GIE Europe: 2 Weeks Out, 20 Companies In!

We’re down to the final week of GIE. It’s been about two weeks since I took my first plane ride, but with everything that’s happened since then, it feels more like months. That first flight carried me from Baltimore all the way to Stockholm, and since then we’ve traveled to Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, Kamenický Šenov, and Bratislava. In just a few days, we’ll be off to Barcelona. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first experience abroad, but the lineup that Professor Harris and the global studies team at McIntire have arranged for us has been absolutely stellar. We’re getting to know an entire network of European business leaders while learning the ins and outs of their companies, their careers, and the important issues facing their regions of the continent. There’s no way I can recount all that’s happened so far, but I’ll report as best I can on the surprises and the inspiration we’ve found here.

GIE Residency: Here we go!

I walked into the well-lit McIntire auditorium room 120 while slowly sipping my coffee. I took a quick look around the room and noticed other slowly waking students chatting in low tones as Professor Harris and Professor Maillet waited for the chime of 8:30 am to begin. As I took in the atmosphere, I thought to myself “It’s almost impossible to believe that we started this program about 9 months ago.” I remember so well walking into the exact same room in much more formal attire sweating from the nerves of the unknown and the August heat for orientation. Now dressed in shorts and a t-shirt it was hard to believe that the same group of people sat in the same chairs in such a different situation than last August. Orientation week feels like eons ago as we are transformed from the nervous, wide-eyed, unsure students we were when we began to the assured, confident, emboldened Masters of Commerce students we are now. The year has been long, challenging, intense, but above all else, rewarding.

Discovering the short and long-term value of the M.S. in Commerce

Lindsay Purcell, M.S. in Commerce 2017
Lindsay Purcell, M.S. in Commerce 2017

During the fall of my senior year, I had a major decision to make. I had been accepted to several different graduate programs, ranging from economics, to math, to other master’s in management programs. I even considered staying at my alma mater, Georgia Tech, and getting a second undergraduate degree in engineering. While I knew that I wanted a more focused degree beyond my B.S. in Economics, I was not quite sure where I wanted to begin my career. During undergrad, I had played with the idea of getting a PhD, but after speaking with professors and doing several semesters of serious research, I decided I wanted to go into industry first before committing to a life of academia.

Spring 2017 in the Finance Track

At the beginning of the program in the fall, all M.S. in Commerce students, regardless of what track they were in, had the same schedule. The program was split into section one and section two with one starting in the morning and two starting in the afternoon. With the exception of one track-specific class at the end of the semester, everyone took the same courses with the same professors, on the same days.

Spring 2017 in the Marketing & Management Track

When classes started in the fall, all students in the M.S. in Commerce program, regardless of track, generally had the same schedule. The program was split into section one and section two with one starting in the morning and two starting in the afternoon. With the exception of one track specific class at the end of the semester, everyone took the same courses with the same professors on the same days, with the only variation in start time. This spring, things are very different, because all three tracks are currently taking industry specific classes to their specialties.

Using Business to Apply Your Undergraduate Knowledge

I majored in American Studies as an undergraduate. Through this major, I analyzed American culture, and tried to figure out where it came from and how it evolved. I focused on the evolution of music in the 20th century. I wanted to understand the socio-political and economic factors that influenced music, and how music influenced those factors in return. While interesting, this path from American Studies to graduate business student is not immediately obvious.

Visiting Startups in NYC with Commerce Career Services

McIntire’s Commerce Career Services (CCS) creates opportunities for its students to learn about the business world in a variety of exciting ways. There are lots of guest lectures, panels, colloquiums, and in class speakers every month, but one of the most interesting ways that McIntire helps students to connect with businesses is through trips to cities that companies actually operate in day to day.