumbaiA company visit to the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai.

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GIE Latin America: Panama Canal

IMG_8251One of the most interesting company visits featured on the Latin America GIE trip is a day at the Panama Canal. Students took a moment at the Gatun Locks Expansion Observatory to see the enormous ships waiting their turn to pass through to the Atlantic Ocean.

MIT logistics centerYingqi, Cheng, Danwen and Alice donned hard hats for the tour of J. Cain’s logistic center at the Manazillo International Terminal. Located in Colon on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, J. Cain focuses on the transportation of technology and pharmaceuticals via road, boat and air.

– Contributed by Leigh Dannhauser

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GIE East Asia: Discovering Japan

10987657_1043381355689322_6063087012019568203_nTokyo, Day 1: We took a nice tour around Tokyo today. We started at Hama-rikyu Gardens, a beautiful garden where former President Grant hunted duck with the then-Emperor. In the gardens, we experienced an authentic tea ceremony. Next, we caught a ferry cruise through the city. After the cruise, we had lunch at a tempura restaurant (where you really sit on pillows on the floor). This tempura meal included sashimi tuna—undoubtedly the best I’ve ever had. Next, we wandered around street shops and took the metro back to what is called the “scramble,” the busiest intersection in the world. I can’t say that I doubt that claim—all traffic stops in all directions and everyone walks at once in all directions. After wandering around a bit, I took an hour of downtime before sushi (what I was REALLY waiting for!!)

nissan-smallTokyo, Day 2: We took a tour of Nissan’s global headquarters and also had the opportunity to tour the company’s manufacturing facilities. It was really interesting to see the assembly of the vehicles at all different stages and to learn about Nissan’s initiatives with Datsun and the zero-emission vehicles straight from the source. Shortly after returning to the guest hall, as we were wrapping the visit up, we unwillingly participated in a true Japanese experience of an earthquake. It wasn’t anything major but certainly more than Virginia’s earthquake a few years back. I must admit that I was actually very excited about experiencing a Japanese earthquake—as long as that is the only one. After returning to our hotel, a few of us walked to the Tokyo Tower (yes, modeled after the Eiffel Tower) and went up to both levels of the observation deck (the highest was 250 meters). We walked to a nearby Buddhist temple and back for dinner.

10407740_1044939528866838_8281985962787556933_nTokyo, Day 3: We started with a company visit to advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The agency’s big account is Nike, but it also creates ads for Old Spice, Chrysler, P&G, Coca-Cola, Heineken, and many others. Wieden+Kennedy is so unique, and I really enjoyed learning from the agency and hearing how its approach in Japan differs from its approach in the United States  and around the world. Next, we visited e-Jan (which means “I like it” or “That’s cool” in Japanese). e-Jan is a start-up that provides secure cloud storage for companies (including a few big names). Though the CEO is Japanese, he received his M.B.A. at UVA (go Hoos!), and returned to Japan to start this company. Though e-Jan does not have the typical Japanese hierarchical culture, it has a more domestic feel than any of the other companies thus far. Finally, a group of us ended the day by going to a Robot Restaurant & Bar. Don’t worry, there will be pictures and descriptions of that to follow; what you’re imagining of it now can’t possibly live up to the insanity of the place.
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– Contributed by Laura Pattison (seated middle)

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Last Day on Grounds for the M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015

Our last day of graduate school was bittersweet. We started the day with breakfast before setting up our Capstone Projects for our Perspectives on Global Commerce course. For the Capstone Project, each group had assumed the role of strategic management consultants to help establish priorities for a company in a country that we will visit during our Global Immersion Experience (GIE) this June.

One group studied Avianca, a Colombian airline. Another group studied Alibaba, an e-commerce company in China. Each group spent several weeks researching the influence of both industry trends and the country context before assembling a final presentation for the conference. At the conference, groups created interactive presentations and displays illustrating their findings.

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We all dressed business casual, but Sasha dressed business COWsual to demonstrate the way that Vinamilk, a dairy company in Vietnam, imports cows from Australia and New Zealand.

