Francesca Sally, a Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business second-year Full-time MBA student, has been awarded the René A. Simon Fellowship for 2022. The fellowship is awarded to one Scheller MBA student each year, with preference given to qualified African American students with demonstrated financial need. Further preference is given to students who are members of the Blacks in Business (BiB) organization.
“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the René A. Simon Fellowship,” said Francesca. “The qualities that the fellowship represent are ones that I am consistently working to achieve. René was also one of the founding members of the Blacks in Business club, which has played a key role in my experience and success at Scheller. This award will significantly impact the last few months of my MBA experience and allow me to continue participating and working to make an impact without as many financial concerns.”
René A. Simon, a 2018 Evening MBA alumnus, created the fellowship in 2020 to support MBA students who serve in their communities.
“Francesca is the definition of Black excellence,” said René. “Scheller and Poets&Quants recognized her when she entered the program because they saw what amazing potential she had. She has been a leader within BiB and I am certain she will maintain that same drive as she moves mountains in her career.”
René was a part of the inaugural board of Scheller’s BiB organization. Through the club, he participated in community outreach programs, helped underserved communities, and mentored high school students. René enjoyed his experience and what it stood for so much, he knew that when he became an alumnus, he wanted to continue to give back to BiB while helping to ease the financial burdens of people with a like-minded focus on service.
“I wanted to give back to the organization that gave me so much, while providing resources to help the next generation of Black leaders. My hope is that the fellowship I created will grow and nurture involvement within BiB and eventually be used as a recruiting tool to attract Black entrepreneurs from the city of Atlanta to pursue their MBA at Scheller,” said René.
Like René, Francesca has made a sizeable impact in her time at Scheller. She was elected the president of the Graduate Business Council (GBC), becoming the first Black president in the history of the College. Francesca is also a CHARGE Leadership Fellow, the social co-chair for BiB during her first year, an MBA ambassador, a peer mentor, and a member of the Scheller strategic planning committee. She is also an active member of many Scheller clubs, including Net Impact, Women in Business, Tech Management, and Strategy & Innovation. She is a graduate research assistant for the MBA student services and admissions teams.
“It’s hard to really put into words what it means to have been elected as the GBC’s first Black president,” said Francesca. “Being in Atlanta, also known as ‘The Black Mecca,’ it’s easy to forget that history like this is still being made, but it added a ton of weight to the work that I wanted to do once I was elected. I feel honored to represent Scheller and I feel even more honored to do it as a Black woman. If me being President made even one Black student feel more welcome and heard, then I will consider my time on the GBC a success.”
Following graduation in the spring, Francesca will be joining Bain & Company as a consultant.
“I chose Scheller because I wanted to be in a program that centered around community and collaboration and I wanted to be in Atlanta surrounded by Black professionals,” said Francesca. “My experience at Scheller has exceeded my expectations from a community perspective but between the pandemic and fully immersing myself in the MBA experience, I haven’t tapped into the local Black networks to the extent that I would have liked. I am excited to stay in Atlanta after graduation and spend more time getting to know the city and the people around me.”