As the first 110 Schwarzman scholars get set for graduation next month, the billionaire founder of the program is looking back on the lessons he's learned steering it through its start-up phase.
The program has nearly reached $500 million toward a new goal of $550 million in fundraising, with money coming from a variety of wealthy Chinese, American and European families, corporations and philanthropies. Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of private equity giant Blackstone and namesake of the program, put in $100 million of his own money, and since then more than 100 other donors have followed.
Schwarzman scholars, chosen from 3,000 applicants from around the world, spend a year studying for a master's degree and living in Beijing at Tsinghua University, which hosts the program. Schwarzman has ties to the institution because he sat on its business school's board. And China is important to Blackstone, having invested $3 billion in its 2007 initial public offering.