From an initial pool of nearly 3,000 applicants, 151 Schwarzman Scholars were selected from 36 countries and 121 universities. We're incredibly proud to have two U-M wolverines in this elite cohort. The Schwarzman Scholars Program aims to prepare the next generation of global leaders by giving students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a one-year program of global affairs coursework and mentorship by leaders in government and industry which culminates in a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Current seniors and recent alumni up to the age of 28 can apply for the Schwarzman Scholars Program. This year, U-M has two recipients who are both alumni: Brooke Bacigal and Shivam Desai!
Brooke is a 2020 public policy graduate and previous U-M candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship. Brooke did not receive the Rhodes during the 2019-2020 cycle, but went on to receive an MSt in Diplomatic Studies at Oxford. Her thesis title is: UN Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2010- Present: An Analysis of the Factors Inhibiting MONUSCO’s Generation of a Sustainable Peace in the DRC.
During her time at U-M, Brooke was Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of International Affairs, she designed a project that received funding from the Davis Projects for Peace initiative, and she co-founded a refugee education start-up called [RE]vive. She is currently an Associate at PUBLIC, a London based gov-tech consultancy.
When asked why she chose to apply to the program, Brooke noted, “China is not a country with which I have a great familiarity, therefore I am incredibly grateful and excited to have this opportunity to build my understanding through immersive personal experience and study.” Through Schwarzman, she hopes to continue studying the intersections between innovation, technology, and governance in order to create international solutions for improving the uptake and regulation of emerging technologies.
Shivam is a 2017 Ross graduate with minors in political science and Asian studies. He is the first undergraduate business student at Ross to receive funding and sponsorship from Professor Rajeev Batra for an international capstone with his thesis “Internet Access and Social Network Influences on Behaviors and Consumption Decisions of Indian Consumers.”
Shivam started his career in Walmart’s ecommerce division in January 2018, focusing on the import and export aspect of retail to directly engage with global sourcing partners and manufacturers across Asia to cost-effectively source products. He then pivoted to financial technology at Better.com and worked in customer acquisition, originations and lending, and capital markets. Today, he is a manager of strategic partnerships at SoFi.
A 2015 India study abroad program through Ross inspired Shivam to get closer to that part of the world and the Schwarzman Scholars program best suits his vision. His advice to anyone interested in applying is, “If you have a burning, unwavering aspiration towards something in life, don’t let doubt or fear influence your actions. Take your best shot, and you’ll land somewhere closer to your goal than if you didn’t take one at all.”
This article was written by Mackenzie Loftus and originally published by the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships.