MSC First Day 1

Orientation begins for M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015

Orientation kicked off today for the M.S. in Commerce Class of 2015.  Orientation will be Wednesday through Saturday and includes presentations on Program expectations, graduate student resources, the Global Immersion Experience (GIE), Commerce Career Services, and financial services and consulting preparation.

Program Director Ira Harris welcomes the class of 110 students
Program Director Ira Harris welcomes the class of 110 students

It’s Been Quite a Ride: Farewell and Advice from McKenzie

It’s sad to say, but this is my last blog post. Even as I sit in a cafe in Cambodia, I still feel like it was yesterday when I walked into the McIntire School for the first time. I remember walking into orientation meeting peers who would become my future friends and travel companions. When I think back on my year at the University of Virginia, I cannot help but think of my amazing classmates. Yes, I’ve learned so much from my academic experiences throughout the year; but the people make the M.S. in Commerce Program so special.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
With my classmates at Angkor Wat, a temple in Cambodia.

It was a truly enriching experience to learn from students from all over the world. The international students brought a great perspective on different cultures and business practices. American students who studied at similar liberal arts colleges also brought a wealth of knowledge to my class discussions.

It’s funny to think I have only known my classmates for less than a year, but I know I will stay in touch with them for years to come. I’m excited to see where everyone ends up and how their careers take off. I hope to be a part of their adventures in the future.

For the future students, I have three pieces of advice for you this upcoming year.

1)       Get ready to jump in. From day one, be prepared to immerse yourself. Be open to meeting new people especially during orientation. You never know who you are going to end up in a group with or traveling with for GIE. And don’t forget about the faculty and staff!

2)       Prepare to be busy. The Program is truly time-consuming. Group work is unlike the individual work during undergrad. Don’t be afraid to take leadership roles.

3)       Explore Charlottesville. Make the most of your weekends. Go to Football games, take a weekend hike, go out in the downtown mall — Charlottesville has a lot to offer.

Charlottesville 2
Apple picking outside of Charlottesville in the fall.

Since I’m fresh off of GIE from Southeast Asia, I’ll give you three pieces of advice for GIE.

1)       Take risks. Step outside of your comfort zone. Seriously, GIE is the time to do it. Try new things, explore new places, and try different foods. You won’t regret it.

Talking with local children in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Talking with local children in Jakarta, Indonesia.

2)       Be open-minded. You will definitely experience norms that are different from American customs; so be patient and learn why other cultures do things differently.

3)       Backpack around before or after GIE. I’m so glad to be traveling for 3 weeks after GIE; it allows me to see what I want to see and be on my own time table while immersing myself into other cultures.

A group of us met in Bali after GIE.
A group of us from the East Asia and Southeast Asia GIE tracks met in Bali after GIE.

Well that’s all, folks. Good luck to you all and best of luck!

Written by McKenzie Roese

Welcoming Summer Interns!

In partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce, the University of Virginia Financial Area had five new members start this week. Please join us in welcoming these summer additions.


Yafei Zhang graduated from Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business in May prior to moving to Charlottesville to work with Lynne Schwar. She will matriculate into McIntire’s Accounting program this fall.

Managerial Reporting
Lubna Al-Nsour graduated from UVa in 2013 and spent the following year with Amtrak in Washington, D.C. She is working with Judy and new hire Andrew Yeung on Data Stewardship prior matriculating into the Financial Services program at McIntire in the fall.

Annie Helbling just moved to Charlottesville after graduating from Duke University in May and is working with Jessica Rafter in the Project Management Office. She will matriculate at McIntire in Marketing and Management this fall.

Brandan Hummell is a recent UVa graduate and will matriculate to the McIntire School of Commerce Marketing and Management program in the fall. He is working with Mark Anderson and new hire Tom Kim on Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management and Cost of Education (HPCM/COE).

Joseph Ripple is new to the area after graduating from Marquette University. He is working with Julie Richardson this summer before matriculating into McIntire’s Financial Services track in the fall.

This blog post was reprinted in its entirety from the AVP for Finance News Blog. To view the original click here.

Johnny Vroom’s Final Farewell

It is hard to believe that the 2014 M.S. in Commerce Program has finally come to an end. We recently wrapped up our Global Immersion Experiences (GIE) last week and are traveling independently around the globe or gearing up for the working world. Ten quick months after I walked into a McIntire classroom as a student for the first time I emerge a different person.

McKenzie, Annie, and I on the last day of classes.
McKenzie, Annie, and I on the last day of classes before we depart for GIE.

McIntire introduced me to the complex world of global business, and for that I am very thankful. It is amazing to think that back in August I was learning about basic competitive advantage strategy in Strategy and Systems while just a few weeks ago I was furiously typing on my calculator in my Capital Markets final trying to solve binomial pricing models. The course of study was logical and fast paced, and it seemed to reinforce itself at every step in the process. Not only did I learn about the fundamental tenants of commerce and finance, I also picked up interpersonal skills that were equally (if not more) valuable. The networking and group work that the M.S. in Commerce provides pays off in the end.

