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Get to Know the 10th Class of the M.S. in Commerce: Ariana Dial and Tommy de la Hunty

May 9, 2018
Rouss Hall

It’s the end of the semester, the close of the academic year, and the final installment of our series speaking with 10 McIntire graduate students earning an M.S. in Commerce Program on the 10th anniversary of the program.

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.

For the ultimate edition of our M.S. in Commerce series, we speak with a pair of Finance track students in the program. The first is a world traveler who has visited 25 countries and hails from the United Kingdom, the other, an urban and environmental planning undergrad who comes from the planned community of Columbia, Md.


May: Ariana Dial (M.S. in Commerce ’18)

Track: Finance
Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning, UVA
Hometown: Columbia, Md.

What has surprised you about the program?
I was surprised by how useful the skills I learned in urban planning have been. For instance, I have used some of my knowledge in certain design programs to create organized and aesthetically pleasing final products. I am also surprised by how many other skills (e.g., knowledge of Excel) I have developed in such a short period of time.

Tommy de la Hunty (M.S. in Commerce ’18)

Track: Finance
Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Economics, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Hometown: St. Albans, United Kingdom

Why did you choose UVA’s M.S. in Commerce Program? 
Mainly for its combination of both a broad integrated core experience and the specialized finance classes. The practical and relevant program curriculum and the great ties McIntire has with leading employers also influenced my decision. I particularly enjoy the change in learning style from Cambridge. The program's emphasis on active participation and frequent deliverables makes for a refreshing change of pace.


April: Luna Han (M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Business Analytics
Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Economics, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
Hometown: Neijiang, China

What do you find challenging, and what do you enjoy about the program?
The courses are well-organized. It can be hard for me to speak in class since English is not my first language, but I'm becoming more comfortable with it and getting confident enough to express my ideas. All the professors and staff are approachable; they encourage me and help me adapt to this new environment and to become a more professional person. All of my classmates are interesting and friendly. I'm a foreigner, but I feel respected and cared for here.

Has anything surprised you about the program?
Commerce Career Services is excellent. I could never image so many career-related activities available before coming to McIntire. Their walk-in hours, resume editing, and interview advising are really helpful.


March: Kevin Cao (A&S '17, M.S. in Commerce '18)

Track: Business Analytics
Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Global Development Studies (Distinguished Majors Program), University of Virginia
Hometown: Phú Quốc, Vietnam, and Fairfax, Va.

Why did you choose to pursue the M.S. in Commerce degree?
My long-term goal is to work in education consulting; the M.S. in Commerce provides the technical training and skill set that will equip me to succeed, first in management consulting before transitioning to education consulting or education policy work.

What do you enjoy most about the program?
As a program based heavily in practicum, the M.S. in Commerce is a great balance to my interdisciplinary liberal arts undergraduate program, which was grounded mostly in theory.

Has anything surprised you about the program?
The academic diversity of my classmates. In my group alone, there is a food science major, a sports medicine major, a Spanish major originally from China, and someone who did not hesitate to leave a job at the Advisory Board when she was accepted to McIntire last minute. It's been so enriching to learn from peers coming from such diverse disciplines and with a wide range of interests.


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, Puerto Rico

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.