Thursday, May 04, 2006


So, the mystery is over - Michelle and Ruth are the final two and somewhere deep in London decisions are being made about who will be the Apprentice. I will be in London next Tuesday for the showing of the final show and a live filming of You're Hired. There is no doubt in my mind who should win and there is no doubt in my mind who will win and they aren't the same person.

I have watched the last 2 months of the Apprentice along with the rest of Britain. Although I have always known who would be fired I have been as intrigued as anyone as to how the players would get on. When I went into the house I knew immediately that Ruth would be my biggest challenge. I also knew that she would do brilliantly - and I wasn't wrong. She is the whole package and, no matter what Siara says, she is not a one trick pony. Ruth is straight-forward, determined and, yes, aggressive. She will be a success in anything she does - she may just be too good for SAS and his empire.

I have always like Paul for much the same reasons as Ruth. He is straight-forward and straight talking - he's only 26 and has got loads of time to make his millions which I think he will. Bottom line is, though, he was amazing in the tasks and never ended up in the boardroom. This, it appears, has now led to his downfall. SAS had never seen him or heard from him so he was doomed. Granted, he wasn't great in the interviews but he had proved his worth in the last 10 weeks. SAS made it clear that he couldn't care less about the tasks - that, to me, is very telling and just confirmed everything I had thought. The tasks are a cover. He will get rid of you not matter what happens if he decides you are not a fit for his company.

Ansell is a lovely man and has, again, proved that he can work with anyone successfully. I didn't get to know him at all in the house and don't feel he got enough TV coverage for me to really comment further. He was great in the interviews and in the boardroom and so I was really surprised when he went. SAS gave no real reason other than that he was a nice guy. Nice guys don't make it (apart from TIm of course!!).

And Michelle, the silent assassin. I don't want to comment on open forum on what I think of Michelle. I will simply say that SAS has been impressed by her story. She worked 3 jobs when she was growing up and worked as a check-out girl when she was 16. She comes from a big family and gives her brothers what they want. She has hardly shone throughout the last 10 weeks but is in the final. I'm pretty sure she'll win.

Enough said.............


At 12:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Karen - don't let your professionalism slip at the last minute. I'm sure you joined the rest of the country in a sharp intake of breath when Michelle's salary was revealed but jealousy doesn't suit you.

At 1:08 pm, Blogger Lets Design Editor. said...

I'm really stuck on who will win, now. I think SAS has doen it on purpose. I always thought that Ruth would make it in the end but he's left us all unsure with the recent programme. Ow well, bring on next week and good luck. I would have employed you but I'm just starting out. I'm a designer ( = portfolio) and if you need a website doing I'm here. :-)

At 1:27 pm, Anonymous Mr_X said...

"There is no doubt in my mind who should win and there is no doubt in my mind who will win and they aren't the same person."

looking at the rest of your entry and reading between the lines... i don't think i'm going to be a happy bunny... :(

pity you weren't invited back for the end task.

At 8:46 pm, Blogger Karen said...

Dear anonymous - I knew exactly how much Michelle had said she earned and, honestly, that has nothing to do with anything. I just have my views on people's performances in the tasks and on the show as a whole.

What someone earns has no relevance to how much respect they earn!

At 8:12 am, Blogger Al said...

I never knew you had a blog.

You should never have been fired when you did Karen, Joe should have gone instead. "Sir" Alan has made some pretty strange decisions, the worst of which must have been allowing Michelle to reach the final. Surely she has been the weakest of all the candidates and something she demonstrated on Oxford St with a shambles of a performance.

Whoever wins now i'll be gutted, maybe nice people don't win in business as Ansell should have won.

All the best for the future Karen.

At 4:35 pm, Anonymous call me 'alt' said...

so michelle to win i take you as meaning?

not often i dare disagree with a lawyer - esp. a scottish one! - and i'd better not start now i guess;)

At 11:52 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am stunned that michelle's performance during the topshop task seems to have been totally forgotten. drinking champagne on the job! hiding in the private sales room!
i'm very disappointed that ruth looks like the outsider now...

At 2:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am disgusted...

You are pathetic, jealous and sad.

Get a life.

Michelle to win - by a mile.

At 12:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By stating a reluctance to comment on Michelle in open forum you made your opinion very clear, so why not take the honest approach and simply admit that you do not like her?

I apologise in advance if I've misconstrued your comments on a fellow apprentice, but you seem to imply that she played the hardship card. She did not raise the subject of her upbringing, she merely answered questions that were put to her; had she been so inclined she could have elaborated on her difficulties but chose not to do so. On the contrary, during that specific interview, she made the point that we all have to deal with hardships and get on with life.Clearly Michelle didn't sit around wallowing in self pity for the hand life had dealt, but used her considerable talents to ensure a better lifestyle for herself and those close to her.

She did perform badly in Topshop, but, Karen, surely you're not proud of spending half an hour trying to flirt your way to a discount on a jacket the retailer didn't even have in stock!

