UVA - M.S. in Commerce

Hey all, got a friend from a science background who graduated last May and has been working in his field since then. He's looking to make the move into finance (trading specifically I believe) and I immediatly thought of a program I heard about earlier in the year; the Masters of Science in Commerce from UVA's McIntire School of Commerce. I know that the program is very new but does anyone have any thoughts as to how useful it would be to someone looking to make a career change shortly after graduating? I have to assume that recruiting would be great thanks to Darden and McIntire which both rank very well. It's only 1 year and allows for a second semester concentration in finance. I'd think it's a better alternative for him than just running into an MBA program especially since he wouldn't get admitted into a top one essentially right out of school.

Thanks in advance.

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Comments (86)

Nov 19, 2008 - 7:52am

I go to UVA, but don't have much to add. It is so new a program that there is essentially no track record. I don't know any current students.

I do in general, however, have nice things to say about McIntire. And your friend is exactly the type of student who this program is suppose to target.

Feb 4, 2009 - 2:21pm

Okay. The MS in Commerce is a one-year, pre-experience business degree for liberal arts, science, and engineering majors. It features what McIntire is best known and loved for (by students and recruiters alike), the Integrated Core Experience, as well as specialty tracks in either Financial Services or Marketing & Management. The best part is the six-week global study component at the end of the program, with destinations in either Europe or Asia. For those interested in Financial Services, Europe focuses on capital markets and Asia on investment banking.

Despite the economic downturn, the current class (which is the program's first) is doing very well on the job hunt. They are getting interviews and landing contracts. Official destination numbers will be posted in July. I heavily credit McIntire's career services, which are second to none in the country. The office has one person devoted specifically to grad students, giving them specialized attention.

Check it out: www.commerce.virginia.edu/grad/mscommerce
Email: [email protected]

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May 15, 2009 - 12:26pm

MS Commerce at UVa McIntire? (Originally Posted: 03/25/2014)

Any thoughts on the program? I'm an engineering major looking to make myself more marketable for a banking role. I have a solid GPA and had several interviews for IB positions this fall but couldn't even get through the phone screens because of my weak background in finance. Recruiting at UVa is among the best, so I'm of the opinion that if I will ever get into banking, it will be during fall recruiting in my first semester through this program. Thoughts?

May 15, 2009 - 12:27pm

I think it is one of the best programs in the US. Well run and recruited, with two paths depending on your interests. Cannot go wrong.

I highly recommend it.

May 15, 2009 - 12:28pm

Good program and it should help a bit with showing your interest in finance but it won't be a cure all for recruitment. I'd try to get work experience, if not in IB, at least somewhat finance related.

Beyond that, don't overlook the importance of networking. Most bulge brackets will be filled before you step foot on campus. UVA has most of the EBs and MM's but even with them, you want to try to get an analyst who will vouch for you. The good thing is that UVA has enough alumni everywhere where the hard part is probably trying to target who to network with.

May 15, 2009 - 12:29pm

I echo the comments from TNA. I know many compare it to Duke's MMS, but I believe UVA's academic rigor is much stronger, and its career placement is indicative of that.

May 15, 2009 - 12:30pm

100% agree with above. Not a knock on Duke, but UVA's program is simply amazing.

May 15, 2009 - 12:31pm

UVA MS Commerce Ops. (Originally Posted: 03/21/2011)

I have been considering this program to increase my finance skills and get another shot at recruiting to hopefully try to break into trading. While looking at the website I saw placement for undergrad commerce students at 5% in S&T. I'm curious to know if the same goes for MS of Commerce students and generally if this program is good preparation for the field.

Also I hear good things about the trading lab they have at the Mcintire School, has anybody else heard the same or have any experience in it?

May 15, 2009 - 12:34pm

Do you know if he went the financial services or marketing route? Also, where did he choose to go for the global immersion portion of the curriculum, it is a really interesting addition to the program?

