MS in Commerce Blog
Tips for Success

Advice for Incoming M.S. in Commerce Students

Shiyu Zhao (M.S. in Commerce '22) provides advice to incoming students and shares suggestions from her fellow classmates.

Shiya Zhao provides advice for incoming M.S. in Commerce students

For incoming M.S. in Commerce students, starting graduate school can be nerve-wracking but exciting. You may be wondering about what to prepare before the program begins or some suggestions you should know before the upcoming 10 months. Our current students are here to help! It is always worth listening to someone within the environment. Below are some helpful suggestions from myself and my classmates to help best prepare for the M.S. in Commerce Program at McIntire.

Shiyu’s Suggestions
As an M.S. in Commerce Student Ambassador, I suggest that students reflect and set some goals. The program is very fast paced, so I recommend thinking about a specific goal or things you would like to achieve after taking this program, either academic or career paths. Having these goals in mind will also provide direction while you fully immerse yourself in the program. In addition, I strongly encourage you to start reading business news from credible sources such as The Wall Street Journal and thinking about why companies and managers are in the news. It is an applicable method to accumulate your business sense, which helps you think critically about different business areas and better understand the incoming class content.

We all understand that looking for a job is probably the second significant concern. Therefore, having a clear career goal at the beginning of the school year is also important since recruiting starts early in the fall semester, especially for consulting companies. Before the program starts, incoming students will access Commerce Career Services through the McIntire Portal. I highly recommend becoming familiar with the services they offer, such as several excellent speaker sessions, the student-alumnus mentor program, career coaching, and building connections through the alumnus “Willing to Help” list to help you better prepare for the upcoming recruiting season.

My last pieces of advice are straightforward:

  1. Relax, trust the curriculum, and enjoy these 10 months.
  2. Take this program as an opportunity to meet new friends who may have different mindsets and different cultures from you.
  3. Build connections with classmates, professors, and anyone in this program to create your own Commerce School memories.

More Student Suggestions
Here are some suggestions from current students to help you be prepared to join the M.S. in Commerce Program:

  • Be prepared before the program starts because there are many tasks to do each week. Also, since this is a 10-month program, good time management skills are beneficial to balance school work and your job search.
  • Keep open-minded because during your studies, you will be exposed to many different business areas, so you might come out of the program wanting to do other things than when you first started. Be open-minded when it comes to making new friends. Within the M.S. in Commerce Program, specifically, everyone has the same goal and interests, making it helpful to make friends and have a support system.
  • Starting graduate school can be confusing, but reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn and to M.S. in Commerce Student Ambassadors and asking them for tips and recommendations on courses and jobs helped.
  • Write important dates down on a calendar, not only for school assignments but also for job opportunities such as career fairs or company events to ensure you aren’t missing out.
  • Consider reading The Wall Street Journal or Financial Times to develop good reading habits to improve your business intuition, which will help in class discussions.
  • Be prepared to work in a team. Adjust your mindset, and always be prepared to share your thoughts during class. Another suggestion is not to hesitate to ask for advice and communicate with professors for help.
  • Time management and organization may be the most important. Some days are hard, and it is often difficult to keep up with readings and homework. However, if you manage your time, you should be prepared for everything and learn a significant amount in a short time.

Learn more about the program and McIntire.

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