Meet Youran: The First Member of the Class of 2027

Meet Youran, incoming student in the Class of 2027 | Nov 15, 2022

Quick Facts:


Youran Zhao





Intended Major

Business and Social Sciences


How/when did you discover Minerva?

When I started my school research in my junior year, I was lucky to reach some graduates from Nanjing Foreign Language School (my high school) who chose and attended Minerva. After listening to their stories from Minerva, I fell in love with this innovative university that is so different from traditional ones. Despite the exhilarating international adventure, Minerva actually has very high requirements for academic performance and is quite a challenging program. The educational philosophy here emphasizes in-depth practical knowledge that focuses on cognitive tools, communication skills, and the ability to tackle real-life problems instead of simply memorizing facts and theories. Minerva faculty is also supportive in every aspect of student life. Minerva is exactly the school I have been looking for.

As a binding applicant, how did you know that Minerva is your dream university?

Minerva appeals to me in a variety of aspects. The unique global rotation gives me the opportunity to have an immersive international tour and be a better global citizen. I will explore countries’ diverse cultural contexts, political backgrounds, and social norms myself instead of learning from social media. I also like Minerva’s teaching style with small seminars for each class and the educational platform Forum it created. Discussion, debate, and cooperation between students are the highlight of every class and professors give prompt feedback. I have heard many senior students from my high school complaining about being one of 500 students sitting in a lecture hall and getting little attention from professors in other universities. This can be easily avoided with Minerva’s unique seminar classes.

What was your favorite accomplishment that you submitted in your Minerva application?

I was very proud to win third place in the 2022 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) ESG Sustainable Development High School Business Challenge. What I find extremely exciting is that PwC, a leading consulting firm, is dedicated to raising awareness of sustainable development in the form of business cases created by high school students. Inspired by my internship at the Changjiang Hui Company which specializes in waste recycling, our team proposed a business plan that will install Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) equipped with barcode scanners along the Yangtze River bank where people can exchange plastic waste for digital currency on our partner’s platform, which provides citizens with effective incentives to be water environment defenders. This project was an excellent way to combine my interests in business and environmental protection.

What excites you the most about attending Minerva?

I am thrilled to meet my future classmates. The Minerva community consists of students from all over the world and has no bias towards citizenship or ethnicity. I will have the opportunity to communicate with them about a lot of exciting events happening in their home countries that I have never encountered before. I think the community also fosters a good chance for all the students to break down their original stereotypes towards different cultures. I am also looking forward to acquiring the ability to communicate and interact with people from all over the world during the global rotation, which can never be obtained from other traditional universities.

Is there any city within the global rotation that you are most excited to explore?

I cannot wait to explore London. My family had planned a trip to the UK when I was in the 9th grade. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 outbreak took place that year and we had to give up on the plan. My home country China still has restrictions on traveling abroad because of the pandemic, so I will be lucky enough to be the first one in my family to visit London.

What are you excited to bring to the Minerva community next year?

My father is a journalist. Under his influence, I have a lot of observations and thoughts on China’s social issues. I will blend Chinese features into the Minerva community, dealing with future experiences with passion, rationality, and curiosity. I would also love to share my home traditions and cuisine with my classmates. Minerva has many unique events such as the 10:01 banquet where students with different backgrounds exchange their personal stories and viewpoints from diverse national contexts, and share cooking techniques by preparing home dishes.

What major are you most interested in and how will that contribute to your future dream career?

I am currently most interested in Business and Social Sciences. Influenced by my parents, I have a strong passion and curiosity for studying economic phenomena in my city and around the world. I believe the combination of technology and entrepreneurship will contribute a lot to environmental protection. While social sciences teach me to predict, business teaches me to operate, and all of them lead to the eventual destination—achieving social justice.

If you were inspired by Youran's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.