Vana’s View: The Apprentice finalist on Week 6 – “I remember that feeling of extreme anxiety so clearly!”

This week Vana recalls the fear and fatigue of the shopping task...

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Ooo! They thought it was a day off and it wasn’t! False alarm. No day off. Instead, it’s Shard time! This same thing happened last year. And it was tough. When you mentally prepare yourself for a day off and then get told that it’s time for a task, you have to totally switch your mindset.

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Karthik starts off by claiming that he doesn’t do hard labour. Instead he says, “I eat, I drink, I make love”. REALLY?! Come on Big K. TMI. Too. Much. Information.

Now, for the crux of the task: to purchase foreign items in London. This is a test of stamina. And negotiation.

Trishna moves teams to balance things out. She’s great so I think she can help give Nebula the oomph they need. And yes – she’s project manager! Woo hoo. Time to see her show what she’s made of. I’ve been waiting for this. I think she’s a very strong candidate.

Courtney is the PM for the other team. Looking forward to seeing how he does too. So far, I’ve always seen him actively working in the tasks but never making decisions.

Trishna has a good strategy. Half of the team going east. Half going west. I hope she plans the logistics well so that the timings work.

I like seeing Paul in his neighbourhood because he knows what he’s doing. He does a good job with the rainbow bagels by negotiating down from 50 to 35 pence.

Francis is also on a roll! She got a nice price for the Lengha – good job, Fran. On the other hand, I totally understand the importance of rapport building in Big K’s approach. He ended up getting the Lengha for £55. Yes, the price is higher than Fran’s, but Karthik understands the cultural nuances.

Alanna does a good job with the cigar negotiation. Jessica has a tougher time at the Soho shop. I think it was really smart that Trishna asked if they had any cheaper Robusto cigars. Good call.

Rebecca has bad luck with the black soap and the tagine. It’s actually pretty funny though! The shop owner didn’t understand her properly and thought it was tahini and soup! Haha.

Birds of Paradise for Grianne – love them. And I like her tactic and that she knew when to stop pushing.

One hour left and Trishna’s team has five items still to find. Rebecca is hustling and trying her best. Courtney’s team has four more left at this point, so he is in the lead.

The traffic on the way back to the Shard is killing me. And the stress they have is palpable. I remember it so clearly. That feeling of extreme anxiety. Poor Trishna had really bad luck with these road closures!

Now, for the tough part. Board room time. I think one of the hardest parts of each task is really understanding what the goal is. Figuring out EXACTLY what Lord Sugar will be judging you on. With time, you get better at this. Now, half way into the process, the teams are starting to figure out what’s important. 

Lord Sugar spells it out clearly here. The winning team spends the least amount of money. £408.11 for Courtney’s team. £520.65 for Trishna’s. Part of the downfall of Trishna’s team was time issue at the end and the printing delay.

The lucky winners get some spa time. That is SO necessary after a crazy night on the town with all that adrenaline. 

In the second boardroom, I like that Trishna is decisive and clear about who she is going to bring in. Lord Sugar likes that. Decisiveness is key. Lord Sugar may have criticised Jessica in her cigar negotiation but Trishna didn’t try to blame her. She could have used Jessica as a scapegoat but she didn’t.

Trishna may have lost the focus on time keeping but Sofiane is the type of guy who focuses on himself, as Karren so rightly mentions. I can imagine that it’s pretty tough to work with him. But Lord Sugar seems to like him! Maybe he will surprise me in the coming episodes. 

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Rebecca, on the other hand, seems to have checked out and given up. I’m sad that she has been fired because I believe she had grit and really tried her absolute best. I think she may have been exhausted by this process, after so many times in the boardroom. If you’re in the losing team on a consistent basis, which was my case in the beginning of the process, it can be very draining. You start to really get worn out. I really think Rebecca just had a bad task but couldn’t handle being in the boardroom again. So, I wish Rebecca the very best – girl, you’ll be missed!