Design and build electrical circuits in a few minutes. Team up with a group of total strangers to turn a pile of flimsy boxes into a seriously high tower. These were among the challenges that dozens of prospective Skoltech students had to tackle at Selection Weekend – a 72 hours long marathon of exams, challenges, and interviews – which is the final stage in the admission and selection process. For 38 young women and men it was all worthwhile. On the other end of the final 2014 Selection Weekend they were admitted to Skoltech as new students.
The admission and selection process involves more than submitting an application, being interviewed by faculty, or taking math and English exams. It focuses not only on what applicants already know – but on what they can achieve in the future. Skoltech aims to attract, support and nourish outstanding students who have the capacity to become agents of knowledge exchange, researchers, innovators and company founders, who will have impact on Russia and around the world. More than 45% of current Skoltech students are actively involved in a startup company or project.
The goal is to enroll new students who will follow these trailblazers’ example. In order to admit the right people, Selection weekend involves the entire Skoltech community. Nine professors, two Faculty Founding Fellows, one PhD student and one MIT professor interviewed 60 people in under 24 hours. Two current students led one of the challenges, and the applicants also had a two-hour activity with current Skoltech students. This was held independently by the students, with no faculty or staff present.
The bottom line in numbers: out of 208 prospective students who applied over the last application period (April – June 2014), 67 were invited to Selection Weekend, and 38 were admitted to M.Sc. programs in Energy and IT – an admission rate of 18%. Currently, the total number of Skoltech Masters and Ph.D. students in Energy, IT, Biomed, Space and Manufacturing is 176. More than a third of students are women, and 18% come from an international background, hailing from more than 10 countries. A total of 101 new students are joining Skoltech this year. They’ll be attending the first course of the academic year 2014-2015, Innovation Workshop, today.
* The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is a private graduate research university in Skolkovo, Russia, a suburb of Moscow. Established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT, Skoltech educates global leaders in innovation, advances scientific knowledge, and fosters new technologies to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. Applying international research and educational models, the university integrates the best Russian scientific traditions with twenty-first century entrepreneurship and innovation.