When it comes to the extremely challenging job of running a nation, a university education can help in setting up a leader for success. The vast majority of heads of government have some sort of post-secondary education – 83%, in fact – but their areas of study vary greatly.
Some leaders, like Alain Berset of Switzerland, specifically studied political science or law in university. Other leaders, such as Paraguayan president, Horacio Cartes, took a more roundabout path to the top, having studied aviation mechanics in the United States.
The following maps, from SavingSpot, are an informative look at what national leaders around the world studied in school.
Note: Hover over the maps to learn about leaders and their educational background.
Donald Trump: America’s president holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Justin Trudeau: Canada’s prime minister holds two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.
Enrique Peña Nieto: Mexico’s president holds a law degree from Universidad Panamerica, and an MBA from the Monterrey Institute of Technology.
Angela Merkel: Germany’s chancellor has a heavy-hitting educational background. Merkel was educated at Karl Marx University, in Leipzig, where she studied physics from 1973 to 1978. She was awarded a doctorate for her thesis on quantum chemistry in 1986, and was recognized for her proficiency in Russian and mathematics.
Emmanuel Macron: The French president studied philosophy at the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense. As well, Macron obtained a master’s degree in public affairs at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Stefan Löfven: Sweden’s prime minister took a more unconventional path to government. After completing military service in the Swedish Air Force, Löfven became a welder and subsequently a union representative. Eventually, Löfven became the first chairman of IF Metall, a newly formed trade union representing over 300,000 workers.
Vladimir Putin: Before joining the KGB in 1975, Putin studied Law at the Leningrad State University (now Saint Petersburg State University).
Xi Jinping: Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University. During this time, China was fully immersed in the Cultural Revolution. Xi studied as a “Worker-Peasant-Soldier student”, which included blocks of time spent doing farm work and studying Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong thought.
John Magufuli: Tanzania’s president has an extensive educational background, earning masters and doctorate degrees in chemistry from The University of Dar es Salaam.
Uhuru Kenyatta: The Kenyan president studied economics, political science, and government at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
Michel Temer: Brazil’s president attended the Law School of the University of São Paulo, and later completed a doctorate in public law at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.
Mauricio Macri: Before becoming an analyst at SIDECO Americana, Argentina’s president received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina. He also attended Columbia Business School, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Universidad del CEMA in Buenos Aires.
Malcolm Turnbull: Australia’s prime minister graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws, before earning a Bachelor of Civil Law at Brasenose College, Oxford.
Enele Sopoaga: The prime minister of the tiny island nation of Tuvalu is one of many world leaders educated in the United Kingdom. Sopoaga earned a Certificate in Diplomatic Studies from Oxford University, and a master’s degree from the University of Sussex.