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McIntire’s B.S. in Commerce Is #3!

Christian West, Assistant Director for McIntire Undergraduate Admission

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a big rankings guy. For as long as I’ve been an admissions professional, I’ve actively discouraged students from allowing rankings to influence their decision about academic fit. However, rankings do have a purpose in the world of admission and are one (emphasis added) factor of many that students can consider in choosing to apply to a school or program.

McIntire is very excited to announce that Poets&Quants for Undergrad has ranked the B.S. in Commerce #3 among U.S. undergraduate business programs for 2017. In addition, McIntire takes the #1 spot for alumni survey results, which asked recent graduates about the perceived quality and value of their academic experience. You can read more about Poets&Quants’ profile of McIntire here.

Despite what the rankings say, McIntire will always be #1 in my book!


– C

Christian P.L. West in the Assistant Director for McIntire’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. He’s a Double Hoo and current doctoral student in the Curry School of Education. During walk-in advising, ask Christian about his obsession with LaCroix, why he has the best candy bowl in all of Rouss & Robertson Halls, or his several trips to Brazil.

Student Perspective: Winter’s Best Wishes

Johnny Membreno, third-year student & McIntire Ambassador

I know many of you are probably thinking to yourselves, as you head out to winter break, “How am I supposed to get a ‘break’ this winter if I have to worry so much about the Comm School application?” No need to worry; your hero is here.

I’ve got three words that I want you all to keep in your minds throughout most of the break: relax, eat, and sleep. With their help, you will be more than prepared when it comes time to sit down and work on your application.

There is simply no need to stress out about writing it. It’s two simple essays (maybe three if you choose to take advantage of the optional essay) on topics you have probably written about in the past. You’ve done this before! You’ve got this! The more you stress out about it, the harder it is going to get.

After you realize that you’ve gotten sufficient relaxation, food, and sleep, that is when you can sit down and take a look at the application. Keep in mind, however, this shouldn’t be an application that you aim to compete in one sitting. You should spend multiple days working on it. By this, I don’t mean you spend three full days, nonstop, of working on it. I mean, you sit down Monday morning after you wake up at 2 p.m. and just simply start typing. Get your thoughts into the application and worry about editing the next day. After an hour or two tops of brainstorming and writing down what’s on your mind, put it away. Let your mind clear out any stress, and continue your relaxing day as usual.

Then come back to it a day or two later, and review what you wrote in the prior sitting. Is there anything you don’t think you like? Is there anything new on your mind you want to write about? These are the questions you should ask yourself before continuing to work on your application an hour or two once again.

You can repeat this process three or four times, until you think you’ve finally written something worth submitting. Keep in mind, however, you should have someone else take a look at it too. You won’t always catch errors when looking at the same application for several days at a time, so it’s good to have multiple sets of eyes edit it.

Once you’ve allowed some friends and family to provide feedback and edits, you’re ready for the spring semester! Don’t forget to utilize current Commerce students as a resource too. They know it better than anyone, and they will have some insightful feedback that you might not have heard before.

Most of all, good luck and have a safe and fun winter break!

-Johnny Membreno, McIntire Ambassador

Johnny is a third-year Commerce student studying Marketing and Information Technology. At McIntire, he’s Vice President of the Latino Student Network and involved with the Business Ethics Society. Johnny is a self-described food fanatic and guitar aficionado.

Student Perspective: #HumansOfMcIntire- Different Stories Behind the Suit

Allie Hall, fourth-year student & McIntire Ambassador

We have all seen them around Grounds: the students in suits entering Rouss & Robertson Halls. However, while their business attire may seem like a homogeneous blur, it is important to note that each of these suited students is unique. There are many paths to the doors of McIntire and getting a valuable business education experience. To highlight this, below are three students one may find in the halls of Rouss & Robertson, each with their own path and program in McIntire.

