Three Different Continents–Three Different Career Paths

Lena Hametner (M.S. in Global Commerce '22) talks to three classmates about why they chose the program and their career plans after graduation.

Lena Hametner - M.S. in Global Commerce’s 2021-2022 Student Ambassador

Traveling around the world, living with a cohort of 17 different nationalities, and learning about how business is done on three continents in the world’s biggest economies sounds great–but what are you going to do after? Is it a Finance program? Accounting? Marketing? One thing that sets the M.S. in Global Commerce apart from other programs is its broadness. As a general management graduate program, it can be more of a challenge to picture what career path (or life path) to take afterward. That is why I talked to three of my classmates about why they chose this program and what they plan to do after this amazing year. Let me introduce Kadyn, Max, and Linlin from the U.S., Austria, and China, who all went into this master’s program with different aspirations and expectations for their professional lives afterward.

Kadyn – Consulting

Describe the Global 3 Program in a few words: “Good friends and lots of learning.”

Kadyn Fleming - UVA McIntire School of Commerce

Kadyn from the U.S.

First, meet Kadyn, a Georgia Tech graduate with a concentration in Operations and Supply Chain Management. She chose the Global Commerce Program because it offered the possibility to have an international experience and to travel together with a tight-knit cohort of global students. Having done international summer studies before, she found it a lot easier to be with a group of internationals than to be the sole exchange student in a sea of locals at a foreign university. Kadyn knew coming into the program that she wanted to do management consulting and has just accepted an offer from McKinsey & Company for a fellow position in their Atlanta office. Congrats, Kadyn! Her specialization will be in product development and procurement.

“I wanted to do something where I can have that procurement experience but not be super pigeonholed in an industry, so the consulting job at McKinsey really combines those two for me.”

McKinsey recruitment is very competitive, and the unique Global 3 Program helped Kadyn stand out in the interview process. Interview partners were curious about the program, and apart from the academic accreditation, it was always an easy starting point to start a meaningful conversation.

“I knew I would want to meet with diverse and international people, and this master’s has given me the opportunity to develop these skills a lot.”

Max – Entrepreneur

Describe the Global 3 Program in a few words: “International friendships.”

Max_UVA McIntire School of Commerce

Max from Austria

Next up is Max, a Business Administration graduate from the Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU). Max has always had a passion for sports and played handball for the Austrian national team. In 2017, he turned his passion into a job and founded his own event management business with a friend through connections he had through his sports network. When COVID-19 hit, they transformed it into a social media agency focused on performance marketing and promotion. Working for his own business helped Max find his passion and eventually decide to do the Global 3 Program.

“Connecting people to places, promoting places and businesses to bring people together, first across Austria but then in more countries, really showed me what I wanted to do.”

After finishing the program, Max plans to further work on his business. His goal would be to further combine his passion for sports with his professional life and integrate it into his business. Though he was sure he would never want to work for a company, his opinion changed during the program:

“If you would’ve asked me before that program, I would’ve said ‘100% working for me,’ but since I have been here, I learned a lot about different opportunities in companies. I now believe that I can have substantial decisional and creative freedom and input working for a company too. And I can always have my business on the side.”

The networks gained in Virginia, Barcelona, and China will help him expand his agency internationally and connect with people and companies worldwide.

“I have talked about startup ideas with cohort colleagues as well–but the ideas are still young.”

In the end, Max is not sure yet where exactly his path will lead him, but it will undoubtedly include entrepreneurial activities, marketing, and international exposure. It is the global perspective and the diverse cultural approaches to problem-solving given to him by this program that Max thinks will help him most with his future endeavors.

Linlin – Continuous Education

Describe the Global 3 Program in a few words: “three countries in one year with great friendships.”

Linlin Jiang_UVA McIntire School of Commerce

Linlin from China

Last but not least, Linlin finished her undergraduate program in China, majoring in Economics and Statistics. She very much enjoys learning and the university environment, which is why she started a master’s in International Business at Lingnan College last year. When she heard about the Global 3 program, Linlin was so excited by the unique opportunity to spend her studies at three different universities in three countries that she decided to suspend her Chinese master’s for a year to join the Global 3.

“Actually, one of the reasons I came here was that I felt kind of lost about my career options later. I wanted one more year to see the world and think about it before I decide where to go professionally.”

Linlin has had consulting internships before but is not set on it. She is interested in various business areas, including marketing and communications. To her, the most valuable aspect of the program is that it will give her time and perspective to find her passion within the business environment. The deeper dive into business in various economies and management tools learned is another part she finds helpful. Linlin is happy to have a grace period of studying and traveling before permanently entering the workforce. She will still have a year of studies in China after finishing with the M.S. in Global Commerce.

“Joining this program is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Wide-Open Career Options

This variety in aspirations and paths sets this program apart. We end up in various industries and positions straight after graduation; a non-exhaustive list includes consulting, marketing, finance, accounting, CPGs, hospitality, and entertainment. Global 3 alumni have leveraged their vast network both in the interview process and their early careers. According to Commerce Career Services, the primary skills acquired through the program with professional impact are understanding multiple perspectives on business projects, working with different people, flexibility, inter- and intrapersonal skills, and multicultural communication. In my personal experience, those transferable skills are more emphasized in this program than in other programs I considered–outside the classroom as much as inside.

Connect with Us!

Commerce Career Services is a fantastic resource for us students for any career-related question, whether it be connecting with alumni, talking about how to leverage our degrees in job interviews and beyond, or general guidance on where we want to go. If you want to speak with current M.S. in Global Commerce students about our experiences, career aspirations, or the program in general–check out the Virtual Coffee Chats (very casual and happening every other week!) or connect directly with one of our Brand Ambassadors. We love to chat about our program, so if you have any questions at all, reach out.

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