May 15, 2009 - 12:36pm

If your friend is 27, it's not likely he went to the MS in Commerce program because the first graduating class for the program was 2009, and it's a pre-experience program, i.e. you enter at 21 or 22 right out of undergrad. The MS in Commerce program is growing in prestige and popularity as an option to pick up a finance or management / marketing education following a liberal arts or engineering undergraduate education. The top kids in the program each year have landed good banking jobs while a few have gone into S&T roles. The lower numbers going into trading is more a factor of UVA in general because it really is a banker training school. Banking jobs are better paying and have better exit options (i.e. private equity or hedge funds) relative to trading jobs, so that is why only 5% (HighHeck's figure, not mine) go into trading. If you're smart and at UVA, you shouldn't have a problem getting into trading if you want to. I've seen grads from both the undergraduate and graduate programs have success in that respect.

May 15, 2009 - 12:37pm

From what I understand about the program, it doesn't quite have the recognition of the undergrad program because it's newer and isn't quite as selective(just what I've heard, I have never seen facts to back that up,) but UVA's grad programs (both Commerce and MS in ACCT) let you recruit for undergrad positions, which is a huge bonus. Also, if you're a strong applicant, I'd say you will get offered in state tuition even if you're out of state.

May 15, 2009 - 12:43pm

My buddy forwarded this to me

Interviews granted to MS Commerce: Financial Services students
  • More than one student

Blackstone Alternative Asset Management
Citi (Capital Markets, Sales & Trading)*
CCMP Capital*
Cornerstone Research
Google (Business Analyst)
Harris Williams & Co.*
Houlihan Lokey (corporate finance M&A) *
Jefferies & Co (Aerospace & Defense, Consumers, NY Generalist)*
Lazard Middle Market*
Macquarie Group*
McColl Partners*
Milestone Advisors
Miller Buckfire & Co
Morgan Keegan Technology Group
Sagent Advisors*
Simmons & Co*
Stifel Nicolaus (ER)
Stout Risius Ross (FAS)
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey*
UBS Global Energy Group
Wells Fargo (Capital Markets and Investment Banking, Real Estate IBD)*

I think this year they have 30-35 students on the finance track.

May 15, 2009 - 12:44pm

Opinions on UVA's MS Commerce program (Originally Posted: 06/25/2009)

Hi Everyone,
I was looking into the UVA MS Commerce program (financial services track) and found it quite interesting. They definitely have good coursework to offer and the time period is pretty good too. However, I am still looking for opinions on career prospects from the program. Does anyone have any idea how graduates from the program fare on the street or in other PE/HF roles. I know darden is a powerhouse when it comes to sending people to the street, but not too sure where McIntyre stands.

I was also looking into the MSF program at Boston College and would like to hear about its career prospects too. I have done fair amount of investigation but I found only generic answers like "Its strongly known in Boston area", "Career prospects are good, pay might not be as high as the City but work life is better". From this it is hard to gauge what kind of jobs graduates are getting from this program. Anyone has any insider info on this program too. Thanks for the help.

May 15, 2009 - 12:46pm

UVA's undergrad business program at McIntyre is incredibly well respected. If you are looking to go to a strong middle market firm in the south, or even some New York banks, UVA is a great place to go.

As for BC Masters of Finance, I wouldn't use it as my entry way into investment banking. I think it is a well-respected program, but probably not on a level high enough to enable its graduates to break into banking consistenty.



  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 12:47pm

Yes, the undergrad McIntire is well-respected on the street and in various PE/HF roles, but there is no comparison to the MS program. It just finished its first year and unless you have incredible personal connects in New York, will fail to place you where you want to go.

As a point of information, the incoming average GPA (as a junior, it's a 2 year program undergrad) is a 3.7. For the MS program, I know a mid 2's GPA Environmental Science major who is enrolled next year. They are taking anyone to bolster enrollment. The chasm of difference in candidate caliber is incredible.

I guess a pro is that it is easy to get into, but don't expect similar job prospects even though you utilize the same career services.

May 15, 2009 - 12:48pm

Interesting points. So do you really think that it is the program that throws the employers off or if its the quality of the actual participants. (the scores on the website looked pretty decent, nothing spectacular but alrigh) There has to be a broad spectrum that they take in, right? But then again if you said that its just in the first year of existence there is no real basis to evaluate it.

