Meet your Spring 2017 bloggers!

The spring term is off to great start here in at McIntire. Student services has been providing a warm welcome back with treats in the grad lounge and a huge Lunar New Year celebration this week. The weather has been really beautiful for January, and us M.S. in Commerce students are now focusing on our track-specific coursework, so we’re each starting to become a bit more of an expert in Finance, Business Analytics, or Marketing & Management. We’re also starting to book our international flights for this year’s Global Immersion Experience (GIE), to everywhere from Sweden to China!

We have new groups, new projects, new professors, and most importantly, new bloggers! We’ll be picking up where Zain, Caylyn, and Alex left off, bringing you new stories and accounts of all our M.S. in Commerce spring adventures. Here’s a little bit about us:

Mariah HuffmanMariah

Greetings, dear reader! My name is Mariah and I’m very excited to introduce myself as one of your Spring 2017 bloggers. I looked to this blog often for information and guidance as I was making my decision to enroll in the program, so I’m hoping to provide just as much insight to you for the upcoming year. Let’s get down to business!

I’m from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I went to UVA undergrad. For me, the decision to apply to the M.S. in Commerce program came easily once I realized the jobs that I would get with just my bachelor’s degree versus the opportunities I could have with the addition of a business master’s. I was a Biology major and I held a number of different jobs at UVA throughout my undergrad years, and in both of those arenas I found I enjoyed myself the most when I was solving complex and often people-oriented problems. In the third year of my bachelor’s program, I realized (just a liiittle too late) that I really preferred studying computer science and psychology, and I couldn’t see myself spending the next six to eight years sitting quietly behind a lab bench earning a Ph.D. in Biology.

I’d honestly never given a career in anything with “business” in the title a second thought until then, but I had a few older friends who’d studied at McIntire and when I heard about the projects they were working on and the exciting kinds of jobs they were headed for, I decided that the M.S. in Commerce could actually be a good fit for my love of creative problem solving, my interest in information technology, and the leadership skills I had picked up from working and volunteering in student organizations. I was also drawn to the Global Immersion Experience aspect of the program, since the farthest I’ve ever traveled from Virginia so far is St. Louis, MO. So, I decided to pursue a 3+1 program, finish my Biology degree in just three years, and earn an M.S. in Commerce with a concentration in Business Analytics. I’m enormously excited for the new learning opportunities McIntire will bring me this year both inside and outside the classroom, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Christin Wade-Vuturo Christin

Hey, what’s up? My name is Christin and I will be posting this semester along with Spencer and Mariah about all the wonderful things going on in the M.S. in Commce program. I am from Potomac, Maryland and I love dogs. I went to high school at Holton-Arms in Bethesda, Maryland, which is an all-girls private school, where I played field hockey, ice hockey, rowed crew, and sang in chorus and swing choir. While at Holton, I also developed a love of art and started exploring creating in drawing and painting.

When I got to college at The University of Georgia, I decided that I wanted to keep studying art and was actually an art major for a few semesters. After taking some more intro classes, I discovered a love of public relations because I like writing and talking to people, so I decided to switch paths. I still kept my love of art alive by keeping it as a minor so I could learn about printmaking, painting, digital media, design for industry and video, to name a few.

Towards the end of my undergraduate time I found that I had developed a deep interest in marketing and advertising as I had to take a lot of these into classes for my public relations major. I found that marketing and advertising allowed me to use the communication skills that I am so interested in and combine that with the visual and graphic side that art offers. I started thinking about ways to transition into marketing and advertising. I researched post-grad programs that would provide me with the opportunity to learn these skills, and that’s how I found the wonderful M.S. in Commerce program.
I am in the Marketing and Management track, and so far my experience in the program has been amazing. I’ve learned a whole new side of the business world that puts in perspective how useful the skill set that I learned in undergrad can be in my career. I’ve continued making art in my spare time and I frequently go to lectures on the UVA campus given by visiting artists. There is so much to learn here at UVA, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. From the project management, finance, and accounting classes that we took in the fall (I never thought that I would be so interested in math!) to the consumer behavior and brand management classes that we are taking this spring, McIntire has offered a whole new perspective on the business world, one that I am very excited to translate into my career in the marketing and advertising world!

Spencer KulowSpencer

Hey everyone! I’m Spencer, another blogger that you will be hearing from this spring. I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, am an avid hockey lover, and speak four languages! I am also a double-hoo like Mariah, meaning I attended undergrad at UVA before becoming a grad student here too. Finally, I’m in the marketing and management track, and I’m interested doing marketing with start-ups once I graduate.

I grew up being interested in the music business. I thought for the longest time that I would be a producer or work at a record label, as long as it meant being around music. As I progressed through undergrad, however, I began to realize that while I loved learning about the history of music and how it evolved, I didn’t want to pursue it beyond undergrad. I majored in American Studies with a History minor, and I basically used that to study how music and culture evolved throughout the 20th century. I’m still thoroughly interested in music and culture, but by my third year I decided to transition to something more tangible and useful — hence the M.S. in Commerce program. This program allowed me to study what I loved as an undergrad, while still getting a master’s in an area I’m deeply interested in as well.

I grew up around business; both my mom and dad were entrepreneurs and started their own companies (my dad’s work was the reason we lived in Canada). I knew my whole life that I wanted to do something business-related, but until college I didn’t fully know what that meant. I started to look at marketing due to its similarities to music; at their best, both music and marketing inspire emotion in the consumer. Successful songs as well as campaigns make people feel a certain way — I hope to use what I learn in marketing to help people learn their rational self interest and to teach them to act on it. That way, I feel I can make a broader positive impact on the world and those around me, and McIntire is an important step for me on my way there!

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