The Apprentice Series 5: The Final

Well we reached the finale of The Apprentice Series 5 last night.  Going head to head were Yasmina and Kate to land the job as Sir Alan’s Apprentice.

This year the two finalists were asked to create a brand new box of chocolates and the supporting marketing campaign.  It was a tough task as you would expect. Some of the past contestants returned to help out the two finalists.

This year was always going to be a close run thing as we had two highly capable individuals.  In my view either of them would have been worthy winners based on the task and their performances over the course of the last two weeks.

So what were the key learning points from the final of The Apprentice 2009?

1. Research really matters when it comes to something like a product launch.  Yasmina chose to go to a small focus group and a specialist shop.  From what we saw, it looked like Kate relied on checking out the competition in a supermarket.

2. You need to be able and willing to change track if the market is telling you that they have doubts about what you are offering, which Yasmina did.

3. Margin will always be a key consideration.  Yasmina’s background running her own restaurant meant that she had more focus on cost and selling price.

4. Creativity, especially when it comes to packaging really matters.  It is not always the smartest or brightest of people who are the most creative.

5. Communicating your ideas to third parties like a designer is important.  Yasmina and her team really got the essence of what their product was about and this was reflected in a slightly more exciting box.

6. Preparation is the foundation of a good presentation and both candidates did well on this aspect.

7. Perseverance and self belief can carry you through.  Yasmina was clearly struggling in the presentation rehearsal but kept going and delivered a highly credible presentation when it mattered.

8. You need to anticipate the questions that will arise from any presentation.  It was not clear that either of the candidates had given this much thought based on the footage we saw.

Back in the boardroom it was clear that Sir Alan was finding it hard to make the call.  In the end he hired Yasmina.  From my own perspective, it was probably down to the fact that Yasmina just had that little edge in terms of commercial awareness and business sense.  She was just that little bit more rounded.

So what was your take on the choice of the winner of The Apprentice 2009?

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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