I had great experiences inside of the classroom, but it is the time spent with classmates that I will remember most fondly. I am still surprised at how many new connections I formed over the past year and how close I became with many of my classmates. It was a wonderful feeling to get out of class, go to the Grad Lounge, and immediately strike up a conversation with a close friend over the free coffee (something I will miss dearly). I was constantly impressed with my classmates and their diverse backgrounds and it was helpful to have a support group of over 100 students as I progressed through difficult course work.

Johnny 2
McKenzie and I on the Southeast Asia GIE.

If you have been reading this blog over the past year: thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. I am blessed to have been able to spend another year in Charlottesville — a city that I love dearly.  This summer I will start my position as a Market Research Analyst at Boston Biomedical Consultants in Boston.  And with that, I sign off. Congratulations Class of 2015. Get ready for a great ride! Go Hoos!

Written by Johnny Vroom


Latin America GIE: Panama, Argentina, Chile, and Peru

When people think about Latin America, they often assume the countries are not very different from each other.  Most of the countries speak Spanish and appear to be on their way to becoming developed nations. However, just like in Europe, there are huge differences between the countries in Latin America.

When the Latin America GIE Track visited P&G in Panama, marketing executives explained that the perception of beauty is different to women across Latin American countries. P&G needs a variety of marketing strategies throughout the continent.

After 9-months in the M.S. in Commerce Program, the most relevant observations that standout to me for the four countries we visited are the following:

  • Panama City is trying to become the next Singapore. The Colón Free Trade Zone is the second biggest free trade zone in the world. This hub of the Americas is focusing on being the best at transporting products and people from point A to point B.
  • People in Argentina think completely in the short-term because their currency is continually devalued. This has huge implications for businesses.
  • Chile is a nation in flux; the government is encouraging entrepreneurialism to boost growth to its risk-averse citizens.
  • Peru (although we just got here) seems to have amazing economic growth, but it also struggles with a culture of social exclusion.




Written by Annie Marshall

McKenzie checks in from Southeast Asia GIE

Southeast Asia has provided such a rich diversity of experiences.  We started in Singapore, one of the most impressive business hubs in the world. We then anchored down in Yangon, an impoverished yet promising city. We are currently exploring Ho Chi Minh, a vibrant metropolis in a rapidly developing country. The disparity of wealth can be overwhelming. We have witnessed everything from extravagant mansions to garbage-filled streets. The exposure to emerging markets brings a wealth of experiences that will stay with me forever.

The company visits have really made an impact on me as well. It’s fascinating to see how companies — from start-ups to multinational corporations — function within the country’s context. On the aggregate, Southeast Asia has proved to be a rapidly growing market that excites many companies. At P&G, C-level executives showed us the power of data analytics in their board room. We learned the importance of corporate social responsibility at KKR. We observed how Rolls-Royce creates a fan blade in their production facility in Singapore. We saw the cost-reducing effects of automation for Vinamilk, a Vietnamese dairy company.

 I have really been enjoying myself and spending a lot of quality time with everyone on the Track. Did I mention the food is amazing? I really cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings.

The group takes a company tour of Vitamilk.
The group takes a company tour of Vitamilk.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India, Singapore
Visit to the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India, Singapore
McKenzie and Python in Mekong Delta, Vietnam
McKenzie and Python in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Written by McKenzie Roese


GIE East Asia Track: Japan and Korea

GIE East Asia began their journey in Japan and then flew to Korea. Guest blog writer and photographer Ian R. writes: “Japan is an awe-inspiring harmony of past and present. There’s a unique beauty to the surviving temples and shrines surrounded by the modern and towering skyscrapers of Tokyo and Kyoto. Visits to the international advertising company Wieden+Kennedy and global retailer Kate Spade provided examples of company success when leveraging technology while embracing Japan’s traditions and culture. It takes creativity to stand out in such a dynamic, complex market, but the businesses with which we connected have taken this to heart to craft stories that set them apart.”

kate spade japan president and cooStudents meet with Kate Spade Japan President and COO
Best $3 meal ever
The best $3 meal… ever!
hegeler at Kamakura City
A side trip to Kamakura City, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo
Goodbye Japan, hello Korea! Boarding a flight to Seoul
Samsung welcomes the McIntire School of Commerce,
University of Virginia
A trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which serves as a buffer
between North and South Korea


LATAM GIE – Exploring Panama City

The first stop on the Latin America GIE track was Panama City, and students took every opportunity to explore its commerce, culture, and connections.2014-05-29 22.26.09A site visit to the Panama Canal Expansion Project2014-05-23 15.35.14
Students after a bike ride around Casco Viejo (“Old Quarter”)
2014-05-29 12.01.44
A company visit to J. Cain & Co. to  learn about their logistical operations
2014-05-30 16.50.02
Marjorie looks out at the Pacific during a trip to stunning Isla Contadora
Students hit the rails with the Panama Canal Railway Company
GIE trips always include at least one University of Virginia alumni reception
Ari, a former U.Va. varsity soccer player, meets new friends on the streets of Panama and confirms fútbol truly is the universal language of sport