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Kim Kardashian is a better business role model than Apple CEO Tim Cook

4 min read

16 December 2015

Former deputy editor

The top eight business idols have been decided by British students, which has generated a list of high profile names including the likes of Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and, a surprising ranking, Kim Kardashian.

The latest series of The Apprentice has been on TV screens for the past several weeks and it will come to an end before Christmas.

With that in mind, Young Enterprise has found that Santa Claus lookalike Alan Sugar has been named as the best business role model by 41 per cent of UK students aged 16-18.

The results from the business charity’s study also found that 26 per cent of the young people also believe the grumpy, no-nonsense entrepreneur’s BBC show has been central to teaching them. They claim to have learned “key employment skills” such as innovation, teamwork, integrity and confidence.

Read more on The Apprentice:

Fellow British celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson was behind Sugar in second place with 27 per cent, and he was bizarrely followed by reality TV star Kim Kardashian – who rose to fame after a leaked adult video – on nine per cent.

The name Kardashian itself has inexplicably become something of a household name and brand in its own right, with each member of the family having some sort of business in place.

Kim Kardashian, wife to rapper Kanye West, has a clothing line called the Kardashian Kollection in Sears with sisters Khloe and Kourtney and has released a book about selfies to name just a couple of her many ventures.

In fact, she was so popular, she outshone female inspirations like Karren Brady, West Ham CEO and right-hand of Sugar on The Apprentice, and Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer.

Kardashian also outpaced Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page and Snapchat creator Evan Spiegel.

Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise, said: “When TV stars are the most popular business role models for young people, we need to ask whether schools, government and parents are doing enough to expose students to business and entrepreneurial education.

“The Apprentice can be applauded for making great TV, but young people need to be actively developing their communication, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity and resilience skills – rather than just sitting back and watching them on TV.”

The top eight business role models for UK students are:

1. Lord Alan Sugar – 41 per cent

2. Sir Richard Branson – 27 per cent

3. Kim Kardashian – 9 per cent

4. Karren Brady – 5 per cent

4. Tim Cook – 5 per cent

6. Evan Spiegel – 4 per cent

6. Larry Page – 4 per cent

8. Marissa Mayer – 3 per cent

Beyond The Apprentice, 47 per cent of students said they’ve developed skills for the working work from their own experiences, such as part-time jobs. Elsewhere, 45 per cent have learnt from family members and the same amount said they honed skills at school.

Other sources of inspiration and teaching beyond the TV include clubs – such as sports, drama and business – for 14 per cent and seven per cent said newspapers and magazines. So for those parents ready to cancel the satellite TV subscription, there is hope to help shape your children’s futures yet.