First, meet Reilly Sheehy, a fourth-year enrolled in the B.S. in Commerce Program who is also majoring in Spanish. Reilly serves as a testament to the fact that McIntire students are able to get a wonderful foundation in business while also pursuing academic interests in other schools. Below, Reilly describes his experience of how double majoring outside of McIntire is not only possible, but has also added to his education:

“At first I thought I was facing an either/or option with majoring in Commerce or Spanish. I had heard that I would not have the time to complete all of my requirements. However, my advisers informed me that a majority of Commerce coursework was last year, so now in fourth year I have time to concentrate on Spanish. McIntire advisers are exceptionally good at helping you accomplish all of your academic goals. What I have found is that Commerce complemented my other major really well, because it contextualized my cultural background in a business light. Especially given the nature of McIntire’s global marketing and IT coursework, it was really interesting to incorporate my cultural perspective into analytics solutions.”

Beyond the undergraduate route, students interested in business also may pursue an M.S. in Commerce. Current graduate student Erin Caubo graduated from UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences last May and is now studying marketing and management in McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce Program, which is distinctive in that it places students in a classroom of peers with interesting and unique backgrounds. Of her experience, Erin commented:

“The M.S. in Commerce Program is strengthening my quantitative and qualitative business skills so that I can use my undergraduate degree in a commerce-related field. I value the opportunity to interact with students from a variety of backgrounds, each of whom brings a unique and meaningful perspective to the table.”

Another path to McIntire is to simply take a class in Commerce. Leigh Engel is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary major in the College while also taking McIntire’s Promotions class (fondly called “Promo”). This yearlong class centers on preparing for the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition. To prepare, Promo students are assigned a real client (this year’s client is Ocean Spray Cranberries) and work on crafting an original campaign to present at the national competition. This class is open to Commerce students as well as non-Commerce students like Leigh. Leigh describes what initially interested her in this path to McIntire, and how the class has added to her academic pursuit:

“Initially I was interested in the “Promotions” class because of the people. I heard it was a class full of passionate, smart, and creative individuals, and I wanted to be a part of that. However, I have found that I have not only learned from my peers but also developed tangible business skills that may enhance my education. For example, I have learned how to approach and answer broad questions like how to do a competitor analysis. While I have learned this new business perspective, I feel that I am also able to bring my own outside experiences and contribute in a valuable way with my classmates.”

McIntire is not a one-way street. With so many options to get a business education through the School, every student is able to find a path that fits with their interests and goals. To learn more about the programs above, as well as the other wonderful business programs at McIntire, be sure to explore the website or visit the McIntire admissions office in Rouss & Robertson.

– Allie Hall, McIntire Ambassador

Allie is a fourth-year Commerce student studying Marketing and Information Technology with a track in Global Commerce. Previously, Allie spent a semester abroad during her third year at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. Allie also serves McIntire as a member of Commerce Council and Women’s Business Forum. She’s a self-described foodie and is making her way through all of Charlottesville’s best restaurants.

Student Perspective: Tips for Completing the B.S. in Commerce Application

Tiffany Chong, fourth-year student and McIntire Ambassador

It’s that time of year again – the release of McIntire’s B.S. in Commerce application for current UVA students! Your peers may have been talking about this moment for a while, or you may have just heard about it. Regardless, it can be a very stressful time. You might be wondering a million things, asking yourself what you should put in your application to make yourself seem like the ideal candidate, or how you can set yourself a part from the crowd. Well, I’m here to offer you some advice that helped me keep a relatively level head throughout this process.

  1. Break it down.

This might be the planner in me coming out, but this advice still applies. Take the time upfront to plan a timeline and set benchmarks for yourself as to when you’ll complete each section. This will help you stay accountable and avoid the last-minute rush. Personally, I completed the first half of the application and then read the essay prompts to allot time for ideas to cultivate over winter break.

  1. Sleep on ideas.

While this may sound like an excuse to procrastinate, first brainstorming potential responses and personal experiences without a filter allows you to find the best fit for a response. Try writing your gut reaction to the essay prompts first, then brainstorm ideas, and then sit on these ideas. This helps you to take a step back and think of perspectives or responses you may not have initially come up with.

  1. Review, review, review!

Once you’re done with your application, seriously take the time to catch easy proofreading mistakes that you might have missed in the flurry of things. Be your harshest critic, and don’t be afraid of change. If a particular paragraph sounds better in the beginning or even left out altogether, be open to that. Ask one to three people you can trust to help read it over and offer constructive feedback…

  1. …But ultimately, preserve your voice.

