|The Apprentice League week 1|
|Bilyana (Fired week 1)||2|
The Apprentice Week 1: Risk analyst Bilyana shoots herself in the foot
The quest to find yet another business partner for Lord Alan Sugar began again last night, a task he described (somewhat pompously) as finding a Marks to his Spencer or, more improbably, a Lennon to his McCartney. On the evidence of the first programme, he'll be lucky to find a Little to his Large.
The latest edition of the still addictive business reality tv competition brought together the usual mix of highly strung, ambitious, anxiety-ridden egocentrics. Divided, as tradition dictates, into boys and girls, their task was to take a blank surface, of any choosing, to print something on it and then sell it.
The male team, Phoenix, was led by the reluctant but competent Nick Holzherr. He cites Steve Jobs as his inspiration. The Steve Jobs whose company created innovative, customer-centric products that could be sold expensively. Following this lead, his team came up with a dull concept, shoddily produced but which, to be fair, they managed to charge a high price for. Steve would've had a tear in his eye, I am sure. Nevertheless, the team had a clear framework to operate within and they were clear what the goal was.
The female team, Sterling, produced a charming range of products of good quality but lacked a clear pricing strategy, which ultimately contributed significantly to their defeat. Led by Gabrielle Omar, the team was never cohesive, with too many people trying to stop others succeeding.
Food manufacturer Jane McEvoy in particular was regularly seeking opportunities to blame others for their failings-energy that could have been better utilised in helping the team to win the task. Whilst Omar didn't deal with the team dynamics well enough, she was nevertheless enthusiastic, product focused and positive. She also impressed by not only being prepared to take on the responsibility of leadership but also for recognising her failings. This marks her out at this early stage as someone with potential.
In the boardroom it appeared that Katie Wright, or the 'Blonde Assassin' as she calls herself, was about to get the chop when Bilyana Apostolova self-immolated. A competitor who had performed with drive and determination in the project then showed herself as someone who refuses to hear any negative feedback, whilst at the same time dishing out criticisms to others.
Even Lord Sugar's plea for her to stop couldn't persuade the risk manager to keep her mouth shut. Given her pronounced tendency to ignore poor feedback I am not sure she even realises she's been fired.
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