Double Majoring in the Commerce School

There are plenty of double concentrators in the Comm School and even several Economics/Commerce double majors, but there aren’t too many Commerce students double majoring in a science field. I’m a third-year double majoring in Commerce and Biology, and I’m going to tell you how you can do the same. Anyone who has taken intro chemistry can tell you that, like the Commerce prerequisites, science classes are hard; you’re going to have to put a lot of time and effort into them if you want to be successful. That being said, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from attempting to double major in Commerce and Biology (or any other intense major), but a few things need to happen in order for you to do it:

AP credits/course overload/summer classes

If you were fortunate enough to go to an AP school, then you already have this covered. Take advantage of not having to take intro classes your first year. Instead of taking calc 1 or 2 and forfeiting your AP credit, take calc 3 or linear algebra. If you placed out of intro biology, take the credit, and run (into upper-level classes, that is). This will let you explore options for a second major and let you get ahead in that major so that you don’t have to scramble fourth year to finish the remaining classes.

Now, if you went to an IB school or didn’t have either of these options, you may have to take more than 15 credits a semester. I would not recommend doing this your first year, but if you have to fit in an extra class, do it second year or take a summer/J-term class to get ahead.

Careful planning

You won’t have many credits to play around with third year in the Commerce School. At most, you will have three credits to take a class outside of the Comm School in the fall, and that’s only if you aren’t concentrating in Finance or Accounting. In order to fit everything in, you need to plan things out from day one. Meet with your adviser, stop by Commerce Student Services during drop-in hours, or talk to upperclassmen who have done the same. Tell them what you want to do, and they will help you develop a plan to get it done.

Passion for both majors

There will be times throughout the semester when you question why you are putting yourself through this. You will consider dropping the second major, maybe just minoring in the other field, or even decide not to apply to the Comm School. I urge you really to think before making that decision; it may be hard right now, but in the end, you might regret not finishing that second major. You’re going to have to make sacrifices, but if you are truly passionate about your second major, you will find a way to do both.

Look at the big picture

To the untrained eye, Biology and Commerce may seem to have absolutely nothing in common, but if you zoom out, they overlap a lot more than you would think. There are overarching principles that, if tweaked, apply to both disciplines. For example, life tables are used in ecology to summarize population dynamics, but also by life insurance companies to determine rates based on life expectancy. My point is that if you look hard enough, you can find biological practices and theories that are analogous to business practices and theories.

Double majoring can be a difficult feat but also very rewarding. It’s nice to have a major outside of the Comm School because it lets me explore other things I’m interested in.  I’m learning a solid practical skill set in the Comm School and feeding my academic curiosity by majoring in Biology, the best of both worlds.

Posted by Nicole A., Third-Year Commerce Student

Welcome New and Returning Students!

As you get settled (or resettled) in Charlottesville and begin your classes, we want to wish you the best as you move forward in your fall semester.  Whether you are new to UVA or a returning Wahoo, if you are interested in the McIntire School of Commerce, please be aware that open office hours for the semester have begun. These drop-in hours are a great way to get your questions answered and your concerns addressed. There are a lot of myths swirling around about the Commerce School, the admissions process, and the curriculum. Find out the truth! Come by and ask!

There are ways for you to get involved in the Commerce School before applying. Sign up for our pre-Comm email list, sit in on a class, tour our building if you haven’t already done so, and check out our McIntire-affiliated student organizations. All of this and more can be found on the School Web site in the Getting Involved section. The time for you as first- and second-years to take advantage of these opportunities is now.

Check our online calendar often for academic and student organization events, as well as for School-wide opportunities for all UVA students. Some upcoming events that you should mark on your calendar now include:

  • Commerce Career Day, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., John Paul Jones Arena
  • Family Weekend sessions, Sept. 28
  • Fall information session, Nov 1, 3:30 p.m., Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room TBA

More information on these and other events will be posted soon.

Have a wonderful semester, and come visit the McIntire Student Services Office in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 311, soon!

Plan a Visit to McIntire

If you’ve never been in Rouss & Robertson Halls, you really have to come see these amazing buildings for yourself. If you plan to visit the Charlottesville area and the University of Virginia, make Rouss & Robertson Halls, home of the McIntire School, part of your visit. Please be aware that the building is open for public access Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

If you are a high school student or transfer student planning a visit, I highly encourage you to visit on a Monday or Friday and to attend the UVA general information session at 10 a.m. and then come over to Rouss & Robertson Halls for our 1 p.m. tour. A student-led tour provides information about our innovative third-year curriculum–the Integrated Core Experience (ICE)–and life at the Comm School.

