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"University is where we go to learn about ourselves and the world around us." - Malala Yousafzai

"University is where we go to learn about ourselves and the world around us." - Malala Yousafzai

Higher education has long been considered a prerequisite for many leadership roles, and this fact is borne out by the statistics.

According to a recent study, 83% of world leaders have completed higher education, with nearly half holding a postgraduate degree.

This trend is not limited to any particular region, with leaders from all over the world boasting higher education qualifications. However, the subjects studied by these world leaders are incredibly diverse. While some leaders, like Switzerland's Alain Berset, chose to study political science, others, such as Margaret Thatcher studied Chemistry, and President Macron studied Philosophy.

Whatever subjects they may have studied, they will all have benefitted from the overall university Besides their academic qualifications world leaders, like all university students, benefit from the wider soft skills which are inherent in studying for a degree such as communication, critical thinking, collaboration and building a network of contacts. The additional value of higher education for leadership roles is that it equips individuals with both the knowledge and the skills necessary to navigate complex and often rapidly changing environments. This is especially true in today's world, where technology and globalization have accelerated the pace of change and increased the complexity of many problems.

Higher education provides individuals with the problem-solving and analytical skills necessary to tackle these challenges. These skills are essential for effective leadership, as they enable individuals to build relationships, motivate teams, and communicate effectively with a wide range of stakeholders. Soft skills are often developed through practical assignments and group projects, which allow students to work in teams and develop their communication and leadership skills in a real-world setting.

While the importance of higher education for leadership roles is clear, the landscape of higher education itself has become increasingly competitive. Elite universities remain in high demand, as they are seen as providing the best opportunities for personal and professional development. This is reflected in the statistics, which show that the top 10 universities in the world receive a disproportionate amount of applications each year. However, it is worth noting that attending an elite university is not a guarantee of success, and individuals can still achieve great things regardless of where they studied.

To succeed in higher education and beyond, students need to identify their strengths and interests and find a course and university that aligns with them. Student profiling is one way to achieve this, as it enables individuals to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This can help individuals to make informed decisions about their academic and career paths and ensure that they are investing their time and resources in the right areas.

In addition to finding the right course and university, it is also important for individuals to nurture their skills and personal interests. This can involve participating in extracurricular activities, pursuing hobbies, and seeking out opportunities to develop new skills. By doing so, individuals can build a successful personal profile that showcases their strengths and interests and sets them apart from others in their field.

Career-related learning is also important for individuals who aspire to leadership roles. This involves gaining practical experience and developing a range of transferable skills that are relevant to the workplace. This can include internships, work placements, and volunteering opportunities. By gaining practical experience, individuals can build their networks, develop their skills, and gain insights into different industries and sectors.

In conclusion, the statistics show that higher education is a common pathway for many world leaders, and this is not surprising given the knowledge and skills it develops.  Higher education equips individuals with the hard and soft skills necessary to navigate complex and rapidly changing environments and succeed in leadership roles. While elite universities remain in high demand, individuals can still achieve great things regardless of where they studied, provided they find the right course and university, nurture their skills and interests, and gain practical experience through career-related learning. By doing so, they can build successful personal profiles and prepare themselves for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

And I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey 

"University is about discovering who you are, what you believe in, and what you want to do with your life."
Author : Fiona McKenzie, Head of Education at Carfax Education and leads a team that expertly helps hundreds of students get into the top 50 UK and US universities.  Fiona works with a leading team of consultants who expertly navigate the education landscape, guiding families through the complexities and demystifying the process to help every child exceed their expectations and achieve their ambitions.  

With over 30 years of experience in independent education as a teacher, governor and consultant, Fiona has helped hundreds of families access the very best education for their children, from nursery through to university, offering candid, impartial advice to ensure long-term success.