During the conference, our professors and classmates visited each display and asked questions about our work and findings. At the end of the conference we ate lunch, took a class photo, and met with our region-specific groups to go over final GIE details. Later that evening, we gathered for a farewell dinner. Professor Harris gave a speech detailing some fun highlights of our year together, such as one group’s method of de-stressing by taking “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” study breaks. Professor Harris also presented awards to students for the highest GPA and best contribution to class discussion, as well as a peer award.

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M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015 award winners gather in the Rouss & Robertson Halls courtyard.

Cam Boland, our graduate council class president, also gave a rendition of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go adapted for our GIE departures. At the end of the night, we all had to say a few goodbyes. Although we still have GIE to look forward to, we will not all reconvene in Charlottesville after our travels. It’s been an amazing year here at McIntire, and we are sad to see it come to a close.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

 

Entrepreneurial Thinking in the M.S. in Commerce Program

Shaun Moshasha - 2014 MSC Grad
Shaun Moshasha – 2014 MSC Grad

Shaun Moshasha (UVA ’13 [Biochemistry and Physics], M.S. in Commerce ’14) always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, and has been involved with entrepreneurial efforts since his time as a UVA undergraduate. As an undergrad, Shaun helped start PhageFlag, a biotech start-up developing a rapid bacterial diagnostic. Since graduating from the M.S. in Commerce Program in the Marketing & Management concentration, Shaun has started two more companies, BioTrep and Charlottesville Open Bio Labs.

Shaun participated on the iGEM team (International Genetically Engineered Machine) where PhageFlag was born. Later, he competed with PhageFlag and won first place in the Entrepreneurship Cup at UVA.  By the end of his fourth year, PhageFlag was taking off, inspiring Shaun to enroll in the M.S. in Commerce Program to expand his business acumen and ultimately help lead PhageFlag to future growth. While at McIntire, Shaun and classmate Ian Rahman launched a second endeavor, BioTrep, which helps mentor students looking to create their own biotech start-ups at UVA.  The third and latest effort is the Charlottesville Open Bio Labs, which will aim to educate the Charlottesville population on the local biotech community and the magic of synthetic biology.

I asked Shaun what his take-aways were from the M.S. in Commerce Program. “It was the smaller things,” he responded.  “In Cost Accounting during the Integrated Core Experience, my professor taught us about incentives for companies. I realized that incentives drive the action of both people and companies and that there are several types of incentives other than monetary. At this point, I can’t pay my employees, so every day I have to think about how to incentivize my staff.  It was a turning point for me.  In Communications, we practiced presenting in front of a camera.  We would watch ourselves on video, paying special attention to the more subtle aspects of presenting, such as body language and confidence.  Additionally, all of our writing was scrutinized for clarity and conciseness. This was extremely valuable and allowed me to improve my oral and written communication skills so that I can move my company forward.”

Shaun is using these highly relevant skills he learned in the program to help him pursue his entrepreneurial dreams and further his passion for start-ups.

Written by: Joseph Labetti

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Marketing a Local Vineyard

As a part of Customer Analytics & Brand Strategy, Professor Maxham took students in the Marketing & Management concentration to Veritas Vineyard & Winery for a “brand lab.” Winery owner Andrew Hodson discussed how he and his wife began their business, the wine-making process, and the branding and marketing strategies behind Veritas.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.36.42 AMWe had the wonderful opportunity to tour the vineyard and got a behind-the-scenes look at how the wine is produced, a very precise and complex process. The day culminated with a wine tasting while we enjoyed the picturesque scenery of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The brand lab allowed us to see firsthand how the marketing principles we learned about in class have been put into practice. Learning outside of the classroom is always fun, and our trip to Veritas was an experience none of us will ever forget.

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Written By: Ellie Reed

Student Profile: Ken Jee

Concentration: Marketing & Management

Undergraduate Institution: Towson University

Undergrad Major: Economics

Hometown: Bethesda, Md.

Class Superlative: Best glasses by a mile

Why did you pursue the M.S. in Commerce Program?

I took a year after college to pursue my dream of playing professional golf. At the end of the year, I was looking to get back into business. McIntire has a great network, and I wanted to be connected to recruiters.

