As a current student at the UVA McIntire School of Commerce, I have realized, quite early on, that when you come to McIntire, you aren’t just here for the 30-credit education but a wholesome experience where people are looking out for you! McIntire excels at building a support system for its students and makes sure that we enjoy our time here while also learning.
One of the many supporting services at McIntire is Career Services. They play a massive role in helping us find a job, but their significance at McIntire goes way beyond that. When I talked to Katie Kinniburgh, the former Assistant Director for Career Development, she emphasized how our generation no longer functions on getting one job and sticking to it until retirement. Instead, we believe in mobility and exploring all possible avenues. That’s where Career Services steps in to help us. They assist us in getting the first job and play an essential part in our professional development to prepare us for that next job all the while giving us the confidence to pivot in those life-changing events. Career Services assists in our professional identification and empowers us with all the tools to be comfortable with our choices. They foster connections and help us leverage the McIntire network by hosting various events throughout the year. Career Services also conducts a Mentoring Program and matches us with mentors to have one-on-one sessions as they guide us in our career paths. They also prepare us for job interviews and navigate through difficult conversations such as salary negotiations. Katie also mentioned that her favorite part of the job, like other coaches, is to help students articulate who they are and discuss their life stories. They want to encourage us to identify our goals for career fulfillment and how to attain them.
When I spoke to my friend Ali Saif, who utilized the interview preparation services offered by Career Services, he mentioned that they were extremely helpful in vocalizing his thoughts and also guided him about small but impactful things like nonverbal cues and what to incorporate when interviewing with a specific company. Career Services prepares us for the real world and facilitates networking. And the connections we make at McIntire go well beyond the duration of the course.
Next, we have Student Services, which is a go-to place for students when in need of any help. Be it life advice, assistance in finding part-time jobs in town, or just a good counseling session, Student Services is the one-stop shop for all students’ needs. When I talked to Caroline Wagner, Assistant Director of Student Services, she said that Student Services is the “jack of all trades.” They act as the middlemen between the faculty and students with the primary goal to make sure that the students have an excellent academic experience. The department is really instrumental in the onboarding phase and helps with the smooth transition to McIntire. Early on, we are added to Facebook groups by the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions team to help in the roommate search process. Then we also get emails to keep us in check and compliant before we come down to Charlottesville. Once we are here, they help us settle in and provide us with all the resources to explore the town. Student Services is also the home of our very own GCOM Council, an organization that is set in place to ensure that we have fun and help integrate all cultures. I personally look forward to Caroline’s weekly emails (especially when they are about free food) to line up all events in my calendar and make sure I get the whole McIntire experience.
Mental Health and Wellness
Navigating the journey through McIntire can seem overwhelming at times, but the staff and faculty provide us with the resources to make the transition smooth and seamless. Given the importance of mental health today, McIntire supports well-being. We have access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), through the Student Health and Wellness department, and a CAPS counselor is dedicated to working with McIntire students. Not just that, the faculty at McIntire are accommodating and ready to support us in any way possible.
We get everything here from academic guidance, career preparation, and even mental health support, all under the McIntire umbrella. Once we become part of the McIntire family, it’s not just about what courses we are signing up for, but lots of support with a sense of belonging to a community that helps us prepare for what’s coming next when we move to the next chapter of our lives. At the end of the day, McIntire isn’t a program, it is an experience you won’t ever forget.