This application is all about you, so make sure your voice shines through. Be cautious to not involve too many people, so that your voice isn’t lost. It’s similar to applying to college, when people would always say, “Show; don’t tell” and “Highlight your voice.” Use your application as a vehicle to tell your story. Once you shift focus from how to be unique to how you can best tell your story, you’ll naturally set yourself apart.

When it comes time for you to press that submit button, you’ll probably be feeling a range of emotions, from relief to worry. I know I was scared about pressing the button and then realizing that I didn’t completely answer the question (which, by the way, you should do). However, assuming that you followed my above advice, have comfort in knowing that you put your best foot forward in preparing and reviewing. I’m a huge believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and at the end of the day, it is an application process. If your application accurately reflects who you are as a person and as a student, the outcome will be the right one. So hit that submit button and celebrate!

– Tiffany Chong, McIntire Ambassador

Tiffany is a fourth-year student and a McIntire Ambassador with concentrations in Information Technology and Marketing in addition to a track in Business Analytics. Outside of McIntire, Tiffany is a member of the Virginia Sil’hooettes, one of UVA’s all-female a capella groups. During her third year, Tiffany studied abroad in Italy through McIntire and traveled to 24 cities, indulging in a lot of gelato!

Faculty Perspective: COMM 2010, All Online, All the Time!

Roger Martin, KPMG Professor in Professional Accounting; Associate Dean for Academic Innovation

You might have heard by now that COMM 2010, “Introduction to Financial Accounting,” will be offered only as an online course starting in the spring 2018 semester. I get LOTS of questions from everyone about this–prospective students, past students, colleagues, Dean Zeithaml (my boss), the Provost’s office (more of my bosses), and even the Board of Visitors (more bosses!). So I thought I’d post some of those questions and my answers so that you can learn what this course is all about.

Wait. McIntire is teaching an online class? Why? 

First and foremost, because this course is AT LEAST as effective in helping you learn financial accounting as the large lecture format we’ve used in the past. It’s also more efficient for YOU. You can study when you are at your best without being on the assigned schedule of attending class at an arbitrary (possibly inconvenient) time.

This delivery format also helps you develop an increasingly important skill–learning content online and driving that learning process yourself. Employers are moving their training and continuing education online; they expect employees to be comfortable and proficient in learning that way.

I came to UVA because of their great faculty. Why don’t I get to have a faculty member teach me accounting?

You do–I AM a real faculty member! I just manage the teaching differently in this format. You might define teaching as standing in front of a large lecture hall delivering an engaging, entertaining and/or informative lecture. I define teaching differently: My job is to help you learn, based on best learning practices. I happen to believe (and the science backs me up on this) that I can manage that learning process for you in many ways.

My colleagues and I have spent HUNDREDS of hours designing the course content and determining how to challenge you at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way, with exactly the right material to facilitate your learning. Students learn accounting by DOING accounting–and lots of it. You don’t learn accounting best by having someone TELL you how to do it. You have to practice. This online course excels at guiding you in that practice (and learning) process by providing feedback to you as you practice, and then giving you the chance to demonstrate your progress (to me and to yourself).

How does the course actually run?

You will use Blackboard to access the course website, which is integrated with the McGraw-Hill Connect platform, where you will work with your e-book, all problems, and exams. Additional instructor-created content is provided on Blackboard as well.

You will be provided a robust course orientation to learn about content, website functionality, educational resources, etc.

The basic format has you cover one chapter per week, including:

  • Viewing a short introductory video about the chapter content
  • Reading the chapter and answering diagnostic questions as you proceed (for a grade)
  • Working a set of practice problems (for a grade)
  • Working a set of homework problems (for a grade)
  • Using other supplemental material that includes problem solutions videos, textbook “hints” and current events

Each chapter’s graded work is due (weekly) Sunday.

There are two midterm exams and one final exam, taken online and proctored by an online proctoring service.

Teaching assistants and I hold office hours on various days throughout each week. Those office hours are both “face-to-face” in Robertson Hall and “virtual” using an online meeting technology.