How did you decide to pursue golf professionally?

Playing professional golf was the culmination of my childhood dream to be a professional athlete. I played golf on the varsity team at Towson. As my college career came to an end, I recognized that this was my opportunity to realize my childhood dream. I moved to Lake Mary, Fla., and played in five eGolf Gateway Tours. It was an awesome experience, but at the end of the year, I wanted to change gears and pursue a career in business.

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Ken pursuing his dream to play professional golf

What did you do the summer before beginning the M.S. in Commerce Program?

I was an Intern with DraftKings, which offers daily fantasy sports contests. Specifically, I was a Mobile Marketing Intern, and spent the summer conducting regression analyses on how application downloads were impacted by position in the application store. I also learned how to use social media tools such as Hootsuite to determine the success of advertising campaigns.

Do you think the M.S. in Commerce Program has built upon your undergraduate degree?

Coming from an economics background, I had a good understanding of theory. The M.S. in Commerce Program built upon my undergraduate degree by teaching me technical skills. While at McIntire I’ve learned how to use tools like SPSS, SQL, IBM Digital Analytics, and Tableau.

What are your plans for next year?

I’ll be working at CEB as a Research Analyst. I’m really excited about this position because it’s a cross between market research and consulting. I’ll be able to live in one place, while building relationships with C-level executives. I’ll be crafting big picture solutions for problems in their industries.

Do you have any hobbies outside of class?

Since I’ve been here, I’ve made a lot of good friends in the program. Outside of class, we like to play racquetball. Even though my golf career has ended, I’m still pretty competitive.

What’s the best part about Charlottesville?

I really like trying new food in the area because there are so many good restaurants. I highly recommend Ivy Provisions if you want a good sandwich!

Do you have any advice for next year’s class?

Come in with an open mind. Spend time building relationships with your classmates. You’ll learn so much from being around intelligent people. Also, use as many of the resources McIntire offers as you can—workshops, Commerce Career Services, and your professors are all great resources!

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

Back in the Day: Professor Marcia Pentz

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Name: Professor Marcia Pentz: Assistant Professor, General Faculty, Management Area

What is your role in the M.S. in Commerce Program?

I have taught Management Communication since the beginning of the M.S. in Commerce Program. Originally, the course was integrated as part of the fall and spring coursework, but as the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) took off, we moved it to the fall. Management Communication is a core part of the McIntire curriculum because we help students develop their communication skills for the professional work world.

I started working with all students on the elements of professional business communication, but as the number of students in the Program grew over the years, we added Professor Patterson, so our class sizes would be smaller. This course has been exceptional since its inception. We are both so excited to be able to help students find their authentic speaking voice and authentic professional writing voice.

What were doing when you were 22 years old?

When I was 22, I had just graduated from Yale University and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had lots of ideas, but no plan. After spending some time to really think about what I wanted to do with my life, I realized that I really valued all of my professors, so I decided I wanted to teach. After that, on a whim I attended the National Association of Independent Schools conference with a friend, a large conference in Washington, D.C., for private school teachers and some public schools teachers across the country. There, you can interview with schools, so I struck up a conversation with someone during one of the sessions. I explained to him that I was really just trying to figure out what this conference was about, but then he asked if I was looking for a job and gave me his card. About a month later, Hebron Academy called me for an interview, and that is how I ended up teaching at a small boarding school in Maine.

I always tell people that the first year of teaching is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, because I felt as if I had no idea what I was doing, but I did. I kept the students’ needs at the forefront of everything I did, which really helped me be successful. That experience taught me what I didn’t know and what I did know, and helped shape what I wanted to do with my life.

What did you want to do when you were 22 years old?

I wanted to live life to the fullest. It was important to me to have a good group of friends, keep that network, and keep in touch. I successfully did that and have a good group of friends that I still keep in touch with from my college days. At 22, it was important to me to be able to make a difference, have a job where I felt I was contributing to the betterment of society, and be able to have fun while doing it.

How did you come to the University of Virginia?

