M.S. in Commerce Program to Offer New Concentration in Business Analytics

Specialized course of study designed to meet industry demand for outstanding graduates with expertise in business, technology, analytics.

Big data is the hottest topic in business today—and students in McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce Program will soon have a chance to gain the comprehensive set of skills they need to meet soaring industry demand for outstanding business analytics workers. Starting in fall 2015, the highly regarded program will offer a focused, 15-credit-hour course of study, or concentration, in the dynamic, high-growth field of business analytics.

“Organizations around the world, and in every industry, are looking to create competitive advantage out of data-driven insights,” says Trey Maxham, McIntire’s Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. “The M.S. in Commerce Program’s new business analytics concentration has been carefully designed to provide students with integrated expertise in analytics, technology, business, and communication—exactly the preparation they need to immediately add value to their employers.”

In Demand
Maxham says that students who choose the concentration are likely to find themselves in high demand: According to a recent McKinsey report, the United States faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 workers trained in analytics, as well as some 1.5 million managers with the business know-how necessary to analyze and then act upon data-related insights. Moreover, he says, graduates of the M.S. in Commerce Program have enjoyed job placement rates (within three months of graduation) of 93 percent, 100 percent, and 95 percent in the last three years, respectively.

“The M.S. in Commerce Program has established a sterling reputation among employers for producing graduates with a remarkably versatile and valuable set of business skills,” Maxham says. “Adding integrated, cutting-edge offerings in analytics ensures that the program will continue to provide students with an outstanding business education that is not only comprehensive, but also absolutely relevant to current business needs.”

Students choosing to concentrate in business analytics will learn to leverage real-time data to generate actionable business insights. Classes will include real-world experiences working with organizations in a wide range of industries—from consumer products, to health care, to entrepreneurial and nonprofit ventures—to harness the predictive value of data.

Strong Foundation
The new concentration—which has roots in the program’s popular and successful coursework in customer analytics—joins well-established concentrations in finance and marketing & management. All three courses of study require completion of 15 of the one-year program’s 40 credit hours, and students in all three gain foundational knowledge and an enterprise-wide understanding of business through McIntire’s signature Integrated Core Experience curriculum and a month-long, program-specific Global Immersion Experience. Admission criteria are the same for all concentrations within the M.S. in Commerce Program; candidates wishing to pursue any of the three should have a liberal arts, science, or engineering background and be strong problem solvers and communicators.

“The era of big data is here, and it’s here to stay,” says Maxham, stressing the fact that outstanding offerings in analytics have become a critical component of a top-tier business education. “At McIntire, our goal is not simply to educate our students for promising careers, but to prepare them to undertake the roles of leadership, wisdom, and responsibility that this new era demands.”


This blog post was reprinted in its entirety from McIntire Exchange. To view the original click here.

Back in the Day: Professor Brendan Boler

Back in the Day: A glance into the 22-year-old minds of our esteemed faculty

Name: Professor Brendan Boler: Assistant Professor; General Faculty ManagementScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.41.11 AM Professor Boler (left) with undergraduate friends and football coach at Georgetown University graduation (age 22)

Recent 022Professor Boler (middle) with the same undergraduate friends at a recent UVA football game 20 years later

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

I teach a course in the spring called Consulting to Management, where students learn how to frame problems, develop data driven solutions, and present their recommendations. All Marketing & Management students take this course, even those who will not pursue a career in consulting. It’s a useful course for everyone because at every stage in one’s career, regardless of profession, individuals will be asked to do internal projects where they must develop a problem solving process and report back to their stakeholders.

What were you doing when you were 22 years old?

At age 22, I was stationed in Savannah, Georgia as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. I had just graduated from Georgetown University where I had participated in Army ROTC. As a Second Lieutenant, I was deployed to Egypt, where I managed supply chain logistics. I oversaw the transportation of tanks from the port in Savannah to the port in Egypt and a platoon of soldiers, many who were older and more experienced than myself. That experience challenged me to develop my teamwork and leadership skills.

