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What the Educational Background of These 3 Brilliant Leaders Will Teach You

It is important to learn from these brilliant personalities who have greatly impacted the world such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and MLK.

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Research has shown that effective leaders are those who can address two types of needs in their places of leadership; human needs and efficiency needs. This is why it is important to learn from the brilliant personalities who have greatly impacted the world such as Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, Bill Gates, the great technologist behind Microsoft, and Martin Luther who revolutionized the world by fighting for justice.


Barack Obama

Like many great personalities in the world, Barack Obama has grown to become a force to reckon with due to his education. Obama has made his mark in the history of the United States as the first African-American president. He won Peace Prize for his audacious humanitarian efforts and for his extraordinary efforts to support international diplomacy.

Obama enrolled in Punhou Academy while living with his grandparents where he graduated in 1979 with academic honors and was also an excellent team member in basketball. Although he studied in a school where the majority of students were whites, Obama was never discouraged.

Barack Obama went to Occidental College, Los Angeles after high school where he studied for two years. He later earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from New York’s Columbia University in 1983. Obama went to Chicago in 1985 after working for two years in the business sector. While in Chicago, he served as a community organizer on the poverty-stricken South Side for the low-income community members until 1988.

Barack Obama joined Harvard Law School in 1988 where he became the editor of the University’s law journal. He became the President of the Harvard Law Review in his second year and the research assistant for two years for Laurence Tribe; a constitutional scholar at Harvard by then. He graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1991 from Harvard.

While most great world personalities and innovators passed through Harvard University, other colleges have also equipped and produced impactful professionals and innovators across the globe.

Obama has generously supported several charity organizations including Harlem Children’s Zone, Kids Wish Network, Clinton Bush Fund, National Park Foundation, Peace Players International, Save the Elephants, The Trevor Project, USAID, United Service Organization, and Avoid Deforestation Partners.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft; the largest software in the world, who became the richest man globally after founding the software. He is also an investor, philanthropist, and an author. His major interest throughout his school life was in computer programming.

Bill Gates enrolled in the Lakeside school while at age 13 and was able to create his first computer program that allowed users to play games. He graduated from the school in 1973 and became a National Merit Scholar. He joined Harvard College in 1973 and chose a pre-law major. However, Gates was more interested in computer science and mathematics courses.

Gates devised an algorithm for sorting pancakes in his second year as a solution to a problem presented by Professor Harry Lewis in a combinatorics class. The solution held the fastest record for more than 30 years. It was also formalized in a publication in collaboration with Christos Papadimitriou; a computer scientist at Harvard at that time.

Bill Gates supports many international organizations through Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation; a philanthropic organization that he co-foundation with his wife Melinda in 2000. The foundation focuses on reducing poverty and enhancing healthcare globally, and in America, it aims at expanding educational opportunities.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther grew up in Atlanta and attended Booker Washington High School where he became famous for his excellence in public speaking and was a member of the debating team. When he was at age 13, Martin became the youngest assistant newspaper manager of a delivery station in 1942 for the Atlanta Journal.

He later won his first prize during his junior year in an oratorical competition in Dublin, Georgia.

Luther graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1948 and joined Crozer Theological Seminary where he graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. While attending Crozer, Luther became the President of the student body. He later earned his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955.
Martin Luther is remembered for being a leading civil rights leader in the United States who became famous for his exceptional oratory and leadership skills.

The events that took place in the 1950s and 1960s gave him a platform to shine by working for the rights of humankind. He was willing to risk everything he was including leadership, preaching, and his black origin to make America the best country during his time.

What Can You Learn from the Success of These Great Leaders?

  • Higher education is a requirement for any person who wants to impact the world.
  • Everything is possible and achievable. All the three men were faced with challenges that seem insurmountable but they found a way out and became successful by pursuing their studies and goals.
  • Change is continuous. They embraced change by adjusting to the latest trends, always seeking the better side of things, and reacting constructively to any challenges that they came across.
  • They cooperated with others. They began their leadership roles from the school where they served their fellow students and participated in student’s organizations.
  • They are good communicators and public speakers. Their messages, including those of Martin Luther though he is dead, are published in books and have been electronically recorded for empowering and educating others.
  • They are great contributors to the needs of the society. Their education prepared them to be world’s leading philanthropist and have greatly made the lives of others better while working for a peaceful and conducive environment.
  • Men, however, are not the only ones dominating in leadership and innovation as women also have proved that they have greater capabilities like men. For instance, the ability to relate to others makes women better team leaders and managers.

Additionally, women are good problem-solvers and thus can contribute significantly if given chance to pursue higher education in a good environment.

Leaving a great legacy is what the world’s notable personalities have always aspired for. They never stop learning and seeking solutions for the challenges that are facing humanity. Similarly, for you to beat the norms and stand out from the rest, higher education is the key.

Amanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate, a writer, and researcher. Being a regular blogger for numerous prestigious online publications, her interests range from sports and social activism to education and entrepreneurship. You can follow Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWilks01.

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