Spring 2017 Corps Review | Back
By Sookhan Ho, Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business
Cadet Paul Grey Weissend ’17 has been selected as a Schwarzman Scholar, an international award for graduate study in China that was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship.
Weissend is a senior in the Honors College majoring in finance with minors in international business and leadership from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ Rice Center for Leader Development.
He was among more than 2,700 candidates from 119 countries who competed for 129 spots in the 2018 class of the program, established by Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman, CEO, and co-founder of leading investment firm Blackstone.
Aimed at preparing the next generation of global leaders, the program gives students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
“I am incredibly excited to further challenge myself in a country that is absolutely foreign to me,” said Weissend, who has long been interested in business and entrepreneurship.
In high school, he founded a company to buy electronic accessories from China wholesale and resell them on eBay and Amazon. Coordinating with companies like Alibaba, he realized he needed to acquire a deeper understanding of China to be a successful leader.
At Virginia Tech, Weissend serves as chief investment officer of SEED, a student group that manages $5 million for the Virginia Tech Foundation through stock investments.
His work experience includes summer internships as an analyst at J.P. Morgan in New York City and GE Capital in Norwalk, Connecticut.
In the Corps, Weissend served as first sergeant of Delta Company and protocol officer of the VPI Citizen-Leader Track Battalion.
He spent the last spring in Europe as one of the university’s Presidential Global Scholars, conducting research on the refugee crisis. The Presidential Global Scholars program is a collaborative, trans-disciplinary living-learning community in which ambitious honors students and their professors work in tandem with the resources and opportunities in Europe to create an environment that allows the students to better understand the world and what they might accomplish in it.
Weissend’s research team, which included three other Virginia Tech students, interviewed refugees at a camp in Calais, France, and at a temporary stay center in Melilla, Spain. Weissend focused on entrepreneurs and their business development within the camps. His project culminated in an essay he wrote on micro financing for refugees.
His travels in Europe intensified his desire to see and understand more of the world.
“Learning what drives people from different cultures is vital to helping affect world progress,” said Weissend.
His ultimate goal is to facilitate cross-border business development and collaboration. He said he hopes to use his banking and entrepreneurial background and his Schwarzman Scholar experience to encourage investment and overcome cultural and political hurdles.