Owen Saul

Owen Saul

M.S. in Commerce 2018, University of Virginia
B.S. in Industrial Engineering 2017, Clemson University 

Track: Finance

Hometown: Fairfax Station, VA, and Solvang, CA

Why did you choose UVA’s M.S. in Commerce Program? After my freshman year at Clemson, I interned at a start-up in D.C. for two ex-management consultants, who shared with me the professional benefits of having consulting experience. After my experience at the start-up, I knew I wanted to pursue a similar path as the two co-founders. Coming from an engineering background, I had the quantitative skills that are crucial to becoming a successful consultant, but lacked a foundational understanding of business. I chose to pursue UVA’s M.S. in Commerce because it is a program dedicated to non-business majors and provides focused attention to professional development. Now only two weeks into the program, I can already tell I am benefiting tremendously from the experiences of top-notch faculty and the career services offerings here at McIntire.

What do you enjoy about the program so far? There are two aspects of the program I have particularly enjoyed so far. First, the class itself is very intellectually curious, which often leads to stimulating class discussions. The professors do a great job of keeping the discussions on track and drawing necessary conclusions out of them, though many of the lessons actually stem from the diverse background of the class itself. Coming from an engineering background, the logic of a lesson was pretty linear. At McIntire, you have to begin to think adaptively, as the nature of the class discussions is very complex due to the diverse background of the class. I have also taken interest in the financial preparatory sessions. These are sessions designed to prepare students for competitive careers in financial services, and they are open to students from all tracks. The sessions thus far have really helped us understand the global financial system from a macro-perspective and examined how each professional role we might take out of the program connects to other roles in the system.

What has surprised you about the program so far? I have been most surprised about how dedicated each of the professors are in helping us learn the course content and think through our pursuit of meaningful careers. All of the professors here at McIntire are extremely accomplished both educationally and professionally. With those experiences to draw from, they are able to bring very practical, real-world lessons into the classroom. Outside of the classroom, I have already had several professors offer career advice and coaching, which you normally do not find most places.

Fun Facts:

  • Though I spent most of my timing growing up in Northern Virginia and Central California, I have also lived in Seattle, Kansas City, Tulsa, Orlando, and Atlanta.
  • I have traveled internationally to Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
  • I had heart surgery when I was three years old.
  • For anyone from the West Coast, I did junior lifeguards (JGs) for many summers growing up at Refugio Beach, Calif.
  • I enjoy a good book, so be prepared to share something you have been reading recently! 

Hobbies: Watching college football and "Game of Thrones"; everything outdoors--boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking; reading and finding interesting podcasts