Being the youngest in the competition, Eugene Chung thought he had the edge over the 15 other global candidates in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.
The 23-year-old digital marketer from the United States felt that the tribulations he had endured in his life was enough to put him over the top in this high-stakes game of business competition and physical challenges for the prize of the $250,000 job offer as ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong’s protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.
Alas, that facade was broken as he was humbled to his core and exposed him that in the business world, he still has a lot of ways to go.
“This show has been one of the craziest experiences I’ve been through and it’s definitely a lot harder and tougher than I expected,” he said,
“When I first got into this competition, I was very cocky, I was the youngest person and I was like, ‘I’m so cool. I’m the youngest person, and I’ve been through so much at my age.’ But basically, one of the biggest lessons I learned is the tools that got me to where I am today are not going to take me to that next level either.”
It was the reality check Eugene needed as he found himself catching up with his more seasoned peers in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.
“I had to change it up. I had to learn to adapt, and I always have to be in this constant growth mindset. So that’s the biggest one of the biggest lessons I learned,” he said.
But that’s not all, as Chung’s need to further improve his communication skills was exposed, especially after two losses as the project manager.
Taking the lead in week two, nerves got the better of Eugene as he stumbled in the Team Conquest’s presentation for a seven-day marketing promotion for Andaz Singapore, one of the few factors which led to their downfall.
The second, however, was more catastrophic as in week seven, Chatri fired him in the boardroom for his poor leadership skills that led to Team Valor losing the wildlife awareness campaign for Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).
“The second thing I learned was leadership. I definitely learned a lot about how to manage a lot of people, about how to actually manage a team of highly, highly intelligent, successful individuals as well, and that’s a completely different ball park especially like if you’re in a high pressure stress situation, you’re on a time crunch, and you’re doing insane projects,” he said.
Eugene, however, defended his part and said that he’s actually more capable than what the show presented him, noting: “I’m not exactly a fan of how was portrayed. I think I’m a little bit more competent than the show portrays and they took out a lot of the compliments that I received. But at the same time, I understand this is television.”
Nevertheless, Chung is taking everything in stride and has no regrets with how he performed in the show.
“I just can’t regret anything. I’m super, super grateful and I’m super, super happy that I did something like this. Like it’s just a crazy experience that I’m not gonna forget and I’m grateful for that,” he said.
More than anything, participating in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition also allowed Eugene to work closely with Sityodtong, learning ten-fold from the man behind one of the world’s biggest sports properties.
To him, it was crucial to be broken down as he now picks himself back up and becomes a better businessman, and most importantly, a better person.
“The biggest thing I took away from Chatri’s advice in the boardroom was the way I felt afterwards. I definitely knew I was humbled pretty much, I definitely have a sense of humility as well,” he said.
“Before this competition, I was the youngest on the show and I’ve also been doing martial arts as a little kid. I also started living by myself since I was basically 16, I came down to New York by myself with no family and friends and I was able to kind of make something in this situation. And I thought a little bit highly of myself.
“But I realized, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not completely 100-percent there and I still have a lot to work on.’ And the advice that he gave me in the boardroom, I noticed that there is a sense of truth to them and there’s something that I could take from this, especially since he was coming from a very similar situation as I did and he’s in a position that he is today. There’s definitely something I could learn from this and that’s basically what I took this as, as a big learning opportunity. I have a lot of room to grow.”