Four Yale graduates are now pursuing advanced degrees at Tsinghua University in Beijing under the umbrella of the Schwarzman Scholars program.
Kyle Hutzler ’14, Nina Russell ’15, Zahra Baitie ’15, Hui Kay Teo ’16 and Corey Meyer LAW ’19 were accepted into the program’s inaugural class, which had an acceptance rate of just 3.7 percent. Baitie has deferred her enrollment to the next academic year. The program’s scholars will all pursue a one-year master’s degree in public policy, international studies, or economics and business.
The program’s convocation, held in Beijing earlier this month and attended by University President Peter Salovey, welcomed the inaugural class of 110 scholars. Stephen Schwarzman ’69 — who announced the scholarship program in 2013, drawing inspiration from the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University — told the News that he is delighted to support several Yale graduates as part of the program.
“My education at Yale transformed my life and I am delighted that the first class of Schwarzman Scholars included … talented Yale alumni and one current Yale Law School student,” Schwarzman said. “Our goal is to make the program one of the best training grounds in the world for top talent. As we look to identify individuals with outsized leadership potential, we especially want scholars [such as the Yale affiliates] who have a desire to make a positive impact on the world.”
In several interviews, Yale’s contingent of scholars expressed a high opinion of the program.
Meyer highlighted the program’s diverse student body as a distinct advantage for those seeking to understand current global affairs and China’s role in the world.
“It has been fantastic so far,” said Meyer, who was part of the early undergraduate cohorts at New York University-Abu Dhabi. “Having been at a startup institution at the past, I am very impressed with what [the program administrators] have been able to do in such a short time.”
Meyer cited that the relationship between China and Africa is often discussed in the classroom, but the program allows students from both places to actually talk about their related experiences. He added that he was encouraged by how quickly students are establishing clubs pertaining to their interests. Students in the program are all a part of Schwarzman College within Tsinghua University and pursue a distinct course of study.
Teo said that she has particularly enjoyed having access to various global leaders and forming new extracurricular organizations, such as a student government body.
“We are literally having to craft constitutions right now,” she said. “This is an amazing opportunity to see how institutions are created, and how legacies are created.”
Salovey personally travelled to the program’s convocation in Beijing, participating on a panel about education and leadership in the 21st century that included the former Chinese minister of education and the vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
Schwarzman said he was thrilled to have Salovey share his thoughts on whether universities have an obligation to produce the world’s leaders and how to educate future global citizens. Salovey emphasized that he was proud to see Yale graduates take part in the program.
“The intelligence, the energy, the excellence in this first class of scholars was simply incredible,” Salovey said. “This program will make a difference in the world.”
Admissions decisions for the program’s 2017 cohort will be released in mid-November.