UVA Masters in Commerce

A friend of mine was so gracious to provide a review of the UVA Master in Commerce program. I have posted on it before and think the program is really great. The schools reputation and the fact that they have two tracks, for two different career goals is great.

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The MS Commerce is a pre-employment program designed for liberal arts students. The program is divided into two tracks: Financial Services (~40% of students) and Marketing & Management (~60%). In the fall students are divided into two sections and take the same classes. In the spring we specialize in our fields. After the spring semester students travel abroad for 5 weeks and study global economy/finance/marketing (this year there are 4 tracks: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia).
You can learn more about the program on its website: http://www.commerce.virginia.edu/academic_programs/MSCommerce/Pages/index.aspx

I am on the Financial Services track, hence I cannot tell anything about Marketing & Management. Our curriculum is standard: advanced corporate finance, advanced capital markets, financial institutions, IT finance, accounting, etc. As expected, there are many group assignments and projects. Personally, I think the goal of the program is to establish a bridge between undergraduate experience and the real world. Memos, presentations, case studies, and financial models are just a part of the entire workload. I’ve definitely refined some of my “soft” skills: presenting, communicating, and writing.

Now let’s get to the most interesting part – recruitment. The McIntire School of Commerce is extremely popular among various financial institutions. Lazard, Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Greenhill, Barclays, Sagent Advisors, Big 4, Citi, Harris Williams, and Bain are just a few companies that actively seek UVA students. At some schools undergraduates are often picked over graduate students. This is definitely not the case for the MS Commerce. The program is getting more and more popular, and employers demonstrate a strong interest. At the end of this review, there is a partial list of companies that have interviewed finance trackers.

Finally, let’s talk about social life. Almost every week there is some social event going on. Trips, theme parties, IM sports, tournaments, charity events – you name it we’ve done it. A number of times students pitched their own ideas and got the ball rolling. That being said, if a social scene is the most important aspect for you, then you might want to consider ASU’s Carey School of Business instead.

Overall, I am very happy with my grad school experience: I have an amazing job offer and a strong brand name on my resume. By itself the MS Commerce will not get you a job, none of the graduate programs will. My friend is on the other side of the pond right now, getting his masters in one of the most competitive grad “programmes” at the top institution, and he cannot find anything. That being said, if you are a smart (good undergrad GPA/SAT/GMAT) and driven (passionate about your field/subject) student who has done a few internships (even at no-name firms), you will get interviews and you will get a job.

A partial list of companies that interviewed students from the Financial Track

  • Barclays Capital*
  • BlackRock
  • Blackstone Group – Park Hill Real Estate Group
  • Blackstone Alternative Asset Management
  • Citi (Capital Markets, Sales & Trading)*
  • CCMP Capital*
  • Cornerstone Research
  • Deloitte (FAS)
  • DRW Trading Group
  • Eastdil Secured (Real Estate Investment Banking Analyst)
  • Fortress Group
  • Google (Business Analyst)
  • Group One Trading
  • Harris Williams & Co.*
  • Houlihan Lokey (Corporate Finance M&A) *
  • Jefferies & Co (Aerospace & Defense, Consumers, NY Generalist)*
  • Lazard Middle Market*
  • Macquarie Group*
  • McColl Partners*
  • Milestone Advisors
  • Miller Buckfire & Co
  • Morgan Keegan
  • Morgan Stanley (Fixed Income Sales and Trading)
  • Rothschild*
  • Robert W. Baird (ER)
  • Sagent Advisors*
  • Simmons & Co*
  • Stifel Nicolaus (ER, IB Analyst)*
  • Stout Risius Ross (FAS)
  • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey*
  • UBS Investment Bank
  • Wells Fargo (Capital Markets and Investment Banking, Real Estate)*
         * interviewed several grad students
Here is a link to the University of Virginia Master in Commerce Program