Undergraduate Blog

Skills Gained the Third Year in McIntire

McIntire students gain hard and soft skills as they work together on group projects.

students work at computers

The Integrated Core Experience (ICE) curriculum within the McIntire School of Commerce teaches students many skills. Group projects, case studies, and professional presentations prepare students to work effectively in teams, express their ideas clearly, and make business-level decisions. Along with these crucial abilities, students are challenged to develop their technical skills by working with a variety of programs.

While some students may not be confident in this area when they enter McIntire, Professor Ryan Nelson believes it significantly contributes to students’ success: “The McIntire School of Commerce produces well-rounded graduates who are prepared for a wide variety of jobs post-graduation, and to be successful throughout their entire career. To this end, our curriculum consists of both technical and non-technical (oftentimes referred to as hard and soft) knowledge and skills. Technical skills provide the means to implement concepts and ideas. McIntire students are highly sought after by recruiters because they are so well-rounded.”

Below are some of the programs used during ICE:

PowerPoint and Word
These classic tools are used to do a majority of the work for the group projects. During the first semester of ICE, teams write lengthy reports in Word, complete with exhibits, appendixes, and citations. While most of us are proficient in Word, the amount of time spent writing during the projects makes you more efficient with the program. ICE also includes multiple presentations, making PowerPoint a necessity. You will learn design tips for creating effective slides and have plenty of chances to practice them.

Also a part of the Microsoft Office Suite, I put Excel in its own category because of its importance in ICE. Excel is routinely used during ICE projects and in class, most commonly for Finance. The tool is handy for discounted cash flow analyses and time value of money problems. During the second semester, data cleaning and big data analysis take center stage. From the extensive Excel use, I learned many keyboard shortcuts.

Megastat is an add-on to Excel. It is used during the quantitative analysis component of ICE to perform statistical analyses, such as t-tests, multiple regressions, and chi-square tests. Some of the analyses cannot be performed by Excel without Megastat, so the program adds functionality to the classic tool.

Regression problem using Megastat

Visio is a program that helps you create flowcharts, process models, and other diagrams. In ICE, Visio is used during Systems to analyze company processes to see where they can be improved. It is also used to create customer journey maps. I had never heard of this program before McIntire, but now, I feel comfortable enough with it to include it on my resume.

Tableau is a convenient data visualization tool. You can connect to data from a variety of sources, such as Excel or SQL, and the interface is user friendly. Tableau allows you to drag and drop variables and instantly see how your visualization changes. It also provides numerous suggestions for visualizations based on your data, giving you a place to start.

Tableau assignment

These programs are just a handful of what you will experience on the technical side of McIntire. Other Commerce classes outside of ICE also use Python, R, SQL, and more. Professor Nelson encourages students to embrace technical learning: “It is important for our third-year students to learn cutting-edge technical skills so that they can be competitive for internships and productive in a variety of jobs throughout their careers.” Thanks to ICE and other Commerce classes, McIntire students can feel prepared to make an impact wherever they end up after graduation.

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