Apprentice: Who do you want to win?

June 11, 2008

alex.jpgFour finalists — three losers.

We know what happens to the winner — they go off to work for Alan Sugar on 100,000 pounds-a-year in a rather drab Essex office.

But what do the three losing candidates do after they see the finger raised and hear the words “You’re Fired”.

Previous losers have gone off and pursued media careers, some have gone back to their old jobs while others have taken up different careers.

This year, which is unusual because there are four finalists rather than the normal two, offers a potential mixture of candidates considering retiring to the countryside, running the London marathon, starting a new business and making a possible return to the United States.

When I spoke to them ahead of the final, none said they were contemplating a career on the TV or radio, if they lost.

Claire, the strong favourite to win, told me she has already had a couple of job offers, including a retail role in Hong Kong, which she might consider if she is not hired.

“I definitely want to stay within business,” she added. “I’m not interested in any type of media stuff. It will either be sales or retail based. One of the roles is in Hong Kong setting up a retail division there, so that would be really exciting.

“But I’m almost swinging the other way and am tempted to leave London and move to the country and get a dog, so it’s going to be a change.”

She also said she was running the London Marathon next year, “So help me God”.

“I like sweets and cake and booze too much so it is going to be way harder than ‘The Apprentice’.”

Helene is going to use her increased profile to work and raise money for underprivileged children in schools, whether she wins or loses, before returning to the corporate world if she is fired.

If Lee is fired, he plans to hit the beach before possibly setting up his own business, while Alex is contemplating returning to his earlier work in finance and mortgage broking, or moving back to the U.S.

And who do they want to win — if not themselves?

Claire enthusiastically put forward Helene saying: “I think Sir Alan needs a strong woman in his organisation. Shake up those men in suits. ”

Alex, who worked well with Lee during the tasks, said he had spotted his colleague’s skills early on.

“I immediately thought that guy was going to be competition, you know, not just the initial impression of physical appearance — he’s a big guy — but when you got down to the nitty gritty of the sales and the creativity.”

Who do you think should win out of the four finalists? Or do you think Sugar got it wrong in previous episodes and should have kept one of the other candidates?


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I won’t be watching. Before the last series, Sugar gave an interview to The Times in which he claimed that he didn’t like salespeople, and had personally intervened in the contestant selection process to weed them out. In fact, there were just as many contestants from sales and marketing backgrounds as before, and every single task in the game was a sales task. Same thing this year, as far as I can tell from the programme trails and press comment.

Business needs people like that as much as it needs a hole in the head.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

I think Sir Alan Sugar got it wrong this time, he should have kept raef…he was brilliant…
i don’t like Alex, liked him at first, but he’s a bit of a snake too…from the remaining contestants i like Claire and Lee, and want the winner to be either one of them

Posted by Rimjhim | Report as abusive

All I can say is Sugar is full of surprises!, I think he made a mistake getting rid of raef too, he was the only one that had any integrity, Alex is too much of a snake and Lee cant even spell which undermines the calibre of this years contestants. (Yes Lee thats what im talkin about!), claire has got some good skills but doesnt know when to shut up. Interesting to read that if she loses she will run the london marathon, In the words of oh mighty raef, theres a reason why woman are size 32 waist they “love cake”, haha!

Posted by Harry | Report as abusive

I think Claire is the apprentice even if Sir Allen doesn’t pick her. shes the stro9ngest candidate from the rest. she motivated and really inspirational. i don’t know why Hellene is still there. Alex is very sneaky and too defensive, lee well he gets too stressed and would not be able to work under pressure without someone helping him a great deal. yes Raef should be in the final instead of useless Hellene, but lets hope Sir Allen doesn’t make another mistake in choosing somebody other than Claire for the job, shes great at what she does and the other candidates just don’t compare.

Posted by Mudya Faisal | Report as abusive

I agree with Rimjhim entirely, Raef stood head and shoulders abve the rest. Unfortunately Sir Alan shows a preference for the common touch in his selections and cannot see that real ability is only enhanced by excellent personal presentation and city style.

Of the remaining four it should be Helene, but it wont be.

Posted by Nigel | Report as abusive

None of them to win quite frankly. If this is the calibre of 20-35 year-olds in business these days, Sir Alan should perhaps consider running an equivalent series for us 35+ year-olds; i.e. people who will doubtless end-up working to the age of 70 and can really leverage some experience for him…

Posted by Mike Smith | Report as abusive

The show is a load of rubbish: it has absolutely no merit or credibility and is purely a money making vehicle for the makers and Alan and C..

It is essentially a cynical, unrealistic, unfair and polarising process that encourages the very antithesis of real teamwork.

It’s inane television masquerading as the real thing.

It is not at all real! :-( :-(-

Posted by The Truth Is… | Report as abusive