Farewell Masterclass by Prof Gavino

Prof. Jacinto C. Gavino Jr. started his journey at AIM in 1990. He spent 27 beautiful years amidst the case rooms, building future leaders, both in development and private sector. On 17th November 2017, our very dear Prof. Gavino gave his Farewell Masterclass on Social Marketing to current students and AIM alumni from Philippine National Police. It was scheduled at Prof. Gavino’s favorite time – 8:00 in the morning. The Masterclass started by a short introduction led by Prof Kenneth Hartigan-Go about Prof Gavino’s outstanding background in academe, management, and business.


As Prof. Gavino took the centre stage, he began by going back to basics and asking about social outcomes. He simplified complex principles and applied them to real world practicalities. Prof. Gavino stressed on the importance of asking the right questions. He emphasized that we should always remember that we don’t know everything. A humbling realization that he always tell his students, knowing that ego is always an obstruction to learning.


The Masterclass slowly moved to the topic for the day – Social Marketing. To engage people, we must see Social Marketing as a perspective. This involves looking at the deepest needs of the person we are trying to influence instead of merely relying on our assumptions. This is easier said than done because it is more convenient to formulate strategies based on how we perceive our customers’ or beneficiaries’ needs are. This is a common barrier to effective innovation and problem-solving. A mistake we usually make both in our personal and professional lives.


Prof. Gavino stressed the importance of understanding the behaviour and mindset of your beneficiaries. Doing so involves a continuous process of ideation and iteration, a lot of calibration. First, we must design our product based on what is of value to them and test its marketability. How can we do this? We ask who, and then ask five whys. We cannot uncover what our customer truly wants if we do not probe and ask for feedback. This is why asking “why” is truly important before we ask the how.

Second, is to create a customer-centric culture within the organization to increase the chances of developing the right product for the beneficiaries. In this way, every employee will have their customer’s best interest at heart in every decision that they will take.


And third, is to measure performance of your people using a set of criteria that is most meaningful to the beneficiaries. Many managers are evaluating their people based on fields that do not really yield their desired outcome. Hence, by having a deep understanding of the needs of the beneficiaries and formulating a strategy based on those needs, increases the possibility of providing a sustainable solution to their pain points.

While having Social Marketing as a Perspective might require a total mindset and ultimate business overhaul, doing so will definitely lead to a product or service of great value, uplifting the lives of many people, and a sustainable development within the community.


And then it was 9.20am. 80 minutes literally flew away in intense and interesting class discussion. The class ended with a standing ovation while a wild applause fill the room. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the usual mandatory photo ops..



We will miss you Prof. Gavino! We will always be grateful for the wisdom that you generously shared with each of your students.

Words by Aleli Mae Cua Ay, Aratrika Samanta & Karmela Sarmiento from Master in Business Administration 2017

Photographs by Karmela Sarmiento & Lyndon Constantino


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