Current M.S. in Commerce (MSC) student in the Business Analytics track, Allison Lettie, completed her undergraduate degree at UVA in three years, so she’s using her fourth to get her master’s from McIntire (we call these candidates 3+1s).
When (and why) did you decide to apply to the MSC program?
I decided to apply to the MSC program during my second year at UVA. I was an Economics major and at this point was realizing that it was much more theoretical than I wanted,. Unfortunately it was too late to apply to the undergraduate program at McIntire, but I found out I could complete my undergrad in three years and after attending an MSC information session, decided it would be a great fit for me. A huge plus is being able to earn both my bachelor’s and master’s in four years!
What was your undergraduate major — how do you think it ties into the Business Analytics curriculum?
My undergraduate major was Economics. While Economics is very theoretical, it ties in very well with Business Analytics by creating a solid foundation, particularly with statistics. Beyond the basics, Business Analytics is different than most things I learned in Economics, and much more applicable to things I want to do in the future, specifically because it’s incredibly hands on and incorporates strategic problem solving. Business Analytics allows you to look more in depth at information beyond face value. My undergraduate degree didn’t provide the tools or skills to do this.
What has the Business Analytics classes been like so far?
During the fall of the MSC program we only had one track-specific course, “Introduction to Business Analytics.” This gave us the basics of what Business Analytics is and the evolution of Business Analytics from descriptive analytics to prescriptive analytics. We then focused on classification models and used RapidMiner to actually run and create models.
Second term BA-specific classes are Digital Analytics, Advanced Quantitative Analysis, Big Data, Customer Analytics, and Cloud Computing. With Professor Kitchens, one of our projects will work with Tweets and social media. We’ll also have Professor Netemeyer again and do more with SAS and R in addition to a project working with Hilton data. For both of these it will be great just working with real world data.
What has been your favorite memory from the MSC program so far?
I think one of the most memorable parts within the curriculum was the storytelling session. It was great to hear everyone’s unique story about how they ended up at McIntire. Apart from the curriculum it was wonderful coming from UVA to see so many people become part of the school and participate in UVA activities and traditions.
Where are you going on GIE? Did you get your first preference?
I got my first choice, Southeast Asia, for GIE! The preference process was difficult because all of the options were great, but Southeast Asia stood out to me. When submitting my preferences, I didn’t think I would have many chances in the near future to visit places like Myanmar and Ho Chi Minh, and this opportunity combined with doing business in Asia made it my number one choice.
What has your recruiting experience been like at McIntire?
I have found that being a 3+1 has definitely impressed future employers. Coming out of four years of education with both a B.A. and M.S. doesn’t just give you the degrees but also tells employers that you are ambitious and hard working. From a social perspective being a 3+1 allows you to get a master’s while you still have your undergraduate friends and the opportunity to meet even more people.
I have had a great experience with the Commerce Career Services as I pursue a job in consulting and analytics. I’ve had them look over my resume and conduct a mock interview, which was very helpful. I’ve also taken advantage of several events they’ve hosted, including the big Commerce Career Fair.
I definitely think the MSC program has been worth it and I see it having a positive impact on my future. My economic undergraduate degree was very theoretical but this program provided hands-on experience and both the hard and soft skills that will add immediate and long-term value to my career.
For more information on how to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years, check out this video!