Fourth-year students Tyler Ross and Enkhmend Gereltogtokh were named to the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars on January 11. Ross and Gereltogtokh are part of a class of 111 students who will participate in a fully funded, year-long master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing starting this fall.
Schwarzman Scholars is a scholarship founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder and chairman of the Blackstone Group management firm, designed to prepare students for the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century in their respective professions. According to the Schwarzman Scholars’ website, the program promotes cultural exchange and builds a network of young leaders who understand China’s role in global trends.
“[Schwarzman Scholars] is modeled after the Rhodes as the same type of program, except its focus is on China and future leaders. Perhaps it is less academic than other programs and more focused on leadership,” Ross said.
Gereltogtokh, born in Mongolia and raised in New York, is an environmental studies and economics double major. He is looking forward to the opportunity to engage with business leaders in China through various internships and networking opportunities during the program.
“Being one of the neighbors of China, Mongolia has huge necessity to have positive, proactive relationships with the Chinese government and the Chinese people. At this current moment, I don’t think there are a lot of people who have that sort of understanding. I’m hoping that a program like the Schwarzman Scholars will provide me with the opportunity to at least take us some part of the way,” Gereltogtokh said.
Ross is a public policy studies and economics double major from New York. He will be returning to Beijing, where he participated in a research internship program at the UChicago Beijing Center two years ago.
“I fell in love with it. In the 10 weeks there I barely scratched the surface of what Beijing and China had to offer, so I knew I wanted to go back. That was a huge motivation for applying,” Ross said.
Schwarzman Scholars emphasizes the opportunity for students to explore China in the context of their academic concentrations and professional interests. It aims for students to gain a more intimate understanding of the many opportunities and challenges stemming from China’s development and its role in the world, according to the Schwarzman Scholars’ website.
“The program as it builds itself seeks to promote a deeper understanding of China among individuals who have a lot of leadership potential. It is both a leadership program as well as one oriented towards building understanding and awareness of the various processes going on in China as well as China’s role in the international world,” Gereltogtokh said.
The class of 111 is comprised of 51 students from the United States, 23 from China, and 37 from other parts of the world. Ross commented on the sense of excitement that comes with being the first class.
“There is a sense of [understanding that] clubs and structures built this year will continue presumably down the line. There have been talks about starting a Schwarzman journal, getting some academic publishing done, and a class council which will continue on. But it’s hard to say what to expect—it’s never been done before,” Ross said.
“Being the first group obviously has its advantages, in the certain sense that we do have a lot of flexibility in shaping the program and what it will become. But at the same time it’s kind of a great luxury, meaning that our class will probably have a lot more freedom than the future ones in terms of the things we will be able to do and the learning processes we will have,” Gereltogtokh said.