UVA McIntire MS Commerce or Duke Fuqua MMS

tinamaria's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 10

Hello all. I've been accepted to both UVA's MS Commerce (Marketing & Management Track) and Duke's Master of Management Studies. I'm having a bit of trouble deciding which program is the best choice. Both schools have incredible faculty, alumni networks, as well as job placement rates.

I don't have much business experience and I know that UVa's program is designed for students with no business experience. I have an interest in Health Care Consultancy and Non-Profit Organization Management.

I've read through each program's websites, statistics, etc. Does anyone have further input or insight into either of these programs? Differences in the curriculum? Any information is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Comments (49)

Mar 11, 2013

I would choose UVA's program. They are more selective and the program is more focused. Emma is running a tight ship over there.

Mar 11, 2013

It's six of one, half-dozen of the other. Both are well-respected, south-ish, hard-partying, good looking, etc., schools. Forced to choose I'd probably go Duke, but I don't really think it matters. Also - secret: it doesn't really matter what you're interested in. Like, you can learn whatever you need to learn on your own through books, and no recruiter in his or her right mind would say, "I know tinamaria is into health care consulting, but had she gone to UVA over Duke she would have gotten the nod....".

Mar 11, 2013

Depending on what you want to do. But overall I would go for Duke. Very balanced on both finance and consulting fronts.

Mar 11, 2013

UVA, more fun. Both are solid tho.

Mar 11, 2013

I don't know much about Duke's program, but I know a few people who have gone to UVa's MS Commerce program. One thing that might differentiate it from other masters in business programs is that it incorporates a global immersion aspect, where students go abroad from May to June after the second semester. If you're at all interested in International Business, I would recommend UVa's program.

Aside from the curriculum, I agree with above, Charlottesville is a great town with a thriving college community and bar scene.

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Mar 11, 2013

I think you would be better off not getting an MSF. As somebody currently in one of the top programs I can tell you that nobody in my class has gotten BB IBD offers, typically your looking at boutiques/MM. I would just start looking for jobs, you would be much better off working for a year in a related job then lateraling rather than spending a year of your life and 40k on an MSF.

You mentioned that you wouldn't be happy at a smaller firm or rotational program, but in all honestly most of the MSF job placements will be at those types of roles. Most kids in my program fight over IB jobs at firms like RJ, Buldge Brackets are a stretch for sure.

Mar 11, 2013

Agree with above, I don't have personal experience but have read threads (check out the thread about Villanova's MSF) that say you won't get the jobs you want coming out of them.

Mar 11, 2013

UVA is one of the top programs out there, just take a look at their placements. IMO, the Duke program might be "easier" since it is more management than pure finance. The range of placements will be wider because of this.

As for this BB or bust mentality, get real. Tons of great banks out there beyond what WSO considers bulge bracket. Placements are largely dependent on the individual student also.

Mar 11, 2013

@jss09 That's kinda what I've heard and read, which is why I've never really considered the MSFs; however, after going back and looking at the Duke and UVA placements and who comes to OCR I've started to reconsider. Along with the education I want out of an MSF program is 1. Rebrand a little and get good grades 2. Have the opportunity to get into some interviews. In my opinion interviewing is one of my strongest assets and I'm confident that if I can be channeled into first round interviews at top banks and consultancies, that I can convert.

@notthehospitalER Villanova seems like a weak placing program. I've heard that their OCR is shit and I'm not a huge fan of Philly. I know I'm not a candidate for any of the super quantitate programs like Princeton or MIT, but Duke and UVA seems to be easier to get into, have a larger class size, and have good placement

@TNA Thats how I felt after looking at the placements. They get some big names to come to campus. I'm by no means a BB or bust guy. I'd be extremely happy with a Tier 2 consultancy, one of the "lesser" BBs, or even a good boutique firm. Right now, those are mainly out of my reach, which is why I'm considering an MSF.

Thanks for all the comments guys

Mar 11, 2013

Many people want banking few are qualified and prepared. Programs can provide a quality education, a strong brand and a good alumni base. The rest is on the student. If you look at all of the main MSF programs they provide all three.

