Mandy Haywood has been a team player for the majority of her life. After an active childhood in sports in Bridgetown, Barbados, that led her to come to UVA, where she’s a member of the varsity Women’s Squash team, she says that McIntire’s collaborative spirit as well as its emphasis on team learning and shared projects drew her to apply to the School.
“I recognized that my academic strengths were math and finance, that I preferred working in a team setting and meeting new people. All of that led me to look at the Comm School,” she says. “I always knew that one of the keys to learning was to surround yourself with a diversity of thought, experiences, and perspectives. The more that I learned about McIntire, the more that I saw it as a perfect fit for me.”
“The Comm School made it evident that teamwork is crucial in maximizing output quality and that you should never be afraid to share opinions or ask questions in your group settings. When you gather a diverse group of people who all value teamwork and respect each other’s opinions, your results are always stronger than a group of likeminded individual thinkers,” she says.
Thinking back to her third year, and the Integrated Core project she completed for Hilton, Haywood recalls how her group honored diversity of thought in formulating its ideas for the hotel giant, allotting time for each member to pitch their individual suggestions. The shared process supported everyone’s strengths. “In the end, we allowed everyone to express their opinions on each other’s proposal, with each of us having an open mind to our teammates’ opinions. We knew that this method would provide us with an advantage and produce what we believed was our best work.”
As a McIntire student-athlete, she says that she sometimes faced the formidable challenge of juggling her two busy schedules, especially during the squash season, as training hours and traveling increase dramatically. But having spent a lifetime playing sports, Haywood says she has always been accustomed to managing her time.
“I have learned that there is a time and place for everything—and knowing when it is time to work versus play,” she says, pointing out how that singular approach freed her to focus fully on the task at hand both in the classroom and at squash practice. “Likewise, when I was doing homework, I tried to work as efficiently as I could to produce my best quality of work.” Ultimately, she chalks up her success in balancing all her responsibilities to being transparent in her communication with classmates and teammates ahead of time.
A Nice Surprise
Haywood admits that coming to Virginia, she sometimes felt homesick, since she hadn’t met many people from the Caribbean. But when she discovered that McIntire Professors Kisha Lashley and Bevin Etienne are both from Dominica—an island very close to her home country of Barbados—she was elated.
“Dominica is where my mum grew up. As a child, my family and I visited every vacation, and it’s always held a very special place in my heart,” she says, revealing how she was unaware that Lashley and Etienne were from the island nation. “This was a nice surprise. To enter the Comm School and be introduced to two incredible professors who also happened to know my family was extremely comforting to me, and I loved the instant connection we formed,” she says, explaining that, when the faculty members visited Dominica during the pandemic, Lashley and Etienne actually met Haywood’s cousin who lived nearby.
“Our relationship allowed me to feel comfort in knowing that even in a new country, there are still opportunities to form connections with people who will make me feel a little closer to home,” she says.
Haywood believes that she was more right about McIntire than she thought before even starting the program. The teamwork that characterizes the Comm School’s undergraduate education would also come to define the skills that she learned, opening up what she envisions as a vast amount of opportunities and solidifying friendships.
“From midnight sessions in the computer lab with my entire block to late-night Zoom calls with my ICE group, Comm gave me the opportunity to meet, collaborate with, and genuinely connect with more people than I ever anticipated,” she says, noting how she and her peers encouraged and pushed each other to improve. “Together, we’re coming out a more creative, critical, and engaged group of young professionals, and I can’t wait to continue to grow our relationships in New York.”
Having interned with UBS Financial Services’ Wealth Management division in 2021, Haywood will be returning to UBS as a Graduate Talent Program Analyst in its New York office.
“I’m looking forward to starting my journey at UBS in the fall,” Haywood says, but can’t suppress her giddiness knowing that she’s prepared for “all of the different paths that I can take as a result of my education. I know that wherever I go, I’ll be prepared to collaborate with my teams, and to bring my own unique set of experiences to the table.”