Gurchit Chatha

Gurchit Chatha has been named a Schwarzman Scholar for the organization’s upcoming Class of 2022.  

Chatha — an East Indian-American who was born, raised and lives in Sylmar — was among 154 persons selected from 3,600 applicants, and his class will include students from 39 countries and 99 universities. He and his fellow scholars will attend Tsinghua University in Beijing beginning in August of 2021 and study in a year-long master’s degree program in Global Affairs.

“This is truly an inspirational and dynamic group of young people,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, founding trustee of Schwarzman Scholars, in describing the organization’s sixth such class. “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.”

“I am excited to see what this class brings to both the Schwarzman College and greater Tsinghua University communities,” said Xue Lan, dean of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University. “Each scholar was selected for their demonstrated leadership, excellence, and desire to grow. I look forward to meeting them in the fall.”

Chatha, 25, graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016, earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and concentration in Quantitative Methods. He said he was motivated to pursue the scholarship after reading the book “Destined For More” last November.

“It talked about…how historically a status quo power has been dealing with any sort of economic challenge from a rising power,” he said. “It can cause wars. But in some of the cases, one way to evade war was through cultural and economic integration.

“After reading that book I wondered how I could contribute to the building and understanding of the East in the way it has been building its understanding of the West the past several decades. So I looked into scholarships that embodied that principle and found the Schwarzman scholarship. The past year was the process of learning about it, getting better on my essays, and actually getting it.”  

The master’s program is a degree in Global Affairs, Chatha said. He plans to concentrate on business. He said he’s passionate about problem-solving, and hopes to spend his Schwarzman year exploring Chinese technological innovation in the wake of rapid urbanization and power transition theory.

“China is actually very far ahead on both the technology that impacts our physical world, and also digital technology,” Chatha said. “My goal is to explore robotics, and understand how companies in Beijing are using robot delivery to get goods and services to consumers faster.

“In the United States, you do see robot deliveries in cities like San Francisco and Seattle. But you don’t see it happening in very dense metros like New York City. When you have more density and more people, you have more data. And when you have more data, and when problems happen, you get better faster.”

Chatha, who currently manages the residential moving company Supply Growth at Bellhop, ultimately plans to return to the US, attend another business school, then work for a tech company.

But he said there is plenty to learn while abroad, and hopes to remain overseas awhile after his studies in Beijing. 

“We’re in a time when China’s economy has been growing at an absurd rate since the 1980s, and it’s proving more resilient than Western economies after a crisis like the one this year,” said Chatha, referring to the health pandemic that has caused businesses across the US to suspend or cease operations, forcing many people out of work.

“My current vision is to stay abroad awhile, maybe work in China a couple of years and learn more about the technology. If that’s not possible, I would like to live and work in India a couple of years, because I think it’s also an economy that has a lot of potential that a lot of Westerners haven’t paid attention to.”