MarkProf 20th Anniversary 

(From left: Obispo, Chua) 

For nearly a decade, I’ve had the privilege of conducting interviews with numerous business personalities. In a unique twist, I recently engaged in a reverse interview where I was interviewed by Markprof Alumni Board President, She Obispo and Programs Head Alyana Chua. We delved into the rich history of the Markprof Annual Marketing Leadership Bootcamp, a transformative program that attracts around 1000 graduating college student leaders each year. These aspiring individuals compete for one of the coveted 25 spots, offering them the opportunity for free training over seven Saturdays. It’s a testament to the program’s impact and the dedication of both participants and organizers alike.

Q1. What inspired you to start this MarkProf 20 years ago?

A: I had previously launched the Ateneo Marketing Outreach (AMOR) during my tenure as Ateneo’s Director of Marketing Minor Program in the early 1990s. When Ding Salvador (then the ASEAN president of J&J) expressed interest in a similar initiative, I drew upon my Ateneo experience, enhancing and adapting it as a reference.

Q2.Can you walk us through the early days of MarkProf? What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?

A: Asia Pacific College generously provided the venue for our training sessions for many years, while Makati Hope lent us their school for recruitment and screening. Numerous companies graciously supplied free food for every session. Guided by Bert Belen, we implemented a test assessment to determine our recruits. Des de Leon served as the lone secretariat.

We established the Markprof Associate program for those who didn’t make it, offering an abbreviated program as an alternative. Despite various challenges, the most significant being financial constraints, Mansmith and Fielders Inc., and Ding Salvador jointly and equally donated a total of P1 million. Ding led the fundraising efforts in the first year. Chiqui Go(Mansmith CEO) played a pivotal role by launching and overseeing the Mansmith Market Masters Conference, raising over P800k in the second year, which greatly contributed to Markprof’s financial stability.

I took on the role of designing the boot camp and served as the Chief Training Officer during the initial few years. I reviewed papers and graded class participation. Looking back, with a lean team, we had to ‘thin slice’ many processes to ensure efficiency and quick execution.

Q3. What were your initial goals for MarkProf, and how have they evolved over the years?

A: Eliminate discrimination and level the playing field for individuals not affiliated with Ateneo, La Salle, or UP (ALU), while offering a headstart advantage for those from ALU. 

Our mission was to curate a dream team of instructors (CEOs or CMOs), cover subjects not typically taught in schools, and implement innovative methodologies to bring this vision to fruition. 

Q4. What are some of the moments or milestones in MarkProf’s history that you are proudest of?

A: When Markprof (Batch 2) decided to compete in the Agora Youth Awards, securing 5 out of 7 winners from our ranks validated the effectiveness of the unique Markprof methodologies: grading questions, practicing big ideas, force ranking and lots of pre reading. The memory of that awards night remains vivid in my mind even today. 

Witnessing the ongoing successes of our alumni continues to fill us with immense pride.

Q5. How has MarkProf grown and changed since its inception?

A: After just a few years, the founders took a backseat, empowering alumni to take on the role of president and form their own board to oversee the Markprof boot camp. Each board gained the autonomy to decide what’s best for Markprof. This shift led to numerous innovations, including the Godparent program, Knowledge partners, M.B.A. lecture series, campus roadshow, expansion to Vismin (Cebu Pacific Air was instrumental), and more.

As the organization evolved, a parallel board was established with a specific focus on alumni engagement

Q6. What role do you believe MarkProf has played in the community over the past 20 years?

A: A more level playing field for everyone, addressing inequalities in access to opportunities and fostering inclusive leadership development. The belief that each graduate can create a ripple effect in their own community has been a driving force in our mission.

Q7. What lessons have you learned along the way that have been particularly impactful or surprising?

A: Budget constraints often spark creative ideas. Investing in relationships before they’re needed proves crucial. The amplification of impact through collaboration is undeniable. Resilience is indispensable, and recognizing diverse strengths among individuals is key. 

Q8. How do you envision the future of MarkProf as it enters its next chapter?

A: The potential of the alumni network is immense, and there is an opportunity to nurture it to guide and inspire alumni, fostering mutual support in leadership and career development.

Q9. Is there anything else you would like to share or express to the staff, supporters, and community members who have been a part of this journey? A: We express gratitude for their dedication, and their passion to give back has consistently enabled positive change to occur year after year.

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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