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.

ken golf
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.


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

Recruiting Strategy Advice from Commerce Career Services’ Associate Director of Career Development Kelly Eddins

Many students are pleasantly surprised when they first arrive on Grounds to learn that the McIntire School of Commerce has its own department dedicated to career development in Rouss & Robertson Halls. Commerce Career Services (CCS) is staffed with friendly career advisers, including Kelly Eddins, who host walk-in hours to review cover letters and resumes, connect students with alumni, and support students throughout their job hunt.

In the last 4 years, M.S. in Commerce graduates have had an impressive 95-99% placement rate within 3 months of graduation. I sat down with Kelly to discuss recruiting strategies and timelines for students.

photo The recruiting timeline is meant to provide a general guideline of peak recruiting times for specific industries. If your intention is to make the most of fall recruiting, take advantage of the summer months and really think through several questions. What do you want to do and why? What skills and abilities do you want to utilize in your day-to-day work? What problems do you want to solve? How do you want to spend your day? What is going to motivate you? Make sure that whatever skills and strengths you identify are loud and clear on your resume.

Then, conduct informational interviews by connecting with professionals working in different fields and functions. Ask them to tell you their story—we all have one. Ask questions that allow them to paint a picture of what a given job looks like. How is the day structured? What do deliverables look like? What skills and abilities are valued/required to do the job well? What does the career path look like?

All that said, the timeline that matters most in this process is your own. If you rush into and through this process, you run the risk of ending up with, yes, an offer, but a job that most likely isn’t going to mesh with who you are and what you are all about. This might work in the short term, but in the long run, it may well leave you right back at square one.

Keep in mind that new information is going to be coming your way every day (in the classroom, in conversation, through career programming, etc.), and this might well inform your direction. Comparing yourself with your peers is never going to be an accurate reflection of where you are or should be. Everyone coming in to the M.S. in Commerce Program has taken a different path to get to McIntire and will take a different path moving forward. How this journey plays out is thus unique to you and only you.

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Kelly will host a session for the incoming M.S. in Commerce class, “Jumpstart Your Job Search for MSC 2016,” Friday, April 17, to discuss industry-specific recruiting timelines, fall recruiting activity, and ways to leverage the upcoming summer months in the job search and career exploration efforts. This session is open to students who have been accepted to the M.S. in Commerce Program and will be live-streamed to students outside Charlottesville.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

Global Immersion Experience in the Classroom and Beyond

M.S in Commerce students prepare for the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) over the course of the spring semester. Students take two courses: Foundations of Global Commerce and the track-specific course Regional Perspectives on Global Commerce. Foundations of Global Commerce is taught by Professor Peter Maillet January through March. Then, the class breaks into the GIE groups (Latin America, India & the Middle East, Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia) from March to May, for the Regional Perspectives on Global Commerce course.

I sat down with Professor Maillet and Professor Jeremy Marcel, Latin American GIE lead, to hear their perspectives on the importance of studying business from a global standpoint.

Professor Peter Maillet


How does Foundations of Global Commerce prepare students for the Global Immersion Experience?

In business, you need to be able to get up to speed on a country very efficiently. GIE gives students a taste of this professional experience as students transition through various business contexts in four to five countries over the course of a few weeks. My course gives students a guiding framework that is relevant to business. In Foundations of Global Commerce, students analyze countries through four lenses—people, place, political economy, and global presence. This framework helps students focus on aspects of the country relevant to commerce.

Throughout the semester, you host additional seminars for students seeking to better their understanding of macroeconomics. How do the topics covered in these optional sessions add to students’ understanding of the global economy and prepare them for global immersion?

In the M.S. in Commerce Program there are two types of students—those who studied economics, foreign affairs, or politics and everyone else. The first group of students have a good understanding of concepts such as dependency ratio or quantitative easing that are relevant to our class discussions; the other half often have not studied these concepts in an academic setting before. The additional macroeconomics seminars provide a safe space for students to ask basic questions. My goal is for students to be able to walk away at the end of my course and pick up The Financial Times or The Economist and have a better understanding of an article than they had before. One tool we use throughout the course is The Little Book of Economics, which explains some of these difficult concepts in laymen’s terms. It’s also just a really interesting read!

