1. Tell us about your career – what are you doing now, what is it like and what do you enjoy the most about it?
I have over 13 years of international business management experience from Fortune 50 FMCG corporations, taking on and country, regional and global leadership roles in various countries.
Today, I currently run two corporations both as Chairman and CEO.
RockMedical Pte Ltd is a Singapore-based medical over-the-counter marketing company that owns PinkCheck, the number one early pregnancy detection brand sold in the Philippines. The company’s corporate social mission is to lower the rate of child and mother morbidity in the country by 1 per cent.
The Hofer Development Corporation is an agriculture company that helps companies create a transparent supply chain to source sustainable grade crops directly from our Filipino farmers in Mindanao. Currently we supply crude coconut oil to one of the largest FMCG corporations in the world. In the process, we are able to instantly help our farmers through our fair buying practices and better crop prices, coupled with additional livelihood programs. Our corporate social mission is to triple the incomes of our farmers in the next three years.Running two social enterprises simultaneously gives me the ability to create a better future for both our customers and our farmers in Mindanao. The work is intense but rewarding and exciting at the same time. Every day is an opportunity to be able to make a tangible difference to our people and our country.
2. Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?
The UK is home to the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, dating back as early as 1167. Secondly, over 125 Nobel Laureates in various fields come from the UK. To add to this, I found a peculiar commonality of the leaders that intrigued me – they all studied in the UK – Bill Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Adam Smith and Benazir Bhutto.
3. What programme did you take and what drew you to this programme?
I graduated with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Global Business from Said Business School, University of Oxford. The post-graduate degree is designed for executives tasked to expand and take their companies global. It is also a preparation for executives wanting to take on board seats in companies.
4. How does the modular programme compare to regular MBAs?
Unlike MBAs that are full time, the PGD program of Oxford has a modular approach that allows executives to work and study at the same time without having to put their careers on hold. The program runs for four separate weeks throughout the year in the Oxford campus and culminates with a dissertation submitted at the end of the year. In between modules, students are required to read several books, case studies, do various course work and attend group discussions in preparation for classes and exams.
5. How was it like studying in the UK and keeping your job in the Philippines at the same time?
I had a regional job scope during this time. I would be traveling from various countries like Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. The predetermined module dates allowed me to plan around my work and use my vacation days optimally.
6. How did your UK experience and education shape your career?
My UK experience gave me an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and moreover understand the Philippines in an international context. The experience prepared me to take on more challenging global roles and an opportunity to lead the Asia-Pacific expansion of my company. To add to this, the experience has also opened doors that eventually led me to put up my own companies today.
7. What’s the number one lesson you learned in your programme that you still carry with you today?
That the world is flat.
8. What’s your best memory in the UK while you were studying?
Eating kebabs in the food truck across our building and getting free French fries from the chef since he was fond of Filipinos.
9. What are your ambitions for the future?
To have a shot in changing the world. I would like to start at home by improving the lives of our Filipino farmers.
10. What advice would you give to Filipinos who aspire to study in the UK?
Never underestimate yourself. We are just as intelligent and hardworking compared to the best the world has to offer. Always bring a unique perspective that is truly Filipino.