Meet the Chinese design student accepted by seven top US universities including Harvard and MIT

Award-winning designer leaves ‘average’ academic record behind to pursue postgraduate studies at prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 10:54pm

An award-winning graduate from eastern China is soon to begin her postgraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US after receiving offers from no fewer than seven prestigious colleges.

Zeng Jiani graduated from the University of Nottingham Ningbo last year with a degree in industrial design,Qianjiang Evening News reported.

After leaving college she took a job as a product development engineer, but soon realised it was not for her. What she really wanted to do was further her studies, so she set about applying to some of the finest seats of learning in the United States.

Within a matter of months she had secured offers not only from MIT, but also from Harvard University, the School of Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, Pratt Institute and two more besides.

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Zeng, who currently lives in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, was delighted to receive so many offers, but eventually decided on MIT, the report said.

Though modest about her ability at school – she said she was never more than average – Zeng clearly flourished once in higher education. While studying in Ningbo, she won nine international design prizes, including, in 2015, the famous Red Dot Design Award for her creative work on the design of a sofa that can be converted into a play tent for children.

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Zeng said she has her parents to thank for her achievements, as they have always been supportive and encouraged her to follow her dreams.

“My parents’ style of being positive all the time benefited me and my sister a lot,” she said, referring to her twin, a graduate of Columbia University in the US and who now works in the artificial intelligence industry.

Zeng’s parents ensured she and her sister had a happy childhood, free from the pressures of too much studying, the report said.

“We seldom went to after-school classes, and we’d go to the West Lake at least once a week,” she said, adding that her mother never got mad at her if she did badly in her exams.

While countless youngsters these days are pressured into taking extracurricular classes – as many parents believe it’s the only way to ensure their success – Zeng’s story shows that there is more than way to the top.

A Weibo user summed the matter up well, saying there are “all kinds of education styles in China today – tiger dads, happy education, encouraging education”.

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“There’s not just one way. The best way is the one that fits the student,” the person said.