By Aidan Turnbull
John West (A&S ’22, M.S. in Commerce ’23), Falls Church, VA
Track: Marketing & Management
Undergraduate Major: Government, UVA
What made you decide to attend McIntire in the first place?
I was always taught by my family that there’s value in combining a diverse set of perspectives into a team setting. In other words, the best perspectives are diverse.
As an undergraduate, I was a member of the McIntire Business Institute. This taught me to draw from every person’s diverse background and skills. I was able to reach some interesting conclusions by drawing from the perspectives of others. During this time, I learned about the M.S. in Commerce Program, which I was extremely interested in because it really places importance on diversity by drawing from the perspectives of others in a team environment with the Integrated Core Experience.
What skills has McIntire taught you that you can use outside the classroom?
The M.S. in Commerce does an excellent job of training you to be interested in others. You find yourself interested in people’s cultures, backgrounds, and knowledge. To do well in the program, you must be team-oriented, so McIntire offers many opportunities to improve your team-building skills.
What advice would you give to any incoming/prospective students?
Given that the program’s goal is to best prepare you for any business scenario, they care much more about how you think rather than random facts you know coming in. So don’t discount yourself. The M.S. in Commerce is designed for non-business majors, so most teams have an engineer, a humanities major, or some other major you wouldn’t expect to find in a business school.
You attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate, also. Have you found that your experience of Charlottesville has changed as a graduate student?
Yes, I’m hanging out with completely different types of people. I can come in with an understanding of my undergraduate experience at UVA, which allows me to show Charlottesville newcomers all of the best spots. The program does a really good job of facilitating social events. The Graduate Commerce Council organizes gatherings, group activities, and dinners. I find I spend more time downtown, but I still feel tethered to some spots on grounds, like the Corner.
What do you hope to do once you graduate McIntire?
Upon graduation, I want to go into general Management Consulting in the Washington, DC, metro area.