Fellowship helps MBA student go farther

Charishma Koneru

Fellowship recipient Charishma Bhavani Koneru (MBA ’21) plans to use her Freeman MBA to develop a plan to bring irrigation to rural India using clean energy.

A full-tuition fellowship to the Freeman School has been life-changing for first-year MBA student Charishma Bhavani Koneru (MBA ’21). In turn, her experience at Freeman will help her transform more lives around the globe.

Upon graduation, Koneru is hoping to institute a plan for clean energy that supports irrigation in India’s rural districts.

“I felt that Freeman’s unique Global Leadership Module — going to China, Africa and South America — would give me the experience to know what is happening and how these economies are being driven,” says Koneru.

Fellowships such as the one Koneru received are only possible because of the generosity of Freeman’s donors. Brothers Richard T. Page (TC ’04, MBA/JD ’10) and Brian J. Page (MBA/JD ’09) are Tulane donors who also received fellowships while they were at Tulane. They are paying it forward by establishing an endowed fellowship at the Freeman School this year. The Brian and Richard Page MBA Fellowship Endowed Fund will support Tulane MBA students.

“Education and philanthropy are important to me,” says Richard Page, an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who received both scholarships and fellowships to support his pursuit of BA, JD and MBA degrees at Tulane. “I want others to have the same educational opportunities that I’ve benefited from. The Freeman School’s MBA program in particular was perhaps the most rewarding program among my educational pursuits. The field of business drives innovation, thereby improving standards of living and fostering stability.”

Brian Page, North Asia Pacific Tax Counsel for Exxon Mobil Corp.’s affiliates in China and the surrounding countries, says the three fellowships he received allowed him to pursue his MBA and JD studies full time and gain a deeper understanding for technical concepts. He praises the Freeman School for giving students real-world preparation for the business world.

“Business is often challenging and there can be many competing pressures,” Brian Page says. “The Freeman School prepares students to address these issues
well, and this benefits society by generating innovation and creating positive change. This fellowship will enable others to benefit from a Freeman education and to generate positive outcomes for all of us.”

Both brothers believe it is important for alumni to give back. Rich Page describes support for higher education as “a way to acknowledge and give thanks to those who previously made one’s own education possible, by now extending a hand to a younger generation.”

In just her first year as an MBA student, Koneru has already proven herself a leader among her classmates, heading teams for class projects, serving on the honor board and entering a case competition at Duke University. Receiving the Freeman fellowship raised her confidence and inspired her to pursue such leadership opportunities.

“Getting accepted with a fellowship was really a boost for me,” she says. “It improved my self-esteem – ‘I’m eligible to do an MBA, and I’m also accepted for a fellowship. I can do this.’ fThat encouraged me to break the ice and go into a leadership position.”

Her Freeman experience is already leading to great things for Koneru. “I’m feeling more comfortable and confident about myself,” she says. “I’m pushing myself to try things and learn.”

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