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The Apprentice 2: A Look at the Final FourPage 2
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As the winning project manager of two tasks, Kevin has proven himself to be a good leader. When he was in charge of the Crest task, he did a good job of reining in and organizing his team, for example, by giving a clear time limit for how long they’d spend brainstorming. Mosaic could have been in big trouble when Andy’s plan to give away a million dollars was rejected, but under Kevin’s leadership, they rebounded nicely, came up with an alternative plan, and created a fun, energetic event. Kevin also contributed a lot of good ideas when he was in charge of the Levi’s task. He immediately understood the need to focus on fit, and he also came up with the attention-grabbing idea of using themselves instead of models in the ads.
Kevin is also not afraid to step up and make suggestions when he’s not in charge. When the rest of the team was floundering trying to choose an ice cream flavor, Kevin simply said, “Drop a chocolate bar in the vanilla ice cream and call it a day.” Within minutes, this simple yet effective idea evolved into the very successful doughnut flavor. In the NYPD advertising task, Kevin was the one who stayed up late with Elizabeth trying to make their campaign work. He was also the team member who tried the hardest to help her gain control of the team. In the bridal salon task, Kevin was able to convince Bernadette, the wedding expert, to visit their space and give them advice. And most recently, in the M&M task, Kevin found a way to make the assembly line work more efficiently. While many players this season have stood back and let the project manager lead, Kevin has contributed regardless of who is in charge.
Kevin’s record has, however, been far from perfect. Just about every time he was sent to the final boardroom, it was for good cause. In the fashion task, the men lost in part because the clothing was priced too high. Kevin (along with Wes) determined that pricing. In the real estate task, project manager Raj hired the contractor wholly on Kevin’s recommendation. That contractor was a disaster for the team. We’ll give Kevin a pass for the bridal task – he performed just fine, but Chris had to take someone to the boardroom. In the M&M task, however, Kevin was unable to sell the candy bars at the $2 price point and took it upon himself to sell them for just $1 each.
Kevin usually presents himself very well. In the boardroom, he comes across as smart, strong, and well prepared. He did a great job of making the presentation to Pepsi. But when he presented to Levi, although he sounded great, his face was a big sweaty mess. If he comes across as nervous in the upcoming job interviews, it could hurt him.
As project manager, Sandy handed her team two decisive wins. In the real estate task, Sandy came up with a solid, effective plan, kept her team focused, kept the contractors on schedule, and gave a very strong presentation to the appraisers. In the M&M’s task, she and Jennifer were only a few chocolate bars short of the other team’s total, even though they had one fewer team member. And she and Jennifer were such a strong sales team that they won even with fewer members, fewer chocolate bars, and with their skirts on.
In the bridal task, Sandy did an outstanding job. Although Kelly was project manager, Sandy was the one who gave the team direction in every part of the task, from working with vendors, to setting up the shop, to marketing, to sales. It was her field of expertise, so everyone expected a lot of her… and she delivered.
Sandy also contributed a great effort to other challenges. The vacation contest in the Pepsi task was her idea, as was using Mike Piazza as the celebrity spokesperson for Crest. She worked hard in the dog task, doing the dirty work of washing the dogs. And in the fashion task, she tried to keep things moving during the photo shoot so her team would stay on schedule.
In some of the earlier tasks, however, Sandy was much less impressive. In the restaurant task, Sandy was in charge of decorating, which got the lowest score. In fact, if Jennifer C. had taken Sandy to the boardroom after that task, our final four might look very different. Sandy was in charge of set design in the QVC task, and although we only saw hints of it, apparently he caused all kinds of problems with the QVC staff. In fact, in those first several weeks, we didn’t see much of Sandy at all. And since Donald Trump is looking for a CEO, not a decorator, her contributions weren’t very notable.
Sandy has some trouble keeping her emotions in check. About midway through the real estate task, she got so frustrated and discouraged that she had to sneak off for a private cry. Sure, her team didn’t see it, but it does show that she has trouble standing up under pressure. In the fashion task, she had a long, ugly blow-out with Maria. I can’t blame her for being mad at Maria, but she did not handle her frustration well. Sandy also got very flustered when she had to make her presentation to the Pepsi executives, stammering and stuttering her way through the speech. Sandy can, however, make a strong presentation when she has to. When Andy brought her to the boardroom after that task, she more than held her own, making a strong case for why she should stay.
Carolyn is one smart, perceptive woman, and if she thinks Jennifer is not that smart, but is in fact, skating by on her charm, I’m willing to bet that will come out in the job interviews. And the fact that Jennifer has only had one trip to the final boardroom may actually work against her. In his book, last year’s winner Bill suggested that Amy was at a disadvantage last year for having been to the boardroom so few times. She wasn’t used to defending herself and she didn’t have as good of an idea of what Trump was looking for. Jennifer will run into the same problems and will be one of the candidates fired in the interview stage.
Sandy has been impressive lately, but in the first few tasks, she really didn’t shine. She may well have gotten lucky in not being sent to the boardroom in the restaurant and QVC tasks, which kept her in the game longer than she otherwise would have been. The pressure of the interviews could leave Sandy flummoxed. I predict that she, too, will be fired at the interview stage. She might surprise us and beat out Kevin to make it to the final two, but I don’t think it’ll happen.
That leaves Kevin and Kelly in the final two. Both of them are strong candidates who have worked well both as leaders and as followers and who get along well with just about everyone they’ve worked with in the past. Of the two, I give the edge to Kelly. He’s had more successes and hasn’t made nearly as many mistakes as Kevin. At the end of the final task, Kelly will hear those two magic words: “You’re hired.”
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. Last year, she correctly predicted that Bill would win, but she thought he’d go against Amy in the final two. You can reach her with comments or predictions of your own at email@example.com .
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