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

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. However, I participated in a military placement program that helped military officers transition to the commercial sector. In the military placement program, a headhunter helped prepare me for case interviews at consulting firms. His help was invaluable, and I received a job offer from Accenture. Now, one of my favorite parts of my job at UVA is helping students in the job search process and leading case interview practice sessions.

How did you come to the University of Virginia?

After five years at Accenture, I decided to get my M.B.A. at the University of Chicago. Known for being finance heavy, the Booth School of Business steered me towards Wall Street and I spent time in New York working for Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. While it was a great experience, I recognized that this wasn’t the best path for me long term, so I pivoted in my career and came to UVA to get my doctorate. I’m actually still studying part-time and teaching. Coming to UVA was the best decision I ever made.

And (most importantly) when you were 22, who was your celebrity crush? 

Ha!  Probably Jennifer Aniston. The first season of Friends began the year after I graduated from college.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

A Typical Schedule: M.S. in Commerce Edition


Track: Marketing and Management

Undergrad: University of Virginia

Major: Anthropology

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia


This is my schedule for an average week. Our classes change so often so I just keep this around and it’s worked so far!

Riley Schedule

This is a pretty average week in the M.S. in Commerce Program. I usually need a little bit of time to decompress from the jam packed week we have, so I try to hike or do some sort of event on Saturday.  Also, I always try to get lunch with my friends from undergraduate on Sundays (Sunday Lunchday!).




Track: Marketing and Management

Undergrad: Washington and Lee University

Undergraduate Major: Religion and Journalism

Hometown: Cotuit, Massachusetts


This is the schedule we are using right now! It’s great because we no longer have class on Friday!!


One of my favorite things to do is go see University of Virginia sporting events. I went to a Division III school, so the Division I experience is new to me. I’ve been to football, volleyball, soccer, and of course cross country. The best part is that there is always someone to go with. Next week some of us are going to see the men’s basketball team once we are done with finals! Go Hoos!”

Written By: Joseph Labetti

Student Spotlight: Eric Slingerland


Name: ​Eric Slingerland

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Undergraduate Institution: Harvard University

Undergraduate Major: Government

Track: Financial Services

Tell us a little bit about your background.

With the ample selection of 22 colleges in Boston, I decided to stay in my hometown for my undergraduate degree. I loved playing sports as a child and was fortunate enough to be able to play both varsity soccer and lacrosse at Harvard. I studied history and government in my undergraduate education. But at the end of my senior year, I struggled with the job search. I knew I was interested in finance positions so I applied to sales, trading, and investment banking jobs, but wasn’t receiving any offers due to my background in history. You have to put your ego aside and just keep swinging.

What skills have you learned at McIntire that you think will prepare you for your first full-time job?

In every class I have taken at McIntire, I have learned something that will be valuable in my career. For example, in Financial Accounting, I learned how to interpret financial statements. This skill will be invaluable to me when I begin my job because most of my first assignments will involve researching the value of firms.

How did you transition from government to business?

In undergrad, I focused on pursuing my interests. I felt that government was a good combination of my interests in world history and philosophy. The summer before senior year, I began to think about my career path. I have always enjoyed following current events. I read the Wall Street Journal everyday. I thought about statistics coursework I had taken and really enjoyed. That reflection gave me the initial idea to pursue finance. After my job search senior year failed to materialize in an offer, I knew I should pursue an advanced degree. That’s when I found McIntire.

Has the job search been more successful during fall recruiting?

I actually just received an offer from WoodRock & Company. I’ll be an investment banker!

Congratulations. What was the interview process like?

I did a resume drop. WoodRock & Company contacted me for a phone interview and flew me out to Houston. When I visited the firm, I interviewed with 6 employees. I was surprised to interview with so many people because it’s a small firm—only 12 people. After the interviews, we went out and got Tex-Mex for lunch. They gave me an offer on the spot, and I accepted 2 days later. I’m excited about Houston because it is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. It’s a good place to be from a business perspective.

