Profile: NU-Q’s new admissions director


By Ayilah Chaudhary

Alex Schultes, the newly appointed director of admissions at Northwestern University in Qatar.
Alex Schultes, the newly appointed director of admissions at Northwestern University in Qatar.

“Admit” and “deny” are soon going to become integral words in the vocabulary of Alex Schultes, the newly appointed director of admissions at Northwestern University in Qatar.

Schultes, 36, is no foreigner to the decision of accepting or denying applicants, nor is he new to the Middle East. Prior to joining NU-Q, he worked in the admissions departments of the University of Miami, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s Miami campus and King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in International Political Economy and Development from Brown University, Schultes said he did not always plan to work in higher education. Following the completion of his degree, Schultes interned for a private business that lead him to travel to the Middle East to represent clients, before settling in the region for work. However, after losing a big contract in Iraq, Schultes decided to apply to graduate school at the University of Miami to study international administration.

“Once I got to the University of Miami, I realized that private graduate school is pretty expensive, and I found that working for the university was the easiest way to pay for it,” he said. Schultes began working as a student employee in the Alumni Development Department before becoming Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for three years. He managed applications from 10 states, recruited applicants from high schools and conducted interviews with prospective students. “I worked full-time during the day and went to school at night,” Schultes recalled.

As much as he loved traveling for his job, Schultes, then a newly-wed, decided to leave the University of Miami after six years in an effort to settle down. For the next two years, he ran the admissions operations for Kellogg’s EMBA Program in Florida.

While that opportunity did not lead Schultes straight to NU-Q, it did bring him back to the Middle East. One of his contacts from Saudi Arabia informed him of an opening at the country’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. “My wife is from the region, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to raise our then one-year-old daughter in Saudi so she could get a more formal education, be exposed to Arabic and more opportunities in a really diverse place,” Schultes said.

After two years of working at KAUST, Schultes received another cross-career phone call from a former Kellogg colleague informing him of the newly available position at NU-Q. “I was really excited to work for a great university that teaches journalism and communications,” he said. “As a firm supporter of liberal arts, I believe in being exposed to other fields outside your area of concentration. I think it prepares you for life, not just a course or career, but in general makes you a better person.”

To prospective applicants, Schultes’ advice is to “pursue what you’re passionate about, whether it be volunteer work, sports, or social activism, because one is certainly not better than the other in admissions.” As more applications begin to roll in, he said he will see which students spent time on their applications and review each of them with a holistic approach.

“I want to enroll the best and brightest at NU-Q,” he added.


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