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The Apprentice: A Look at the Final FourPage 3
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Kwame has, unfortunately, made some pretty damaging mistakes. He chose the location for the lemonade challenge… near a smelly fish market. In the Planet Hollywood task, Kwame stood on some shaky ethics when he started signing autographs. Bill and Nick both thought that by signing autographs, Kwame led people to believe he was famous, which is certainly on the sleazy side. And in the rickshaw challenge, Kwame wasn’t able to secure a single customer.
Perhaps the most common criticism of Kwame is that he has more education than he does experience. Kwame has an MBA from Harvard, so he is clearly book-smart, but it’s been said that he relies too much on idealized business models and not enough on reality. Omarosa called him an MBA robot. He had trouble relating to Russell Simmons in the celebrity auction challenge, speaking to him so formally that Russell asked him if he was a lawyer. Carolyn called his approach “textbook,” and Bill said that Kwame needs more experience to complement his education.
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Last job: Copier salesman
Project Manager: Twice (Flea Market, Art Gallery)
Trips to the Boardroom: 2 (Madison Avenue Pitch, Trump Ice)
Perhaps Nick’s biggest strength is that he is a fantastic team player. Before the Marquis Jet presentation, he gave Kwame a crash course in public speaking. When he was project manager in the flea market task, he let the women take the lead in choosing the product and buying the merchandise. His willingness to defer to their knowledge prompted Katrina to call him a great leader. And after his team won that challenge, he made a point of congratulating them on a job well done. Nick also knows how to recognize good players. He choose the new members of the co-ed Versacorp, a team that has gone on to win five of the last eight challenges.
Although Nick is great as part of a team, he also knows when to step up and take charge. In the Art Gallery challenge, Versacorp was divided about which artist to choose. Rather than wasting time on debate, Nick made the executive decision to go with Andrei. He took charge, stood up for what he believed, and his team ended up winning the task.
Nick also strongly values business ethics. He was appalled by Troy and Kwame’s scheme of having Kwame sign autographs at Planet Hollywood. And in the rickshaw challenge, he insisted on giving a customer a full refund. Nick knows that in the business world, your reputation is everything. In this age of corporate scandals, Trump would be confident that Nick would be a straight arrow.
Nick claims that his greatest strength is his ability to sell. Before the Trump Ice challenge, he said that the other players should stand back to see how it’s done. The trouble was, Nick failed miserably. We saw him go from trying to sell one customer a truckload of water to asking him to buy just one case. Then, in a nightclub, he took the completely wrong approach by talking about the quality of the water when the customer was interested in price. Overall, Nick totally failed to read his customers, and as a result, had lackluster sales.
Just as I mentioned with Amy, Nick needs to be careful that his relationship with her doesn’t get in the way of his doing business. He was awfully upset when Amy said that Bill was her biggest competition, so he may be in danger of letting that relationship keep him from doing business rationally.
Nick can also be very arrogant and uninterested in hearing other people’s opinions. That worked for him in the art gallery challenge, but other times, it has backfired. In the negotiation challenge, he learned that the best time to buy gold is early in the day, so project manager Sam had the team stop what they were doing to buy gold. Kwame, who works in the financial sector, said that the price of gold is fixed and fluctuates very little during the day. But it didn’t matter – because Nick said that the gold should be a priority, the men had to drop what they were doing and waste time chasing after gold. In the Trump Ice challenge, when Ereka suggested he check a distributor’s web site to learn more about them before the meeting, he flatly refused. When the other team won the task, it was largely due to the accounts that they got with distributors, so Nick may have made a costly mistake by not doing his homework (though he later claimed to have done it the next morning). And in the Planet Hollywood challenge, after the Kwame autograph scandal, Nick was so upset that he didn’t get his way that he mentally checked out of the task.
Trump has four very strong competitors to choose from. All of them are smart and have had impressive victories. None of them would leave me scratching my head, wondering how they won. It’s hard to say what will happen, especially when Trump surprised me by firing Troy last week. But I think Kwame will be the next to go. He has the worst win/loss record of the four. He has trouble relating to other people and a tendency to be stiff, and he has had the fewest home run ideas. Nick will go next. Nick is very smart and is a great manager, but his arrogance and his inability to live up to his own hype as a salesman will be his undoing. Amy will come in second. Although she has a lot of wins under her belt, of the two times she served as project manager, one time she lost, and the other time she won largely due to a big mistake by her competitor. That leaves Bill as the winner. Bill is a great salesperson, is respected by the rest of his team, and is a fantastic manager. I predict that in the end, Bill will be the only one of the final four to not hear the words, “You’re fired.” We’ll know for sure soon.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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