You can also sit in on a class by contacting the Student Services Office at 434-924-3485 (allow 3-4 days to set this up). The interactive and dynamic class environment is a very different learning experience for most students, so experiencing this classroom environment firsthand to make sure it is for you is a good idea. Because you won’t enter McIntire until your third year of college, you can plan to sit in on a class during your first or second year.  We hope to see you soon.

How Should I Spend My Summer between First and Second Year?

Evidently the warm December weather we’ve been having is causing many Pre-Comm students to ask about summer activities and how they should spend their time. The questions I hear most are about internships—should students get one, how does it look if they don’t have an internship, or what if they don’t have any business work experience to list on the application? This post will address these questions and, I hope, ease many of the concerns of rising second-year students:

Should I get an internship?
At this stage in your academic career, it is rare that you will have the skills that companies are looking for from their interns. Chances are that if you do obtain an internship, you will be filing, making copies, shredding documents, or even running errands and making coffee. Think carefully about internship offers, and try to find out what your duties will be prior to accepting. If you do accept an offer, DO NOT go back and then decline. A commitment is a commitment, and changes of heart or better deals to travel Europe on someone else’s dime are not reasons to back out of your agreement.

What if I want to continue working at the golf course/summer camp/restaurant?
Many of you may have held jobs in the summers of your high school years and enjoyed both the job and the money earned. In fact, maybe you liked it so much you want to continue for at least another summer, but are worried that the job will not look impressive to the Admissions Committee at McIntire. STOP RIGHT THERE! You should spend this summer doing something you enjoy and can feel good about. If you enjoy working with children, then by all means do so. If your family owns a business and relies on your help in the summer, this is fine. Many solid business skills can be gained from varied work experiences. Lifeguarding at a pool can provide you with time management and people skills; working at the Gap can give you an insight to marketing and communication skills; waiting tables can instill the importance of customer relations and teamwork. You must remember that business surrounds us and is a part of our everyday lives. Think about whatever you do in business terms, and you will realize that you are developing business skills as you landscape someone’s yard, restock the shelves at your local grocery store, or give tennis lessons to 10-year-olds.

My family is traveling to Asia/Europe/South America to visit relatives I have never met. Should I decline because the Admissions Committee will think that I’m goofing off this summer?
Embrace this opportunity for what it is—a chance to travel and experience another culture as you tighten family bonds. McIntire values cultural diversity, and whether you travel abroad or study abroad this summer, you will gain a perspective that will be unique and exclusively yours.

So, whatever you decide to do, do it for you (with the support of your family, of course). Make the most of your summer and take time for yourself, so you can return to school next fall ready to tackle your remaining requirements and get involved in the UVA community.

Rumor Has It

No, this is not a post about an Adele song, but a post about all those pesky rumors that spin around Grounds regarding the McIntire School, admissions, and requirements. It’s impossible to know how these get started, and just when we think we’ve heard them all, another one pops up!

The latest rumor, concerning the math requirement, is that in order to be admitted to the Commerce School, you should complete Calculus III. Simply put, this is just not true. Although more and more students are coming into UVA with AP credit for Calculus 1310 and 1320, this does not mean that your automatic next step should be jumping full force into a course you are not prepared to take. High school calculus and college calculus are very different, and unless you are confident in your math skills, we suggest you explore your options before committing to a higher-level course.

It is true that the Admissions Committee would like to see some math done here at UVA, but there are several ways to show your quantitative ability. Academic backgrounds and situations vary by student, so do not rely on the rumor mill for your advising! Come to speak with an admissions counselor, either during open office hours or by appointment and learn the real truth.

Pre-Comm Students, Stay in Touch with the McIntire School

It’s hard to believe that we are in week 5 of the fall semester! It’s amazing how time has flown by. But a nip of fall is in the air, the leaves are starting to change, and, frankly, there is no place more beautiful than Central Virginia this time of year! I hope that as the semester has moved forward you are finding your way around UVA and Charlottesville, taking advantage of all that this beautiful area has to offer. Not to mention some college football!

Now, let’s talk about academics. First-years, I hope you’ve now settled in and are feeling comfortable with your classes. I hope you’ve found a balance not only between academics and co-curricular activities, but that you’ve found a balance within the classes you are taking, working in a couple of Commerce prerequisites as well as liberal arts courses you find interesting.