At 11:29 pm, Blogger Pookie C said...

hi there karen
sorry u left so early, but as uve said SAS has made sum v strange decisions. it is also blatently apparent that the performance in the tasks does not follow thru to who gets the heave ho in the board room.
sayin that whilst granted Ruth is a damn good candidate, the interview exercise showed wot a liar she is!
And team player? NOT! she boasts of people leavin when she joined. i really hope that michelle wins just on that basis. so we'll hav to agree to disagree. i pray & hope that RUTHLESS Ruth gets the silver bullet from SAS on weds!!!

ON yer bike Ruth, u bully. u deserve gettin booted out for doin ur best to oust syed. that was low & u know it girl!


At 3:53 pm, Anonymous Jos said...

You can argue that Michelle doesn't deserve to be in the final, but she also doesn't deserve to be called "a silent assassin". What did she do that was so terrible?

You admit yourself that contestants have little real influence on the outcome. Why should she be different?

She held her own on the tasks and was good in the interviews and boardroom. She played the cards she'd been dealt like the others.

I would have preferred Ansell to be in the final myself.

At 9:22 pm, Anonymous Suze said...

In response to anonymous (the first!) I'd just say that the 100k is what Michelle claims her salary to be. Along with the interviewers and Alan Sugar, I confess to be more than a little sceptical. Largely because her description of what she does doesn't jive with the salary, but also because I can't figure out why someone earning 100k in their own business wouldn't just keep building on that. I'm not accusing her of outright lying - just a stretching of the truth! I expect the 100k is what she would make at her day rate assuming she worked consistently all year, took no holiday, no sick time, no bank holidays, and had no gaps between contracts.

I'd like Ruth to win, but based on last week's show Sugar seems to have taken a shine to Michelle. I think he respects Ruth, but hasn't really connected with her.

Anyway Karen - just wanted to add that I had you pegged to win the whole thing at the beginning. I was very sorry to see you leave -- particularly with the bizarre explanation "I don't need another lawyer". Hmmmm.....

Good luck with whatever comes next!!

At 12:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sound's a bit "handbags" to me, Karen. As we all know - what we see on our screens is totally different to what is actually going on. Good example being Said being a bit of a cocky, arrogant muppet throughout the show but coming across as he really is on 'You're Fired'.
I started off as a Michelle disliker, but my opinion has changed rapidly over recent weeks. Put the handbags away - you don't need them, you're not on the show anymore.


At 11:12 pm, Anonymous Dan said...

To be fair, I think Michelle HAS been quite strong throughout - she's certainly been a dark horse, just quitely getting along with what she's done. The Topshop episode? I think we've all made mistakes, and anyway, who doesn't like a bit of champagne? Not sure I'd do it at work mind....

Michelle will make an excellent apprentice to Sir Alan. I admire what she's achieved in her career so far, and I'm sure she'll continue to do well working in the Amstrad empire. She has a good range of skills - calm under pressure, organised, enthusiastic, ambitious, and gives it her all. She seems like a nice person to me too.

Have to say that Ruth would have also made an excellent Apprentice. She's been strong throughout and I'm sure that even though she was the runner-up, she'll become VERY successful. She could go to any top employer in the country and say "I was in the final of the Apprentice." She's going to have no trouble getting a job with a pretty big salary too.

And Karen? I thought both you and Alexa should have been given a greater chance. It was a shame you got fired so early. I'll remind any corporate lawyers I meet not to bother applying for a future series of The Apprentice!

Can't wait for the next series now! What on earth will I now do on a Wednesday night?!

All the best Karen.


At 1:00 am, Anonymous Ollie said...

Hi Karen!

I, like you, am a massive Apprentice fan and whilst I didn't think from the start you were the strongest contender out there, you were definitely in my Top 5. To be honest, the early stages show you little of what is to come and you did impress me. Unfortunately SAS decided to take a chance on Alexa who was wetter than a really wet lettuce whereas I feel you could really have used that opportunity to progress further. Ah well, it all happens for a reason I guess.

Having watched the final episode tonight, I am very gutted that the strongest contender by a mile, Ruth, has lost out to someone who very rarely showed the qualities required of an Apprentice. I'm left wondering whether SAS only employs those who would never question his judgement or authority. Having blown all opposition out of the water throughout the series (particularly in the car and flat selling episodes), I think it's very wrong that the Badger find herself on the losing side. However, I can see her having a long and extremely successful career afterwards.

I've really enjoyed reading your blog (in the last half an hour!) and I wish you the best in the future. You seem to have your head screwed on the right way (unlike Jo but to be fair, she was a loveable nutter!).

If you happen to see Ruth on your travels please tell her that there is a helluva lot of support out there for her. I'd go as far as to say she has a cult following!

Best wishes!

At 6:37 am, Anonymous Kay said...

Hi Karen.

I do like you and I do like Ruth but I don't get the Michellegirl, good luck to you Karen


At 9:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so karen, what's your view on the outcome? you kinda gave it away in your last blog entry, but what did you really think?

At 11:54 am, Anonymous TrayMD said...

