by Shelley Wunder-Smith & Cory Hopkins | December 2018
The Schwarzman Scholars Program has been called “the most significant program of its kind since the Rhodes Trust.” The program was established by the chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman, and funds a year-long master’s degree studies at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University. And for the first time since its inception, the Schwarzman Scholars Program has selected a student from Georgia Tech, Veronica Chua, to join their Class of 2020.
Chua, who graduated December 15th with highest honors from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), came to Atlanta from her hometown of Miami specifically to enroll in the Emory University/Georgia Tech dual-degree program, which offers undergraduates the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from Emory College of Arts and Sciences in three years, followed by an engineering degree from Georgia Tech in two years.
She entered Georgia Tech with a B.A. in mathematics and economics as a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar from Emory. “I wanted to fuse the merits of both the liberal arts and STEM,” she explained. “It’s an exceptional academic experience, because my STEM education has equipped me to dissect engineering systems via technical analysis, while my liberal arts education has equipped me to frame situations with a flexible, big-picture lens. This joint perspective allows me to tackle problems in an unconventional way.”
The Schwarzman Scholars program, designed to foster relationships between the U.S. and China, aligns seamlessly with Chua’s goals. Next August, when she begins her master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University, she plans to leverage both of her undergraduate degrees to develop a cross-border shipping model between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies.
"I met with Veronica many months before the application deadline to advise her regarding the process and the support we offer applicants, including application essay feedback" said Kathryn Meehan-Quinto, Prestigious Fellowships Advisor in the Center for Career Discovery & Development. "Veronica also attended one of our Schwarzman Scholars Program information sessions on campus."
“Veronica is very deserving of this award, as she embodies the objectives of the Schwarzman Scholars program. She embraces her role in the global community and wants to take action to shape the world,” said J. Antonio Carbajal, vice president of data science at Turner Broadcasting System and a part-time instructor for ISyE. “Coming from a background of family-run businesses, Veronica is passionate about empowering small businesses by advancing U.S.-China partnerships in the logistics sector.”
When asked what she hopes she’ll be able to take away from her Schwarzman experience after it’s over, Chua had a ready answer. “From a professional standpoint, I hope my understanding of the logistics industry is enhanced and that I’m able to investigate central areas of opportunity such that both countries benefit from a strategic partnership.
“From a personal standpoint, I hope I’m able to form lifelong friendships with my fellow scholars, so that together we are able to positively influence and transform how the world functions in the future. Meaningful engagement doesn’t happen unless you connect with others on a human level.”
After completing her year as a Schwarzman Scholar in August 2020, Chua will join the Operations Excellence Program as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company.