By Mabel Smith
I have always had many, many interests. Growing up, I was eager to learn and explore all that I could; everything piqued my curiosity. This translated into having absolutely no direction when it came to choosing a career path—I wanted to do them all. I discovered, though, that the solution to my dilemma was to pursue business, a field of study at the intersection of every industry, touching everything in some way. As I looked at different business schools during my college search process, I was drawn to McIntire because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program. No other school places such an emphasis on this type of integration both within the different disciplines of business and with outside industries.
I’m an out-of-state student from Jacksonville, FL, but the appeal of a program like McIntire made it much easier for me to convince my parents to let me come to UVA, despite my being far from home. Thus, McIntire was my goal even before arriving in Charlottesville.
However, even though I knew I already had a strong interest in business, I did not know what that meant in the context of my other interests of Biology and Computer Science. So, I spent my first two years searching for intersections. In doing so, I found a Biomedical Engineering Minor that allows me to combine my passion for both Biology and CS. I also took advantage of every enrichment opportunity offered at McIntire, whether that be a guest speaker, networking event, or career day.
In the fall of my second year, I attended Careers in Finance Day. In all seriousness, the day changed my life. At the event, I listened to a presentation by a representative from an investment bank as they walked through a recent deal they had done between two medical device companies. I was absolutely fascinated. For the first time, I saw how my interests in business, specifically finance, and biomedical engineering could intersect into a meaningful, exciting career. Prior to the event, I had no idea what an investment bank did. I am now concentrating in Finance and will be interning at that same bank—all thanks to the event put on by McIntire.
Thus, although I came to UVA knowing that McIntire was the end goal, it was not a simple, linear path. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and it took time to discover what business even meant. Only through taking advantage of opportunities offered by McIntire and to explore my other interests was I able to find the intersections I was seeking and that would excite me about my future after McIntire.