There has been an eclectic mix of candidates on BBC's the Apprentice this year and you'll probably have ideas on which of the remaining five could cut the mustard in the UK's leading business circuits.
At Quba we have been thinking whether any of the remaining candidates could do any of our jobs - so just for fun here's our assessment of the final five. We've scored them out of ten in six categories too. If you agree or disagree we'd love you to join the debate!
Susan Ma 22.5/50
Reviewed by Danielle Page, Account Executive on Symphony Event Management software.
In describing herself Susan articulates;
“I’m short, sweet and smiley but when I do business I mean business.”
I agree... she is short.
I perceive Susan to have apt organisational skills.
Susan’s background certainly seems to give that impression, in that she carved a solid and successful career in selling beauty products and overcoming and managing an abundance of social and financial hurdles.
We witnessed Susan’s strategic magnum opus in organising a team in episode three ‘Discount Buying for the Savoy’, where Susan created sub teams and assigned a product to each of them to research. 7.5/10
In this area I don’t think Susan would excel.( Remember the ‘Beauty Treatments’ episode where Susan totally miss -forecasted and failed to sell less than half of what she said she could).
With regards to analytical reporting skills, I can’t imagine Susan being able to deliver a complicated report to a client, as she doesn’t seem to be able to make herself heard, unless provoked and forced to defend herself in the boardroom. 3/10
I don’t think Susan would be as accomplished as she is today without having this quality. We were witness to Susan’s tour de force in snappy decision making and in seizing opportunity in episode eight ; ‘Paris’, where Susan spotted a mobile phone shop and went on to secure an impressive deal for 1500 mobile phone grips. 7/10
The more competitive a search term is, the greater the competition for search engine visibility will be and the more time and resources are needed to put into improving a websites’ relevancy in relation to the competition. I don’t think that this is Susan’s niche. It requires a level of creativity that I believe Susan has, but it also requires rigorous hours of research and statistical analysis. Susan wouldn’t have the patience for this. 3/10
I think Susan is very creative, this is particularly evident in episode nine; ‘Biscuit’, where Zoe and Susan came together like two Oreo halves and successfully produced the branding and logo for their ‘high end biscuit’, which Susan suggested they call ‘Bix Mix’. Although no major supermarkets placed an order you could see the creative process that was involved and that Susan made a contribution. 6/10
-4/-10. Neither especially good at BS or bad!
Could she work in Web?
Susan has the makings of a good Account Executive, but if we worked with her she would need to be supervised and she might get told off!
Helen Louise Milligan- 30/50
Reviewed by Rob Stephens New Business and Marketing Executive
Helen has shown very good organizational skills throughout the entire process.
This was clearly demonstrated in episode six when she was elected Project Manager for the ‘Rubbish’ task. She quickly projected a clear strategy and organized her team into sub-groups focused on their objectives.
Helen also demonstrated excellent pitching skills in the ‘Paris’ episode where her performance was rewarded with a record order of €214,000.
I think Helen would be perfectly capable of managing clients and organizing complex projects within a Digital Media company. 9/10
Helen has shown that she has the ability to break down a project into manageable parts and delegate responsibilities to her colleagues. I believe that this ability and knowledge would allow Helen to explain the details of a complicated report to clients in a simple format which is easy to understand.
I think Helen possesses good analytical skills. 8/10
While Helen is an excellent organizer and able to execute a brief, I don’t think she has a natural instinct for spotting opportunities. Throughout the first nine episodes, It was looking like there was only one winner. However, in episode ten Helen spotted a business opportunity to sell quality watches at a discounted rate of £25 for the buyer to resell at £50. The only problem was she approached ‘Pound Land’ with this fantastic offer. This was probably the worst business decision in the history of The Apprentice!
In my opinion, Helen would be focused on the current functionality of a website and struggle to spot feasible opportunities for further development. 4/10
As Helen has good organizational and analytical skills, I believe she would have no trouble optimizing a website or service using SEO techniques. Once Helen has analyzed the requirements of the client and researched the correct keywords and SEO techniques, she would be able to focus on the task at hand. 8/10
Similar to ‘spotting opportunities’, I’m not sure if Helen is the type of person to come up with creative ideas. Take the pet food task for example. Helen and her sub-team were given an opportunity to let the creativity flow after a meeting with a focus group regarding a brand of cat food. The best she could come up with was ‘Lucky Fish’. I mean, really!! 4/10
Helen is a pretty straight talking person and good at explaining herself in pitches and to her colleagues. However, she did falter slightly in episode ten when having to explain her mistakes to Lord Sugar.
Could she work in Web?
After totting up her scores, I have given Helen a rating of 30/50 for being a suitable candidate for an online company. I would employ Helen as my Account Manager as when presented with a brief from a client, she has the organization and analytical skills to fulfil the exact requirements and meet the deadline.
