Justice Dixon - McIntire School of Commerce


Making the leap from aerospace engineering to business

The path to your final career is rarely straightforward. Priorities change, interests widen and plans adapt. That has certainly been the case for Justice Dixon, who studied mechanical and aerospace engineering as an undergraduate, but is now studying the Master in Management at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

Justice sees the Master in Management as the perfect chance to explore what he describes as “the business ecosystem,” (09:16) and to better understand how businesses interact with each other. It is more of a natural progression from engineering than you might assume.

“I did several internships in engineering, and really enjoyed them, but also felt like I was more drawn to the project management or leadership part of engineering” he tells MASTERGRADSCHOOLS. (00:27)

“Because of that [I decided] I wanted to go to business school. This program was kind of a nice balance where I wouldn’t be out of the workforce for too long, but I would also get a lot of the skills necessary for me to move towards the more managerial side of engineering.” (00:41)

A business school that looks beyond consulting

Consulting is one of the most popular career paths for business students, yet that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Justice was looking for a program which would provide him with an overview of business, but also a school which could advise him on several future career paths. He found it at McIntire School of Commerce.

“If you’re looking for a program that doesn’t focus on that avenue (consulting) then I think this is an excellent program, because it gives you a business skill set and business mentality that touches so many different aspects of business” he says. (14:10)

“I feel like a lot of master in management programs in the USA are catered towards people who want to do some sort of consulting after undergraduate, and that’s not something I was particularly interested in. A lot of the resources at UVA such as career services mentorship are also able to provide guidance for people that are interested in other business areas versus just consulting.” (01:18)

Tracking the similarities between athletics and studying

Another motivating factor for Justice in his search for a business school was one of his passions in life: athletics. He trains for between two and three hours a day, and being able to balance his study life with athletics is very important to him. The discipline required to train every day is something he has been able to transfer to his studies. He sees similarities between the two things.

“It is a big commitment time-wise but also mentally and physically. I’d say that the expectations she (Coach Freeman, Justice’s coach) has are similar to a lot of professors.” (05:52)

“As graduate students in commerce they also expect a lot out of us - they expect us to take [our] studies very seriously and to do what we can to succeed. So I think that they’re very similar.” (06:29)

Giving you the edge in your career

Athletics comes down to fine margins, and the job search is no different. When the time comes to pursue a career, Justice believes the holistic approach to business education at McIntire could be the difference-maker for him.

“With the business program the biggest thing is looking for a diversified skill set, and I feel like my experience here has solidified that for me.” (15:33)

“I think it definitely gives you a big edge when it comes to the career search.” (15:06)

By zoning in on the things that interest him the most, Justice has found both a school and a program that meet his needs. He may be approaching the final bend of his academic life, but the changeover into his future career looks like it will be a smooth one.

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