Thanks for the reply about BC too, I just fail to understand, what the f*** is the program good for anyways. Seems like people dump 70k down the drain for a year if it can't even get you decent jobs.

May 15, 2009 - 12:51pm

Let's say that you have decent stats (GPA in high 3's, GMAT > 750), but are from a liberal arts college, and struggle to get an offer. Since anyone in the M.S. program is kind of lumped in with the undergrad in terms of recruitment (from what I understand), then why would this not be a decent investment? If every bank and consulting firm under the sun come to McIntire, and you have numbers that might allow you to compete with the McIntire seniors...why not?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points
  • 2
Best Response
May 15, 2009 - 1:03pm

My buddy just forwarded me this:

There are 35 students on the Finance Track. About 30% are seriously interested in banking. 1st round interviews received through CommTRAK (for McIntire only) or CAVLink (UVA):

Barclays Capital*
Blackstone Alternative Asset Management
Citi (Capital Markets, Sales & Trading)*
CCMP Capital ($12BB PE Fund)
Harris Williams & Co.*
Houlihan Lokey (corporate finance M&A) *
Jefferies & Co (Aerospace & Defense, Consumers, NY Generalist)*
Lazard Middle Market*
Macquarie Group*
McColl Partners*
Milestone Advisors
Miller Buckfire & Co
Sagent Advisors*
Simmons & Co*
Stifel Nicolaus (ER)
Stout Risius Ross (FAS)
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey*
Wells Fargo (Capital Markets and Investment Banking, Real Estate IBD)*

  • Several MS Comm students were interviewed
May 15, 2009 - 1:07pm

overall, if you have a business backgrounds MS commerce is redundant - it is literally McIntire (UVA business undergrad)'s 2 years stuffed into one. It WILL give you a bigger network but recruiting happens in the fall when you just start to learn and you'll be competing w/ McIntire kids who have 1 yr under their belts and quite possibly an internship. If you DON'T have a business backgrounds, consider it.

May 15, 2009 - 1:08pm

You cannot get into the program with a business background. I think it is a good idea frankly.

I have three student reviews on my site, including two recent ones. Check it out. The program is one of my favorites and really is dialing it in. The brand name is great, program is flexible and you really get a great education as well as experience. I was up in NYC last night and spoke with Emma and a couple alumni. You won't be disappointed.

  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 1:10pm

ANT, do you know anything about the work/life balance of the program? I was thinking of it as a 5th year of undergrad (a.k.a. fun), but I've heard that you rarely have free time even on the weekends.

It does sounds like they get great recruitment - do any of the banks recruit them specifically or is it just mixed with the ugrads?

May 15, 2009 - 1:12pm

I interned during my program. I would encourage you to intern before starting the program or trying to fit in one during the program. It won't be easy, but it will help a lot. Also, the UVA brand and experience will help you regardless of having an internship.

Not saying everyone will coast into a BB position, but it will help a lot.

  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 1:13pm

Do programs like the UVA MS Commerce and Duke MMS give a measurable leg up, or are they primarily for grads of the schools that don't quite get the kinds of jobs they want?

What's the BB placement rate for UVA, btw? It seems like the ~$43,000 tuition ought to have a demonstrable payoff.

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is." - Oscar Wilde "Seriously, psychology is for those with two x chromosomes." - RagnarDanneskjold
May 15, 2009 - 1:14pm

I am a current student in the finance track.

In regards to the free time and going out on weekends, I think what you've heard is somewhat overblown. There are times when we definitely don't have a lot of free time but most students who manage their time effectively usually make it out on weekends.

The recruitment is also fantastic just being a part of the McIntire School. The program is building a strong reputation and some companies do come specifically for MS Commerce students, but the banks are largely here to recruit school wide.

A word of caution on investment banking recruiting. Because it happens so early you are really recruiting with your resume as is, before the program. Considering the recent downturn in deal activity this year recruitment for I banking analyst positions was really limited to students who already had internships, or could have gotten a job with an investment bank prior to the program, i.e. 3.7+ GPA, previous internship, connection.