What will you be doing as an entry-level investment banker?

I will be doing a lot of financial modeling of clients we work with. I’ll be learning technical skills. Eventually, I’ll learn how to initiate and close deals entirely on my own.

Had you applied to any other positions?

I applied to 20-30 positions, and had been through 7 other first-round interviews, but hadn’t received any other offers. When I received my offer from WoodRock, I was still going through the interview process with 3-4 other companies. I withdrew from the interview process with those companies when I received my offer.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

M.S. in Commerce Soccer Reaches Championship

A group of students in the M.S. in Commerce Program formed an intramural soccer team this fall known as Business Casual.  After a winning regular season the team went on to the playoffs, a sudden death tournament to determine who reigns supreme in intramural soccer at the University of Virginia.

After winning 3 games in the tournament, Business Casual qualified for the intramural championship game!   Just to set things up: there were 6 players on the field at all times, 3 girls and 3 guys.  It was a hard fought battle, and going into halftime the team was down 2-0. The team experienced its first deficit all season, but with some vigor and inspirational halftime speeches the team came out firing in the second half.  After scoring an early goal to bring the score to 2-1, a late penalty allowed the opposing team to take a 2 goal lead with just 5 minutes left. The final whistle blew and Business Casual had lost the championship game.

I interviewed team captain, Phillip, half way through the season about the progress of the team.

Name: Phillip

Concentration: Marketing & Management

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia

Undergraduate Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

What are your future plans?

I am currently applying to medical schools primarily along the east coast. If accepted I plan to begin medical school in August 2015 after the Global Immersion Experience (GIE). I am interested in using the business background I gain from the M.S. in Commerce Program to guide my entrepreneurial efforts in medical device design or a private practice down the road in my career as a physician.

Written By: Joseph Labetti

Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Ellen Rozan

At Topkapi Palace in Istanbul on the Europe GIE 2014
At Topkapi Palace in Istanbul on the Europe GIE 2014

I recently sat down with Assistant Director Ellen Rozan in the Graduate Programs Office to ask her a few questions about her role in the Global Immersion Experience (GIE). 

What is your role in the GIE process?
My role is to help plan and execute the GIE abroad courses. I work closely with advising our students, assisting our faculty and staff program leaders with planning, and managing the logistics and operational side of the experience.

What kind of planning is required for the GIE?
The most important aspects are the academic focus of the courses, planning the schedules, and working with contacts overseas to develop interesting company visits. I also plan the logistical side, which encompasses all of the travel components including the hotels, flights, transportation, and cultural tours.

How do you make decisions about what regions and countries students will visit?
The locations are selected by the faculty leaders who focus on their course and what they believe will be the best learning experience for the students. We try to visit places where McIntire has an existing global footprint or wants to expand to provide students with opportunities in an economically vibrant region of the world. We also try to visit places where we can see our students working in the future because the locations have strong ties to the United States and U.Va. alumni.

Why was the new track to the Middle East and India developed?
When the M.S. in Commerce program first started we had two tracks, and the number of tracks has expanded over the years with the growth of the program. The Middle East and India track came about in several ways. This is a really important region from a business perspective and one where McIntire offers an existing undergraduate GCI course traveling to Delhi and Mumbai. Professor Sarker from the IT area, who is originally from Calcutta, has taken the lead on developing the new track focusing on the themes of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Who are the faculty leads and how are they selected?
The 5 faculty leads represent a mix of GIE veteran faculty and new faculty who all have experience in the region. They are very enthusiastic about leading a track for the M.S. in Commerce program.

