Surya Karki ’16 is one of just 111 2016 Schwarzman Scholars.Surya Karki ’16 is one of just 111 2016 Schwarzman Scholars.

College of the Atlantic senior Surya Karki is among the inaugural class of a prestigious new graduate scholarship program.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, Karki will be fully funded for the one-year Master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He is among 111 students selected for the scholarship out of more than 3,000 applicants.

“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.”

A dream come true

Karki, of Madi Mulkharkh, Nepal, is a Davis United World College Scholar. He has focused on business and economic development during his time at COA and has done much work with the Diana Davis Spencer Hatchery, the school’s sustainable business incubator. 

Surya Karki ’16 providing disaster relief in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake.Surya Karki ’16 providing disaster relief in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake.“I have spent four years questioning traditional economic and business models and have continuously researched and tested my ideas in my home country of Nepal. COA gave me mentors who believed in me and helped keep me focused. It gave me the freedom, resources, and confidence to achieve great things,” Karki said. “To be one of the first few students selected for this program is a dream come true for me.” 

The Schwarzman 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. 

A highly competitive program

“COA gave me mentors who believed in me and helped keep me focused. It gave me the freedom, resources, and confidence to achieve great things” - Surya Karki ’16

The 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 71 universities with 44% from the United States, 21% from China, and 35% from the rest of the world.  The group will take classes and live at the newly constructed Schwarzman College on the Tsinghua campus. Expenses for each scholar, including travel costs and a personal stipend, are fully funded by the program.

“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.”

Mentorship at COA

Karki said that his experiences at COA, and especially while working with professor Jay Friedlander, COA’s Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business, has well prepared him for the journey ahead.

“The Schwarzman Scholars award is a credit to the guidance of my main teacher and mentor at COA, Jay Friedlander. Jay helped shape me into the person that I am today, and his encouragement made me believe, ‘I can do it,’ whatever the ‘it’ may be,” he said. 

Surya Karki ’16 will attend graduate school in China under a Schwarzman Scholarship.Surya Karki ’16 will attend graduate school in China under a Schwarzman Scholarship.

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. 

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. 

Click here to view the full list of Schwarzman Scholars, and here to learn more about how to apply to join the next class of Scholars. To watch a video highlighting the process of selecting the first class of Schwarzman Scholars, please click here.