The University of Virginia Masters in Commerce program is always on the top list of schools I am asked about. One only has to look at the placements and reputation of McIntire to know why this program is in such demand. Part of this success is the phenomenal students that UVA recruits and graduates. I’ve been lucky enough to have one of the provide a wonderful review of the program (the 4th on this site). Hope it helps any of you trying to research this great program!
1) Why a masters in finance (or commerce) ? Why the University of Virginia specifically?
I was an undergraduate economics major at University of Virginia before I enrolled in the M.S. in Commerce program. For most of my undergrad I did not really know what I wanted to do post-college, fluctuating between foreign affairs, consulting, economics grad school, and other options. During my third year of college, I decided that I wanted to work in finance, but realized I was not prepared to get a job in investment banking or private equity. Fortunately, I was on-pace to graduate early and was able to enroll in a Master’s program for my fourth year.
2) Who would you recommend this program to and why?
Anyone who wants to work in consulting, finance, analytics, management, or marketing. It’s specifically great for people who lack the hard-skills that are often needed to get and do well in jobs in these fields.
3) Pros and Cons (if any) of the program?
1) I learned a ton. The finance concentration that I completed was well paced and packed with information. Speaking with many of my friends that completed the well-regarded undergrad program, I believe that the MS program covers in 12 months almost as much information as the undergraduates cover in 2 years.
2) The recruiting and career services are phenomenal. First, there are a huge number of companies that visit McIntire and do on-campus recruiting for UVa and McIntire students. I currently work for a private equity group in New York that only hires a few people each year, and only recruits at a handful of schools. I first interviewed with them through on-campus recruiting, and we have now hired more people from UVa than any other school over the past 5 years.
3) The career services office was a big help in getting me prepared for applications, and subsequently, for interviews. Overall, they turned a daunting interview process into a more positive experience. From the moment you get to the program, they provide all kinds of resources, help, office-hours, and more so that you never feel overwhelmed by the process.
4) Supportive and active alumni network
5) Social Life — the social scene at UVa is a blast. I went there undergrad, so I might be a bit biased, but there is so much to do in the Charlottesville area — great bars and night life near the school; dozens a vineyards in the city; a fantastic food scene; and much more.
6) Global Immersion Experience– the last few weeks of the program is spent studying abroad. For my track to East Asia, we visited Japan, China and Hong Kong. I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life. There was a perfect split between business visits, group discussions, and exploring the destinations.
1) The program is not a cake-walk. You will learn a bunch, but you definitely have to put in the time and effort to get the most of the program. The first semester is especially busy as you work through classes and job hunting.
2) The program is not cheap, but through the help of financial aid it is very manageable. I believe that the incremental money/options/development/education that I have received because of the program greatly outweigh the costs of attending; but, the cost of a graduate program is an important factor
4) Anything else. People usually talk about recruiting, on campus experience, location, etc. Whatever someone thinks would be important to a student trying to decide where to go.
I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed Charlottesville, UVa, and this program. The program was instrumental in getting me the job that I am in now, and was one of the most rewarding and exciting years of my life. If you are willing to put in the work, you will get a ton from this program. It will not magically get you a great job, but it puts all of the resources and education in front of you that you would need to do well.
You can check out other reviews here:
UVA MS in Commerce Student Review #3
UVA MS in Commerce Student Review #2
UVA MS in Commerce Student Review #1
Here is a link to the University of Virginia Masters in Commerce Program