Apprentice Asia is a Filipino! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 August 2013 17:08

It’s all over the news! Senior product manager oft GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, Jonathan Allen Yabut bested 11 contenders from 7 Asian countries and become a top-salaried apprentice for the show’s host, Malaysian business mogul and AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes. The Apprentice Asia is an Asian reality game show in which a group of aspiring young businessmen and women compete for the chance to work with the Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, who also serves as the host of the show. Dubbed as “the world’s toughest job interview,” the show is the Asian version of the original American version, The Apprentice, and airs on AXN Asia. Yabut won a one-year contract and a six-figure salary job in AirAsia.

On the show’s 10th and final task, Yabut won over fellow finalist Andrea Loh, a litigation lawyer from Singapore, in organizing a charity black-tie fundraiser for the AirAsia Foundation. Impressed, Fernandes congratulated and said to Yabut, “You’re hired.” It was a triumphant for our country.In an interview, Yabut said, “I recall a quote by Woody Allen that 80% of success is [about] showing up. And my ‘Apprentice’ journey is all about showing up. I applied for it, kept at it and never buckled down from a challenge no matter how difficult things got.” He asserted that, in the end, “This is not about me. This is about my country, about proving to the world that a Filipino can make it internationally.”

Last year, Yabut was one of the Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardees (YMMA) for 2012 in the Brand Management category. At GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, he took on the task of revitalizing GSK's Urology business through a breakthrough drug targeting Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or "prostate enlargement", a disease affecting 1 out of 2 elderly males worldwide. Jonathan's challenge was beyond introducing a new brand in the market---he had to gain acceptance for an entirely new drug category that required changing the disease knowledge and medical approach of doctors from traditional monotherapy to combination drug therapy.

Yabut embarked on a 4-Pillar Strategy and re-launched Avodart® under a new indication of combination therapy. GSK's Avodart has been in the market with limited success since 2004, ranking only 4th in volume share (8%) & 7th in prescription share (9%). Deriving from a market research study that price was the main barrier for combination therapy, he became instrumental in Avodart's 40% price reduction---making it as affordable as generic brands but with superior efficacy. In 3 months, Avodart became the #1 most prescribed BPH medication in Dec 2010 and continues to become the prescription leader today, outpacing the former top 3 a-blockers in the market. GSK Philippines was recognized globally with the highest Avodart market share, beating 30 other GSK markets in USA and Europe.

After Avodart's re-launch success, he widened further GSK's leadership in 2011 by launching in Duodart®, a fixed-dose combination of Avodart with another BPH drug. Duodart's campaign focused on efficacy differentiation, highlighting its superior ability to not just treat BPH as most drugs do, but help prevent it as well. In just 4 months after launch, GSK Philippines was again recognized globally with one of the fastest volume share uptake, beating 20 other GSK markets in USA and Europe.

Yabut also tapped electronic communication to ensure that no doctor is left behind in expanding reach. A campaign via Internet and digital media was used in the launch of E-UROLOGY in 2009 - the first and only electronic library of BPH modules and lectures to 1,000 MDs nationwide. It earned the 2010 Gold Merit Project of the Year Award and has been replicated by other business units in GSK Philippines, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Finally, Yabut broke traditional barriers when he conducted Duodart's Grand Launch via webcast streaming and successfully launched Duodart to over 1,200 doctors which would normally take one to two months. With a brilliant combination of customer-driven strategy and innovative execution, Yabut has established GSK Philippines as the country's leader in the urology pharmaceutical business.

I am writing this column to encourage Filipino marketers and entrepreneurs who are 35 years old and younger to join the search for the 2013 YMMA (Young Market Masters Awardees) of Mansmith and Fielders ( The award seeks and recognizes Filipinos who can serve as the Philippines' role models for outstanding and innovative brand building entrepreneurship.I am confident someone from Zamboanga City can win a YMMA Award and who knows in the next Apprentice Asia.

2 Corinthians 4:18. “Because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.”

Which do you think will benefit your company longer – quick profits or good reputation?

By Dante Corteza