East Asia: James Burroughs, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Commerce; Area Coordinator—Marketing

Europe: Ira Harris, Associate Professor, General Faculty; Director, M.S. in Commerce Program

Southeast Asia: David Lehman, Associate Professor of Commerce

Middle East & India: Saonee Sarker, Professor of Commerce; Area Coordinator—Information Technology

Latin America: Jeremy Marcel, Associate Professor of Commerce; Verizon Professor in Commerce

In protective gear for our visit to Alcoa in Hannover, Germany with Kelly Eddins and  Ira Harris on the Europe GIE 2014
In protective gear for our visit to Alcoa in Hannover, Germany with Kelly Eddins and Ira Harris on the Europe GIE 2014

What are some of the biggest challenges you face when planning and finalizing GIE?
One of the most interesting challenges I have is working with different cultures since business culture varies tremendously around the world and we’re going to 29 different cities. Communicating with people from around the world is one of the best parts of GIE, but also one of the most challenging because it can be difficult to work with businesses that have very different timetables for planning.

What tracks have you been on and what is your favorite part of GIE?
I’ve been to Southeast Asia, Europe, and I’m going to the Middle East and India this year. I love traveling to new places, and the best part for me is spending time with our phenomenal students! When I’m in a country, trying local cuisines is always a highlight since food is so important to the culture.

Visiting Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with students on the SE Asia GIE 2013
Visiting Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with students on the SE Asia GIE 2013

How do you choose what track the students will participate in?
We unveil the new tracks at a big event called the GIE Reveal and then students have a few weeks to think about their options and consider their preferences. After the Reveal, we ask students to submit a preference application online. The selection committee looks at a number of factors in placing students with their tracks. Some of the main considerations are the students’ goals and rationales behind ordering their preferences the way they do. We look at everyone’s interests and balance the groups…. It’s GIE Magic!

Tell me a little bit about the GIE Operations Assistant position you are offering?
This is something I’m really excited about. It’s a new position this year and is something I did at my previous job. I found it to be tremendously helpful to have students be a part of the planning team. In the spring students will work with me on planning the programs doing travel logistics, research for the tracks, and work with the faculty leaders on the schedule for their program. It’s great to have a student perspective on this. The position will be 8 – 12 hours a week depending on projects and great for students because it’s a leadership opportunity to work with GIE and a paid position!

Written by: Ellie Reed

Interview with M.S. in Commerce alum Kalika Nowlakha


Name: ​Kalika Nowlakha

Before: M.S. in Commerce 2013, Marketing & Management

University of Virginia 2012, Spanish

After: RKG, Analyst, Display Marketing

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

SQL, turning data into actionable results for clients, professional communication and presentation skills

What brought you to RKG?

RKG has a “work hard, play hard” culture that made for a perfect transition from the M.S. in Commerce Program to the workforce. I heard about RKG from another M.S. in Commerce alum, Andrew Cox, and it sounded like the perfect fit. We work in teams and are client-facing, but also dig deep into data on a daily basis, which was a combination of things I enjoyed from the M.S. in Commerce Program.

What does RKG do?

RKG is a digital marketing agency. We create digital visibility for clients by leveraging a range of opportunities, including paid search, SEO, product listing ads, social media, display advertising and comparison shopping engine management services

What does a typical day at RKG look like for you?

No two days at RKG are the same; it really depends on what’s going on with your clients. My day usually consists of some combination of daily performance check-ins, data analysis with actionable client recommendations, client calls, team meetings, reporting, and training sessions. And, of course, lunch downtown – we’re right at the end of the Downtown Mall.

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

One of my most rewarding experiences at RKG was going on a client visit to a long-time client who is a musical instrument and professional audio retailer. It was awesome experiencing their passion and strong company values firsthand and knowing that my efforts in their display advertising are helping such a great company. It’s also always great to meet clients in person and really strengthen our relationship.

What does your evening look like when you are done at work for the day?

I’ll give yesterday evening as an example – I went to happy hour in downtown Charlottesville with some coworkers and friends, went home and took my dog to the neighborhood dog park, and then had a kickball game. RKG has tons of sports teams: I play kickball on the RKG team in the Cville Social league and go watch other RKG teams’ games. We also have softball, volleyball, bubble soccer, soccer, basketball, and flag football teams so there’s something for everyone.

