One-year master’s programs in business are a newer development in universities in the United States. Due to its novelty, many students may be wondering what the typical day of an M.S. in Commerce student looks like. If you’re that student, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will offer a student’s perspective on a typical day in Rouss & Robertson Halls.
In the fall semester, all students take the same classes, focusing on business fundamentals (except for one track-specific course later in the semester). These classes include Strategy & Systems, Cost Accounting, Financial Accounting, Finance, Marketing (Quantitative Analysis), and Organizational Behavior. These add up to be 18.5 credits of coursework. This many credits may seem like a lot, and it definitely can be at times. Still, the program is designed in this fashion to prepare students for any future role in business they may hold while also ensuring that students can adequately manage different responsibilities within their role at the same time.
The Matrix is how our classes are formatted and contains your class schedule for the semester. Unlike most class schedules, the Matrix often changes from day to day. Certain classes occur only at the beginning of the semester, and some occur only towards the end. Even when you’re in class, the days and times you’re in attendance can also change. These classes are all worth various amounts of credit ranging from 1.5 credits to 6 credits. This may seem confusing, and it is for the first month or so to most students.
One thing that remains consistent is the section format for this semester. In the fall semester, every student in the program is divided into two sections (this year has 75 students each, since the class was 150 people). These sections contain a mix of students from all tracks, much like your core working group of five students. Section 1’s classes consistently start at 8 a.m. and end in the early afternoon, and section 2 can expect to begin near 9:30 a.m. daily, ending closer to dinner time. Below, I have attached an example of the Matrix so you can have a visual representation of how varied our days can be during the fall semester.
During the spring semester, students move into their track-specific classes. Alongside these track-specific classes, students also enroll in one elective and one course to prepare us for our Global Immersion Experience, both with students from all tracks. This year, each of the three tracks has about 50 students. These are Marketing and Management, Business Analytics, and Finance (next year, there’s also a new Biotechnology track). More specific information on the types of classes you’ll take in each of these tracks is located on McIntire’s website. You can breathe a sigh of relief, because this semester is modeled much more like a typical college schedule than the fall semester. No more constantly checking your Google Calendar to ensure you’re not accidentally missing class! This semester also feels much more manageable, since we take 17.5 credits (one less than last semester!).
Although our classes take up a lot of our day-to-day lives in the program, students still find ample time to meet with friends in the program or find fun places around Grounds to do work! Some of those are below.
Rouss & Robertson Halls
Our very own facility at UVA contains so many places for students to study, work in their teams, or converse with friends when they aren’t in classes. One of my personal favorites (and a program favorite) is our grad lounge. On the first floor of Robertson Hall, it is reserved exclusively for graduate students. Since our classes are located on this floor too, it is convenient to quickly attend a team meeting or have lunch with a friend in this room. Also on the first floor are tons of study rooms that all students in McIntire can reserve for a more private spot to complete their work.
The facility also has a courtyard on the third and fourth floors, which allows students to sit outside when the weather is nice. During the fall semester, my team personally held a lot of our meetings outside in this space when the weather was nice. This is also where McIntire Mingles take place, which allows graduate students to interact with other students and professors to strengthen the McIntire community you’ll build here!
Finally, RRH is conveniently located right on the Lawn! UVA is a UNESCO World Heritage site so if you’re ever looking for a study break, exiting from the fourth floor to the Lawn is a great way to decompress.
The School’s convenient location also makes it so close to the Corner. Sometimes days can feel exceptionally long, so it’s nice to remove yourself from the RRH when you have a break. Many students grab a coffee, bagels, or lunch between classes since the corner has so many dining options for students. My favorite thing to do is grab Bodo’s and Starbucks and then head back to my room with friends, where we can sit outside and enjoy time together. The Corner also provides a few excellent places to study, like 1515, if you need a change of scenery.
Finally, one part of the M.S. in Commerce that creates so much community is that many students in the program live together. Once you accept your offer of admission, students are added to a Facebook group where they can look for roommates and places to live. Since so many students live close together, It’s an excellent opportunity to relax with friends once people have left school for the day. It also provides the chance to ask friends for help with any work since the program focuses on working together with your peers. Finally, it makes the one-year program much more fun, since it gives you spaces to interact with fellow students and make friends to further explore Charlottesville with.
While the day-to-day life of an M.S. in Commerce student at UVA is a little hard to pin down, what makes this program special is that regardless of what you’re doing, you’ll probably be surrounded by friends you’ve made at McIntire for most of your days in Charlottesville.