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The Apprentice 2: Why Kevin Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/13/2004
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Kevin was good enough to make it to the Final Four. He had a 2-0 record as a project manager, though he did have a few negatives come up in recent weeks. But after going through four interviews and a short portion of a Boardroom session, Trump sent him packing. Surely it can’t be something as simple as too much schooling, can it? Let’s find out as we look at why Kevin lost.
This week’s columns are a bit different than the usual ones, because so much of the two contestants’ firings are based purely on interviews or what might have been going on in Donald Trump’s head. For example, some people have said Trump fired Kevin because he didn’t want it to look like a repeat of the Bill/Kwame finale from last season. Hopefully, this is not the case, and we’re going to treat it as much like a usual firing as possible. That means we will look back at What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see where Kevin went wrong, not just in the interviews, but in other challenges as well.
The first rule, of course, says to show leadership. As mentioned, Kevin did have a winning record of 2-0. However, Sandy went 2-0 as well and Kelly went 3-0. The only one with a lower record was Jen, at 1-0. Nobody was left with a single digit in the loss column from being a Project Manager.
So how did Kevin show that leadership? The two projects he won were Crest and Levi’s. The Crest challenge was based off of a slimmed-down version of Andy’s cash prize giveaway idea plus circus performers – and we’re not really sure who thought of those. But the fact is that it didn’t matter because Mosaic won by default when Maria overspent Apex’s budget. It’s hard to give Kevin a lot of credit for that one.
The Levi’s campaign was really driven by Ivana, who came up with the fit wheel idea. However, Kevin did channel that energy well and focused the group. Still, I wouldn’t exactly call it a stunning piece of leadership, especially since the opposing combination of Maria and Wes pretty well self-destructed. Hmmm, maybe that’s Kevin’s secret to leadership – make sure Maria is handling details on the other team.
One thing Kevin also did on the Levi’s task was a large part of the presentation. Unfortunately, he was sweating profusely during the entire time he was talking. In other words, he was unable to stay cool under fire.
However, that was but one time out of many. In several other cases, he showed that he could indeed stay calm and focused, such as when he had to help Elizabeth avoid a coup. Still, I have to wonder if one highly-sweaty moment might not have stuck in Trump’s mind. (Before anybody e-mails me, Trump was not there for the actual presentation, but I am sure he heard about it or saw the tapes.)
If that’s the way he behaved in front of the Levi’s judges, I have to wonder if there wasn’t also some of that in the interviews, which were designed to cause stress. Kevin needed to have good answers to questions about his college, but from what we saw, I wouldn’t rate them very highly. For example, when he was asked if he was going to be a lawyer, since he’s in law school, he said no. Um. Then why are you in law school, Kevin? Contrast this to the way Kelly seemed calm and prepared when he was asked why he had worked for so many companies in a short time.
The third rule says to have a backbone. Here, Kevin did fine, standing up for himself both on tasks and in the Boardroom. Looking once again at the NYPD ad challenge, when Elizabeth had become a spineless mess, Kevin helped her as much as he could and then stood up and said he wasn’t going to take it anymore.
Sometimes, he had a little too much backbone, such as in the M&Ms challenge. He took charge without consulting Ivana. He told the candy makers what to do, and then later decided on his own to lower their price. Sure, Ivana should have reined him in, but he never should have forced her into that position.
Fourth we have a rule that says you can’t be one-dimensional. For Kevin, we are going to look at this rule a little differently than usual. Kevin did show that he had a variety of skills, but one thing he didn’t have was real-world experience. He had gone to school. A lot. But the interviewers and, eventually, Trump didn’t see that as enough.1 2 Next-->
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