Karen I agree with you totally - it seemed very obvious right from the start and as the show developed that Michelle was playing the long game. Unlike Ruth, where what you see is what you get I'd compare Michelle to an iceberg in that whats on the surface is not the whole person she is. Ruth is a great allrounder and more the finished article than Michelle - Michelle probably needs Sugar more than Ruth ever will. Ruth will do just fine.So yes the person who deserved to win didnt and the one who was going to win did because Michelle is probably a better cultural fit for Amstrad and is "rawer" material ... which I guess is what an apprentice should be all about.

At 12:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Everyone seems to think Ruth is great, but I've seen a few sales managers like her, and, in fact, fired a couple too. You see - it's this funny phenomenon of half the team resigning 2 months after the arrival of their new boss.....

Personally I would have chosen Ansell, but Michelle was the right choice from the two finalists....

At 6:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regards to Michelle, the 100K was turnover and not salary. It was simply a one off telecoms contract that she managed to extend for 12 months.

So what?

At 5:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next years winner ...
One legged black lesbian orphan.

You may feel agrieved to have been dumped in the first few weeks of the series, but that meant the programme directors never had the opportunity to make you stupid, as they did to many of the other apprentices.

Best of luck in the future

At 9:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen, I quite agree with your comments concerning the final selection of the Apprentice - but I think it's important to remember that despite Siralan's protestations, the chief concern was televisual, rather than recruiting a sterling business brain. It's this which explains why a loathesome chancer like Syed was allowed to pollute the airwaves, because quite simply, he was good television. I think you are absolutely right that Paul was treated unfairly; he hadn't put a foot wrong throughout the tasks, but was then informed that 'this didn't bladdy matta' by Sir Alan. Surely, then, all the tasks were meaningless? A rhetorical question, because of course they were; it was a case of finding the right face to fit in at Amstrad, and certain people didn't fit the bill. To clarify this - and let's be blunt here - anyone who was educated and middle-class didn't have a hope in hell. Sir Alan doesn't like intelligent, well-qualified people. Perhaps he regards their skill-set as irrelevant in the world of sales, I don't know. Perhaps, more likely, he feels threatened by people who didn't grow up in a dustbin and were selling gravel to people from the age of six. And this of course, explains the success of Michelle Dewberry. She was appointed for sentimental reasons, rather than her business skills. You could see Sir Alan becoming misty-eyed as she regaled him with a halting recital of wrongs. And again (and I make no apology for a breach of political correctness here) I don't think it hurt her chances in the least that she's indisputably attractive, and that during the final round of selection, she was interviewed by three middle-aged men. I thought it was strange how her claim of earning £100k wasn't subjected to the same scrutiny as the salaries claimed by the other candidates. I also don't think, objectively, you could call her particularly businesslike in her demeanour. Her gutter volcabularly shows that you can take the girl out of Hull...well, the sentence completes itself. Karen, I think you were an outstanding candidate, but I think you wouldn't have fitted in at Amstrad. I think you are too intelligent and articulate to enjoy working with Sir Alan, who despite his vaunted wealth, has never struck me as a particularly acute businessman. Let's face it, Amstrad recently recorded a drop in profits, Sir Alan's portfolio is largely tied up in property, which you have to be a dunce not to make money from. In conclusion, I'd say that 'The Apprentice' was a celebration of all that's bad about British business, and Sir Alan got the apprentice he deserved.

At 7:02 pm, Anonymous Adam said...

Well, Michelle doesn't seem to like you much either, judging by her comments in the press today!

The two of you obviously didn't get on, but I think you ought to accept the fact that a large part in any selection process is the cultural fit between the candidate and the boss/company. Michelle's face fitted and yours didn't.

Personally I would have fired her over the Top Shop task, but I also agreed with your firing owing (even though I liked your style).

The Apprentice had given me plenty of food for thought about business and business situations (office politics, anyone?), but it is not REAL business - not even the most cut-throat organisations fires people on a weekly per task basis.

Best of luck with whatever you do next, I'm sure you will do well whatever it may be.

At 9:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, i didnt know michele didnt get on with the other contestants like that, how she a silent assasin and all that according to karen, thats what i love about women, the bitchiness between them, its well entertaining.

At 3:14 am, Anonymous Kerry C said...

Hi Karen,

Wish you all the best in whatever you are up to now, and in the future.

I think the reason Sir Alan chose Michelle over Ruth is cause she seemed much easier to be moulded into the person he wants, thus chosen as his apprentice. For Badger, she would be seen as slightly intimidating, and although she would be very productive sales wise, she knows about business much more than Michelle so it is likely that it was why she was pipped.

Felt that Ansell would've made a great apprentice, rather than Michelle! Not sure why Sir Alan didn't give him the position!?
He seems trustworthy, honest, and trustworthy too. Also makes a great bodyguard lookalike kinda person.

If Syed, and Paul wasn't so arsy throughout the episodes, then both of them might have better chances too. Both of them no doubt make good salesmen as they've got the gift of the gab!! They were very funny mind you!

Tuan was good, but he did not seem as confident and enthusiastic about some tasks as the others. He seemed glad when he made his mind up in the boardroom telling Sir Alan that it wasn't for him. Well, as he said, they can all share stories down the pub for a good laugh!


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