Forbidden City

Global Commerce Scholars

The Global Commerce Scholars (GCS) program provides fourth-year McIntire students with the opportunity to carry out research and write a thesis under the guidance of one or more faculty advisers. Students will learn about professional research methods and practice as well as career opportunities in research. The experience will be especially valuable to students considering graduate studies leading to research careers in business, consulting, government, or academia. Students who successfully complete the program will be recognized at graduation as “Scholars in Global Commerce.” The program is limited to 8-10 students.

Course Credit and Research Methods Requirement

In contrast to the one-semester commitment for COMM 4993 (Independent Study, 1 credit) and COMM 4995 (Independent Research, 3 credits), the GCS thesis project is carried out across the entire fourth year. Interested students should register for COMM 4839 (1 credit) for the spring semester of their third year.  Those who are admitted to the GCS program will work closely with their thesis adviser in the spring. GCS students who make satisfactory progress will then  continue with COMM 4840 (2 credits) for the fall semester of their fourth year, during which they will produce a literature review and a detailed research proposal. Students whose proposals are approved by the GCS faculty advisers will complete their research and write the thesis while registered for COMM 4841 (2 credits) during the spring of the fourth year. Links to examples of student work are provided below.

The program also has a research methods requirement that must be satisfied by the end of the fall semester of the fourth year. Generally, Marketing and Management concentrators will satisfy the research methods requirement with COMM 3330 (Marketing Research Techniques), while Accounting and Finance concentrators will do so with ECON 3720 (Econometrics). Students may petition Program Director Bill Wilhelm for approval of an alternative methods course, but the requirement cannot be waived.

Getting Started

A well-developed research idea is not a prerequisite for exploring the possibility of joining the program, nor does a project necessarily require a direct “international” focus. However, students are expected to pursue a research project related to their academic concentration(s) with an adviser from the relevant area. Those who wish to pursue research outside of their area of concentration must obtain approval from Professor Wilhelm.

Interested McIntire students are encouraged to schedule a meeting with Professor Wilhelm to discuss their research interests as early as possible in their third year and to register for Comm 4839 for the spring semester. Professor Wilhelm will work with students to develop their idea and connect them with a potential adviser. Students may not seek an adviser directly.

Registering for COMM 4839 does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission depends on having a sufficiently well developed research idea and a commitment from an adviser before the spring semester drop/add deadline (Jan. 27, 2020). This means that students can be admitted to the program before the beginning of the spring semester. Students who delay developing their idea until the spring semester may find it difficult to obtain an adviser during the narrow window of time before the drop/add deadline. Students who plan to study abroad on exchange during the spring semester are welcome to register for COMM 4839, but should make every effort to develop their research idea and obtain an adviser before the end of the fall semester. Admission to the program will be capped at 10 students.

Contact Professor Bill Wilhelm (in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 369) for more information about the program or application process. Prospective applicants may also wish to talk to members of the Class of 2020 GCS cohort (see below) for a student perspective on the program. 

GCS Faculty Advisers

Faculty advisers include Zhaohui Chen, Amanda Cowen, Natasha FoutzMike Gallmeyer, Adam Koch, David Lehman, Peter MailletNicole Montgomery, Saonee SarkerDavid SmithMark White, and Bill Wilhelm.

GCS Students (Class of 2020)

The following students are all actively enrolled in the Global Commerce Scholars program and are willing to also answer questions from prospective students: Raghav SavaraRob Hicks, Pianpian Huang, George Moss, Winston Chen, and Jack McGreevy

Additional Resources for Students