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Ex-URCC champ Sangalang shares what the ideal Apprentice candidate needs

Following the conclusion of his professional combat sports career, Filipino Louie Sangalang pivoted to his corporate ambitions, where he developed the skills that later on earned him a spot on the upcoming reality television series, The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

The former undefeated URCC Featherweight Champion is one of 16 candidates on ONE Championship’s unique take on the Apprentice franchise. All contestants are competing for a US $250,000 job offer to work for a year under Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

Sangalang reveals it has been a dream of his to join the hit show since it first aired in the States back in 2004.

“I’ve always wanted to join ‘The Apprentice.’ So when I found out that there was going to be a ONE Championship Edition, I thought to myself, this fits my skills perfectly. I’m a martial artist at heart, and I’m highly interested in sports. So I figured, why not? I just wanted to give it a shot,” said Sangalang.

“I think anyone who got selected would feel ecstatic about that, right? First of all, it’s not just any organization. It’s a huge and very young and powerful company. Second, ONE Championship is a big name in the martial arts scene. There’s a duopoly between ONE Championship and the UFC, globally, and ONE occupies a huge space in the market, especially in Asia,” he added.

Another thing that excited me was the perception that it was going to be a tough competition, all driven by challenges. It’s what really motivated me. It’s something that aligned with my willingness to take on challenges in my life.”

When The Apprentice was announced in early 2020, ONE Championship almost immediately received thousands of applications to join the show. Potential candidates had to undergo a rigid auditioning process, with only a select few making it through to the final stages of casting.

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Though Sangalang built his confidence through his lifelong training in martial arts, he mentioned the importance of not being too confident and self-absorbed. Sangalang auditioned for the show because it was a dream of his, but wasn’t exactly sure he would actually get in.

“I’m not the type of person who likes to be overconfident or sure of things. I’m not the type of person who overly tries to psyche himself up and tell himself he can do things. I don’t go in there riding high and willing to take on any task, right,” said Sangalang.

“I’m the type of person who likes to come in well-prepared instead. It minimizes mistakes, helps me prepare for the unexpected. So the short answer is no, I wasn’t really expecting to get in, which is why I was relieved when I received the news from Chatri that I was selected. The last step in the process was talking to Chatri, and he basically told me that I got in.”

Now that his time on the show is done, however, Sangalang has some advice for future applicants. If ONE Championship decides to run another season, Sangalang believes potential candidates have to possess certain skills and characteristics.

“I think, first of all, critical thinking is very important in order to process a problem. Not the cookie-cutter type of processing, but being able to look at a problem and see how you can solve it within a box, with ideas from outside the box. You have to have a lot of creativity and experience in order to identify potential solutions,” said Sangalang.

“If you don’t have the creativity and are unwilling to act on new ideas, you’re going to have a hard time. At the same time, if you have experience but have never tried anything out of the ordinary, what separates you from everybody else? You need to be able to set yourself apart and your personal brand, regardless of what that is. Another important thing is you have to be relatable so that when people watch the show, they will say ‘I get this guy.’

“Lastly, despite all your skillset, you have to be a fit in the culture you’re joining. You can be the best in the show, but still not be hired for a job for whatever reason. You’re just not going to get in and that’s just the reality of it. The reality of getting a job has a lot to do with the culture fit. You have to be real, authentic. On the TV screen, everything is magnified, so if you’re real, it will help you build your personal brand,” Sangalang concluded.

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