Student Spotlight: Eva Pan

Eva on a road trip along California Highway 1 near Big Sur during Thanksgiving break
Eva on a road trip along California Highway 1 near Big Sur during Thanksgiving break

Name: Eva Pan
Concentration: Finance
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine
Undergraduate Major: Business Economics
Hometown: Shanghai, China

What brought you to the M.S. in Commerce Program at U.Va.?
I graduated with a business economics degree and decided to continue exploring a career in business by specializing in finance. I believe that having a deeper understanding of finance will help me succeed in the marketplace in the long run. This mindset brought me to the M.S. in Commerce Program, where the Integrated Core Experience provides an enterprise-wide view of business. This program really stands out from others because of its integrated projects, case studies, and Global Immersion Experience (GIE)! Because I have an international background, I am very passionate about studying the global context of business and taking the opportunity to visit another region of the world, both for business and personal reasons.

How would you compare the M.S. in Commerce Program to your undergraduate studies?
This one-year master’s program is definitely more intense than my undergraduate studies. I have learned so much more here in terms of business knowledge, analytical skills, and interpersonal skills. Also, as you can imagine, the weather in California is so different from the weather in Charlottesville. I enjoyed the sunshine on the beach in California, but I also like the fall at U.Va.

What’s been your favorite part of the M.S. in Commerce Program so far?
We have intense coursework in this program, which puts me under some pressure, but also motivates me to succeed! The best part of the program so far is that we were able to work on a group project for a company and provide recommendations for its current business problems. During a six-week period, we had the opportunity to work in groups and conduct market and industry research, prepare a client report, and present to executives of the company. The experience involved many skills that are important in the workplace. In my group, we were all excited about the project and committed to having a high-quality finished product. In the end, all of our hard work paid off.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from McIntire?
I am interested in possibly becoming a Financial Analyst. This position usually has a steep learning curve, which motivates me to continue to enhance my skill set. Because I previously interned at Citibank in Shanghai, I think working as a Credit Analyst or Risk Management Consultant could also be interesting and challenging. Right now, I am not positive what I want to do after graduation, so I will be open-minded about every opportunity that comes along.

How has where you are from helped shape your future goals and aspirations?
Even though I am from Shanghai, the financial center of China, I realized when I was young that the economic disparity between the rich and poor is huge. I know that education can be very powerful because it can change one’s life, but unfortunately, kids in rural areas of China often have limited access to education. This has taught me that more people need to give back to society in order to build a more accessible educational system. Even though I came to the United States to pursue my academic and career goals, I have the goal to give back to my community in the future.

What are your hobbies?
I like working out! I spend a lot of time jogging and doing yoga. Maintaining regular exercise is very important for me because it makes me happy and gives me confidence. I think it makes the body and mind stronger.

What is your favorite song?
I listen to all kinds of music, in Chinese and English, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite one. Right now, it has to be “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. I love the emotional and inspiring lyrics.

Written By: Ellie Reed

Marketing & Quantitative Analysis Brand Extension Project

IMG_4059During fall semester of the M.S. in Commerce Program we worked on a large brand extension project in our Marketing & Quantitative Analysis class with Professor Netemeyer. As a part of this project, we brainstormed in our project groups about brand extension ideas for companies. The goal was to come up with an idea and use surveys to analyze test runs in SPSS to make a decision about whether or not the brand extension would be a good business move for the company.Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.17.24 PM

The project included idea generation, survey creation and implementation, data collection, and running SPSS tests on our survey results which helped us form statistical and marketing recommendations for our report and presentation. The primary analysis and report writing took place during the 10 days before our final exams. The project was work intensive and fast paced, but it really helped dive into the quantitative analysis portion of the class that we had been learning throughout the duration of the course. At the culmination of the project, we watched our classmates present their ideas and work.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.16.57 PMIt was interesting to see the different approaches groups took and what ideas ended up being feasible. Ideas included J.Crew creating Yoga Wear, Chipotle creating their own branded hot sauce, Netflix moving into video game streaming, and Altoids creating toothpaste… to name a few! The project was one of the most time consuming and challenging projects of the semester, but it was worthwhile because we all learned so much and got to see our classmates’ hard work!