That being said we've had a lot of students already sign with some smaller investment banks, private equity shops, and this year a lot of students have received offers from consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Accenture, IBM, Deloitte).

The program is definitely no guarantee that you will get a job but the opportunity is definitely there for the students that take advantage of it. Because the program is so new the professors have a lot invested in its success rate for placement and really go the extra mile to help students out. So if you're proactive you'll do really well with recruiting next year, especially if the market improves.

If anyone wants to talk privately please feel free to PM me.

PS: ANT thanks, your blog is the reason I found out about this program Best decision I've made in a long time.

May 15, 2009 - 1:15pm

Thanks dude. I think your program is great and have been happy to know a bunch of past students. Emma is super nice and works hard to grow the program. Can't say enough good things about it.

May 15, 2009 - 1:16pm

Isnt the program one of the few that begin in the fall??? Doesn't this give you the summer before to get an internship experience by tapping into the ms commerce alumni and McIntire's alumni as a whole?

May 15, 2009 - 1:18pm

@Jamsheer..thats makes plenty of sense. I made sure to get in for this past deadline so I will hear back by dec 15th. I have an extremely limited and exhausted alumni base at my current school so I figured if I get in & choose to attend I will still have time to leverage the ms commerce alumni into a SA.

Has anyone else on here applied for the round??deadline is today.

May 15, 2009 - 1:19pm

Any current UVA MS in commerce students? (Originally Posted: 07/15/2011)

Just curious if there are any people on here who are currenntly enrolled or know someone is at UVA for this program. I'm really interested in it and would like to know more about job prospects for financial track students.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 1:20pm

Don't forget....:

Am I eligible?

If you can answer yes to either or both questions, then you are not eligible to apply to the M.S. in Commerce Program.

  1. Did you receive your undergraduate degree before August 2011?

  2. Did you or will you earn an undergraduate major in any of the following
    areas: business administration, finance, marketing, management, or

May 15, 2009 - 1:21pm


"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
May 15, 2009 - 1:22pm

UVA MS Commerce for S&T? (Originally Posted: 02/25/2011)

I have been considering this program to increase my finance skills and get another shot at recruiting to hopefully try to break into trading. While looking at the website I saw placement for undergrad commerce students at 5% in S&T. I'm curious to know if the same goes for MS of Commerce students and generally if this program is good preparation for the field.

Also I hear good things about the trading lab they have at the Mcintire School, has anybody else heard the same or have any experience in it?

May 15, 2009 - 1:23pm

I was thinking along the same lines with a few schools in mind namely UVA MS Commerce. Also like so many others have said here make sure you fit the requirement that you enroll within a year or less of completing undergrad. Hopefully someone else will come by with more knowledge than me. Good luck though.

May 15, 2009 - 1:24pm

UVA MS of Commerce (Originally Posted: 02/10/2011)

I have gotten a lot of good advice over the last few months about masters programs here on WSO and I need a little more insight into UVA MS of Commerce degree. I like the degree, the courses look good and ocr firms are excellent. Just a few questions:

What jobs is the program preparing students for corp fin/dev, IB,consulting, etc? They also have a great trading lab but are S&T really coming from this degree?

Is placement good for NY or will I be relegated to the south? How is UVA street presence?

I know this is a fairly new program so are recruiters familiar with a degree in commerce or will I find myself explaining constantly?

I appreciate any insights you all can give, would love to hear from grads and current students.

May 15, 2009 - 1:25pm

New program but there are tons of UVA grads on wallstreet - recruiters are becoming more familiar and you can partake in the undergrad recruiting events. I have a buddy that did the commerce program - he said the recruiting was great for wallstreet jobs and got IB offers in both NY and the south.

Just curios, have you been accepted and if so, what are your stats? PM me if you dont feel comfortable disclosing publicly.

May 15, 2009 - 1:28pm

uva ms commerce 0 (Originally Posted: 09/28/2011)


'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
May 15, 2009 - 1:30pm

I am waiting on two reviews which I will post on my site .It is a top notch program. All the major banks recruit and Emma knows her shit.