If you haven’t found your way to our pre-Comm LISTSERV, please take a moment to sign up. This is a great way to receive information about McIntire and Commerce events! Don’t listen to rumors about the McIntire School! Find out the real scoop! Come to open office hours with any questions or concerns and let us dispel those rumors.

Second-years, the application will be out sometime in late November, so keep checking the blog as well as the LISTSERV. We’ll let you know when the application goes live.

All pre-Comm students, please mark your calendar for 3:30 p.m., Oct. 19, for our information session in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 123.

Dean Leonard

Information on Transferring for Non-UVA Students

Our students transfer not only from within UVA, but from other colleges and universities as well, including many from the Virginia Community College System. Students not enrolled in the University must apply for transfer admission through the University’s Office of Admission (434-982-3200) and will be considered for admission into McIntire. If you have questions regarding transfer of credit, please refer to the Transfer Credit Analyzer. This is not a listing of approved courses, but only past transfer of credit from UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences, and can serve as a guide for students as to what they can expect to receive as transfer credit. If you are planning to apply as a transfer student (from outside UVA), it is always good to meet with Jeannine Fields either in person or by phone to make sure your courses will transfer as equivalents to the required prerequisites. Hope this helps!

Getting Involved Outside of the Classroom

Although the McIntire Admissions Committee carefully evaluates your academic achievement, it is certainly not the only factor considered in the selection process. McIntire also strongly encourages students to have a broad range of interests and show commitment to extracurricular activities outside the classroom. In particular, commitment to any student organization or a leadership role is one way to let your personality and unique experiences shine through on your application.There are over 700 CIOs on Grounds that you can become involved in, and if you don’t find one that is tailored to your specific cause, you can always start your own! That said, McIntire has several commerce-related student organizations, many of which are open to all students, regardless of their year and major.Joining a McIntire organization is also a great way to learn about various business-related fields and career paths. If you’re interested in investing and portfolio management, the Alternative Investment Fund at McIntire, the McIntire Investment Institute, or the Sustainable Investment Group may be for you. There are also organizations specifically for students interested in accounting (Beta Alpha Psi) or marketing (Advertising and Marketing Association).

In addition, many of our student organizations offer University-wide activities that are open to both members and non-members. Each February, the Consulting Group at McIntire collaborates with Navigant Consulting LLP to host an annual case competition. Regardless of your major or year, if you’re interested in consulting as a potential career path, you can join a team and gain the experience of analyzing and presenting a real-life case study. Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional fraternity in commerce, also has members who span a variety of majors. Members are selected based on scholastic standing and promise of high attainment in business.

These are just a handful of all the student organizations at McIntire. For additional information about McIntire student organizations, please visit Student Organizations.

To keep up with McIntire-related events, please see the Student Events Calendar.

Please don’t think that we’re suggesting you run out and join 10 or 15 organizations. Unless you possess the ability to be in several places at once, there’s no way to be involved in that many activities and do them well. You must get your priorities in order and decide what you enjoy and how to commit your valuable time when you are not in class or studying.

So, give something a try. If it’s not what you thought, then try something else. Think about your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and attempt something you’ve thought about doing but never had the opportunity to do; maybe you were president of your high school and have leadership skills that you can continue to develop while serving the UVA community.

Whatever you do, don’t join an organization because you think it’s going to “look good” to the Admissions Committee. We do not judge one group or activity over another. Instead, we look at what you are doing within your activities and what you can bring to the McIntire School. Don’t follow the crowd and participate in events/activities that you can’t get behind, activities that you don’t feel strongly about, or activities to which you can’t commit your time or skills.

Taking Prerequisite Courses at Other Colleges/Universities – Current UVA Students

Many UVA students who wish to apply to the McIntire School inquire about taking a requirement (or two) over the summer at another college or university. In most cases, McIntire strongly advises taking your requirements at UVA during the regular academic session. The reasons for this are simple: We know how courses are taught here, we are more familiar with the curriculum, and we have confidence that they will best prepare you for the Commerce School curriculum. This is especially important with the Comm classes (COMM 1800, COMM 2010, and COMM 2020). Some students think that taking classes elsewhere during the summer might boost their GPA, but doing so might actually give the admissions committee more concern about your ability to successfully compete at UVA.There are special cases, however, when taking a requirement or two during the summer might make sense. For example, some students decide late that they would like to apply to the Commerce School and are attempting to catch up on missing requirements. Although this is understandable, I suggest that you meet with a Commerce adviser before registering for any prerequisite courses outside of UVA. Be advised that you must also obtain departmental approval for the courses as well as approval from the registrar of your current school. Because you are not a Commerce student yet, all transfer courses need to be approved through your current school of enrollment. McIntire does not approve math, statistics, or economics courses. Also, foreign language courses cannot be taken outside of UVA without the approval of the specific department where the language is housed, and the College will not allow you to transfer any of your area requirements.So before you sign up for those summer classes, think twice. It makes sense to get that econ or math course completed if you still have all your Comm courses to take in your second year, but please talk with an adviser first. Feel free to send me an email if you’d like to discuss your specific situation.

