Schwarzman Scholars is Tsinghua University’s premier master’s scholarship program, the best in China. And even though it was created only in 2016, it is already one of the most traditional (and also disputed!) In the world. Designed to prepare young leaders to deepen their knowledge of China’s relations with the rest of the world, this is also the first scholarship program created with a view to addressing the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century.
The general idea of the program is to finance the experience of young students with a leadership profile and excellent academic results during a 1-year master’s degree. Participants (who come from different parts of the world) experience immersion within an international community formed by leaders from the most diverse areas, such as Politics and Business.
Up to 200 students are chosen each year and, in addition to leadership skills, other key characteristics desired by the evaluators of candidates are:
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Ability to anticipate and act on emerging trends and opportunities
- Exemplary character and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions.
As the program organizers themselves say, Schwarzman Scholars is a program designed for those who are ready to make their mark on the world.
Each year, about 40% of participants are from the United States; 20% are from China and the remaining 40% are from different parts of the world (Brazil is included in this group).
What are the prerequisites for participating in Schwarzman Scholars?
The basic initial condition for applying to Schwarzman is to graduate from an accredited college or university. In the case of applicants who are still completing graduation at the time of registration, it is necessary to complete all credits for the course in question before August 1 of the year the program starts in China.
As for the eligible courses, there is no current limitation. Which means that candidates from all areas are welcome. The big question is to try to convince the evaluators how participation in the program will help you to develop your leadership potential within your area. That said, it is worth remembering that since its first edition most of the candidates registered were from the following areas: Economics, Politics, Business, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Human Sciences.
It is also mandatory to be between 18 and 29 years old at the time of application and proficiency in English, which is the official language of the program. The accepted tests are the TOEFL (iBT, PBT and iBT Special Home Edition) and the academic IELTS.
How does the Schwarzman Scholars application process work?
Candidates participate in a rigorous and very complete selection process, developed precisely to identify the most promising leaders among all stakeholders.
This process includes an online application and evaluation, as well as an individual virtual interview. Usually these interviews are in person, but this year, exceptionally due to the epidemic, the process will be conducted virtually. In fact, this was not the only change made due to the current world situation. Click here to understand more about it.
The registration period for the 2021-2022 edition of Schwarzman Scholars has already started in April and runs until September 22.
The organization provides a contact email for candidates to ask questions regarding the selection process: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the online application, documents such as a two-page curriculum with academic and professional information are requested; diplomas and notes history; three letters of recommendation and two essays. Candidates can also record a presentation video (not required). Click here to see all instructions for the application process and here to access a template of the application form.
The essays and letters of recommendation will exert a key role in the evaluation, as will be key parts to assess the level of the leadership skills of the candidates.
In one of the essays, for example, candidates must describe their professional interests and goals and how they relate to some current issues or important global business issues. That is, it will be necessary to establish a connection between your work and interests with the world around you.
The three letters of recommendation, on the other hand, should capture, even between the lines, the candidates’ intellectual and leadership skills. That is why the organization requires an academic letter from a professor; a letter that addresses your leadership skills through examples (can be written by an employer, supervisor or mentor, for example); and a letter that talks about the leadership and potential demonstrated in practice by the candidate. This last letter must be written by someone who can offer information that reflects the candidate’s current profile and can be either academic or professional, or a combination of the two.
And what does the scholarship consist of?
Schwarzman Scholars is one of the most comprehensive academic scholarship programs in the world and includes basically all the expenses of the experience. The selected candidates will not pay any fees related to the master’s degree and, in addition, they will also receive food, air tickets to and from the destination country to China; health insurance; aid for the purchase of materials to be used in the master’s degree; travel aid for internal displacement in China for study purposes and a monthly grant of 4 thousand dollars (!) for personal expenses.