Michael Copp will win The Apprentice 2012… probably

William Gallagher uses statistics (and quite a lot of guesswork) to predict this year's triumphant candidate

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As The Apprentice begins its eighth series, the bookies are tipping Duane
Bryan and Jade Nash as 8/1 joint favourites
to win. But RadioTimes.com has studied the runners and riders for this year and extensively compared them to all previous winners – and we reckon Michael Copp, currently languishing at 14/1, is the more likely winner. Here’s why…

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Age is important

Four of the first five winners were 27 years old. To
date the oldest winner has been Stella English who, at 32, won series six.
No one has been younger than 27 so this year Maria O’Connor, 20, has
the statistics against her.

Gender neutral

Whether a candidate is male or female doesn’t seem to make a difference: across seven series we’ve seen four men and three women emerge triumphant.

Self-employed = disadvantage?

You’d think being self-employed would be a
bonus, because you’re demonstrating that you can run your own business.
But Lord Sugar has instead often asked those candidates why they
wanted to give that up and work for him. That will surely be different
now he’s looking for a partner in a new business venture rather than to hire an employee. But so far three
winners have been self-employed and four have not.

Location, location, location

Your smartphone is now location-aware. It uses geographical tools to find restaurants, trains and films near you. Lord Sugar has built-in location awareness too and he’s been using it to pick winners for seven series, it seems.

From this year’s lot, Stephen Brady lives in Vienna and Jane McEvoy lives in Kilkenny, Ireland. They might as well go home now. Bilyana Apostolova is probably safe: she comes from Bulgaria but she lives in London.

London. Centre of the universe, apparently.

Every winner of The Apprentice bar one was living or working in London when they won. The exception is Yasmina Siadatan, who won series four despite living all the way out in Berkshire.

So, why Michael Copp?

He lives in London. Tick.

He is 31 but that is the closest candidate to 27 – except for Duane Bryan, who’s 29 but lives in Manchester, and Laura Hogg, who is spot-on the series average of 28 but lives in Glasgow. So near, and yet seemingly so far.

Michael Copp is self-employed – he’s the MD of a kitchen furniture retailer – so under the old system he’d be out of luck but in the new, he might just edge it.

We are sure as sure can be that Copp will win, but we do admit that it isn’t all down to maths. At least some of it depends on how the candidates fare in the tasks.

All – or some – to play for

Statistics won’t save you if you make a mess of a task or a fool of yourself in the boardroom. Even with the analysed odds in his favour, Michael Copp needs to be careful.

Perhaps the most crucial move he or anyone else can make is to avoid being the project manager for as long as humanly possible.

Michelle Dewberry, Simon Ambrose and Lee McQueen all won after staying out of the PM limelight until week seven of their series. Last year’s winner, Tom Pellereau, obviously took a telling from them because he managed to stay away from the role until week eight.

Can you do better?

No cheating. Don’t wait until the final and then come back here to post a “prediction” that’s better than ours. Frankly, if Michael Copp doesn’t win, then the first thing we’ll do is sneak back here and delete this whole piece.

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But if you think you know who’s going to win, tell us now. We’ll leave the piece up at least long enough to acknowledge your statistical superiority.