McIntire Admission for UVA Students – “Nobody Gets in So Don’t Even Bother Applying”

How many of you have heard that “nobody gets accepted to McIntire”? Well don’t believe it; in fact, MOST UVA students who apply ARE admitted, so you should definitely apply! I want to use this post to share with you data regarding the UVA internal pool and decision process. This is really for you first- and second-year students already at UVA. My next post will focus on the data and process for external applicants or those applying to transfer to UVA/McIntire from other colleges and universities.

Yes, admission is competitive, but don’t most outstanding accomplishments take a little extra work? As you can see from the data below, approximately, 400-500 students enrolled at UVA (almost always in the second year and mostly from the College) apply each year. McIntire is approved to enroll around 300 students from within the University each fall, so we generally make a few offers over 300. In fact, about 65–75% of the UVA students who apply are admitted. You can also see that the average UVA cumulative GPA of these admitted students is pretty competitive, at 3.6. Remember, this is only the average and NOT a cut-off. Last year’s admitted cumulative GPAs ranged from 3.01 to 4.0. Thus, you really need to try and maintain at least a B to B+ average to be competitive.

Internal Applications Summary

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Applications 468 521 499 439 462
Offers 319 311 310 312 309
Offer Rate 68% 60% 62% 71% 67%
Mean UVA GPA 3.62 3.62 3.58 3.53 3.51

Why does one applicant with a 3.0 get in and another with a 3.3 not get in? GPA is only one factor and the Admission Committee looks at multiple factors in the admission process. Many elements make up the cumulative GPA, including how many hours you carry and course difficulty, so we are not comparing “apples to apples” and looking only at the final number. We look at your entire transcript. In addition, the committee looks closely at seven prerequisite courses–COMM 1800, COMM 2010, COMM 2021, MATH, STATS, ECON 2010 and ECON 2020–and actually calculates something we call a “mini GPA.” Last year, the average mini GPA of the admitted students was 3.56, with a range of 2.72–4.0. Because of the importance of the prerequisite classes, I always encourage students to spread these classes out over the first two years and to not take more than two mini-courses in one semester if possible. Too often, I see students overly anxious, taking lots of the prerequisite courses too soon and not doing as well as they could if they spread them out. You have four semesters to take these courses; there’s no need to rush. At the same time, make sure you are taking full and challenging loads with a broad variety of classes. The committee gets concerned about your oral and written skills if you are taking only math and econ courses. Conversely, make sure that you have enough quantitative courses (the mini GPA courses are all pretty quantitative) to show us you have the ability to crunch the numbers. Once admitted to the Commerce School (think positive on this!), you will have to take 15 challenging credits each semester your third year, so the committee wants to make sure you can handle this workload.

The other reality of this process is that a 4.0 GPA does not guarantee admission. Yes, we have actually denied a student with a perfect GPA! McIntire is training future business and industry leaders, so we want to see strong communication and teamwork skills and involvement outside of your academic pursuits. You will be asked to list no more than five co-curricular activities on the application. These include work, clubs, and organizations. We don’t prefer one activity over another; we just want to see that you are involved and contributing to your community. Some applicants think they have to have real work experience or an internship – absolutely NOT! You are only a second-year! Just find something you enjoy and care about and get involved. It is not about how many activities you are involved in, but that you are doing something. Working out at AFC or playing World of Warcraft really doesn’t look impressive to the committee as an activity on your application. Doing nothing at UVA isn’t going to look impressive either.

Every applicant is different, just like every student is different. You are going to have strengths and weaknesses, and there is no magic formula or perfect path to become a competitive McIntire applicant. Here are a few of my tips, presented at our recent advising sessions, to help you stay on the right track to become a competitive applicant, but most of all I encourage you to be yourself and spend your time pursuing classes and activities that hold great interest to you! If you enjoy what you are doing, you will naturally excel.

Hope this helps and feel free to send us an email if you have any questions! Enjoy the cool fall weather.