MS in Commerce Blog
Student Life

Five Thoughts You May Have in Your First Month in the M.S. in Commerce Program

Arthur Liu, a current M.S. in Commerce student, shares five thoughts and tips for making the most of your first month in the program.

Picture of M.S. in Commerce student ambassador, Arthur Liu.

By Arthur Liu (M.S. in Commerce ’24)

1. There’s so much to see and explore in Charlottesville!

If you are new to the area like I originally was, you will be awestruck by how much punch this little city is packing. The M.S. in Commerce Program starts in early August, when the sun is out and days are long, making your first weeks here the perfect time to make some friends and explore the area! The city center—or Downtown Mall, as it’s known locally—is accessible by foot and lined with delicious eateries and mom-and-pop establishments. When you are feeling parched, the city is surrounded by countless wineries, cideries, and breweries—Carter’s Mountain Orchard is a student favorite, but all are worth a visit.

Look, I was born and raised in Hong Kong and did my undergrad in New York, so I’m used to the hustle and bustle of metropolises and am a city kid at heart. However, there is so much to see, eat, and do in Charlottesville, especially in just 10 short months!

2. How does “The Matrix” work?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a reference to Keanu Reeves’ 1999 blockbuster, but a nickname for the M.S. in Commerce’s class timetable. A color-coded Excel masterpiece, the matrix will be your best friend for your first four weeks, as you will constantly be referring to it for everything from the time of your next class to the date of your next test. During the first two weeks of the program, you will take up to seven new classes, depending on your track. In addition, no two weeks are exactly the same, making it a little hard to keep track of at first. Fret not, however, as you will acclimate quickly to the action-packed schedule.

3. “Sorry, what was your name again?”

Just like how work gets done in the business world, the M.S. in Commerce Program is very social in nature, meaning that you’ll be learning (and forgetting) many names in your first month! You will be placed in a group for practically every class to complete assignments and gain additional support, and some professors rotate these teams throughout the semester to allow you to meet new people. Students will often hold their own activities and parties throughout the semester, which will allow you to meet even more people and make new friends. All in all, the M.S. in Commerce cohort is a tight-knit, collaborative, and caring one—no student is left behind, and we are all one big family.

4. My classmates are amazing!

As you get to know your peers better through group activities and social events, you will find a truly kaleidoscopic blend of students that makes for an eye-opening, intellectual experience. One defining factor of the M.S. in Commerce Program is that it only accepts applicants with non-business backgrounds. Thus, students bring to the table not only their unique academic niches, but also internship and job experiences in a host of industries, which make for incredible class discussions. In addition, whilst there is no shortage of students looking to enter conventional business sectors such as consulting, investment banking, and data analytics, there are also those who will be working upon graduation in biotechnology, renewable energy, aerospace engineering, and construction management sectors, just to name a few.

5. There is a lot of work!

There isn’t another way to sugar-coat or rephrase this—the M.S. in Commerce Program is a rigorous degree program, and you will hit the ground running. Whether you’re entering back into “school mode” after a long summer hiatus or a year of working full time, you might feel inundated at first with new content and assignments. Rest assured, however, that you will adapt in no time, and due to the group work-oriented nature of this program, you will always have a group or partner to fall back on for help. In addition, there is no “busy work” in this program, and all assignments and tests are designed to build real-world skills and knowledge that will set you up for a fantastic career.

Enter your details and get more information about the M.S. in Commerce program, the latest program and School news, invitations to upcoming events, and more!