Business major

RIT student wins Coca-Cola Foundation award for excellence in corporate commentary

Rachel Romaine, in her fourth year of a double major in International Business and Management Information Systems with a minor in Digital Business from Jacksonville, Fla., Received a $ 10,000 Excellence in Business Commentary Award from the Executive Leadership Council, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation. The Executive Leadership Council is a preeminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global black executives in C-suites, boards of directors and global companies. The mission of the Executive Leadership Council scholarship programs is to build a breeding ground for black talent in business by supporting the academic success and development of black undergraduate and graduate students.

What sparked your interest in business?

I grew up in a business oriented environment. My maternal grandmother is a retired entrepreneur, my mother is a financial advisor, and my older sister works for a private equity firm. So I naturally turned to business studies at the university. I love learning about different cultures and traveling, so international business was perfect for me. I also chose to do a double major in Management Information Systems, as I have been interested in IT and technology since I was young and I am a very analytical person. So the two majors are a great mix.

Tell us about the Coca-Cola Foundation scholarship you received.

The Award for Excellence in Business Commentary, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, is presented to high-performing black and African American undergraduate students attending a four-year college or university. I had to answer six short general essay questions, as well as two business-oriented enterprise development questions for the specific exchange. I also had to submit a transcript, letter of recommendation, curriculum vitae, brief personal biography and professional profile. To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen, identify as Black, African American, African-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, or other African descent, be enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States, and demonstrate a financial need.

Specifically for the Award for Excellence in Business Commentary scholarship, one must have a GPA of 2.8 or above, be a sophomore, junior, or senior student, and be in any major, but preference is given to students enrolled in business-related disciplines. The ELC offers several undergraduate and graduate scholarships open to high achieving black students attending an accredited college or university in the United States. The scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills and a commitment to community service.

What does obtaining this scholarship entail?

As an ELC Fellow, I attended the Honor Symposium (virtually due to COVID-19). The ELC Honors Symposium is a multi-day professional development experience consisting of a series of workshops and meetings that prepare ELC Fellows to effectively bring their talents to the workplace. It includes a series of professional development seminars and opening sessions featuring notable business and community leaders, virtual networking opportunities with other ELC Fellows as well as ELC members, senior executives and other leading black business leaders; and finally, opportunities to attend powerful virtual sessions led by black leaders through ELC’s Institute for Leadership Development. These sessions involve conversations not limited to, but inclusive, of navigating the corporate world as black leaders. I can network with other researchers and have the opportunity to get an internship or be employed full time through business partners and companies that sponsor the scholarship.

What are your future projects in this area?

I plan to continue my education by earning an MBA here at RIT. Thereafter, I would like to work for a global company using my two fields of study, business and technology. I hope to gain more knowledge and improve my skills along the way through hands-on experience and working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

What do you like most about the courses you are taking now?

I love the versatile opportunities that my double major offers. It is interesting to become aware of the culture, to learn how global companies are connected and how technology plays a major role in business. I also think it’s really important in today’s world. We live in a digital world, so my minor in digital business gives me additional skills that will help me be successful in the future.