Congratulations to Alexander Scharrer (BSc Investment and Financial Risk Management, 2016) on being named as one of the Schwarzman Scholars for its Class of 2021. Schwarzman Scholars is designed to prepare graduates to build stronger relationships between China and a rapidly changing world, and to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century.
Find out more about Alexander’s experience at Cass and his latest achievements here:
Can you tell me about your time at Cass?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cass. The practical nature of the degree prepared me well for my internships in the financial industry and eventually helped me secure a position at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
During university, I also developed a strong passion for Technology, in particular Artificial Intelligence (AI). Cass gave me the opportunity to follow this passion and represent the university at European Tech conferences such as LeWeb in Paris. However, the best part of my experience at Cass were the friendships I have formed with other students and that I continue to have to this day.
What happened after you graduated?
Upon graduation, I joined Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) in London, where I have previously completed a summer internship. In my role as Retail Sales Analyst, I represented GSAM’s full product range and covered financial intermediaries such as banks, funds of funds, private banks and asset managers, primarily in Austria and Germany. At the same time, I continued my AI research and later volunteered for several AI societies in the UK and Austria.
My three years at Goldman have been an invaluable experience and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented group of people. However, I also wanted to pursue postgraduate studies and thus made the difficult decision to leave my position at Goldman in July.
How did you get involved with the Schwarzman Scholars programme?
Given the importance of China in AI and virtually every other industry today, it has always been clear to me that I would like to gain first-hand experience in China. I truly believe that nowadays every student should have a fundamental understanding of China and its economy.
Through a former scholar, I discovered Schwarzman Scholars and was immediately convinced that it would be the ideal programme for my professional aspirations. Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, it is the first programme that was designed to respond to the geopolitical challenges of the 21st century. The scholarship is anchored in a one-year Master’s degree in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University and focuses on China, global affairs and leadership. I applied over the summer and following an interview in London at the end of October, I was fortunate to be selected out of a total of over 4,700 applicants. I am very excited to become a part of this interdisciplinary, multi-cultural environment, where like-minded individuals can discuss ideas and help each other succeed. In the future I hope to serve as an intermediary between the European Union and China in order to facilitate discussions on AI.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
I strongly recommend students to apply to the Schwarzman Scholars programme. The application process can be overwhelming at first but it challenges you to think about your personal as well as professional aspirations and you end up learning a lot about yourself. Apart from being one of the most prestigious graduate fellowships in the world, the Schwarzman Scholars programme is an amazing opportunity to learn more about China and study at Schwarzman College, at the heart of the Tsinghua University campus. You will be surrounded by a remarkable group of individuals with different academic backgrounds but the shared vision to have a positive impact in their respective fields.
Thank you to Alexander for sharing his story and good luck with the Schwarzman Scholars programme!