The second semester of the M.S. in Commerce program has been a whirlwind of new topics, projects, professors, and groups. All of us in the Business Analytics track recently had our last Friday of classes ever, and so as of now, this is what a typical week looks like for us.
We just swapped out Big Data and Advanced Quantitative Analysis on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Customer Analytics and Cloud Computing, and the transition has been a rapid one! We went from writing code in SQL and spinning up Hadoop clusters in Microsoft Azure to wrangling Amazon reviews in R pretty much overnight.
Our current schedule has us working on three projects with our groups simultaneously: SEO and AdWords for a few different local businesses; self-directed projects on applications of cloud computing; and social media analytics of Under Armour’s customer base. Being adaptive and resilient are critical traits in the business world, and this program has certainly primed us for success in that arena. In addition, Foundations of Global Commerce has actually already wrapped up, so we’ll be going into our GIE Residency in just a couple weeks, well-prepared for the ins and outs of international economies.
On the schedule above, I’ve included a couple of my extracurricular GCOM commitments, like the GCOM Council meetings and some of the IM sports teams that we’ve organized this year. You’ll notice that we’ve got quite a bit of downtime in the afternoons now, too. Often this free time is filled with group meetings, studying, work, and job interviews, but sometimes it’s just a great chance to relax in the grad lounge or catch up on some housekeeping. I know some groups like to go out to the Corner and have meetings over lunch, and others like to hunker down together in the lab to knock out group assignments. Once you’re here, you’ll quickly learn to master your free time for an optimal balance of work and play.
Just the other week, I used my Monday afternoon to hop on a train for a job interview up in DC. Throughout my job search, I’ve been realizing how beneficial the intense pace of this program has been. A year ago, if I’d been asked to talk about what I was working on in school, I mostly would have described sitting quietly in my room pouring over academic papers and staying up into the wee hours of the morning writing essays. Now, I can talk about all my different teams and projects we’ve completed with real data from actual, internationally renowned clients. In the past year I’ve worked on at least six or seven different teams while also completing some solo projects and keeping up with my studies. This has really upped my teamwork and time management abilities and made each new project more efficient and less stressful. I’m hoping this will carry over well into my working career.
Something pretty crazy is that between this semester and GIE, I’ll complete 21 credits, which means I’ve already got 19 under my belt! Like I said, this makes for an intensive pace, but the difference between McIntire and my undergrad experience is that the professors are coordinating with each other and with their students directly to try and make sure tests, projects, and presentations are fairly well-distributed across each week. Overall, this has allowed us to do our best work on each test and project individually while also imparting us with strong juggling skills when it comes to time management.
We’ve only got three weeks now until we’re done in Rouss Robertson Hall… forever! Which means really, I’ve only got two weeks of Business Analytics courses left, then an intensive GIE Residency week: “Doing Business in Europe.” Then the GIE Abroad portion will start shortly after that, so I guess I’ve got some packing to do! I can’t believe it’s gone by so quickly, but I also can’t wait to see where my experience here will take me. Stay tuned for exciting coverage of our Global Immersion Experience!
-Written by Mariah Huffman