What can a student do to be successful in this class? 

Two things. First, do the work I ask you to do. Read, practice, check answers, watch videos, read again, do more problems. No one thing in this process is more important than another–it’s the combination that is powerful, and you have to do it ALL to give yourself the best chance to learn.

Second, you have to be responsible for your learning. What this means (to me) is that no matter what I provide to you in terms of content and support, YOU have to hold yourself accountable for doing the work, assessing how well you are learning, and asking for help when you need it.

By the way–here’s a secret. Those two “tips for success” are exactly the same whether you are in my online class, my upper-level accounting class, or one of my graduate classes. YOU have to do the work, and YOU have to be able to assess how it’s going. My job is to make sure the time, effort, and stomach acid you spend on the course are as productive as possible–and I’m very confident this online course does exactly that!

Professor Roger Martin has expertise in auditing and financial reporting. His research focuses on the impact of auditing, assurance services, and other corporate governance mechanisms on the quality of information provided to external users of financial statements. Professor Martin teaches a variety of auditing and assurance courses and intermediate financial accounting and has been awarded the University of Virginia All-University Teaching Award for his teaching excellence.

Course Advising for Prospective McIntire Students

Christian West, Assistant Director for McIntire Undergraduate Admission

Course registration is coming up, and students are already taking full advantage of our walk-in advising hours to ask what courses they should enroll in. We’ll also be in the brand new Georges Student Center (second floor of Clemons) Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Thursday, Nov. 2, noon-4 p.m. for this very reason! Advisers from other schools and undergraduate programs will be there too!

Come chat with us! But read through this first for a few suggestions we hope will help:

1. Stay on track with your area requirements. Completing courses in all these areas will benefit you no matter what your major is and provides an excellent broad-based liberal arts foundation that we very much value. We expect that you take full advantage of this opportunity to explore your interests.

2. Challenge yourself, but don’t go overboard. We want to see how students are managing a full course load (15 credits on average) while balancing the Commerce prerequisites alongside their other interests. Remember: We recommend no more than two quantitative prerequisites per semester.

3. Don’t overanalyze courses to look for “business-related” courses. Business is everywhere, whether you look for it or not. A politics course can be very valuable because politics influences business and vice versa. Sociology courses can help you develop critical thinking skills as well a deeper understanding of social environment – which has an impact on business. Just because “business” isn’t in the title doesn’t mean the course is not applicable to a business career.

4. Don’t worry too much about what will look better to the Admissions Committee. Rather, think about the story your coursework is telling about your academic interests and your preparation for the McIntire curriculum.

5. Choose courses that go along well with your area of interest in business. Interested in marketing? Take some psychology or sociology courses or media studies courses. International? Take courses in foreign affairs, or continue in a foreign language or courses that emphasize global issues. Finance? Consider additional math, economics, or computer science courses.


– C

Christian P.L. West in the Assistant Director for McIntire’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. He’s a Double Hoo and current Doctoral student in the Curry School of Education. During Walk-in Advising, ask Christian about his side hustle writing Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews or why he has the best candy bowl in all of Rouss & Robertson.

Student Perspective: The Power of Extracurriculars

Winnie Tsao, third-year student and McIntire Ambassador

As a prospective Commerce student, you can be deterred from getting involved by the pressure to keep up good grades so that you’re not in over your head or drowning in responsibility. However, extracurricular activities are crucial to your college experience (not to mention they also make up a factor in McIntire’s holistic application review). Here are my top five reasons to get involved on Grounds:

  1. Explore your interests outside of an academic setting. As UVA students, we are lucky to have access to nearly a thousand unique CIOs around Grounds. This gives each and every student the chance to learn something new or apply a learned skill in the real world.
  2. Have the chance to be passionate about something! Extracurriculars give you the opportunity to take the reins on a project and really run with it. Being part of a CIO is a unique experience, in that you get the opportunity to make a difference within the UVA community, Charlottesville community, and sometimes even beyond that.
  3. Discover a new interest. CIOs give you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and explore a field you might not be able to in class. Sometimes, people even discover their future career interests from their experiences in CIOs!
  4. Gain better time management skills. Being able to juggle between schoolwork and extracurricular activities is an important part of growing up. Joining extracurriculars will allow you to plan out time to dedicate to each activity and you might even see an extracurricular activity as time to “recharge” and a fun break from studying.
  5. Make new friends! Extracurriculars aren’t always just about learning a new skill or adding an activity to your résumé. Extracurriculars are a fun way to get to know other people with similar interests and sometimes even make lifelong friends.

