What’s so special about Oxford and Wharton?

Michael Bueza
What’s so special about Oxford and Wharton?
The University of Oxford in the UK and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the US are among the world’s most renowned educational institutions

MANILA, Philippines – There are schools. And there are greater schools like Oxford and Wharton.

The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States are among the world’s most renowned educational institutions.

Both schools are listed in the résumé of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. It says he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) at Oxford in 1978, and took up a Master’s degree in business administration at Wharton from 1979 to 1981. (READ: EXCLUSIVE: Did Bongbong Marcos lie about Oxford, Wharton?)

Here’s a quick look at these two schools.

Oxford: An enduring institution

The exact foundation date of the University of Oxford remains unclear, but evidence of teaching there dates back to the year 1096. It is recognized as the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the second-oldest university in the world that is still operational. The oldest is the University of Bologna in Italy.

Today, the University of Oxford “is a modern, research-driven university.” It offers “taught degrees” and “research degrees” for graduates/postgraduates in 5 academic divisions, as well as around 48 undergraduate courses.

Oxford ranks 3rd in the 2014-15 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, and 5th in the 2014-15 QS World University Rankings.

Since school year 2011-2012, Oxford has placed first in THE World University Rankings for clinical, pre-clinical, and health subjects. It also “ranked in the top ten globally in life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities,” according to its website.

Oxford is also known for its Rhodes Scholarship, an international postgraduate award given to select students “who would be motivated to fight ‘the world’s fight’, to ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim’, and to promote international understanding and peace.”

Among the notable Rhodes Scholars are former US President Bill Clinton, current Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former CNN chairman and chief executive officer Walter Isaacson, and astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Around the world, more than 275,000 individuals proudly call themselves Oxford alumni, including 26 British Prime Ministers and over 50 Nobel Prize winners.

Gregoria Agoncillo – daughter of Marcela Agoncillo who sewed the first Philippine flag along with her eldest daughter and a niece – is widely known as the first Filipina to graduate from Oxford.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was a visiting law fellow at Oxford’s St Hilda’s College as part of her post-doctoral studies in 2000. She also took up a Summer Program in Law (sponsored by the Florida State University) at Oxford in 1997.

Wharton: A pioneer business school

Many prominent Filipinos in business have graduated from one of the top business schools in the world: the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Established in 1881 by Joseph Wharton, it is the first collegiate business school in the world. Its original name was the Wharton School of Finance and Economy.

According to its website, the Wharton School “maintains a long tradition of educating visionary business leaders in academe, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.”

Wharton currently has around 5,000 students pursuing undergraduate, Master of Business Administration (MBA), executive MBA, and doctoral degrees, as well as executive education programs.

Wharton ties with the Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business as the top school in North America in the QS Global 200 MBA Rankings for 2014-15.

It also ranks 3rd in the Financial Times’ Global MBA Ranking 2015, behind Harvard Business School and the London Business School.

Wharton School boasts of 93,000 alumni in 153 countries as of August 2014. Among them are businessmen such as Donald Trump, Lewis E. Platt, and Elon Musk.

Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II obtained his Economics degree from Wharton in 1979. Marcos-era technocrat and former Philippine prime minister Cesar Virata is also a Wharton alumnus, earning his MBA in Industrial Management in 1953.

Other Filipino Wharton graduates include PLDT chairman Manuel “Manny” V. Pangilinan, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas ex-governor and current Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr, and former San Miguel Corporation chairman Andres Soriano Jr. –

Editor’s Note: The list of other Filipino Wharton graduates has been updated. Economist Solita “Winnie” Monsod attended the University of Pennsylvania.

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.