The Apprentice 2012 – Strategic Review Proves To Be The End For One Candidate

The Apprentice 2012 – Strategic Review Proves To Be The End For One Candidate

Week 7 of The Apprentice saw Jade become the last candidate to have a go as PM. We have now had the chance to observe all of the candidates leading a project, and the pack is slowly taking shape in terms of front runners and also-rans. That Jade survived into week 8 was due to a flawed “strategy” from one of her losing team. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Lord Sugar reshuffled the teams moving Stephen to Sterling, with Laura moving in the opposite direction. Jade took the hint to be PM of Phoenix, and Nick beat Ricky hands down to lead Sterling. Each team was given £150 to purchase items from a Warehouse and sell on to the public in Essex. The winning team would be the one with the biggest turnover (including remaining stock as assets).

Immediately there was a contrast in styles and urgency. Nick and Sterling were decisive in terms of locations to use and lines to focus on (household goods for one pitch and beauty products for the other). Laura and Sterling got mired in discussion and were indecisive on both counts. Immediately, Azhar started chipping away at Jade, repeatedly asking her what her strategy was. He did offer some suggestions, but no one seemed inclined to listen.

This proved to be the theme of the task, with general harmony and focus in Sterling and generally decent leadership from Nick. He identified the fake-tanning product as a big seller (in Essex, who’d have guessed?) due to the local predominantly female demographic and put a huge mark up on the price (retailing at £10). Stephen and Ricky were having less success at Romford and once the tanning products started to sell out, they were dispatched back to the warehouse to get more stock. This was good judgement, but bad timing, as they eventually ran out of stock as the sub-team were delayed. Would this prove cruical?

Jade had to put up with constant comments from surly Azhar about a lack of strategy, and this seemed to pull the rest of the team together. Adam in particular was in his element (and natural environment), excelling as a market trader. Jade’s team were also having success with the tanning product, but were selling it at a lower price (£5-£6), but she chose to collect a variety of products for restocking, and this was a poor decision.

In the boardroom it was revealed that despite being out of stock for 2 hours, Sterling still won by £117. This loss could be accounted for by the poor mark up of the tanning product in Phoenix. The team were supportive of Jade, all except for Azhar, so he made sure he came back into the boardroom. Jade struggled to identify who else to bring in, and opted for Tom, who hadn’t done a thing wrong. Jade admitted this was a mistake, so her judgement looked suspect. It was between Jade and Azhar, and things looked bleak for Jade. Her leadership was poor (indecisive, slow to react, pricing), but Azhar had a “strategy” (get Jade) and went for broke.

On the task, Jade should have gone, but Azhar came across as what is known in business circles as a “cynic” (bad attitude, and the energy to show it). Sugar decided that he couldn’t work with Azhar following a sprited defence from Jade, who highlighed her previous success both in and out of the competition and tempted Sugar with her as yet unseen business proposal. Azhar was fired.

In the end it was the right decision to fire Azhar, in terms of being a candidate, but Jade can consider herself lucky to have escaped on the basis of this task. Gabrielle again showed her creativity and Tom was solid. Adam may be a good market trader, but can he do anymore? Ricky and Stephen are out of their depth, but Nick shows promise, but the lack of tanning stock for his team could have cost him the task.

Tom still favourite to win, with Gabrielle a close second favourite.

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5 Responses to The Apprentice 2012 – Strategic Review Proves To Be The End For One Candidate

  1. Tim says:

    I think we need to promote Nick to the rank of favourites as well now. He was excellent – well-structured, amiable, clear-thinking. An excellent performance.

    And while I’m not saying Azhar necessarily deserved to stay, Jade certainly deserved to go. Her entire performance, from task set-up to boardroom, was utterly clueless. She has gone from ‘dark horse’ to ‘dead donkey’ in one fell swoop for me.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2012/05/03/the-apprentice-season-8-episode-7-flip-it-in-essex/

  2. Buster says:

    I don’t know why you think Ricky is out of his depth. For all his showmanship, he’s always on the ball and contributes positively to the tasks. His week as PM also showed him to be a strong leader who was unlucky to lose. I actually consider him to be one of the favourites to win, so to hear you think quite the opposite is quite interesting.
    Agree about Stephen though.. he, Adam, Jenna, Laura and Jade have no chance.

    • markdecosemo says:

      Thank you, Buster, it is all about opinions. For me, I think Ricky is playing a good game, but lacks a bit of substance. I agree he was unlucky to lose as PM , but only because Stephen’s effort was so dire. Ricky’s vision was clear , but he failed to communicate what he wanted from the video. The fact he did a good job with pitching may show Ricky to be stronger doing than leading. But, hey, this may be what Sugar wants!

  3. Buster says:

    I have a feeling that Ricky initially came across as a Stuart Baggs the Brand 2.0 given his one-liners, brashness and even the slight physical resemblence. However, over the series he’s earned the respect of the others including Nick and Karren and even Sugar himself. Whatever weaknesses he has haven’t been shown yet and I predict that along with Tom and Nick, he’ll be in the final four/five.

    It’s difficult to guess who will join them – Adam is just being kept on for entertainment’s sake and I think that Laura and Jade are a boardroom away from a firing. Gabrielle has been reasonably good so far, but a few episodes have really highlighted her weaknesses, namely her lack of strong leadership skills and her over-zealous spending. I think she may still make it as Jenna has not really convinced anyone and got away with some mistakes early on. Finally, I come to Stephen who I think will end up being the villian of the piece. He really reminds me of Jenny Celerier from series 4 in that business-wise he has been somewhere between awful and clueless, but has a way of manipulating facts and a vindictive streak which has been more than hinted at. He’ll get found out soon enough but some of the others may suffer before he goes.

    • markdecosemo says:

      Good points, well made, Buster. Gabrielle may surprise us and stay the course but I agree regarding Stephen, Jenna and Laura.

      I’ll be writing my mid series review this week

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