May 15, 2009 - 1:31pm

I'm interested in hearing these reviews. I'd also like to know what kinds of jobs these people are getting out of this program. I'm major in history and econ, so the design of this program is really appealing to me.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
May 15, 2009 - 1:32pm

A friend of mine went through the program last year and got placed well. McIntire is a target for banking and most top shops recruit there. I would say it is one of the best specialized masters if you want to get a finance job.

May 15, 2009 - 1:33pm

Was his undergrad a target or non-target? My school isn't really a target for most big employers, plus I won't much in terms of experience when I graduate (no internships) so this worries me a some. I'd hate to drop 60k on grad school only to be dinged by every possible firm.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 1:34pm

Ive heard placement was OK, not spectacular since its only 1 year and you are in full recruiting mode as soon as you start.

"Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them." - Bud Fox
May 15, 2009 - 1:37pm

Yeah I'm well aware of that. Being at a non-target, a liberal arts major, plus being a "late bloomer" in the sense that I only more recently have gained an active interest in finance related stuff. I don't expect to be working at GS in NYC after any of these programs; really I'd be satisfied with a lot less so long as it's a career with advancement opportunity and decent salary.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
  • 1
May 15, 2009 - 1:38pm

UVA Commerce Program (Originally Posted: 10/16/2014)


I'm currently a 4th year biology major at a school in Virginia. I'm about to graduate with a licensure to teach in schools. As you may have guessed, at one point in my life, medicine is all that interested me! However, over the past four years, I've become steadily disillusioned by the time it takes to become a physician, so I've decided against it. I took my MCAT, did pretty well, and would be able to gain admission to a decent Medical School, but it's just not for me. I don't care for another 4 years of academic rigor, only to be inundated with Licensure Exams for the rest of my life.

Anyways, I had a fallback when I started Uni, teaching. I've just earned my licensure to teach Biology in secondary schools, and am currently a 7th Grade Life Sciences Teacher at a Middle School. I really enjoy the kids, but of course it gets on my nerves. There is no teacher on the planet who will say YES this is my dream career everyday! There are annoying kids, even more annoying co-teachers, and the amount of paperwork and professional training (all bs) that is involved kills me. So, while I could definitely see myself doing this for 5-6 years and be immensely satisfied and happy, I don't think that it could carry me. I fear that when I am 45 years old, I'll feel disappointed with myself because all I could do is become a teacher, and feel stuck that everyone else is advancing and moving on to "greater things" and I'm just sitting here. Also, while it is possible to become an Assistant Principal, or a Principal the Licensure requirements are wonky, and it would end up taking me 8-10 years, which is too long for me.

So, recently I was reading about a 1-year Master's in Commerce at UVa. It REALLY interests me. I'd love to learn more about the world of business, and having been a data services assistant for 4+ years at my College Library, I know a lot about STATA and SAS, and while I don't per say "enjoy" them, I think it's doable. I don't think Investment Banking is something I'd like, but to be an Analyst at a place like McKinsey would be great for me. I've written an application, my GPA is all right (3.87), and I'm currently studying for my GMAT (my practice tests have been in 710-740, hoping to tip above the upper bound by a bit on the real thing), so I do believe I am a good match for the program. However, I am uncertain as to the lifestyle of a business analyst.

I was wondering what the hours are like at a nice firm like McKinsey. Also whether or not it's conducive to family life and personal hobbies, stress level...ect. If anyone could elucidate to that, speak to the UVA Program, or give me any advice (like I honestly know nothing about the Business world, but am very eager to learn, and love to study so I think I'd catch on quick) about my plans in general, I'd really appreciate it.


May 15, 2009 - 1:39pm

McKinsey is the world's most elite consulting firm. If work-life balance even crosses your mind then forget about McKinsey.

Your question is way too broad. "Business Analyst" is so broad that it literally encompasses anything and everything. If you have $30,000 to blow then the UVA Commerce master's degree is a great place to be--I hear it has very solid post graduate recruiting.

May 15, 2009 - 1:40pm

I'd never want to teach kids, but to think that being a teacher is somehow less rewarding than making changes to a PowerPoint at 2am is comical.

May 15, 2009 - 1:41pm

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