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In a move that could see the University of Oxford attracting some of the world’s brightest students to its MBA degree, the Saïd Business School is to welcome selected Schwarzman Scholars studying in Beijing to add a second masters degree to their résumés by continuing their studies in the UK.
The Schwarzman Scholars-Tsinghua University Master of Global Affairs was established in April 2013 with a $100m donation from Steve Schwarzman, founder and chief executive of Blackstone, the alternative investment company. The elite programme will open its doors to its first students in July 2016, in the purpose-built Schwarzman College, located on the campus of Tsinghua University, arguably China’s most prestigious university.
In 2016 the Schwarzman programme is expected to enrol 100 participants with that figure rising to 200 in subsequent years. Those graduates with adequate work experience can then apply to participate on the Oxford MBA, says Saïd dean Peter Tufano, who is also on the board of the Schwarzman Scholars. At Oxford, prospective students will have to pay their own way, but will be eligible to apply for appropriate scholarships.
Some 10,000 students have already begun the application process for the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. “These are pretty much superstar students,” says Mr Schwarzman. “We are going to have one of the most selective admissions rates in the world.”
The scholars on the one-year programme will study the Chinese language as well as leadership, Chinese values, international relations and comparative government. They will then follow one of three concentrations — public policy, economics and business, or international studies. Some 45 per cent of them will be from the US and 20 per cent from China.
The double degree format between Schwarzman and Oxford is similar to that created by Prof Tufano for Saïd’s “1+1” programme, in which participants study for a one-year masters degree at Oxford in a range of disciplines before joining the business school to complete an MBA.
“Through this partnership, students with a particular interest in business can have a really unparalleled exposure to top professors in the field from around the world,” says Mr Schwarzman. “They [the scholars] will be able to interpret China to their own populations.”
As yet there are no plans for Schwarzman Scholars to sign similar arrangements with other institutions.
The announcement is the second to be made by Prof Tufano in as many weeks relating to the Saïd school’s increased involvement in China. Earlier this month Saïd announced that it was working with the Guanghua school at Peking University and Harvard Business School to run an executive programme for Chinese family businesses.