Placements will always ebb and flow in MSF programs because MSF students, in general, are looking for a second shot.

As for Villanova's placements being "shit" I'd be interested to know your source. Considering the fact that I know all the placements the program has ever had and I wouldn't call them shit.

Mar 11, 2013

You could also consider delaying graduation one semester. That would allow you to recruit as a junior all over again. With your new graduation date of January 2015 rather than May 2014, you are eligible for every firm's summer program. You would be more competitive than many peers given your prior BB internship, you could get your grades up in the meantime, and you have more insight on how the recruiting process works as well as how to perform during the summer program.

To do this, you can either take the spring off and complete an off-cycle internship at whatever place you can convince in the coming months to take you, go half-time in the spring and the following fall, or simply take nine full semesters (and pick up a second major or minor) if your school allows it. You could even spend a semester abroad.

This allows you to avoid the MSF problem, as we've all seen that placements out of even the top programs are less than consistently stellar. It is very easy to explain any circumstance that arises in undergrad; you can make up a story explaining your delayed graduation by citing pressing personal matters, familial issues, or financial concerns.

At firms you didn't previously interview with (i.e. they don't know your name when reviewing resumes), you don't even have to bring it up. On the other hand, the fairly automatic assumption most people have about someone in a one-year Master's program is that they couldn't get a good job out of undergrad.

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Mar 11, 2013

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Mar 11, 2013

I think the extend a year is an interesting option, but I feel like there are some risks. I suppose if you can land a off cycle internship it would be the best bet. You should have an easy time doing it since you already have a BB internship and you would be able to commit full time to the job. You could also add another major and use that as a way to beef up your GPA and stay in school longer. Might also make sense.

You wont get an another alumni network that you would get at a masters, but since you go to a top LAC you probably don't need it. I'd see how you do on your GMAT and then make the decision. You can apply to a tight group of 2/3 schools that have solid recruiting in the area you are looking to work and if those fall through or if they don't provide any scholarship money, you can always extend a year.

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Mar 11, 2013

Call and ask.

Mar 11, 2013

I've heard that last year about 400 people applied to Fuqua, and about 110 got in. Don't take my word for it though; this is just what I've heard. I would assume it's about the same at UVA.

Get your GMAT up or over the average, and write well constructed essays, and you should be fine at one or the other.

Mar 11, 2013

Dukes program accepts people with a wider and more diverse background. So I would say that Duke is "easier" to get into, although easy doesn't mean dumb. UVA's program is amazing, but for a certain type of student. I'd say they are "harder" but not simply on a GMAT/GPA basis.

If you are a non business student looking to do finance or marketing and want a great experience, UVA is a good fit. If you come from a wide range of backgrounds, business included, and are looking for a general management experience, Duke is a good fit.

Both brand names are top notch and both will get you where you want to be, the question is where do you feel more comfortable?

Mar 11, 2013

Thanks for the feedback.

Mar 11, 2013

Assuming a 80% acceptance yield one could expect an acceptance rate of about ~ 35-40% for the program.

Mar 11, 2013

Selectivity is usually something kept internal, unless you are a top MBA program. Even if you knew selectivity, it wouldn't really matter since you don't know the quality of all those apps.

Mar 11, 2013

At least I'm sure of the middle 80% range for the GMAT which was 540-740 last year, that's a fact, however the comment above was just an educated guess.

Mar 11, 2013

I was looking at UVA's program and it says it is pretty much just for current students. Can anyone confirm or deny if this is exclusive or if they are willing to waive this for a student who has been out of school for a year?

Mar 11, 2013

UVA has graduating timeline restrictions. You kind of have to go right into the program I believe. The Duke MMS is more suited for people without any business background. Consider it MBA lite.

Mar 11, 2013

I'll PM you later tonight (right now in school).

Academically, both programs are extremely similar and are great for advisory side of banking.

