Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Azell Francis, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Azell Francis

Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business

“An audacious innovator with tenacious optimism who strategically devises sustainable solutions to wicked problems.”

Hometown: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago

Fun Fact About Yourself: I wanted to become a Diplomat or Ambassador and was an award-winning competitor at the National Model United Nations Collegiate Competition in New York for six years!

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • Georgia Southern University – Mechanical Engineering BS, Engineering Management MS
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – International Affairs, Science and Technology Ph.D.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Georgia Institute of Technology, Strategic Energy Institute, Energy Fellow

What has been your favorite part of Atlanta so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA?  Atlanta is a foodie’s paradise! I love being able to taste the world in my backyard. My favorite part of Atlanta is the diversity of cuisine.

As an international student, feeling a strong sense of belonging was important to me when considering where I wanted to pursue my MBA. In Atlanta, I feel like I belong. Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city, eclectic, and rich in its history and diversity. It has become my home away from home. Atlanta also has the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., making it an ideal city to accelerate my career.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Scheller MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? As a current Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Scheller family and become a leader in business, sustainability, and technology. As such, I waited patiently for the dual degree option to become available to my college. I was thrilled when Scheller received STEM designation which was very important to me as an international student. Beyond that, I knew that at Scheller, I would receive the support I needed to launch the next stage of my career. Scheller has top-ranked career services, and the faculty and staff are right alongside you as you chart your success. Scheller allows me to thrive and be immersed in a sustainable ecosystem of innovation.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Georgia Tech? What sets us apart is our strong Scheller community! I have loved spending time with my Scheller family engaged in social, professional development, and philanthropic activities. Through these bonding experiences we have built and continue to build a strong Scheller network. One example of this was when I helped plan our Scheller Homecoming event as a member of the Graduate Business Council’s Alumni Committee. It was a fun way to give back to a community that has already given me so much.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the most meaningful accomplishments in my career so far has been through my work as an Energy Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Strategic Energy Institute. I was a key member of the team that won a highly competitive $2.3 million USD Department of Energy grant. Our Energyshed project will create a new metropolitan energy planning process with key inputs from diverse communities to evaluate the social, economic, equity, as well as technical impacts of various future energy scenarios within the Atlanta area.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? So far, my biggest accomplishment as an MBA student was being selected as a Ray C. Anderson Graduate Sustainability Fellow. As a Sustainability Fellow, I am working on a project that will help our client eliminate or offset 100% of their Scope 1 emissions. I am excited to engage in work that helps companies innovate to net zero.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences as a member of the Scheller community. If I had to pick one, it would be the fellowship at the Fall Cultural Dinner. By serving on the Executive Board of Blacks in Business, I had the opportunity to plan and co-coordinate our Fall Cultural Dinner for Black graduate students at Georgia Tech. I selected the theme “Taste of the Diaspora”, and we catered food from the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago), Africa (Liberia), and African American soul food. We had more than 70 people in attendance, and it was an incredible feeling to connect to graduate students from across campus. I’m very thankful for this community.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Georgia Tech Scheller’s MBA program? Scheller takes great pride in cultivating leaders who know how to solve problems, leverage opportunities, and drive positive change in an increasingly unpredictable, tech-driven world. As you work on your application, think about experiences that demonstrate how you have shown similar leadership traits. Remember that you’re evaluated holistically and that there is strength in diversity. Don’t be afraid to bring your whole self to the application and the interview. We want to get to know you!


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