Get to Know the 10th Class of the M.S. in Commerce: Maimuna Yussuf

February 20, 2018
Rouss Hall

As we head toward the final weeks of winter, we recognize the 10th anniversary of McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce Program by speaking with 10 of its current students.

The diverse backgrounds and distinct educational paths of these graduate students show how The Economist's #2 “master's in management” worldwide continues to draw and engage pre-experience, non-business majors from across the globe with its immersive format and leading, real-world integrated curriculum. Of the program's 10th class of 124 students, 19 percent are U.S. minorities, 10 percent are underrepresented U.S. minorities, 21 percent are non-U.S. residents, 41 percent are women, and 36 percent are UVA undergraduates.

We continue our M.S. in Commerce series with a student who interned at a videogame developer and founded a fashion start-up. She tells us how she intends to use the Program to be a positive change agent in her native country.


February: Maimuna “Muna” Yussuf (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Marketing & Management
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Public Policy Studies, Duke University
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

Why did you choose McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce Program?
I take my role as an active citizen very seriously, so I have a goal of moving back home and effecting change—no matter how small. The combination of my Duke degree in Public Policy Studies and the M.S. in Commerce Program will enable me to apply business skills to create value in the public sector.

What has surprised you about the Program so far?
I am really humbled by the individuals in my class. Their collective intelligence and excellence are really inspiring, and I enjoy working, learning, and growing with them. Also, the balance of humility, kindness, and excellence among classmates and faculty has been surprising, given how competitive the program is—but it’s something I've truly appreciated.


January: Jose Pereira de Magalhaes Titonel (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Finance
Undergraduate degree: B.S. in Economics, West Virginia Wesleyan College
Hometown: Três Corações, Brazil

What do you enjoy most about the M.S. in Commerce Program?
The collaborative environment that we have. There is a mentality of thinking about how we can be better together instead of thinking individually. We are always helping each other out with studies, group projects, and the job search. Having classmates from a wide range of academic backgrounds such as biology, food science, economics, engineering, and history makes the class discussions very interesting. I am learning something new and exciting every day.

Has anything surprised you about the Program?
The caliber of the students really impressed me. This is a group of brilliant young people who challenge me during every class. The level of faculty engagement is outstanding as well. They truly care about our success and are always willing to give thoughtful responses to our questions about the material covered in class. In addition, UVA’s prestige is even greater than I expected; it’s evident in the many opportunities to connect with major firms on Grounds.


December: Kristin Marren (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Finance
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Theology 2017, Boston College
Hometown: Winnetka, Ill.

Why did you choose UVA's M.S. in Commerce Program?
I chose to pursue an M.S. in Commerce because I knew I wanted to go into business but wanted to complement my liberal arts degree with stronger quantitative skills and business acumen. UVA stood out to me by the holistic application process, the opportunity to take both core business classes and specialize, and the strength of the on-Grounds recruiting.

What has surprised you about your courses?
When I initially accepted my admission, I was very excited to learn about business in a global context during the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) in May. However, I have been surprised how the curriculum takes an international perspective right from the beginning. We are constantly discussing how global factors influence particular companies. And I have had the chance to work in groups with students truly from across the globe—Egypt, Italy, Brazil, and China!


November: Meyrav Levy (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Marketing & Management
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Sports Management 2017, Rice University
Hometown: San Juan, PR

Why did you choose UVA’s M.S. in Commerce Program?
While I enjoyed my undergraduate experience at Rice, I still felt a little unprepared and underqualified for the public relations industry. I was fortunate enough to present a final consulting project to several industry professionals, one of whom connected me with a former M.S. in Commerce student. That alum explained how McIntire helped him better prepare for a career in business, leveraging an unconventional undergraduate degree with the business savvy from the M.S. in Commerce Program. It just seemed like a natural and wise move to apply.

What do you enjoy about the program so far?
While the program is by far one of the hardest things I've ever done, I love the constant drive in our amazing class to help each other and to succeed as a collective. I already have some of the greatest quality friends I could have ever hoped for.

October: Hannibal and Malcolm Brooks (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Marketing & Management
Undergraduate degree: B.S. in Food Science 2017, Mississippi State University
Hometown: Pensacola, Fla.

Why did you choose UVA’s M.S. in Commerce Program?
As I neared the end of my undergraduate education, I came to an important realization about the next step in my journey. Food Science had provided me amazing opportunities to work with food agencies in D.C., explore bacteriological research, and partake in exciting competitions, but the incremental nature of research felt a little constraining to me.

I wanted to take on dynamic challenges and be able to respond flexibly, and the M.S in Commerce seemed like the perfect way to enhance my existing skills and pivot into any field I desired, given the program’s superb track record. I was weighing several options, but after reading the blog and studying the outcomes, McIntire felt like home—and it’s been great! In addition, my brother traveled to Charlottesville to join the program as well.

What do you enjoy about the program so far?
Every day you’re challenged to strategically think on your feet and learn to see the world in an entirely new context. Of course, the brilliant professors, wildly talented peers, and promise of international adventure don’t hurt either.