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Jessica McHie

M.S. in Commerce 2009 (Marketing & Management), University of Virginia

B.A. in Psychology and Spanish 2008, University of Virginia

After: Interbrand, Senior Associate of Global Marketing & Communications (New York, NY)

Now: Tenet Partners, Director of Business Development (New York, NY)

Leveraging liberal arts with business

I studied psychology and Spanish as an undergraduate, also at the University of Virginia. When I was interviewing for jobs, companies very often commented on the diversity of my majors and appreciated a liberal arts background complemented with a business degree. Most organizations, including Tenet Partners, where I currently work, truly value diverse backgrounds and experience. This fosters a creative environment in which employees think differently and challenge one another while tackling problems from different angles. This not only creates a fun workplace, but also allows us to develop great solutions and ideas for our clients.

Most memorable class: Brand Management

I work at Tenet Partners, a brand and marketing consultancy, so the Brand Management class with Professor Carrie Heilman was one of my favorites and most valuable. I enjoyed the projects and cases we worked on, soon realizing I had a passion for the industry. 

Preparation for a job in brand consultancy

During the program, it seemed as though we were continually creating PowerPoint decks and practicing public speaking, but those are two of the most important skills that I use in my current job. That practice was incredibly valuable, and my presentation and communication skills would not be what they are today without this training. The group work was also a great experience because I collaborate and work closely with colleagues of varying personalities every day.

What makes the job great

I am on the business development and marketing team at Tenet Partners, working to bring in new clients for the agency. I enjoy putting together proposal and pitch documents to show our potential clients how Tenet Partners can improve their brand and business. It’s very interesting to take a deep dive into our potential clients’ businesses, and I have learned about so many industries – from mosquito repellent to life insurance to window framing! No matter what sector a company is in, branding is important and relevant.

I also enjoy the smaller size of our agency. We have four offices in the United States, with approximately 50 employees, all of whom work very collaboratively together. Being a smaller to medium-sized agency allows our clients to receive targeted attention, and allows employees to take on any project they want to be involved with so they can continually learn and grow. Each employee has an opportunity to effect change and have their voice be heard.

The culture at Tenet Partners is also very inspiring. Our offices boast incredibly smart and driven employees, and you will learn something new every day. We also enjoy each other’s company and plan fun events outside of the office.

A typical day on the job

A typical day might go like this: I work on a pitch deck for a children’s hospital planning to rebrand, and then on a proposal for a publishing company that needs a new brand strategy and messaging for two of its products. I might also help with some marketing initiatives such as a conference sponsorship or blog post for our website.

Advice for future students

Things change by the minute on the business development team at Tenet Partners. This is what excites me most about the job, because every day brings something new. It requires one to be flexible, good at multitasking, and willing to change gears quickly.

Importance of the Global Immersion Experience

Before joining the business development team at Interbrand, I worked on our Global Marketing and Communications team. I managed internal communications for the global network, collaborating with our 35 offices to provide them support and materials they needed to successfully conduct business in their market. It was a great experience to be able to visit and learn about the culture of some of the countries we do business in. The knowledge of how to conduct business globally and the customs in each country also helped me in communicating effectively with our offices.

Most memorable Global Immersion cultural experience

While in Copenhagen, Denmark, I was so impressed with how pristine the city was and how many people rode their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. All of us rented bikes for the time we were there, and it was the best way to explore the city. One weekend, a group of us biked 30 miles north to a town called Helsingør to visit the Kronborg Castle, where Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is set. The ride was gorgeous, and took us along the coast and through quant villages. A brave few biked the 30 miles back, but most of us took the train.

Biggest take-away

Though they may not seem important at the time, the soft skills we learned in such classes as Organizational Behavior and Communications are so important in the workplace. Learning how to manage and communicate effectively with different types of personalities is crucial in almost every job. The group work and projects throughout the year were great opportunities to practice these skills.

Life after graduate business school

I participate in many UVA alumni activities through the Virginia Club of New York. There is a large network of alumni in the city, so it’s always fun to socialize or volunteer with fellow Wahoos. I also enjoy running, and completed the New York City Marathon in 2013. International traveling and photography are also passions of mine, and I try to take one big trip a year to somewhere I've never been.

Favorite Charlottesville activity

There are too many fun activities to choose from, but you can’t beat getting a Bodo’s “everything” bagel or Take It Away sandwich with house dressing and having a picnic on the Lawn.