Virginia may be for lovers™, but Charlottesville is for foodies, adventurers, historians, and fun-seekers of all types. The centrally located University of Virginia, just two hours from Washington, D.C., infuses a pleasantly collegiate flavor, but the rich surrounding community makes it far more engaging than your typical college town.
We blinked and it happened. In the span of four weeks, our class of 124 went from strangers to classmates to friends. We started—and nearly finished—one class, and then picked up four more. Some of us gave our first presentations before a panel of alumni judges, while all of us enjoyed the company visit to Capital One and attendance at McIntire’s annual Business Analytics Colloquium. How can four weeks fly by so quickly? Let’s take it week by week to the start of an amazing year.
The M.S. in Commerce Program offered by the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce ranks second out of 40 master’s in management (MiM) programs around the world, according to inaugural MiM rankings released recently by The Economist. Surpassed in the rankings only by HEC School of Management, Paris, McIntire also is the only U.S. school to appear in the top 10.
Master’s in management programs are becoming more and more popular across the United States as specialized master’s programs take the stage. Recently ranked #2 worldwide in The Economist, we’re proud to be not only one of the first, but one of the best in the world. This top-tier ranking is a direct result of our talented students, exceptional faculty, and strong placement statistics and corporate and alumni relationships.
It’s a strange thing, a one-year program. A year feels like a long time; most students coming into the M.S. in Commerce (MSC) program have had only had 22 or 23 of them. And yet it’s not. Fall break comes, then winter, then spring, and all of a sudden GIE (the Global Immersion Experience) is over and you wonder where the time went.
Rain tapped against the large glass pane windows as I sat slowly sipping my piping hot black coffee. I reclined in the over-sized chair as I settled in with my friends to wait out the storm that had seemingly come out of nowhere. The mood was relaxed. Brian reached for a book and Xavier for his computer as we shared our insights into the first two days of Latin America GIE. Still largely naïve and unaware of what to expect from our travels over the following weeks we talked about what our expectations were and what we hoped to see. Little did I know at the time that we were all vastly incorrect and that no amount of reading or lecture could prepare us for the lessons that we learned.
Way back on May 13th, I got on a flight in Dulles. By midnight on the 14th, local time, I arrived in Taipei, Taiwan. GIE officially started the next morning.
We’re down to the final week of GIE. It’s been about two weeks since I took my first plane ride, but with everything that’s happened since then, it feels more like months. That first flight carried me from Baltimore all the way to Stockholm, and since then we’ve traveled to Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, Kamenický Šenov, and Bratislava. In just a few days, we’ll be off to Barcelona. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first experience abroad, but the lineup that Professor Harris and the global studies team at McIntire have arranged for us has been absolutely stellar. We’re getting to know an entire network of European business leaders while learning the ins and outs of their companies, their careers, and the important issues facing their regions of the continent. There’s no way I can recount all that’s happened so far, but I’ll report as best I can on the surprises and the inspiration we’ve found here.
I walked into the well-lit McIntire auditorium room 120 while slowly sipping my coffee. I took a quick look around the room and noticed other slowly waking students chatting in low tones as Professor Harris and Professor Maillet waited for the chime of 8:30 am to begin. As I took in the atmosphere, I thought to myself “It’s almost impossible to believe that we started this program about 9 months ago.” I remember so well walking into the exact same room in much more formal attire sweating from the nerves of the unknown and the August heat for orientation. Now dressed in shorts and a t-shirt it was hard to believe that the same group of people sat in the same chairs in such a different situation than last August. Orientation week feels like eons ago as we are transformed from the nervous, wide-eyed, unsure students we were when we began to the assured, confident, emboldened Masters of Commerce students we are now. The year has been long, challenging, intense, but above all else, rewarding.