So, don’t be scared of getting involved! Part of the college experience is to venture beyond the classroom, test your boundaries, and discover yourself. Take a leap of faith and join that a cappella group you’ve been eyeing or that investing club today!

-Winnie Tsao, McIntire Ambassador

Winnie Tsao is a third-year McIntire student and McIntire Ambassador. After discovering her love for finance through Alpha Kappa Psi, Winnie spent this past summer interning as an investment banking analyst. Around Grounds, Winnie serves as a Career Peer Educator through the University Career Center, runs long distance, and can be seen “brunching” on the Corner.

Student Perspective: Exam Resources, Study Habits, and Teamwork

Nicky Wildish, third-year student and McIntire Ambassador

In the coming days, prospective Commerce students might take midterms for their prerequisite courses. The exams can be intimidating on a number of levels: Exam classrooms can often hold up to 100 – 150 students; there may be only three exams per class all semester; and the final grades from these prerequisite classes are important in the context of McIntire’s holistic admission process. Here’s some tips to calm nerves and offer some insight on why the future may be bright.

  1. Use your resources. Take advantage of professor and TA office hours. While this advice is dished out seemingly all the time, many students let it sail over their heads without applying it. When it comes to studying, there is no better substitute to working one-on-one with a professor and asking any questions that you may have. Students often perform noticeably better in the classes in which they take advantage of office hours, compared with those they don’t.
  2. It’s crucial to use a combination of group and individual study. First, study on your own, reviewing lecture notes and highlights from the chapter. Repeat what you do know, and write down what you don’t. Then, try to figure out your confusion on your own before asking a friend or professor for help. There is no better way to learn than working through a problem by yourself. If this doesn’t work and a professor is not readily available, work in a team of classmates. Preparing for tests in groups is the best way to learn and study material you would have otherwise not have studied. Also, peers may be able to answer your questions, and you may be able to answer their questions; both are terrific ways to reinforce the material you’re studying.
  3. In the Commerce School, working in teams will become much more commonplace—and necessary. The third-year ICE curriculum is centered on the concept of teamwork. If you strongly prefer teamwork and long-term projects to class lectures and big exams that come with the prerequisite courses, then you’ll certainly enjoy your ICE experience. Rather having three heavily weighted exams for the entire semester like many classes, the ICE curriculum has a diverse range of assignments and evaluations that are used to determine a final grade. Grades come from class participation, team projects (small and large), class presentations, individual projects, exams, quizzes, and more. If you slip up on a grade here or there, it’s usually not a big deal, as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to redeem yourself.

TL/DR: For prospective students taking the daunting prerequisite course exams coming up, remember three things: Use your resources, study, and leverage your peers. The future at McIntire is full of team projects, not just those nerve-racking exams you take in an auditorium with 100 or so other stressed students.

– Nicky Wildish, McIntire Ambassador

Nicky Wildish is a third-year McIntire student and McIntire Ambassador from Darien, Conn. A former high school mascot, he loves all things sports, especially the business side. He’s a member of the Sports Business Club, is a former writer for the sports section of The Cavalier Daily, and previously worked with the Cavalier football team in operations.

I’m Soooo Busy! Extracurriculars, Balance, and Business


Christian West, Assistant Director for McIntire Undergraduate Admission

So you went to the student activities fair, gave 50+ organizations your e-mail, went to a few information sessions, and now you’re wondering what to commit to. During walk-in advising last week, four students in back-to-back meetings asked me this same question. Well, we have an answer, of course.

  1. Follow your passions and interests.

When students ask “What do you want to see students involved in on the applications for McIntire?” I quickly respond with “Whatever you are passionate about and interested in.”  There is no rubric for this. Students who get involved with opportunities they are incredibly passionate about are often the same students who can tell an incredible story about their impact and experience. Do what is important to you, not what you think the Admission Committee would consider impressive.

