I am a proud alum of the University of Pittsburgh. My classmates know this, and for their benefit and sanity I will not make this blog post purely about my love for that University.
Two years ago, I never envisioned myself spending a year in Charlottesville to complete an M.S. in Commerce at the University of Virginia. At the time, grad school was the last thing on my mind. Yet I couldn’t be more pleased with the path that has led me here nor more excited about the future. In this post, I’ll share my story on what led me to this unexpected transitional yet transformative year at McIntire and discuss some insights from my first semester in the program.
Born and raised in Virginia, I never felt the need to venture elsewhere to get a college degree. I had a lot “Tribe Pride” attending the College of William and Mary, the Commonwealth’s oldest institution in higher education (second in the nation). But after graduating, I decided it wise to take the “long” 100 mile journey up I-64 to attend Virginia’s other prestigious institution. Naturally, being a lover of Virginia, I felt it my duty to somehow attend both schools. It’s a long running debate on which school is the best in the state…but I will not get into that now.
At the beginning of my sophomore year at Hampden-Sydney, I was informed that I would be able to graduate in three years. As an economics major with the desire to start a career in finance, I began searching for a one-year program that would complement my primarily theoretical undergraduate degree while adding some hard business skills. As a native Virginian and a frequent Charlottesville visitor, it was not long before I heard about McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce (MSC). The program is specifically designed for liberal arts, science and engineering students to take an additional year to build a foundation in business and sharpen their skills in either finance, marketing and management, or business analytics—a perfect fit for any Hampden-Sydney student looking to enter into the business world.
When I started touring colleges in high school the University of Texas and the University of Virginia were high on my list. I loved how both schools were known for their academics and school spirit. I ultimately went to UT to pursue a specific Arabic language program, and I fell in love with the city of Austin.
When I first began my college search, I was looking for a school that would challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone, a school where I could pursue intensive studies while making lifelong friends, being physically active, and becoming more independent. I found all of these wonderful traits and more during my time spent at Clemson University. As soon as I walked around Clemson’s campus on my first official tour, I knew that it was a truly special place. Students, faculty, and alumni used the term “Clemson Family” passionately and the surrounding town radiated enthusiasm for the University at its center.
China. California. Virginia. North Carolina. Nevada. And Texas. These five states and one country were represented by my five teammates and I during my first semester in the M.S. in Commerce (MSC) program. Moreover, each of us had a different major (English, Economics, Government, Physics, Computer Science, and my major, Horticulture), which brought unique viewpoints together to solve the business problems assigned to us throughout the semester. This unique diversity found within the MSC program is just one of the aspects I have enjoyed most during my stay in Virginia. Moving from Texas A&M to the University of Virginia has been an enjoyable one. Discussed below are some of the similarities and differences between my experience at A&M and UVa.
I wanted to write a little bit about my experience going from a UVA undergraduate student to an M.S. in Commerce student. I’m a little different (but not unique, there are a bunch of us in my class), in that I graduated UVA in three years. The 3+1 approach is definitely appealing — I get to stay at UVA for a full four years, but I get two degrees in the time it would take me to get just a bachelor’s (more on being a 3+1 student in a future blog!).
I’m not in Kansas anymore. I’ve never been to Kansas, but that’s irrelevant.
Since it’s the season for giving thanks I thought I’d reminisce and share the things that I’ve been thankful for throughout my undergraduate and now grad school education. I was lucky enough to be able to attend not only one, but two great schools: Lehigh University and now the University of Virginia. So here goes….