Where did you go on the Global Immersion Experience (GIE)?

I went to Latin America in 2013, the first year that track was offered! I was so excited to finally study abroad and put my Spanish major to good use.

Where was your favorite place that you went to on GIE?

Peru and Chile are tied as my favorite places. I could definitely see myself living in Lima or Santiago one day. I liked Peru because of the friendly people, great food, indigenous culture and the mountains. I went skiing in Chile, which was awesome, and I also got to hang out with a friend who lives there and really experience Santiago with a local my age.

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

The M.S. in Commerce program is great for helping you figure out what you want to do, and how to get a job in that field. I had no idea careers in digital marketing were even a thing until the M.S. in Commerce Program. Definitely take advantage of Commerce Career Services – they are so helpful and can connect you with the right people. The program can seem like it’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it and great preparation for the real world.

What’s your go to quick meal?

Quesadillas, tacos, or pasta.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I graduated from the University of Virginia in three years and completed the M.S. in Commerce Program my final year. Also, I really took advantage of the M.S. in Commerce Program’s long Thanksgiving break and went to Turkey for Turkey Day – see old blog post here.

What’s your spirit animal?

Alpaca – they’re gentle, curious, exotic and have a cool name.

What’s your favorite part about Charlottesville?

I love all the food and outdoorsy activities in Charlottesville. We’re so lucky to have so many good restaurants, breweries and wineries so close by. Some of my favorites are:

Written by: Kaylee Lucas

M.S. in Commerce Group Projects with Companies

At the McIntire School of Commerce, group projects are a staple of the classroom environment. The course GCOM 7070 (Seeking Authenticity and Thinking as a Leader) is no exception. In late September, groups had the choice of their semester long project.  Each group works directly with a particular company and their executives. This year, we are working with the following companies:




Sarah, a current student in the M.S. in Commerce Program, is working on the Bigelow Tea project.  She said, “Our group is so excited to work with Bigelow this semester.  We met with CEO Cindi Bigelow and learned a lot about the company, as well as the perspective from which they view their tea. Our team has had a few preliminary meetings already and we can’t wait to get started!”

Written by: Joseph Labetti

2015 GIE Reveal

The M.S. in Commerce Program finishes every year with a required 4-week abroad component called Global Immersion Experience (GIE). GIE gives students an understanding of business on a global scale. Every year the tracks abroad are in different places and some tracks will vary more than others from year to year. Last year, the GIE tracks were:

Europe: London • Berlin • Moscow • Istanbul • Athens
Latin America: Panama City • Buenos Aires • Santiago • Lima • Cusco
East Asia: Tokyo • Kyoto • Seoul • Beijing • Shanghai • Hong Kong
Southeast Asia: Singapore • Yangon • Bangkok • Ho Chi Minh City • Jakarta

IMG_1846 copyOur class has been anxiously awaiting the reveal of the locations designated for the 2015 GIE. On September 29th, we received word that the tracks were set and the reveal was only one short month away. At 3pm today the class gathered in 120 Rouss & Robertson Hall ready to hear the track destinations and faculty leads. Once the eager chatter subsided, Professor Peter Maillet took the stage to set the context of GIE. After a short pause for dramatic effect, announced the tracks for 2015:

Europe: London • Berlin • Bratislava • Bucharest • Istanbul • Athens
Latin America: Panama City • Bogota • Lima • Sao Paolo • Rio de Janeiro
East Asia: Tokyo • Kyoto • Seoul • Beijing • Shanghai • Hong Kong
Southeast Asia: Singapore • Yangon • Bangkok • Ho Chi Minh City • Jakarta • Bali
Middle East & India: Istanbul • Mumbai • Delhi • Bangalore • Dubai • Abu Dhabi

We could not be more excited to take part in one of these amazing experiences May through June. We will each submit our track preferences by November 20, and find out December 4 our track and groups. Each track will provide an exciting hands-on learning experience. Now the countdown begins!

Written By: Ellie Reed