Mar 11, 2013

I'm in a similar situation as the OP (non-target, need a good school on resume, although I majored in business...will that hurt me) so can I get PMs/info on these programs as well?

Mar 11, 2013

Take the GMAT in lieu of the GRE. I'd add Wake Forest, Villanova, Vandy.

Mar 11, 2013

I would think your GPA could offset that GRE score, but TNA is the guy to confirm that or not. But if you get that GRE from a 310 to a 320 you'd probably be good to go IMO.

Also, you don't need to do the GMAT. Almost every school takes both and they use the GRE converter. So right now, your score converts to a 610 GMAT. Get, say, a 160 V and 160 Q, that converts to a 670 GMAT. With that GPA of yours, that will round you out pretty well.

Mar 11, 2013

Take the GMAT, score 660 or more and you should be fine.

Mar 11, 2013

Just go to a foreign school for your masters. There are plenty of "target" schools in europe that don't have impossible entry requirements.

Mar 11, 2013

I have thought of a few schools in Europe, specifically:

UK: Cass & Warwick
Netherlands: RSM, University of Amsterdam & Tilburg.
Ireland: UC, Dublin & Trinity

The Only problem is that these schools are all unknown in the US and will make it difficult to come back to the states. I figure that a US masters with a good reputation abroad is the best route.

Mar 11, 2013

European schools to consider is HEC Paris and SSE, both very well regarded in US

Mar 11, 2013

I actually really love the HEC Paris program and forgot to mention that above. To tell you the truth it would probably be my first choice out of al the European Programs I saw. SSE I know has a great program but I hear most recruiting is done for Nordic Desks in Europe and I speak only English Fluently ( took some French in secondary school but not even conversational). I would really appreciate it if you have any insight into the HEC Paris program.

Mar 11, 2013

Just as an aside, I hold a certain affection for the Netherlands, are the schools I mentioned worth considering for a career in London?

Mar 11, 2013

For a career in London, go to a school in London, LSE, LBS, Warwick or even Manchester.

Look, it will be easier for you to apply for jobs there by being there.

As far as your question: Duke

Mar 11, 2013

ya if you only speak english go to british schools. Look into UCL, Durham, St. Andrews, Edinburgh and maybe even Kings College in addition to the aformentioned ones like Oxbridge, LSE, Warwick and Imperial.

But to the matter at hand I second Duke.

Mar 11, 2013

If just considering Fuqua v. McIntire, I would tend to lean towards McIntire. McIntire has a built-in Global Immersion Experience in which you spend a month abroad in one of 4 locales (2 Europe trips, Southeast Asia and China). While abroad, students take classes and visit companies in those locales. Through these trips, McIntire has really increased its name recognition amongst international employers when considering applicants.

PM me for more information.

Mar 11, 2013

If you are requiring a H1 to work in the states you might want to consider European schools. Not saying you can't find a job, but you need to cast a wide net and be comfortable taking something outside of IB.

Mar 11, 2013

Any advice? I really appreciate!

Dec 23, 2018

Let me begin by saying that I went to UVA for undergrad and then attended the MS in Commerce program for about a week before deciding to drop. I talked to probably a dozen students from the program, dozens from UVA outside of the program, spoke with almost every faculty member at the program, and looked at hundreds of McIntire Linkedin profiles. There is a very small group of students who would benefit from this program, but for 95% of people reading this, I'd tell you to absolutely avoid.

McIntire - as a school within UVA - is primarily an undergraduate school at UVA that is built to train students to become complicit with a top-down, East-Coast business culture of 'do what you're told, when you're told, and for how long you are told to'. It therefore breeds top applicants to consulting and banking firms in DC and NY who like "talent" that won't question any immorality in business practice.

The undergraduate school has top placement, sometimes through explicit and implicit agreements with large employers. The MS in Commerce is a high-priced-program to fill leftover slots at these firms. Especially with EY. From the MS in Commerce program alone, you won't have your top pick at a firm, or in an industry. So - who should do the program?

