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. Admitted students register for COMM 4840 (2 credits) for the fall semester, 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 (3 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.

Ideally, students will develop the research idea through informal collaboration with a prospective adviser well in advance of the formal application process. Students are welcome to contact Professor Wilhelm or any of the other GCS faculty advisers (listed below) for advice on how to get started and for help with matching their research interests with faculty expertise. If the student’s research interest lies outside the expertise within the GCS faculty group, Professor Wilhelm will work with the student to identify a faculty member with the expertise required to support the project.

Admission to the program is dependent on a faculty member agreeing to serve as a fourth-year adviser to the student and may be granted prior to the formal application process with written approval from the adviser and Professor Wilhelm. Most GCS students in recent cohorts were admitted early after having discussed their interests with a prospective adviser.

2020 Application and Timeline (for the Class of 2021)

Download the 2020-2021 GCS application form here. The formal application process runs from March 1 to April 3, 2020, closing at 5 p.m., and will include an information session with GCS faculty and current students in mid-March. Application materials include a 700-word (maximum) statement of interest, including a prospective research topic, a resume, and an unofficial UVA transcript. Email notification of admission decisions will be sent out no later than 5 p.m., April 10, 2020.

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 any questions from prospective students: Raghav SavaraRob Hicks, Pianpian Huang, George Moss, Winston Chen, and Jack McGreevy

Additional Resources for Students