When you think of top colleges, Schools like Harvard and Oxford probably come to mind along with other top schools in Western Countries. China is seldom on the radar. As 21st Century geopolitics reshapes the world, the importance of engaging with China the same way we engage with the traditional Western powers is more evident. Schwarzman Scholars, a one-year masters program, which seeks to bring together the greatest academic talent from around the world including Africa, shares this perspective.
Schwarzman Scholars, founded by Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, is designed to prepare the next generation of leaders for the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Based at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, the highly selective, one-year Master’s degree program aims to bring together the brightest minds to explore and understand the economic, political and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s growth. The program is led by one of China’s most prominent economists, David Daokui Li, with an academic curriculum crafted by some of the most talented academic leaders from esteemed universities globally, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Oxford. In addition to a core curriculum, scholars will focus on one of three academic disciplines: public policy, economics, and business, or international studies.
With a $500 million endowment, Schwarzman Scholars will be the single largest philanthropic effort ever undertaken in China by large international donors. The endowment will allow for fully-funded scholarships for all students, including travel costs and a personal stipend. All scholars will study and reside at Schwarzman College, a newly constructed state-of-the-art campus at Tsinghua University, designed to encourage close friendships, cross-cultural connections, and intellectual exchange.
This unparalleled opportunity is extended to 200 students each year, with 45% of scholars coming from the United States, 20% from China and 35% from the rest of the world. The program is open to students and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 28 years old, regardless of nationality, who are proficient in English and have obtained an undergraduate degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.
“In order to create a more peaceful and prosperous future, it is crucial that the next generation of leaders forge deep relationships, authentic mutual understanding across cultures, and a dialogue of genuine respect,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman. “We are pleased to begin the process of recruiting the most exceptional young people, and to provide them with the resources necessary to grow into the leaders that will define their generation and generations to come.”
Officially launched in October of 2014, Schwarzman Scholars’ recruitment effort is building momentum globally. The first season of Schwarzman Scholars campus tours took place, with the global and China-based admissions teams visiting over 200 universities. Recruitment in Africa draws on individual universities as well as networks of young leaders from the continent to identify top talent in the region. An initial round of direct outreach via phone and email to leading universities in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana was well received, and a webinar organized for African candidates attracted more than 70 attendees. Conversations with networks such as Rhodes Mandela, the African Leadership Academy, and the Young African Leaders Initiative are helping raise awareness among potential candidates, and the program is well positioned to see strong applications from across Africa.
With the application now live on schwarzmanscholars.org, the rigorous selection process commences. In addition to evaluating applicants’ proven intellectual and academic ability, the admissions process is heavily focused on evaluating applicants’ leadership potential, the strength of character, ability to anticipate paradigm changes, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives, and positions. Those selected will have demonstrated their potential to not only benefit from but also contribute to, the Schwarzman Scholars program. Finalists will be invited to an in-person regional interview.
Visit schwarzmanscholars.org for frequently asked admissions questions and instruction on how to apply.