Jonathan Yabut

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Jonathan Allen Salazar Yabut (born 1 July 1985) is a Filipino marketing executive. He is the first winner of the cable TV reality show The Apprentice Asia.


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Early life and education

Yabut's Aklanon mother and aunts are nurses. They hope to have at least one doctor in the family, however, they could not afford the cost of medical school.

His mother wished Nate, his nickname, would become one. However at Grade 1, Nate thought of becoming an astronaut. He graduated elementary and highschool valedictorian from Colegio San Juan de Letran.

However, he didn't pursue medicine as he has a painful outpatient experience to remove a cyst from his chest when he was still in college. It convinced him that a medical career was not for him. He was a Psychology major in University of the Philippines, Diliman.

He was a competitive debater since highschool that he figured Law would be a better fit. He decided to shift to Economics, a popular pre-Law course among his co-members in the UP Debate Society.

He said that they are not a well-to-do family thus he and his two siblings were motivated into a childhood of academic achievement. He recalled that his daily allowance was exact and that his mother said that if he wanted to go a good school, he shoud be a scholar.

He earned his Economics degree cum laude. He admitted that it was a source of frustration for a while as there was only a small difference between the required general weighted average and his final grade.


Career

As his commencement drew near, he got an offer to be a management trainee at Globe Telecom, as he was in the Top 10 of his senior class. As he got his first job and got immersed in its environment, the magna cum laude issue did not matter so much anymore then he opted to go full time into marketing.

He soon worked for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Philippines. He is currently a senior product manager of the Urology Division of the said company. He was the 2012 Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA) Awardee for Brand Management.


The Apprentice Asia

In November 2012, cable channel AXN announced the call for applicants across the region to join The Apprentice Asia. It is a US-originating TV show in which contestants compete for a job as an apprentice to American billionaire Donald Trump.

While he admitted that since he was recovering from a month-old breakup which marked the end of an over-a-year romance, joining the reality show and possibly emerging as its winner would be a sweet revenge over his ex, this experience took him away from his ongoing reality.

He also said that he joined the show as we has sick and tired of seeing Filipinos being bullied when he knows that Filipinos can stand out in the sales and marketing world.

He nearly quit the show due to stress from lack of sleep and spicy food. He also said that there were many clashing personalities among the contestants. He was able to pull himself together as he was motivated by the well-wishes from his family and friends. After his roommate got fired during the second episode, he had the bedroom to himself and he posted encouraging Post-its from his GSK colleagues and friends.

Yabut said that he made it to the show's finale through a combination of preparation, strategy and sheer luck. He was a fully acquainted viewer of the many Apprentice editions from across the globe. He also has the edge of being a proficient strategist who is honed through many inter-school and inter-Asia debate tournaments.

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes, the show's host, and the panel of advisers were impressed with his overall performance. In the show's final challenge, Yabut and Loh were tasked to organize a charity ball for AirAsia Foundation. It was attended by very important personalities in Malaysia, as well as Fernandes' high-profile friends. The show's producers brought back six former contestants from which Yabut and Loh will each choose who will help them with the task.

Yabut said that he picked Samuel Idrus, Rufus Nallaraj and Celina Le Neindre based on their individual strengths that will help him ace the task. Celina is a food and beverage queen; Nash knows almost every politician and celebrity in Kuala Lumpur who will attend the charity ball; while Sam is a director, writer, musician, and thespian all in one.

As the Apprentice Asia's grand winner, Yabut won a one-year contract, as the apprentice of AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, with a salary of at least USD 100,000. He offered his victory for every Filipino and said that one can never be too small to dream big as dreams are for free. The power is ours to make our dreams happen, he said.


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