Student Life

5 Things I Love About My M.S. in Commerce Experience (So Far)

I’ve absolutely loved my time here so far and would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my five favorite things about the M.S. in Commerce Program, UVA, and Charlottesville.

Liz (middle) with fellow M.S. in Commerce peers on The Lawn at UVA.

Hey everyone! My name is Liz DiGennaro, and I’m a new M.S. in Commerce student at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce! I’m originally from New York and received my undergraduate degree in Public Policy at Princeton University, so my first month at McIntire has definitely been an adjustment. However, I’ve absolutely loved my time here so far and would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my five favorite things about the M.S. in Commerce Program, UVA, and Charlottesville.

The Amazing Community

The sense of community at McIntire is truly remarkable. Although it sounds a bit corny, I feel more at home after six weeks here than I did after my four years at Princeton. I know that any of my classmates or professors would be willing to lend a helping hand if I asked, and I love hanging out with my new friends every day in the graduate student lounge. The supportive community here is unparalleled, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Fun Things to Do in Charlottesville

I had no idea that there was so much to do in Charlottesville! Over the past few weeks, I’ve loved exploring local vineyards, crushing trivia night at Mellow Mushroom with my classmates, and cheering on the Hoos at football games. When I’m not in class, you can catch me playing Skee-Ball at 1515, one of the student centers, or sampling apple cider donuts at Carter Mountain Orchard. Even though Charlottesville isn’t a big city like New York, there’s so much to do, and it’s never boring.

Liz at a local Charlottesville winery with classmates.

Liz (second row, far left) at a local Charlottesville winery with classmates.

The Program’s Global Focus

Another one of my favorite things about the M.S. in Commerce Program is the emphasis placed on learning about business outside the United States. International students comprise about one-third of our class, so it’s been really interesting to learn from their different perspectives and experiences. In class, we discuss business cases not just within the United States, but also China, Russia, England, and other countries around the world. The capstone piece to the global integration is the Global Immersion Experience (GIE), a three-week course that will take us overseas. I’m already counting down the days until GIE destinations are announced later this month!

Emphasis on Teamwork

For any business today, high-performing teams are absolutely essential. To help us develop these skills, the Program builds in integrative teamwork throughout all of our classes. We are immediately placed in a five-person group that we work with on various projects throughout the semester. I have loved getting to know my group members and really benefited from their diverse backgrounds, insights, and knowledge, and we’re learning how to leverage our unique strengths to be an effective team.

UVA School Spirit

UVA students truly bleed blue and orange! Coming from a smaller undergraduate school, I’ve loved the chance to participate in all the school spirit UVA has to offer. From athletic events to the Honor System, UVA students are proud to call themselves Hoos. This bond translates to the alumni network as well. I’ve been impressed with alumni engagement at McIntire. Many are willing to speak with students and help them with their professional journeys, which has been a major help in my own job search so far.

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