As a Foreign Affairs major interested in pursuing business, I wanted to learn foundational knowledge and skills to help ease the transition to a business career and gain an edge in the recruitment process. I came to the M.S. in Commerce Program with little career direction and a weak understanding of business. Now halfway through fall term, I have been able to focus on specific career paths and skills that have helped me during interviews and eventually the workplace.
From the moment I matriculated into the M.S. in Commerce Program, Commerce Career Services (CCS) has been a great resource. While all fall career programming and recruiting events are virtual, the invaluable connections I have cultivated with peers, career professionals, and recruiters have given me the confidence boost I needed. CCS has coordinated a plethora of resources and events for us, including consulting boot camps, an alumni mentorship program, and weekly class sessions. This enables us to develop and structure a professional resume, explore career opportunities, hone our elevator pitch, and learn how to stand out as a candidate with potential employers.
My advice for future M.S. in Commerce students is to network, network, and network. The main industry opportunities I am considering are a result of connecting with UVA alums I met through CCS and through fellow students in the program. UVA and McIntire have extensive alumni networks—20K business alumni and 250K total alumni worldwide—and it is essential you leverage these professional networks to your advantage.
Finally, the more I decided to utilize CCS, the more confident I was with my resume and during interviews. Taking advantage of CCS events, attending job fairs and workshops, and, of course, networking, have all helped me learn about different roles and opportunities companies have to offer.
Contributed by Hamza Belafia (A&S ’20, M.S. in Commerce ’21)