Student Life

Reflecting on the McIntire Community by Dean Brooks (M.S. in Accounting ’21)

Dean Brooks shares how he experienced a sense of community as a graduate student in the M.S. in Accounting Program.

Community is a word you’ll hear often during your time at McIntire. Since it is something I care a lot about and have experienced on my own, I thought it fitting to dedicate a special blog post to the topic.

The community here at the McIntire School of Commerce includes a world-class group of faculty, staff, and students who make everyone’s experience special. In my experience, there is a common bond between McIntire students and faculty that seems to bring out the best in people on both sides.

I asked former student and recent grad Zavier Webb (M.S. in Accounting ’20) about his experience with the community here at McIntire and how it improved his overall experience.

“Everyone brings their ‘A’ game to each class, meeting, and presentation,” Webb said. “I always felt as if I was surrounded by young professionals, not just classmates.”

I like to describe the hardworking nature of the students at McIntire as contagious. Having such bright students and future business leaders within every group, class, or presentation has really held me accountable when preparing for class and making sure I was in the best position to learn.

From the moment I stepped on Grounds for orientation in the fall, I knew that I had chosen a program that more closely resembled a true family community than just a traditional classroom environment. Every professor I met was engaged, caring, and eager to help me in any way possible as I transitioned to life in grad school. Since then, I have had such inspiring encounters with professors that prove they care just as much as people say they do.

Having professors who truly go out of their way to learn about their students and connect with them on a personal level has really improved my educational experience here and made me feel so comfortable. As an out-of-state student who knew literally no one at UVA, it was so meaningful to have faculty there for me and willing to support me as I adjusted to grad school and UVA overall.

This comfort translated into the classroom and benefited me tremendously. For example, I’ve felt completely comfortable reaching out to my professors with any problems or concerns I have, even if they have nothing to do with the course or its assignments. Also, all of our professors have been in our shoes, so having their wealth of knowledge and experience to help guide me through the beginning of my accounting career has been huge.

Another amazing part about the McIntire community is that it runs incredibly deep, and almost every student I’ve ever spoken to about it has similar things to say.

Current MSA student and Graduate Council President Overton Ragland (M.S. in Accounting ’21) described the community to me. “[McIntire] is a very welcoming community where the professors, staff, and students all help make it feel like a family,” Ragland said. “Everyone is welcome, and they go above and beyond to help out the students.”

Throughout my time at McIntire, I have always felt like my voice was heard and respected. Another MSA classmate, Victoria Lawson (M.S. in Accounting ’21), has had similar experiences.

“Professors are always willing to make themselves available at any time, and every professor is very accommodating,” Lawson said. “I can tell that my professors truly care about my personal progress, not only within the class and on assignments, but as a graduate student and young professional overall.”

As you can see, our community is very special to a lot of people. Since the beginning of the year, our entire class has grown so close, and I am confident that the people I met during the program will be lifelong friends and people I stay connected with going forward. In fact, these are the types of friends that I am confident will be there for me at big moments in my life down the road.

For prospective students, come to McIntire with an open mind and expect to make lifelong friends with students and professors alike. I look forward to maintaining these connections and having their support and guidance in the coming years.

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