Schwarzman Scholars Announces Inaugural Class

January 11, 2016

BEIJING AND NEW YORK, January 11th, 2016 – Schwarzman Scholars, the Master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, today announced its inaugural class. 111 Schwarzman Scholars were selected from more than 3,000 applicants, making the program one of the most selective in the world with an acceptance rate of 3.7%. The first class of Schwarzman Scholars is composed of students from 32 countries and 75 universities with 44% from the United States, 21% from China, and 35% from the rest of the world. The class will both take classes and live at the newly constructed Schwarzman College on the Tsinghua campus. Expenses for each scholar are fully funded by the program.

“The caliber of this first class of Schwarzman Scholars is truly exceptional. Each Scholar has demonstrated tremendous leadership potential at a young age and differentiated themselves through a myriad of academic and non-academic pursuits,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the program’s founder. “It is my intention that the Schwarzman Scholars will return home and provide leadership in a changing, complex and dynamic world. I have every confidence that this class will be such leaders.”

The 111 Scholars were selected through a rigorous application process designed to evaluate proven intellectual and academic ability, as well as leadership potential, strength of character, ability to anticipate emerging trends, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions. More than 3,000 applications were first reviewed by a distinguished team of readers from around the world, with 300 semi-finalists invited for in-person interviews in Beijing, Bangkok, London or New York before international panels composed of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives, journalists and other leaders. This distinguished group of interviewers was responsible for selecting the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. Of the 3.7% of applicants offered acceptance into the program 95% will join the class, representing a higher acceptance yield than the most competitive U.S. business and law schools.

“This class of Schwarzman Scholars represents a remarkable group of individuals who are committed to broadening their world view, undertaking new challenges and risks, and developing an understanding of China necessary to lead in the future,” said Schwarzman Scholars Global Director of Admissions, Rob Garris. “These 111 Scholars represent the first members of a constantly expanding network of future global leaders who together will have a tremendous impact on the world.”

Schwarzman Scholars counts among its first class a truly exemplary group of individuals from the most prestigious graduate and undergraduate academic institutions in the world.  Included among them is a current Commander of a Special Operations Forces team on a classified mission in Iraq who has completed more than 25 elite athletic competitions, the producer and star of “Guy Dances Across China in 100 Days” – which garnered 750,000 YouTube views and was featured on Good Morning America, a Chemical Engineering student at MIT who was published in the Chemistry-Euro Journal, a serial entrepreneur who founded two California-based start-ups and is working on her third, the only person ever to be ranked 1st in the admissions competitions for both École Normale Supérieure and École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris, and the inventor of a commercial-grade solar oven capable of baking 300 loaves of bread in two hours which was featured in The Huffington Post as one of the “11 simple inventions that could change the world,” among many others.

“We have mobilized the global academic community to build a highly specialized and intellectually stimulating curriculum to prepare the next generation of leaders for the unique challenges of the 21st century,” said Schwarzman Scholars Dean, David Daokui Li. “We are thrilled by the caliber and breadth of skills, accomplishments and potential represented by these individuals, and look forward to providing the framework for them to gain a deeper understanding of China, create a network of global mutual understanding, and prepare them with the skills necessary to tackle the unique challenges of the future.”

The scholarship is fully funded for all participants, including travel costs and a personal stipend, and is supported by the program’s capital which is expected to total $450 million, with $375 million raised to date. New support for the program since April 2015 has come from a prestigious global list of donors, including PepsiCo Foundation, Volkswagen, Johnson & Johnson, Econet Foundation, Lenovo and the Varkey Foundation. Scholars will live and study together at Schwarzman College, the dedicated state-of-the-art academic and residential building built exclusively for the program.

Scholars will study Public Policy, Economics & Business, and International Studies, and spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In an environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they will learn from one another and pursue their academic disciplines while building their leadership capacities. The Schwarzman Scholars experience will expand students’ understanding of the world and create a growing network of global leaders for the future.

Please click here to view the full list of Schwarzman Scholars, and here for a list of the academic institutions attended by the scholars. To watch a short video highlighting the process of selecting the first class of Schwarzman Scholars, please click here.

About Schwarzman Scholars:
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016. Learn more at, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @SchwarzmanOrg.


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Christine Anderson
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