If you're an international student with a questionable GPA (below 3.0) from a small, no-name university, have no solid internship experience, a background in liberal arts or pre-med who realized during your senior year that you want to do finance (I wouldn't even go to this program for consulting), and have a very specific reason for wanting to live in D.C. or N.Y., then this program is for you.

That's it. If you don't match ALL of those criteria, I wouldn't go.

The MS in Commerce was the first of its kind, but certainly not the best. NYU has a computer scienced focus MSe right in the heart of the city. LBS has an internationally focused Beijing-London based program. Georgetown has an online MS in finance with a higher base pay and broader student base. Heck, even UVA has a one year MS in data science program whose base pay is practically double that of this MS in Commerce.

Not only are there other options for schools - if you're trying to land a consulting, marketing, sales, or data analytics job, this still would be a waste of time, since these industries don't even require a degree to start off in.

Take what would have been your Fall semester networking hundreds of people on Linkedin and from company websites, offer to intern in the Spring, and you'll absolutely have a good job offer. This strategy landed me a full time offer making 10K more than the average MS Commerce graduate, and at a much better firm than what most students there get into. Want to work in a NY startup? Move to NY and reach out to Uncubed. What about SF? LA? DC? You'll literally save money if you just move there and network yourself, or hired a career counselor for 1/30th of the price.

This program is inherently regressive, contradicting UVA as an educational institution while driving students away from modern business trends.

UVA is a school built on free thought and challenging the common standard to think outside the box - but this program literally grades you on what you say and penalizes students heavily for being one minute late to class (8:00 am) or speaking away from their very pro-capitalist readings. You'll basically be in a basement of a building learning nothing but working all the time, and not be allowed even the freedom to question the Professor when he says that Amazon, Google, and Facebook don't do anything illegal and aren't oligopolists.

They're extremely rigid structure is contradictory towards the developing internet economy, too, where work hours are more flexible and responsibilities changing more often.

Finally, you won't learn much for the price and time you give.

In the first week of class, they haphazardly tried to prepare us for consulting applications (which 5% of students will actually see results from, even though 50% expect to). We did a middle-school level assignment that took a few hours outside of class and 20 minutes in class, and then were told that we could embellish this experience on our resume and pretend (I'm not even exaggerating, we were told, point-blank, to lie to prospective employers) this was a real project for a real firm.

The finance and business analytics tracks will, in the Spring, learn some fundamental skills. But these skills could be learned on coursera or linda in literally a month of your own time and at a much, much lower price. If you do this MS program, you won't learn the skills you need in the time you would need for applying to top firms. Yes, you'll learn some skills, but you would have done so too late and would be left with employment options that you could have landed by doing a coursera course and applying 8 months earlier.

Even the staff - who are on top of their jobs - are mostly incompetent. Emma Candalier would be the only exception, as she is responsive, forgiving, helpful, and understanding. Professors and program leads know that this program is a joke, but they can't do much about it. Course material is expensive and ridiculously dated, and you can't help but feel robbed the entire time. It's so bad that when I asked - in confidence - other classmates if they were actually going to stay, most said they wanted to leave, but were too afraid that they couldn't get a job if they do.

Going to this program would have been the worst decision of my year. UVA alumni rarely respect graduates from this MS Commerce, and you won't leave with an incredibly valuable hard skill (like if you went to a data or computer science program). You're basically paying for a position at EY as an analyst and will work there for 4 years before realizing that you'll need to go back for an MBA to get the salary you thought this program was going to give you.

If you just want to work in business, look for companies you admire, and then reach out to people doing things you're interested in. Find out what skills you need to get a job there and build those on your own time online. Keep in contact with these firms and take any interviews you can get for a Spring internship. You'll be happier, more successful, and wealthier to. Go back to an MBA after 3 to 5 years for that salary increase - this is not even close to a replacement for an MBA, or any other degree, for that matter.

And don't ever forget that being human is being able to question the common and think for yourself. We all have our own happiness, and that's the only Way to work towards it. This program will throw you in the opposite direction of that.