When I decided to attend the M.S. in Commerce, I heard that Blue Devils were not exactly welcome in Charlottesville. I came down here with a slight sense of apprehension as I packed my Blue Devil apparel a little further down in my bags and waited a few days to bring it out. While UVA may not be the first school I root for in basketball (all right, it has become the SECOND), there are many other things about this place that has made my year amazing so far.
Let’s back up for a second here and revisit Duke University in April of 2016. Senior-year me was sitting in his apartment, not quite sure where his next steps would lead him. I remember deciding to open up my email one day and see that UVA was promoting their M.S. in Commerce program. UVA? The only school in the ACC that seemed to always have our number? Why not, I thought, and after meeting with Graduate Admissions in the basement of Duke’s Bryan Center, I was quickly sold on the opportunity.
Fast-forward ten months later, and I can say I made one of the best decisions of my life. UVA feels a lot like home, and I’d like to stress three aspects of my life here that have made the time worthwhile.
Obviously, a common thing for a UVA student to say, right, but I feel like I need to put it up there. While having a street like Main St. might not be foreign to many who went to bigger schools for undergrad, for me it was a big change. Durham isn’t much of a college town, so having a “Corner” has been a really cool change of pace for me. Whether it’s a weekend night or a weekday bite, it gives great character to UVa.
McIntire’s Career Focus
At any school, especially those of McIntire’s caliber, you will find challenging courses, accomplished professors, and interesting subjects. However, what has set McIntire apart for me is its career focus. While our professors realize that classroom learning is a primary objective for us, they also realize that getting top-notch jobs is as well. The soft skills that we have both implicitly and explicitly developed will end up being just as important as the hard ones.
Well, now is the time when the clichés really are flowing…THE PEOPLE. Well, I have to tell you that McIntire does indeed attract a certain kind of person that is both extremely smart yet down to earth and willing to go out and have a good time. Very rarely do I feel a competitive environment at McIntire even though in all honesty we are all competing for the same set of jobs. I have loved getting to know the people in the program and whether it’s dancing on the tables at The Virginian or just playing some FIFA at the Flats, we always have a good time.
Overall, I must say that despite everyone telling me that grad school was “no fun, all work” and was “nothing compared to undergrad,” I have found my year to be somehow all fun and all work. It’s certainly not easy here in the M.S. in Commerce program, but we all manage to have a good time. And while I may not root for the Hoos when they play my beloved Blue Devils, I got them against anyone else.
-Written by Nick Sam, M.S. in Commerce 2017