Success without McIntire?

This has been a hotly debated topic for UVA applicants as well as for other schools that don’t offer direct admit to undergrad business programs. I’ve written about this in the past on CC but that was from school provided data/anecdotally based info. Now that my child is set to graduate from UVA in May ‘23 and internships/interviews are done with an offer being accepted I can write about this first hand.
Without a doubt acceptance into McIntire creates phenomenal chances for future employment but not being accepted doesn’t shut the door to tremendous opportunities. My child (with 3.7 GPA) was not accepted into McIntire but soon learned it wasn’t GPA or ability that caused this to occur. They failed understand and play the “game” from the moment they step foot on Grounds.
It’s getting in the right clubs and taking leadership positions while maintaining your grades. There are exceptions to every rule but if you look at the acceptance rates from certain clubs (which are not easy to get into) and which positions where held it becomes evident.
My child was able to minor in a program at McIntire but in reality I think it had very little to do with the job offers. Since they didn’t use any resources (college fairs or guidance from McIntire advisors.) An internship was accepted this Summer through connections from a classmate’s parents at UVA. This turned into a valuable experience and job offer but not the financial terms they thought attainable.
So using that as a low bar they applied to 8 other higher paying jobs and interviewed at 4. They received and accepted an offer in DC for over $110k (with bonus) first year - $35k/year more than the first job offer. Their suite mate (also not a McIntire graduate) has taken a job with Deloitte in DC.
Note in both jobs they have fellow classmates who are McIntire graduates who were accepted to the same company in the same positions. In fact mine was contacted by a McIntire alum working in the same position at the company who graduated a year earlier. Also, in looking, fellow employees at the same program and company are Ross, Olin and McDonough grads…
Now if you are dead set on an IB (GS, Jeffries, etc) or consulting job (read McKinsey, Bain, etc) the placement from McIntire is unbelievable and appears to be an advantage. This was never an aspiration for mine because they didn’t want to travel and work-life balance is critical.
So I’m not saying McIntire doesn’t add value, it surely does, but for the majority of those not getting into McIntire is not as devastating as it’s made out to be.


Excellent post. It’s just discouraging how many people go to UVA and want to study business and don’t realize how difficult an admit it is. My brother-in-law didn’t get in to McIntire as an undergrad and was an Econ major. Worked for a couple of years and then went to a top tier business school for an MBA. He is a very successful investment banker so even if that’s the track you want to take there are ways to that job and most high-level investment bakers have MBA’s anyway. However, kids do need to know that they need to have a Plan B at UVA if they plan on studying business just in case they aren’t one of the lucky ones.


Excellent post about an alternative route through UVA. What did your child major and minor in? Happy things have worked out!

Majored in Econ and minored in 1) Sociology and 2) Entrepreneurship (McIntire)

Thank you for the helpful post. My D23 was accepted to UVA and is in the process of trying to determine if other acceptances into direct business programs may make more sense. Reading your post makes me think there is a lot of value to a UVA degree even without getting into the business school. Can you provide any more info regarding the preferred clubs and/or how competitive the environment was?

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In 2021 63% that applied to McIntire were accepted so more than half got in. My DD was in Class of 2022 and didn’t do any business related clubs to get in. What she did was to get involved in the school and show leadership. She mainly did music activities, Marching band, service organization and and held leadership positions. Some of the business clubs are competitive and I believe many students join just to help get into McIntire. Not saying that some join because they really enjoy them but I think some think you have to, to get in. My advise would be to do well in pre comm classes, don’t need straight A+, just do well and get involved in the school and show that you have leadership abilities that the business world can use. My DD double majored so she had a backup plan also, many that don’t get in major in economics and get great jobs as well. Good luck

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Keep in mind with the 63% there is a significant element of self selection due to pre-comm grades by the time applications are due. I think going in with a plan is important because that 63% number is deceptive. There are 3.9+ applicants that don’t get in and 3.5 students who do get in. I think clubs are extremely important with a bias toward business related clubs but most importantly holding leadership positions in any club.
My daughter chose UVA over direct admits to IU-Kelley (with Honors and $$) as well as BC-Carroll. We and she (most importantly) have no regrets


My understanding is that the acceptance rate for McIntire is typically around 60%.

I know great students who have bypassed UVA in favor of Virginia Tech or JMU because they wanted to know that they would be able to major in what they wanted to major in. One who chose Tech later got a job with an elite consulting company without a problem, and the another who went to JMU got her dream marketing job upon graduating.

Wish UVA would rethink this policy and let students direct admit into business. While they certainly don’t have a problem attracting students, it seems unfair to expect a student to gamble with their education in this way.

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I doubt this will happen because UVA always has emphasized a liberal arts education if you enroll in the school of Arts and Sciences. The fear is by making Comm a 4 year degree it will decrease a well rounded degree with an element of the Humanities.
As you alluded to the state of Virginia offers other direct admit options as well as many other universities in the US where a student can pursue a business degree for all 4 years. I don’t think UVA will acquiesce to public pressure and considering it’s 50% or less of the size of Ross, Kelley, Stern, etc it won’t have to.