What a mixed bag of opinion!
In the pro-Yasmina camp, Lloyd Garrett, MD of record company IMC Entertainment, has this to say: “I am glad Yasmina won, she had the initiative and the courage to come out of her comfort zone and turn a task around. Britain needs more entrepreneural spirits like her: the country and economy would not be in such a state. It’s a winner mentality.
“I would’ve hired Yasmina myself,” he continues. “I think she has a level of integrity some of the others didn’t have. She also had the spirit for the ‘ducking and diving’ of the business world and the ability to think on her feet. The show just gets bigger every year – this year has been no exception, looking forward to seeing next year’s series already!!”
Rhodri Ferrier, co-founder of Bulldog Natural Grooming, disagrees. He says: “Contrary to what Sir Alan said, I feel the standard of contestants was pretty poor this year and it was pretty clear from day one who the likely winners would be. Some of the contestants like Ben and Philip made for great TV, but would have been more suitable candidates for Big Brother than The Apprentice. The idea that they were representative of the top young business people in the country is a bigger joke than Pants Man.
“It’s quite telling that the winner, Yasmina, had terrible trouble at the interview stage understanding the difference between net and gross profit. It also wasn’t entirely clear that she understood what was meant by turnover. I find this more than a little worrying and I can’t understand how you can win a business competition with no appreciation of the business basics.
“Overall, the show was entertaining but not a very realistic portrayal of how business is actually done. Next year Sir/Lord/King Alan should look to bring in contestants with greater business pedigree and leave the fame-hungry applicants to Big Brother 11. In the same way that school kids copy the likes of Wayne Rooney by swearing at referees in Sunday football, hopefully young entrepreneurs won’t be tempted to emulate The Apprentice by going into their first business meeting and declaring ‘Business is the new rock ‘n’ roll and I’m Elvis Presley’. ”
But Brad Burton, MD of 4Networking, has another view: “Did Sir Alan make the right choice?” he asks. “Yes. Yasmina showed the spirit of enterprise that Sir Alan is known for. I think she was the outsider in the final, but, ultimately, the fact that she runs her own successful business at a young age won the day. She showed Debra how to do alpha female nicely. Kate was excellent, and very polished, but maybe a little too ‘corporate’ for an old school wheeler dealer like Alan Sugar.
“In terms of the series, I thought it was a stroke of genius to have tasks which were a bit more low rent than previous years. In a recession, good old fashioned salesmanship can be the difference, so getting the candidates to sell soap in the street or hawk a skeleton was really appropriate. The candidates seemed much younger this time than previously. I wonder if this is deliberate, or if more mature businesspeople just naturally steer clear of reality TV now.
“Of all the candidates, I would have hired Phillip. His enthusiasm was undeniable, even if he could be a bit of a bulldozer. It’s a shame he let his rift with Lorraine get the better of him because I think we could have seen a lot more from Phil. And you’ve just got to love Pants Man!”
Marc Boyan, founder of barter company Miroma, likes the show but disagrees with Suralan’s final choice: “For my money Debra was the stand out candidate in this year’s Apprentice. Debra showed an ability to learn and develop like none of the others and with a few tweaks she could be the definitive article. If she is not welcome at Amstrad she certainly is at Miroma.”
Blackcircles’ founder Mike Welch agrees: “I thought Yasmina was quite unremarkable but perhaps Sir Alan decided that her personality would be easier to mould. Kate’s unflappability impressed me and I’d have certainly given the title to her from that final duo.
“However, if it were my decision, I’d have taken a punt on Debra. Yes, she had an issue with her temperament, but she’s only 23 and I know from experience that, over time, this kind of problem can be ironed out without too much fuss.
“On the whole, this year’s line-up was particularly weak in terms of raw business talent and to be honest anyone can look like a world-beater compared to Noorul!”
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