Jim Eastwood - 15/50
Reviewed by Charlie Hill, Senior Project Manager
As a sales person first and foremost I think Jim would struggle to organise a technical project- mainly because he would find it boring and uninteresting.
He would rather be out talking with people and up selling services. Managing clients maybe a little more up his street due to the one on one communication, however thinking from a client’s perspective I think he would rub me up the wrong way very quickly. In order to manage a project organisation and knowledge are the key skills required. Both of which Jim lacks. 3/10
If Jim was presented with a detailed report I think he would be successful at making recommendations to improve return based on the findings. However I don’t think he would have any idea on how to put a report like that together as it takes a very analytical mind, something I don’t think he has proven he has.5/10
Now this is where Jim excels and if he had web experience I think he would be a veritable conveyer belt of ideas. I also think he could offer conventional ideas as well as things that no one else might think of. 8/10
With a sales background Jim might be able to work on SEO strategies successfully if he developed knowledge of what is involved. SEO is very much about spotting opportunities and seeing the potential of a site. Something Jim would be able to work on with a client quite effectively because of his communication skills. Actually producing a keyword chart though – I think he would leave this to someone else! 6/10
“Hip replacement”? Nuff said. 1/10
He doesn’t let the side down when it comes to the typical salesperson cliché. I think 50% of what comes out of his mouth has been learnt from self improvement books and sales seminars. A lot of what he says doesn’t actually mean anything, it’s just empty words, jargon for the sake of jargon that no one understands. He is certainly a consummate professional at playing BS bingo! -8/-10
Every business needs a salesman, but if we had salesmen like this working for us we would find it hard to sleep at night!
Tom Pellereau - 25/50
Reviewed by Becky Grover, Digital Account Manager
Technically Tom has the ability to spec out a project and put together the requirements that are needed to carry out the project. My concern would be whether he would be able to be organized to stick to timelines and manage clients expectations as he seems a bit flaky. For this reason I believe Tom would make a better project architect than project/account manager which require high organization skills.
Tom is an ideas man foremost and always seems to know the right answers in hindsight. I don’t believe Tom has demonstrated that he could deliver a complex pitch to a client. However given time to think about a correct approach Tom would be able to put together a strategic report to demonstrate the opportunities that could be bought to the business. In the scrap task it was Tom that spotted the great ROI that metal would have and advised his team that this was the best opportunity to follow – thankfully on this occasion they listened and won the task.
Tom is an inventor by trade and has demonstrated that he has a good eye for spotting products that will work.
With these skills Tom could review an existing online site and spot an opportunity that could be utilized to fill a gap in the market.
I don’t believe Tom’s skill set lies in site optimisation, so this is not the part of the online business for him.1/10
To be an inventor you have to have a great imagination and creative flare. Tom has been in his element on the more creative tasks such as creating a brand new biscuit and spotting products that would sell. With these attributes Tom would make a great research and development person or a good creative director – he’d just need to team up with a good account director to demonstrate these ideas to a client. 9/10
My initial thought to Toms BS rating was very low, perhaps -1 or even a zero but on further thought this is not the case. To manage to escape being fired so many times he has been able to talk the talk to justify why he is still the right man for the job. For this reason I give Tom a quiet -7 BS rating.
In conclusion Tom could work well in an online company given a position where his strengths lie – Creativity and R&D, for one of these roles Tom would be hired!
Natasha Scribbins 13/50
Reviewed by Jon Eaton, New Business Executive
Natasha has a unique ability to look organized when everything behind her is going horribly wrong. In most sectors this wouldn’t be a problem but in online this is the worst thing you can ever do. She also has a tendency to try and avoid chaos by not taking risks (see last weeks show). In web you need to push boundaries or you get left behind… Oh dear. 3/10
Natasha is usually pretty good with numbers. However, she was part of a team who went into a gigantic French multinational company to offer a microscopic order. In web, especially on traffic and sales figures you always need to have an understanding of who it is you are talking the numbers they are looking to achieve. Room for improvement 5/10
You couldn’t really class Natasha as an ideas person. She hasn’t really had any since the show began. She has however been able to spot the flaws in some of her team mates ideas, so Natasha gets 4 points for spotting ‘non-opportunities’. 4/10
Compared to some of the keyword sinners in this group Natasha has been an absolute saint, but that’s not to say that sometimes she completely misses the boat. Her lads mag ‘Covered’ in week 7 completely blew away the competition but her slogan ‘how to blow your load’ almost cost her dearly. So overall pretty average. 5/10
Very little to go on here. The lads mag was a brief highlight but on the whole Natasha is a bit of a non entity in this field, her pitching style has also been consistently dreadful 1/10
Natasha doesn’t tend to manipulate or lie in board meetings but she does have a great deal of self confidence in her abilities and most of this is unsubstantiated. She’s not dynamic, she’s not a great seller and she’s not great at delivering results. Bad news. -5/10
Possible job roles?
Hmm… a score of 13/50 is not great. I can’t really see any positions for Natasha on the web, YOUR FIRED!