The graduate business school was named after Tan Sri Dato' Seri Utama Arshad Ayub, Malaysia's education icon - a man of sheer determination, diligence and discipline. "I was exposed to poverty so I understand what poverty is."
In 1954 he graduated with a diploma in Agriculture from the College of Agriculture in Serdang, Selangor. He was awarded the Colonial and Development scholarship in 1953 to study at the University College of Wales Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom, graduating with an Honours Degree in Economics and Statistics in 1958. In 1964, Tan Sri Arshad obtained a Diploma in Business Administration from the Management Development Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland (now the IMD).
Tan Sri Arshad's involvement in education began in 1965 as the Principal of the MARA College of Business and Professional Studies. In 1967, Maktab MARA was transformed into Institut Teknologi MARA (ITM) of which Tan Sri Arshad became the First Director serving with courage and determination from 1965 to 1975. He laid the foundation for the Institut Teknologi MARA (now UiTM) and led one of the most successful education initiatives in the country.
When Tan Sri Arshad opened UiTM's doors in 1965, the student population was only 219 with just 11 lecturers. When he left in 1975, there were 6,856 students and 904 lecturers serving 60 programs in 13 different schools and branch campuses in Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak), Arau (Perlis) and Dungun (Terengganu). Today UiTM is the nation's largest institution of higher learning in terms of size and population with 35 campuses, 508 programs and over 750 thousand graduates.