TC010981The additional macroeconomics seminars are optional and held Thursday afternoons

Your course requires students to form their own opinions. Why do you think this is important?

I have two motivations in teaching students to form opinions. First, it will make students more successful as they progress in their careers. In the first two to three years of your career, your technical skills will be the essential element of your success. However, after the first few years of your career, you will be evaluated less on your technical skills and more on your critical analysis, ability to articulate your opinions, and ability to defend your point of view.

Second, I believe that it is worth pausing for a moment to think about why you want to be in business. I do not view business as “selling out.” Rather, I believe that business is the organizing principle of society. Business is good, but some businesses are “gooder,” per se, than others. I ask students to step outside of their preconceived notions and ask if the way we currently conduct business makes our societies better off. I encourage students to question what they see, make judgments, and take responsibility for their actions.

Professor Jeremy Marcel


How does Regional Perspectives on Global Commerce build upon Professor Maillet’s course, Foundations of Global Commerce?

Peter Maillet’s course provides a general framework through which we can understand business across the various contexts. The regional perspectives course is all about application of that framework, and using it to discover and understand the issues that drive and constrain businesses in a specific region. Of course, the opportunities and challenges vary greatly depending on which part of the world you focus on.

Why study business in Latin America?

Latin America is culturally vibrant and resource-rich, but hampered by a history of relatively weak institutions. That situation is changing fast, and the three decades of free market thinking have really set the stage for increased competitiveness. Business and governments have benefitted from a sustained commodities boom, and everyone is watching to see how they fair as that cycle softens.

What part of GIE are you most excited about?

The most exciting aspect of GIE is really the chance to visit so many wonderful businesses and talented executives. The opportunity to learn about different firms and business models, as well as how executives build successful organizations, is amazing. For example, we will get the chance to visit a cut flower producer in Bogota—walking acres of flowers being grown under glass, observing processing and packaging, and learning about all of the logistical challenges associated with a highly perishable agricultural product. To delve deeper, we are going to visit the national association for growers, where we will learn what makes Colombia competitive vis-à-vis other global producers and how the global industry is becoming more competitive. It is a really energizing experience.

What do you gain from immersion that you can’t gain in the classroom?

The variety and depth of quality business visits cannot be replicated. They are topped only by the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the region you plan to explore. The number and variety of people that students meet on GIE is amazing. You can’t meet so many people, and do so many different things, and remain unaffected.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

Working as an M.S. in Commerce Student

Two M.S. in Commerce students busy at work in the Grad Programs Office!
Two M.S. in Commerce students busy at work in the Grad Programs Office!

Coming into the M.S. in Commerce Program, one of the most pressing things I wondered about was funding graduate school and if I would have time for both schoolwork and a job.

I am sure a lot of students considering graduate school have similar concerns, and to ease the fears of anyone contemplating graduate school and wondering how to pay for it, I have good news. It is 100% possible to balance school and work! In fact, a lot of students are successfully managing both.

Approximately 40% of students in the M.S. in Commerce Program have a job, split evenly across the Finance and Marketing & Management concentrations. These jobs are not located solely on Grounds. In fact, almost half of the students with a job work off Grounds! To get an insight into some student work experiences, I asked four M.S. in Commerce students about their current jobs.

Steven, Graduate Assistant for the McIntire School’s Graduate Programs Office

I work directly with Sally Armentrout, Director of Graduate Student Life, in order to help improve student life for grad students at the McIntire School of Commerce. I have helped Sally organize student events such as study breaks with UVA-themed cake pops and free breakfast and lunches. The biggest part of my job, though, is redesigning the new student portal for both the M.S. in Commerce and M.S. in Accounting students for the Class of 2016. We have made many improvements to the portal, and hope that it will be a huge help to students next year!