  1. You don’t have to be a member of a business-related student organization.

Although we suggest involvement in Commerce-related student organizations (CRSOs) and other business-related opportunities because they help to expose students to business industries, practices, and companies, you do not have to be a member of one. Fifty-nine percent of current Commerce students are a member of a CRSO. That may seem like a lot, but it also means that 41% of current Commerce students are engaged in other ways. CRSOs are one way, of many, to get an early exposure to business. If a CRSO peaks your interest, engage with it. If you find yourself drawn to other opportunities, passionately pursue those.

  1. Identify the transferrable skills and characteristics you are developing.

On the application for the B.S. in Commerce Program for current UVA students, you will have five opportunities to list co-curricular activities and engagements. External transfer applicants will have 10 opportunities on Common Application. Do you have more extracurricular activities than the five requested? Awesome! Make this list about the priorities. What’s most important here is that you are able to articulate how your activities can contribute to your success in the business environment. Leadership, communication skills, teamwork, a global mindset, and appreciation for diversity and inclusion are all characteristics we look for in applicants. Think critically about the skills and characteristics you are developing through your involvement and how they will contribute to your continued personal and professional development. We hope you will include aspects of this development in the description of your activities on the application.

  1. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Think depth, not breadth.

There are over 800 contracted independent organizations (CIOs) at UVA, and they cover a lot of ground in terms of focus and interests. There are also part-time job opportunities, internships, and other experiences to consider. Choose a few and develop a strong commitment to them. Consider opportunities for a leadership role. Identify ways to make an impact through the involvement and ensure it is a meaningful experience for yourself. While a long laundry list of involvement might seem impressive, you have only a certain bandwidth when it comes to balancing your commitments with your academic responsibilities. Excelling in both areas will demonstrate to the Admission Committee and future employers that you know yourself well and can effectively manage your commitments.

Every student has their own path to Commerce. Identify yours and go with it. We’re always here to help.

– C

Christian P.L. West in the Assistant Director for McIntire’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. He’s a Double Hoo and current Doctoral student in the Curry School of Education. During Walk-in Advising, ask Christian about the time he lived in California, his thoughts on Starbucks vs. Dunkin’, or his obsession with Husky puppies.

Three Options, One Student: A Curriculum How-To for Prospective McIntire Students

Picking classes for the first time can be a daunting experience, but when you add in three curriculum options, it can seem nearly impossible. Don’t worry, McIntire is here to help! While we can’t tell you exactly what classes to take, even though sometimes you wish we would, we can provide you with resources to help you choose!

So, you’ve already found your way to this blog post, and that’s a great start! If you need more information, refer to the College website. We know there may appear to be a lot of requirements, but breathe a sigh of relief, because ALL three curricula provide the flexibility to take the prerequisite courses needed to apply to McIntire in a timely manner.

Here is a quick synopsis of the three curriculum options:

The Traditional Curriculum enables students to explore a wide breadth of subjects and methods of studying. This general education curriculum requires a minimum of 30 credits to be taken across five different subject areas. Transfer students are automatically placed into this curriculum.

On the other hand, the New College Curriculum allows you to explore the many disciplines offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. It breaks from the Traditional by offering students smaller class sizes and an interdisciplinary learning environment through the Engagements.

Lastly, the Forums provide a tailored group of courses for students who are interested in exploring a particular passion. It allows students to engage in a critical analysis of a central theme while partaking in case studies and group research.

We know what you’re thinking: “These curricula seem well and good, but which one does the Admissions Committee want to see?” Well, the Committee does not prefer one curriculum over the other. McIntire values a diverse student body and wants to see each student use their first two years to create a unique liberal arts foundation on which they can build their integrated Commerce experience. Students tend to excel in coursework that interests them, so feel free to continue onto the higher-level course of the world language you love or explore the Greek Vase Painting class in the Architecture school that intrigues you. Admission into McIntire is a holistic process and we want you to take courses that will prepare you for engaged citizenship, individual human flourishing, and purposeful vocation.