These Famous Filipinos Have Harvard University Credentials

Harvard is reputed for its academic excellence and exclusivity.

Whether for a graduate study or a short course, enrolling at Harvard University is coveted by many of various nationalities with high career aspirations.

One of the eight Ivy League universities in the United States, the 384-year-old institution of higher learning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is widely reputed for its academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and high salary grade after graduation.

Harvard also has a huge (if not the biggest) financial endowment, which means it has an abundance of resources for its academic programs and research endeavors.

Among its notable alumni are 158 Nobel laureates, 32 heads of state including eight U.S. presidents, and 188 living billionaires.

Among the notable business leaders in the Philippines who went to Harvard are Ayala Corporation's Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who earned his degree in economics in 1981 and master's in business administration in 1987; JG Summit's late founder John Gokongwei and Jollibee's Tony Tan Caktiong, who both attended graduate programs.

Two TV network bosses finished their master’s degree at Harvard.

GMA-7’s Annette Gozon took up her Master of Law at the Harvard Law School in 1999, while ABS-CBN’s former chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III obtained his MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) in 1980.

Senator Ralph Recto attended a leadership scholarship course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the public policy and public administration school of Harvard.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan pursued his Master of Public Administration at John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997.

A slew of showbiz celebrities had also gone to Harvard for its short programs.


Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, 45, attended a short executive program called Leadership in Crisis at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2012.

He was then 37, and serving as the city vice mayor.

Jolo Revilla, son of Bong Revilla and Lani Mercado, and Janella Estrada, daughter of Jinggoy Estada and Precy Vitug, took a five-day executive education program for emerging leaders in November 2018.

According to the university’s website, the fee costs $8,800 (PHP467,192).

Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach left for the States as soon as she received in April 2009 her acceptance letter to Harvard's Business Management Entrepreneurship course.

She told (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "…it was quite abrupt na talagang kailangan ko nang umalis within two weeks time. And it was hard for me to leave my family during that time because it was during Holy Week at nakaplano na ang Holy Week.

"I had to leave Aga and the kids. But since he knew it was my dream talaga, since before pa, pumayag siya.”

Charo Santos-Concio and Carlo Katigbak, the previous and present chief executive officers, respectively, of the Kapamilya network, both completed a short program in advanced management for six weeks at HBS.

Santos-Concio enrolled in 2007 and Katigbak in 2009.

In September 2019, Toni Gonzaga studied a special course, Professional Development for Marketing Strategy, at Harvard Extension School, one of the university's 12 degree-granting institutions. Dr. Vicki Belo was her classmate.

In March 2010, Karen Davila was one of the three Filipino delegates who were invited to attend a short course on Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century at the Harvard Kennedy School.

watch now

This story originally appeared on Pep.phMinor edits have been made by the editors.

More Videos You Can Watch
About The Author
Emma Burce for
View Other Articles From Emma
Latest Feed
Load More Articles
Connect With Us