photo credits: philstar
“Facing challenges without fear to learn and develop”. -Rudi Ramin
Mr. Rudi Ramin graduated as a valedictorian in UST High School Batch 1996. In college, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and named college’s valedictorian in the College of Commerce with the course of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy Batch 2000. While still studying, he was able to juggle his academic and extracurricular life. Apart from excelling, he was a recipient of St. Thomas Aquinas Award for Academic Excellence, Exemplary Leadership and Outstanding Achievement. One of his major accomplishments in all of his tournaments was winning two national and one Asian debate championships for UST.
Starting in his career, the accountancy graduate first worked in KPMG Laya Mananghaya as an associate auditor for almost a year. Having parents from advertising agencies, he got interested in pursuing a marketing career and secured a job in Unilever Philippines. He rose in the marketing career ladder in Unilever as he managed different food brands such as Lipton, Lady’s Choice, and Knorr, in the local and regional function. As the Regional Brand Development Manager for Knorr in Southeast Asia, he was expatriated to Singapore where he is based for the past 8 years.
After spending 9 years in Unilever, he moved to Kraft Foods Asia Pacific (now Mondelez Asia Pacific) where he became the regional marketing manager of Biscuits in Asia Pacific that cover different food brands such as Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Biskuat-Tiger. While in Kraft, he led Oreo’s 100th Birthday campaign which enabled the brand to grow in double-digits in Asia-Pacific. The successful campaign eventually made the region as the fastest growing Oreo region in the world. With the huge success of the campaign, he was invited as a speaker in the i-Media Brand Summit 2012 in Kota Kinabalu and Ad: Tech Singapore to discuss the thinking behind the Oreo Facebook strategy which was considered globally as one of the leading consumer brands in the platform. His passion for digital marketing was recognized and he took on an additional role as Asia Pacific Digital Council Head, whose aim is to accelerate digital marketing capability development in the company.
While in Mondelez, he enrolled in the Executive MBA Program of Institut Europeen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) to allow him to further develop his management and leadership skills. The 18-month program is a part-time MBA course designed for senior level executives that is held in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Fontainebleau campuses of the school. INSEAD is recognized as one of the Top 5 business schools in the world which has produced the most number of CEOs in the top European public companies among all business schools.
The 18-month Executive MBA journey was tough on Rudi and his classmates as they need to juggle school, work, family and other personal commitments. On average, a student needs to set aside around 30 hours a week to prepare for the classes and the preparation led to lots of missed events in the family, work, and friends. The full support of his loving wife Grace and his 10-year-old son Zach helped in managing the time demands for his work and school.
While completing his degree, he learned that Google is looking for people who had brand management experience to be part of the Google Brand Solutions Team. Google is a company known for its innovative ideas that continuously amuses the world. When Rudi was offered an opportunity, he did not hesitate to become their Brand Solutions Expert.
Upon finishing his MBA program at INSEAD, Rudi was the first Filipino to be recognized as the business school’s valedictorian. In his valedictorian speech in INSEAD, he mentioned a lot of challenges that he and his classmates have to surpass. He cited that they had to go on an overnight trip just to attend classes. He also had to miss some special occasions like social gatherings and parties of his son. In the end, he didn’t feel like he was balancing anything at all because his family had always been very supportive and understanding. Having someone who understands his hectic schedule eased his burden.
When he recalled about his memories when he was starting up in INSEAD, he remembered his struggle of going back to school long after he has started working. He mentioned that it was a struggle for him at first since he is not anymore used to sitting in class for longer hours to hear lectures. He highlighted that being a student is totally different from working. In work, he needs to do a lot of things, while, in class, he needs to learn. Although he is in class, his work doesn’t end because of its demands and his responsibilities. In addition to his struggle of going back to school, he had to face a multicultural community. For him, it was daunting to meet these people with high levels of achievements. Sooner, he realized that everyone was nice and all had a goal of wanting to learn. He emphasized that at the end of the day, people are all the same facing their own challenges.
His motto in life of continuously growing and developing himself and the people around him had been his secret to reach what he has now. He emphasized that “No one is too old or too young to develop themselves. Strive for the best possible you. Either you go again to school, learn a new hobby, learn another language, or take on projects you have not undergone before because that is how you are going to grow as a person.”
In spite of all his achievements, he has remained humble and loyal to UST. Truly, he exemplifies in his actions of what makes a Thomasian unique and special. To quote him, “as Thomasians, we try to do our best, but we are humble in doing it. We were not the school who were the proudest or the loudest, but we try our best to strive for an achievement without having to be very proud and brag about it.”
Mr. Ramin, surely, is one of the very few marketers who, at the same time, holds an accountancy degree. Even if both have different sets of requirements and skills, he is proud to be savvy in both analytical and creative demands of marketing.