Undergraduate Blog

Shattering Stereotypes about the Integrated Core Experience

Read what current McIntire students have to say about their personal experience in the Integrated Core Experience program.

By Aimy Simbi

At McIntire, all third-year students are required to complete the Integrated Core Experience, otherwise known as the ICE program. While students are applying into McIntire, a lot of them develop preconceptions about the program and its students based on the stereotypes they’ve heard. As third-years are currently completing ICE, I asked some of them whether the stereotypes they heard as a prospective student were a reflection of their actual experience, and their answers are recorded below.

Stereotype #1: The coursework is challenging yet rewarding.

“True. The work has been challenging, but I’ve learned so much in ICE. It’s given me a good foundation on various topics, and now I’m better prepared for my summer internship.”—Alice Opiyo, Finance

“True. In my experience, the workload was demanding. There isn’t as much of an emphasis on individual work in ICE; it’s more about working within a group. You’ll navigate through project deadlines, finding a time that works for everyone, and how to react to group dynamics.” —Sam Solomon, Information Technology & Management

Stereotype #2: The ICE finals are brutal.

“They are difficult, but I wouldn’t say they’re brutal. I really enjoyed how they were focused on real-world cases and problem solving.”—Colton Wardle, Finance & Management

“Somewhat true. While it wasn’t unbearable, it was very intense. You’ll want to have good time management during that period.” —Sam Solomon, Information Technology & Management

Stereotype #3: Everyone is intimidatingly smart in ICE.

“Well, my peers are intelligent, but not in an intimidating manner. There’s a good distribution of different strengths in different subject areas.” —Divya Kumaran, Accounting

“ICE can be pretty competitive, but in my experience, there are genuinely nice people, so it’s not really intimidating.” —Colton Wardle, Finance & Management

Stereotype #4: The fall ICE semester will be harder than the spring ICE semester.

“That preconception is very misleading. I expected the workload to not be as much this semester and was surprised to see that it was just as intense. Make sure you come in expecting to put in as much work as you did in the first, especially for the 3040 project.” —Sam Solomon, Information Technology & Management

“Not necessarily. I definitely cared as much about what I produced in the fall as I did in the spring. While there are only two major projects in the spring, I wouldn’t say that it’s easier than the fall.” —Colton Wardle, Finance & Management

Stereotype #5: All ICE students want to concentrate in Finance or work in consulting.

“While I’ve definitely heard that, it’s not been the case at all. There are so many students who want to go into different roles outside of finance or consulting. A lot of my peers are concentrating in Management, Marketing, and/or Information Technology, so there’s a great variety outside of the Finance and consulting students.” —Alice Opiyo, Finance

“There are a lot of ICE students who want to do either finance or consulting, but not everyone wants to. There are students who go into different fields.” —Divya Kumaran, Accounting

The replies to these common stereotypes show that most of them are either misleading or exaggerated, so keep that in mind if you are a prospective Commerce student. Remember that the ICE student experience is not monolithic, as it varies between each student.

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