Student Life

A Day in the Life of an M.S. in Commerce Student by Justice Dixon (’21)

Current M.S. in Commerce student Justice Dixon walks through a typical day as a student in the program.

Coming into the homestretch of the academic year, my classmates and I have been able to settle into a rhythm and routine that helps carry us through the school day and manage our time to get everything done. Although our days differ based on which track we are in and other personal and professional obligations, I wanted to give you a taste of what a typical day in the MSC program is like.

Here is a detailed look at what an average Monday looks like for me, as both a graduate student and a student-athlete here at UVA:

Before Class (7 a.m.)

While most of my classmates are probably still asleep at this point, the early risers are out and about. I’m on my way to the baseball stadium, where the University’s Track & Field team has lifting practice three times a week. But student-athletes aren’t the only ones up this early. A few of my classmates start off with cycling or spin classes, while others take advantage of the quiet streets with a morning jog. On warmer days, you can also find students doing yoga on the Lawn in front of the Rotunda.

Before class starts, some of us might meet up at the Corner for some morning refreshments. Bodo’s, a local bagel chain with a passionate fan base, is usually at the top of the list. And while I’m not personally a coffee person, many of my friends religiously get coffee from one of the many cafes or coffee shops.

Some days, though, as much as I would like to claim that I’m always this productive, I’m very much human. Sometimes I’ll start off my day in my apartment without a delicious bagel or coffee, and log on for virtual class.

Start of Class (9:30 a.m.)

While some classes can start as early as 8 a.m., most classes begin at or around 9:30 a.m. On Mondays, I log into my classes virtually. My first class, New Product Development, is taught by Professor Jim Burroughs and is for students in the Marketing & Management track.

Like most MSC classes, it is heavily discussion-based and relies on each student to add their unique ideas and perspective to enhance everyone’s learning experience. In this lecture, we are discussing organizational culture and what managers can do to best foster creativity and innovation. After 90 minutes, it’s time to hop into my next class for the day.

My second class, Foundations of Global Commerce, taught by Professor Peter Maillet, is taken by all students in the program regardless of their track. Each class starts with a small group of two or three students hosting a 15-minute seminar on current events, which we call “Eyes on Global Markets.” The group presents several stories covering recent political and economic events on the world stage, as well as prospective events they see on the horizon. This is perhaps the most unique part of class, as students are able to directly apply course concepts to the world around them.

After the seminar, Professor Maillet dives into the day’s topics. This is usually a brief lecture overviewing the assigned readings, followed by another class discussion on the reading material.

Lunch (12:15 p.m.)

Because of the variety of classes offered in the MSC program, everyone’s schedule is a little different. I have both of my Monday classes in the morning, so I usually become free just in time for lunch.

This time of the day highlights my favorite part of Charlottesville: the food. The Corner and Downtown are packed full of so many local and chain restaurants, all equally delicious, and I think I would need an extra year or two to try them all out. Here are some of my favorites, just to name a few:

  • Roots Natural Kitchen: If Chipotle had a greener twin, this would be it. I hope you didn’t make dinner plans, because each bowl is enough for two meals.
  • Citizen Burger: Must-have comfort food in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. Don’t forget to try the garlic aioli fries.
  • Mel’s Café: A lesser-known gem. If you ever find yourself craving BBQ, this is your spot.

After lunch (2:30 p.m.)

As classes start winding down, its’ time for me to go to track practice. While I’m there, plenty of students are also getting their exercise in at rec centers, boutique fitness studios, or even outside. Although I’m hopelessly untalented at the sport, many of my friends are regulars at the tennis courts, while other students go to the Aquatic & Fitness Center (AFC). Although access has been limited this year due to COVID safety measures, students have still been able to use the weight room, aerobic center, and pool. Or if you’re not into any of that, on less busy days, many students opt to go to one of the many breweries or wineries in the area.

Evening (5 p.m.)

By the time evening arrives, my classmates and I usually begin working on assignments. Many of the first-semester courses such as Finance and Accounting gave more individual assignments, but virtually all of the courses in the spring greatly utilize group assignments. Because of this, it is essential for groups to communicate well and plan out times to meet. I’ve been fortunate to be part of very productive groups, so our meetings run relatively smoothly and usually involve assigning tasks for projects, preparing presentations, and brainstorming solutions for case studies.

At this point, with work out of the way, I’m now free to spend some leisure time. In a normal year, students would frequent one of Charlottesville’s bars or other social areas. But, while these are still only available in limited capacity, I prefer to spend time with friends in a more isolated setting. I usually cap off my day with a movie night with friends or try one of the more unique restaurants in the area.

Get important admissions news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.