Gaia, Co-Chair of Resident Staff Program

I work alongside the Senior Residents who supervise the Resident Advisers around Grounds. In this position, I serve as a resource to the Senior Residents and work as a liaison between the student staff and the professional staff members. It is challenging  and chaotic to balance work and school, and I would encourage anyone who is considering employment while working towards this degree to consider their time management skills as well as their passion for the work that they are doing.

Bill, Host at Citizen Burger

My job works out really well with the M.S. in Commerce Program because it is incredibly flexible and not very demanding. I work only two shifts during the weekends. I’m able to hang out with people from the Charlottesville community as well as interact with different types of people, which I’ve found useful in the world of business. Plus, getting cheap food at Citizen Burger is a bonus!

Taylor, Teaching Assistant for “The Business of Media” McIntire undergraduate course

My main responsibilities are making the slide deck for class every week, keeping up with the class readings, attending class, updating Blackboard, and putting together any other materials that are used by the professor during class. I work about 10-12 hours a week, including going to the class, and I actually really enjoy the content of the class. I’m learning a lot while also getting paid, so I think of it as a win-win!

Before starting, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough time to work and also spend the amount of time that I’m accustomed to on my schoolwork. However, having a job makes me more proactive and productive. I’ve still been able to find the time to get everything done while also keeping my exercise routine and other interests a priority. I will also be writing part of the final exam, and the professor gave me the opportunity to give one of the lectures, which was really an awesome experience and a great resume booster!


As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to have a job, either on or off Grounds, and be able to complete your schoolwork in a timely manner. It is hard work, but completely manageable and worthwhile.

Written by: Joseph Labetti

Student Spotlight: Chase McNall

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Name: Chase Michael McNall

Concentration: Marketing & Management

Undergraduate Institution: The College of William & Mary

Undergraduate Major: Neuroscience

Hometown: Vienna, Va.

How did you choose your undergraduate major?

My father, being diagnosed with a rare degenerative myopathy, initially drove my passion for the medical field. During my junior year in high school, I had an internship at the National Institutes of Health doing clinical neuroscience research. I always had a passion for science, specifically the human decision-making process and the nervous system. Majoring in neuroscience seemed like a natural fit for me to continue my interest in medicine.

What did you do during the year prior to beginning the M.S. in Commerce Program?

After graduation, I took some time off and traveled to Europe and California. After a nice break, I continued working at the Williamsburg Regional Medical Center in the emergency department as a scribe. In the spring, I applied and received a job offer at Stem Cell Arts in Northern Virginia. There, I was responsible for phlebotomy and processing patients’ blood and bone marrow samples according to the physicians’ orders.

 Why did you choose not to proceed with medical school?

Some of the best advice I received was from a neurologist I shadowed, who told me not to attend medical school unless becoming a physician was the only thing I could envision myself becoming. With all of the uncertainties and reorganization taking place within the field, he said that he would have chosen a different career path if given another chance. So I decided to put off medical school for the time being, unless I was certain that I wanted to become a physician.

What brought you to the M.S. in Commerce Program at UVA?

After making the decision not to attend medical school at this time in my life, I became interested in taking the skills and experience I gained in the health care field and transferring them to a business setting. Since I did not have a business background, I thought the M.S. in Commerce Program would be the perfect place to develop an excellent business foundation. Maybe someday I can take the skills I have learned at McIntire and help streamline the overly complicated health care delivery process.

What’s been your favorite part of the M.S. in Commerce Program so far?

My favorite part of the Program so far has been the cohesion between course content and current global business practices and problems. This teaching approach has allowed me to better grasp the large amount of material we are learning.

What has surprised you about the M.S. in Commerce Program?

I would say the faculty, who are all extremely receptive and always willing to help. They generally all have industry experience, which allows them to each provide a unique viewpoint on various business issues.

What are your plans for after you graduate from McIntire? 

In October, I accepted a position as a Technology-Consulting Analyst with Accenture in the firm’s Healthcare and Public Services sector. I will be working in Accenture’s Washington, D.C., office beginning in August 2015.

What are your long-term career goals? 

I am not entirely sure yet, but would like to move out West and work for a start-up or a venture capital firm.

What are your hobbies?

