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Ten Things You Should Know About the UP Virata School of Business

Some tidbits from the newly-published book, The UP Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business: A Century of Business Education in the Philippines
By Entrepreneur Staff |


1. The UP Virata School of Business' mean passing rate in the accountancy board examinations is almost four times the national average.  Between 1966 and 2016, 89 percent of examinees from the school passed. That's 3.7 times the national passing rate of only 24 percent during the same period.


2. The school used to be simply called the UP College of Business Administration. In  2013, it was renamed the Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business after the country's longest-serving finance secretary and minister who held office from 1970 to 1986.



3. Though UP was founded in 1908, a business course was introduced only in 1916.  It was the two-year Bachelor of Science in Commerce (BSC), which was administered by the Department of Economics and Sociology at the College of Liberal Arts. Oddly, the college classified the BSC as a "vocational course."


4. It took several more years before UP put up a separate unit to teach business courses. This happened only in 1929 when the School of Business Administration was established. Its first director was Conrado F. Benitez, who was later appointed dean. In 1934, the school was renamed the College of Business Administration.


5. Also in 1929, the BSC degree was changed to the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA).  By 1959, UP was only one of 11 Philippine educational institutions offering the BSBA  degree. Most other schools offered a Bachelor of Science in Commerce.




6. The metal structure in front of the Virata School of Business, popularly referred to by UP students as the "Ray Gun", is a 1979 sculpture by Napoleon V. Abueva. Titled "The Spirit of Business," the piece represents the forward thrust of the spear-like elements and symbolizes how business helps propel the country's progress and development.


7. UP began offering the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1960. Though the College of Business Administration was already in the Diliman campus then, the part-time program was administered from UP Manila in Herran because the target market were the managers working in Escolta, then Manila's central business district.


8. When Cesar Virata became dean of the college in the 1960s, he moved to expand the number of subjects to be taken by accounting majors. He felt that the course tended to be too narrow and specialized. Thus, the number of years required for an accounting degree at the College of Business Administration went up from four to five.



9. The UP School of Economics was spun off from the College of Business Administration in 1965. Virata, who was the college's dean at that time, supported the separation to allow the economics department to grow unhampered by the constraints of belonging to a bigger college. Many of the country's first economics Ph.D. degree holders had just returned from advanced studies abroad. As well,  international donors were keen on funding economics education.


10. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program was instituted in 1973, and its first graduate was the late Isidro Cariño who became president of the University of the East and Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports during the term of President Corazon Aquino. In 1995, the program was revised to the Ph.D. program, which is more research-oriented. Its first graduate was Vincent Fabella, who would later become president of the Jose Rizal University (JRU).




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