Courtney Wood: I would put Michaela Wain in my Apprentice final five

Last year's Apprentice runner-up gives his verdict on week two's task – from why both teams should have lost to why Lord Sugar doesn't always get it right

Courtney Wood

This was a tough task – week two on The Apprentice is really hard. People are trying to find their feet in the process and this was mixing a big, creative task with business. Both teams tried to get a bit too creative in the time they had and failed to stick to the business side.


What they failed to realise from the start is that they actually needed to work out the percentage margins. I don’t think either team really fully understood it was about getting that balance right. It was about trying to produce the best quality work whilst making your margins but the boys straight away just went ‘we have to do luxury’ but weren’t taking the numbers into account. They just wanted to make it look as good as possible. Whereas the girls weren’t worried about making it look as good as possible and just focused on the margin, so both teams were looking at it from different angles.

The Apprentice Week 2

The boys lost again this week because they lacked strategy. They didn’t work out at the start how you could win and lose the task. Ross Fretten could have been a bit more powerful in his leadership. He did try to put Jeff Wan in his place a few times so that was good, but I just felt like he didn’t really have a firm enough grip on the task. At the last minute he was making changes with the room and the wallpaper which you could class as modern art, but really it was rubbish!

Sajan Shah was the guy in charge of the moodboard and he became very engrossed in it but that didn’t translate to what we saw in the room. It looked like a child’s bedroom! OK, these guys aren’t interior designers but surely they live in a house and know what sort of colours work on a wall? They went with red, yellow and blue. They got too engrossed in the task and the theme but it all completely lacked any common sense.

Ross’s negotiating skills were…interesting. The key to good negotiation is acting like you’re not that interested in buying it; he did that but in a way that was kind of offensive. People give a good deal to people they like, and I think that’s what Michaela Wain’s good at. She gets people to like her quickly and that’s why they want to do business with her. From what I’ve seen from her so far, I would put Michaela in my final five. She’s the Project Manager for Vitality in next week’s episode and if I was a gambling man, I’d say she’d be a good person to lead that team to their first win.

The Apprentice Week 2

Elizabeth McKenna seemed to measure everything in that room apart from Claude. But she really fell on her own tape measure in this task. It’s funny seeing someone being so adamant and then getting it wrong. She reminds me a bit of Margaret Thatcher, actually. You wouldn’t mess with her! But she can be a bit troublesome and if she’s to do well in this process she needs to learn to be more of a team player. It’s her way or the highway; she very much likes to be the boss and doesn’t ever like being challenged.

I just hope that Bushra Shaikh doesn’t go gloating about her win. She didn’t show much management skill in this task and she cracked under the pressure. She didn’t really impress me that much and in my opinion, I think both teams should have lost this week. Lord Sugar would not stay in those rooms, would he? The purpose of the task was to try and present a concept to the hotel and both of the rooms were absolutely atrocious.

Jeff Wan on The Apprentice Week 2

This task would have been won by a good project manager with a good creative director but when it came to the firing, I was actually a bit shocked. I didn’t know who was going to go but I felt that Lord Sugar gave Ross another chance because this was one of the hardest tasks. I was watching it thinking ‘I wouldn’t want to be doing that, let alone managing it!’

He probably chose to fire Jeff because he didn’t really have any substance, did he? In the boardroom he said he was creative because of his breakdancing but from the clips we’ve seen of him dancing, he can’t dance. He had the opportunity to do the numbers and he didn’t actually do that either, so Lord Sugar was like ‘hang on, what are you actually bringing to the party here, Jeff?’ – and it wasn’t much. Lord Sugar rarely gets it wrong. Apart from the final last year, of course…


Courtney Wood was a runner-up on The Apprentice 2016 and is owner of the novelty gift business Bubblegum Stuff