Faces of the day

Soumil Singh is turning down 10 of the top universities in the world, including at least four Ivy League schools.

Soumil Singh is turning down 10 of the top universities in the world, including at least four Ivy League schools.

Meet the young New Zealander who is turning down 10 of the top universities in the world, including at least four Ivy League schools.

Soumil Singh, 18, from Hamilton East, has narrowed down his top choices to Harvard, Stanford or the University of Pennsylvania – rejecting, “I think, four other Ivy League schools” he was accepted into and a prestigious scholarship to Duke University in North Carolina.

The former Hamilton Boys’ High School pupil is among an increasing number of New Zealand students being accepted into some of the most elite universities in the world.

This year, a record 50 Kiwis have won admission to top-ranked United States universities, including all eight Ivy League schools.

A staggering $12.8 million in scholarships and financial aid has been won by some of the country’s top students, helping them to attend their dream university.

…Former Macleans College dux Zhong Huang, 18, has just accepted a place at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to study engineering. He was also offered a Karsh Scholarship at Duke, worth $360,000.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, to be honest,” he said.

“It’s something you never really thought would happen. If you went back a year or two years, I never would have thought I’d end up studying somewhere in the US, never mind somewhere like Caltech or Duke.”

Zhong said the hard work he put in over the past year was “worth it” and would “prepare me for the academic rigours ahead”.

Georgia Lala. Photo / Supplied

Georgia Lala. Photo / Supplied

…Georgia Lala, 18, from Stonefields in Auckland, secured a Robertson Scholarship to Duke, also worth $360,000.

“It was very overwhelming,” she said about the moment she found out, “but super exciting and super different from what I was expecting.”

The former Diocesan School for Girls student and last year’s Prime Minister’s Future Scientist prize winner hopes to study biology or global health, with the aim of working in the area of population health policy in places like the United Nations.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also quite scared, but scared in a good way, because it’s completely new to me. I never really expected to study outside of New Zealand, and it’s just going to be a whole different culture and environment,” Georgia said.

Jamie Beaton. Photo / File

Jamie Beaton. Photo / File

…A young New Zealander worth an estimated $40 million is on track to graduate from Harvard with a double degree two years ahead of schedule.

Jamie Beaton, 21, has also this year become one of the youngest students ever to gain admission to the prestigious Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The young entrepreneur, who is the co-founder and chief executive of Crimson Consulting – a company which aims to help students gain admission to elite universities – is set to graduate next month, with a degree in applied mathematics-economics and a masters in applied maths.

Typically, an undergraduate qualification alone takes four years, but Jamie will have completed two degrees in three years.

…Jamie encouraged New Zealand students to “take a global perspective to your education”, and not to shy away from applying to overseas universities.

On top of his studies and running a business, Jamie also works for Wall St’s Tiger Management as an analyst.

Crimson, which currently holds a significant place in the Australasian market, is now making a tentative expansion into Europe and has an eye on China in the medium term.

Jamie pitched the business in 2014, and it was this year valued at US$60 million ($87.9 million), with his share reckoned at US$26 million.

As a Year 13 student at King’s College, Jamie applied for 25 of the world’s top universities and was the first Kiwi to be accepted to all of them – Cambridge, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania’s Huntsman programme, Columbia, Melbourne and Monash among others. He achieved five perfect scores on SAT subject tests, SAT Maths and 750+ in both critical reading and writing.

Jamie has also won the New Zealand Student Enterprise Award and will be competing in global finals next month.

-A Newspaper




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  • Wheninrome

    All these students will have a supportive parental base to call on. A strong statement guessed at by me. I would be thrilled to learn that some feral’s child was achieving against the odds of their birth and background.

    • kereru

      So true. Mr K was brought up in the rough and tumble of an affectionate but poor family and left school without any qualifications to work on a pig farm. National Service was the making of him and, after his mandatory 2 years, he stayed on and trained to be an aircraft engineer. NS gave countless others like him a leg up and a chance to use the intelligence they were born with.

      Wasted potential is something I feel strongly about. There are plenty of intelligent children growing up in the culture of low expectations and pressure not to rise above their peers. If we’re ever going to break the chain of welfare dependence, there has to be another answer to leaving them there to perpetuate the problem generation after generation.

  • herewego

    Lets celebrate the success – NZ doing well on a global stage.

    Here’s hoping they all come back and don’t have to avoid NZ due to tall poppy/envy. The later is a cultural change we need to make – to empower and recognise achievement.

  • Seriously?

    Forget sportspeople, these are young New Zealanders to be proud of.

  • R&BAvenger

    WOW, well done to all of these young people this is the sort of success to be celebrated and communicated nationwide. sadly it won’t, as the media party just deal in the politics of envy. They will just be seen as future ‘rich pricks’ that need to be taxed more as it’s not fair that they are successful and have earned more due to their own efforts.

    • JohnO

      They not only earn more, they actually create wealth (as an example Steve Jobs and apple created wealth out of inventing and producing the I-phone).
      The more wealth created the more we we live in a wealthy country. We have a good expectation that these young bright ones will make NZ a more wealthy country.

  • kayaker

    What wonderful young people! For every one of them there will be others who are similarly aspirational and achievement oriented – we should celebrate all of them! Mr K and I are proud of our young adults too – carving their way in the world, successful and caring, huge work ethic.

  • Clutch Cargo

    Both of my boys are very good at rowing and have represented NZ at an international level. Both were approached by the ivy leagues to join their respective rowing programes. The oldest lad was casual drain laying at the time and declined the offers….he reckons he will do varsity when he’s ready, to much living to be done at the moment, and when he does decide to go, he will pay cash. The joke in the family now is he turned down Harvard in favour of drain laying……..hahahahah

  • Huia

    Well done to these young people and their parents.
    It shows that it is all there for the taking as long as you are prepared to put in the hard yards, no special concessions or racial privileges for these young’uns, just darned hard work, self discipline and a willingness to think outside the square.
    They will create employment, they are an asset to this country and I am so proud of them all.
    These young folk are our future. Unfortunately socialist envy will in the future refer to them as privileged the “rich,” while not raising a finger to grab similar opportunities when they had the chance.
    Good luck to them all, just don’t forget your roots here in NZ.