I really enjoy playing squash, kayaking, golfing, the occasional poker game, and binge watching Netflix. As a high school graduation gift I even had the chance to go kayaking with some friends in the Gálapagos Islands!

Written By: Ellie Reed

A glimpse into the life of Eric Rosato (M.S. in Commerce ’14), Junior Analyst at McKinsey & Company

Interview with Eric Rosato M.S. in Commerce ’14

Eric in front of Machu Picchu on his Global Immersion Experience
Eric in front of Machu Picchu on his Global Immersion Experience

Describe your interview process with McKinsey & Company.

Mirroring McKinsey’s global reach and impact as a firm, my interview process took place in three different countries on two different continents as I traveled with 25 classmates and three fearless professors throughout Latin America on McIntire’s Global Immersion Experience (GIE). I first participated in a phone interview in Panama that consisted mainly of basic analytic-based questions (“describe factor analysis”), and completed my second round in McKinsey’s Buenos Aires office. There, I took the McKinsey Problem Solving Test and had three 60-minute interviews that were half personality/leadership interviews and half case interviews with a focus on analytics.

After passing that round and completing my travels abroad, I finished up in the Summit, N.J., McKinsey office to sit face-to-face with members of the team I had at that point hoped to join. The GIE travel added an interesting element to the interview experience, but my McIntire professors were extremely flexible and supportive while abroad in allowing me time to prepare and to interview.

How have the skills you learned at McIntire helped you in your current job?

I’d bucket the skills into two categories: team-based work and analytic/consulting preparation. The way the McIntire M.S. in Commerce Program is designed—with heavy emphasis on working in groups, managing team dynamics, and delivering high-quality work in teams—provided a year for me to learn how to become the most effective, value-adding team member before even stepping foot into the McKinsey team room. I’m finding that both the successes and failures I experienced while working in teams at McIntire helped me to hit the ground running at McKinsey.

Secondly, without the coursework in Marketing and Quantitative Analysis and Consulting to Management, I simply wouldn’t have been prepared to have the position I currently do. The three-month Kate Spade New York project that we completed for Marketing and Quantitative Analysis was a truly valuable experience that taught me many skills I use quite often in my role at McKinsey. I learned not only how to run meaningful analysis (cue Professor Netemeyer yelling, “Analyze!”), but also how to both think about the analytics with a “business mind” and work comfortably and confidently with a client’s C-level team to drive strategy. To be able to work alongside a company’s CEO and then turn around and present your team’s work to him, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, and Senior Marketing Director—all while still in graduate school—was not only a unique McIntire experience, but it also gave me the skills and confidence needed in my current role at McKinsey.

What is your favorite part about working in analytics at McKinsey?

What I love about working in analytics at McKinsey is being able to work with some of the best national and global companies to help solve tangible, interesting issues and drive innovation for the consumer. While doing this, I get to work alongside some of the most driven, intelligent, and fun people I’ve ever been around—well, that is, since my time not so long ago on Grounds in the M.S. in Commerce Program.

Written By: Ellie Reed

McKinsey & Company Representatives visit M.S. in Commerce students


M.S. in Commerce students recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet McKinsey & Company Solution Manager Janet Gessner Alford and Client Service Senior Manager Doug McElhaney. The two visited the McIntire School of Commerce to discuss opportunities in analytics and complete a mock analytics case with students in the Marketing & Management concentration. I asked Janet and Doug about the field of big data and the qualities they are looking for in M.S. in Commerce students.

Why do you like to hire UVA’s M.S. in Commerce students?

Doug: By way of background, Janet has been working with Professors Netemeyer, Maxham, and Abbasi since the inception of the McIntire School’s new Center for Business Analytics and serves on its Advisory Board. As part of that effort, Janet visited the M.S. in Commerce’s Consumer Analytics class last year to learn more about the new Business Analytics concentration in the M.S. in Commerce Program and led McKinsey’s first effort to recruit several M.S. in Commerce students for analytics consulting roles. So, this is our second year recruiting M.S. in Commerce students. And, full disclosure: Janet graduated from the McIntire School (B.S.), and I graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences (B.A.), so we are pretty sold on recruiting from the University of Virginia!

