William Peracchio ’21 was named one of 154 recipients of the Schwarzman Scholarship, class of 2022.
The fellowship is one of the most prestigious honors for graduate students, and the competitive pool of 3,600 applicants demonstrates that the scholars are more motivated than ever to build a relationship with China, despite complications that arose throughout COVID-19.
Each year, up to 200 fellows are selected as Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University in Beijing for a one-year master’s program. Scholars from 39 countries and 99 universities meet in Beijing, where they attend workshops, speak with leaders, and immerse themselves in the culture in order to better understand China.
A computer science and business major, Peracchio joins an impressive class. And while he calls Manasquan, New Jersey, home, his interest in global affairs is taking him on a journey over 7,000 miles away from home to Beijing, as he takes off in August of 2021 to begin his studies.
“I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of global affairs, with a specific focus on a country that, along with the U.S., will be a global superpower in areas of technology and business,” Peracchio says.
The 2022 Schwarzman cohort was the first to be recruited remotely. The 400 strongest applicants were invited for virtual interviews in Beijing, New York, or Singapore, where a panel of CEOs, government officials, university presidents, journalists and nonprofit executives evaluated them based on their leadership capabilities and quality of character along with their academic abilities.
Peracchio bookended his degree with minors in data science, economics and entrepreneurship, as well as a certificate in Global Citizenship. His well-rounded studies motivated him to apply to a program where he could better understand the role of China in the future of technology and the economy. He clearly impressed the panel.
“As someone who wants to be a technologist, understanding China’s role in the global economy will be crucial, and I could not think of a better way to build my understanding than to experience it,” Peracchio says.
Peracchio joins a distinguished class, including an Amazon best-selling author, an app developer working on child nutrition security, Australia’s youngest Deputy Mayor, and more. The cohort experience was what distinguished Schwarzman from other competitive programs for Peracchio.
“Eating, living and studying together lends itself really well to facilitating interesting connections and unique conversions,” he says. “The proposition that I will be interacting with a group of incredible individuals excites me even more than what I’ll learn just in the classroom.”
Stephen A. Schwarzman. Founding Trustee of Schwarzman Scholars, spoke on his enthusiasm for the group in a press release.
“This is truly an inspirational and dynamic group of young people,” Schwarzman said. “At a moment when the mission of Schwarzman Scholars is even more important than we could have predicted, I am confident these individuals will become people of consequence in their generation: leading intelligently, acting with integrity, and addressing the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century.”
Following his studies through the Schwarzman Scholarship, Peracchio is not sure what his next steps will be, but he knows that this experience is the perfect foundation to build his future on.
“While I'm still not sure exactly where I want to end up, I know that the Schwarzman Scholars program will give me a great foundation to focus in any number of specific fields within the business technology spectrum,” Peracchio says.