After teaching for a few years, I attended graduate school at the University of Virginia. While in graduate school, I was able to teach at the high school level at a nearby high school and at the college level. After earning two master’s degrees, I was given the chance to interview here, and during that interview, I had the best time, with the most wonderful conversations. I was offered the position and have never looked back.

What is your favorite part about teaching M.S. in Commerce students?

They’re smart, they’re personable, and they come from very different backgrounds, which makes for wonderful conversations in the classroom. It is really interesting to see people from many different undergraduate institutions and many different undergraduate majors sitting next to each other and helping each other understand different perspectives. I have watched people have their eyes opened and their professional and personal biases and perspectives changed. It’s great seeing these types of interactions, which are some of the best moments for me. It is also wonderful to see the high level of dedicated enthusiasm students bring to their group presentations, especially the presentations to executives.

If you could give one piece of advice to M.S. in Commerce students, what would it be?

Recognize that you have to have passion for what you do, but how you define that passion is up to you. Over the course of your career and life, it’s okay for those passions to change and grow. Always allow yourself the space to explore other ideas, to learn, and to grow.

 

Written By: Ellie Reed

Finance Internship to a Full-Time Offer in New York City

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.19.53 PMName: Hampton Webb

Concentration: Finance

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia

Undergraduate Major: English and Economics

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.

The summer after my third year at UVA, I interned for McColl Partners, now part of Deloitte’s Corporate Finance (DCF) division, in Charlotte, N.C. As a boutique investment bank, DCF immediately gives interns a great deal of responsibility. As such, the experience was invaluable, providing me a glimpse into the realities and complexities of the M&A advisory industry. Going into the summer, I wasn’t certain that the field would be for me, so the internship was a phenomenal opportunity to test the waters. Sure enough, I found that I absolutely wanted to return to the industry after completing the M.S. in Commerce Program. I ultimately left the internship with a job offer and a keen sense of all that I still had to learn.

With my appetite whetted and a little bit of experience under my belt, I set about planning my next move. I greatly enjoyed my experience in Charlotte, but had always wanted to work in New York City. And as interesting as working on the sell side had been, I found the more analytical, operational aspects of the buy side to be especially engaging. After a great deal of deliberation, I turned down my offer and launched myself into the interview process once again. Commerce Career Services’ database is fantastic, and I was able to apply to many firms that interviewed on Grounds. I was able to reach out to even more firms through alumni connections.

The recruitment period for the majority of financial firms is, unfortunately, heavily concentrated in the first few months of the fall semester. Before I even had a chance to settle into classes at McIntire, I was overwhelmed with submitting applications and studying for interviews. Because of the timing, my McIntire classes had not yet delved into technical finance. However, having the M.S. in Commerce Program on my resume was a huge talking point: Even though I was not an undergraduate finance major, I was able to point to the M.S. in Commerce Program as proof of the extensive financial education I would soon receive.

During the second semester of the M.S. in Commerce Program, we are split into our respective concentrations. My finance classes are especially relevant for my career path, including Capital Markets, Markets and Financial Advisors, and Advanced Corporate Finance. As most of my financial knowledge had been, up to this point, learned either during my internship or self-instruction, it’s been very helpful to receive a formal education to correct my misconceptions and fill in the gaps. In particular, Advanced Corporate Finance, which is essentially a valuation class, has dedicated a significant portion of the course to LBO models and PE firm valuations, which are directly relevant to my job.

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Ultimately, I was thrilled to accept an offer with CCMP Capital, a global private equity firm in New York that invests largely in buyout and growth equity transactions, generally focusing on four sectors of expertise: consumer/retail, industrial, health care, and energy. For those unfamiliar with private equity, buyout firms carefully select target companies, take on debt in order to purchase them, operationally improve the acquired companies, use the acquisitions’ cash flow to pay down debt, and ultimately sell them in order to generate returns for investors. It’s a job that entails both large-scale transactions in purchasing/selling companies as well as strategic elements of improving a purchased company’s operations. We even worked through a case in class that detailed one of CCMP’s past deals, which was especially interesting. I am excited to start full time in New York City in September.

Written By: Guest Blogger Hampton Webb