Janet: We like to hire M.S. in Commerce students because we find that the program prepares them to excel in two areas, among others. We call these areas the “analytics spike” and “consulting toolkit.” First, a successful candidate has to be able to do the work—and that work is all about being able to “hit the ground running” in analytics. Second, and equally as important, are all the skills necessary to perform well in a client-facing environment: structured problem solving, business acumen, working with a team, being able to transform analytics outputs into business insights. We find that the M.S. in Commerce curriculum and case-based team-learning environment produce and train the kind of candidates we are looking to hire.

What tangible skills do M.S. in Commerce students bring to McKinsey?

Doug and Janet: We look for three key skills in our candidates. The first is problem solving and problem structuring. This is fundamental to being a successful consultant regardless of the firm you join or the client you serve. You must be able to take an ambiguous problem and create structure around it that will enable a team to make efficient progress in identifying a set of potential answers or recommendations.

The second is business acumen. We describe this as being able to translate analytical or quantitative insights into relevant business implications. This is the classic “so what” challenge. Having identified a trend during your analysis can you a) determine if it is relevant in the context of the overall project and b) identify and explain the implications of this trend on your client’s business.

The third key skill is analytics. Candidates need to be comfortable utilizing a variety of analytic approaches to explore and understand the client’s data environment and what that data can unlock in terms of relevant insights. Different parts of McKinsey require this skill in different degrees, yet the common theme across McKinsey is that analytics is more and more a key component of how we deliver for our clients.

What we like about the M.S. in Commerce Program is that students are focused on building all three of these key skills.

What was your favorite part about your visit to UVA?

Doug: My favorite part of the trip was my time visiting with the students and working through the “Big Bank” case. I was impressed by the proposed solutions the teams came up with as to how to get started with a complicated problem for which they had very little to go on. I was also impressed by the fact that several of the teams took some risks in their answers by proposing analyses and relatively detailed work plans without the benefit of data or additional context.

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What insights did you gain after working through an analytics case with the M.S. in Commerce students?

Doug: I left Rouss & Robertson Halls generally impressed by both the aptitude and the inquisitiveness of the students I worked with. Success in analytics requires both technical abilities and a natural curiosity. Analytics is all about the intersection of technical know-how (e.g., how to build a model, how to apply algorithms) and a desire to try new things and dig into new and different kinds of data. This is especially true in the application of analytics in consulting. It was great to interact with students who seemed to have this combination of skills and curiosity.

What is the most important thing for a student who wants to break into the analytics industry to know?

Doug: I think there are two “most important” things to focus on. One is that you must build a strong foundation in the application of analytics. Knowing a dozen different data modeling approaches will not be very helpful if you don’t really understand which types of situations/problems they should be applied in.

The other “most important” thing is to be able to apply structure to the problems you are working on. The ability to thoughtfully and efficiently structure a problem is a must-have for those who want to pursue a career in analytics. There are so many ways to quantitatively pursue business problems and an overwhelming amount of data. It is because of this that many people suffer “analysis paralysis.” Success in analytics requires a structured approach that will allow you and/or a team to nimbly test a series of hypotheses to identify the most fruitful avenues of analysis.

Stay tuned for an update from M.S. in Commerce ’14 alum Eric Rosato, a Category Strategy Consultant at McKinsey.

Written By: Ellie Reed

A Typical Schedule: M.S. in Commerce Spring Edition

During the fall semester, the Marketing & Management and Finance tracks took mostly the same classes. When we began the spring semester, Marketing & Management and Finance diverged down two different paths. Both tracks participate in the Foundations of Global Commerce course that runs from January-March and the Global Immersion Experience track specific course in April. However, the rest of our schedules are very different. Take a look at the typical week of a Marketing & Management student and Finance student in the spring semester. The Business Analytics track will be offered as a new third track option for the M.S. Commerce Class of 2016.

Marketing & Managementmarketing3

Financefinance 3

Written By: Kaylee Lucas