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.17.42 PMWritten by: Ellie Reed

Student Spotlight: Denisse Cortan


Name: Denisse Cortan

Hometown: San Diego, California

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Berkeley

Undergraduate Major: Political Economy

Track: Marketing & Management

How did you choose your undergraduate major?

Political economy is Berkeley’s name for international relations. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study when I came to Berkeley, so I started taking a wide spectrum of courses. When I thought about the courses I had most enjoyed, I realized that they spanned the disciplines of economics, history, and political science. I chose political economy because it’s a great combination of all my interests.

Where did you work the summer before starting the M.S. in Commerce Program?

I accepted an internship with the Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center in San Diego. The Export Assistance Center helps companies export their goods abroad, navigate through trade laws, and conducts market research. I really enjoyed learning about different industries. I was constantly learning about changes in trade regulation. I’m sure the office is really exciting right now with the news about Cuba.

Could you describe some of your projects at the Export Assistance Center?

I shadowed trade specialists (industry experts) at client meetings. One of our clients manufactured a Doppler device for icebergs in the artic. They sold their product to research institutions such as universities to track ocean currents. San Diego is a marine tech hub, so we saw a lot of clients working in this field.

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

This may sound cliché, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is confidence. In a business setting, you can’t be meek and expect your ideas to be heard. I’ve given a lot of presentations this semester, which has helped me immensely.

Was it hard to transition from the West Coast to the East Coast?

It’s definitely difficult. The stereotypes are true—San Diego is very laid back. However, my undergraduate experience at Berkeley prepared me for the M.S. in Commerce Program. In California, we call this type of learning environment a “pressure cooker.” I used to think it was just a Berkeley bubble, but since moving to the East Coast, I’ve realized that this working and studying culture is much more widespread.

What are your long-term career goals?

My dream is to someday be a trade specialist. At the end of my internship, one of the trade specialists left to spear head an office in West Africa. I wasn’t qualified enough to take her position, which is a big part of why I decided to come to this program. In the short-term, I’m interested in working in the public sector. If you want to work in a government job, an advanced degree can help push your resume to the top of the pile and get you an interview. Ultimately, your ability to speak confidently about yourself, your experiences, and communicate effectively will help you land the job.

Do you have any hobbies?

Pop culture! There’s speculation that Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth may be dating.

Written By: Kaylee Lucas

Drew (left) and Bill (right) in their Richmond half marathon shirts

Finals on the Run

M.S. in Commerce students Drew and Bill ran the Richmond Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile race. Both are experienced runners and endurance sport enthusiasts.

Drew has run a half marathon before while Bill participated in a Tough Mudder in West Virginia earlier this fall and ran a full marathon last spring.

Where is your favorite place to run in Charlottesville?

Drew: I really like running around the Downtown Mall and then circling back through the historic area. I’m a history nerd, so running in a small town like Charlottesville that has the university and Monticello all so close makes for great running routes.

Bill: I normally start at my apartment on Wertland Street and loop around the Downtown Mall as well. If I go on a long run, there’s an awesome trail in Crozet along Dick Woods Road. It’s a very hilly gravel trail, which is perfect for training.

How did racing feel? 

Drew: I started in the front of the fastest heat and tried to keep up. By the time I got to mile 7, I was gassed. I finished without having to stop and walk, and I met my goal of breaking 1:40, which is about 7:38 minutes per mile.

Bill: My main goal was to have fun. It was enjoyable to run in a new area. I had only raced in Charlottesville before. In Richmond, races are huge, festive events with spectators everywhere. There are even bands playing alongside the course.

Do you have time to train?

Drew: I was ambitious and started training for the full marathon at the beginning of the semester. After a few weeks, I realized I wanted to prioritize my coursework and the job search over running, but I was confident enough with my training to run the half.

Bill: Yes! Although I didn’t follow any specific training plan due to the schedule of the program, I was in good shape. Plus, Richmond is really flat compared Charlottesville.

Do you have any more races on the horizon?

Drew: I hope to run a marathon in the spring.

Bill: There are so many upcoming races in Charlottesville; it’s hard to choose. These are some of the most popular races in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Marathon & Half Marathon

Charlottesville Ten Miler

Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler

Charlottesville Men’s Four Miler

Wounded Warrior 5K 

By Kaylee Lucas

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

Concentration: Financial Services

Undergraduate Institution: Harvard University

Undergraduate Major: Government

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

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