MS in Commerce Blog

Alumni Spotlight: Shannon Simko (M.S. in Commerce ’19)

M.S. in Commerce graduate Shannon Simko shares how she's been able to use the UVA network in her career.

Shannon Simko

Shannon Simko

Shannon Simko (M.S. in Commerce ’19), Marketing & Management Track
Undergrad: B.S. Psychology, Virginia Tech
Current Role: Software AG, Digital Account Manager (Reston, VA)
LinkedIn Profile

What was your most memorable class and why?
My favorite class in the program was Global Commerce with Peter Maillet. This is the GIE prep class that everyone takes before going abroad. The class got me really excited to travel, explore global businesses, and work with clients around the world throughout my career.

Did you take advantage of CCS and if so, how did they help you in the job search?
I wish I had utilized CCS more during my time at McIntire. I had tunnel vision during my job search because I already had an idea of what job I wanted, so I didn’t really use CCS as a resource for job searching. However, Director of Graduate Career Development Kelly Eddins is an angel! She gives the best unbiased advice and was always so helpful and willing to meet with me. She also has such an open mind and can edit a resume like no one else! I know that, even today, if I reached out, she would be more than willing to help me edit my resume or chat about all things career.

Have you been able to leverage your UVA degree or network on the job?
I definitely have been able to leverage my UVA network throughout my career. Having a job in sales requires me to reach out and connect with people on a daily basis. If I reach out to someone and they have a connection to UVA, they are more than willing to talk to me, and I think that is because McIntire is so well known and really is a community. Utilizing my UVA network has also allowed me to get my foot in the door to explore careers and start conversations with people I want to connect with professionally. I have participated in and utilized the UVA network more than I originally thought I would when I started the program.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy that my job is focused on talking to people and networking on a daily basis, though starting a new job during the pandemic has been interesting. Instead of talking to people face-to-face and seeing social cues, I am talking to people on the phone and navigating how to pick up on those social cues without physically being with the person. In the future, I am excited to get back to working in person and possibly doing some traveling for work.

What advice do you have for future students in the program?
I encourage people to squeeze everything they can out of the program while they are at McIntire. The resources and the network at UVA really are unmatched. The professors are some of the best in the world and really want students to succeed, so reach out, connect with them, and ask for help when you need it. At the same time, don’t get too overwhelmed with all the resources that are offered at McIntire—they all exist to help students. Choose the ones that help you reach your definition of success. The program truly is such a unique experience, especially with its global focus, so take full advantage of the opportunity.

How has McIntire prepared you for professional success?
I took a consulting class at McIntire that heavily emphasized networking, and now networking is a huge part of my job. This experience gave me the confidence during my job search to reach out to someone at a company I was interested in and ask to have a conversation with them about their job. Now, whenever I’m working with my team and someone needs to connect with a person that I have a connection with, I am happy to introduce them and expand my network and my coworkers’ networks.

What is your favorite Charlottesville Activity?
I am from Charlottesville originally, so I had already done the staple Charlottesville activities before arriving at McIntire, like eating on the Corner and going to Carter Mountain. But I did enjoy getting to “re-experience” all the classic Charlottesville activities with new people in the program who were not from the area.

What is your favorite place to eat in Charlottesville?
One of my favorite places to eat, while I was a student at UVA, was Roots. The El Jefé, with goat cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and extra vinaigrette, is the best thing to order! And I still enjoy eating at Bodo’s, specifically their egg salad with bacon on a plain bagel.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m studying to be a personal trainer, so most of my spare time is dedicated to studying and working out. I also like to cook, read, and spend time with my four-year-old rescue dog, Baxter!

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