Vana’s View: The Apprentice finalist on Week 7 – “I’m SO proud of Nebula for their win”

With the pressure on, Frances and her team delivered when it mattered as Karthik and co got their comeuppance in the boardroom


Victoria Docks. Overnight bag. How exciting! Fun fact – Victoria docks was formerly London’s largest shipyard!


Nebula needs to win, said Trishna. I agree. Frances needs a win too!

This week’s candidates task sounds awesome. They’re off to the Annual Boat Show to target the boating leisure market. It seems like a simple task – pick the right items and sell them. This is about generating highest sales, so the focus is on the high-ticket items. It’s similar to my best task last year  – real estate sales. I absolutely LOVED high-end sales and was proud to have sold the highest ticket item in Apprentice history. Hopefully they don’t beat my record!

I’m excited about Frances and Karthik as project managers. I think they are both good candidates and it’s going to be a close race, but Karthik – we don’t need to know about your conception story. We’re just not interested…

Frances and Sofianne were put in charge of high ticket items which I think was a mistake – it should have been Paul. I think it’s interesting that Frances said she doesn’t like Paul but she DOES trust him. He’s a strong candidate and I’d trust him too.

Karthik sent a makeup artist and product designer to high-end sales. Was that a mistake? Should he have sent Samuel? He said he had experience with high-end sales! I think Claude was spot on. Why didn’t he listen to Sam?!

The high-end teams got a chance to test the merchandise which looked like so much fun. Speedboats and jet skis! Not a bad day at the office.

Sofianne and Frances commented on the jet skis and tried to create a rapport with the dealer while Grianne and Courtney seemed to get more pertinent and relevant info about the speedboats… They took a more fact-based approach to the items. That’s one of the tough parts of the Apprentice tasks, you have to learn all the facts and make sure you know what you’re talking about but you also have to focus on the crux of the task – which often revolves around building relationships.

Grianne seemed like she was ON it this episode. I loved all her questions about the technicalities for the high-end boats and she got the jet skis, as she wanted. Frances and Sofianne had to sell the speed boat. I sensed a lot of tension between the two of them – Frances seems to be very frustrated with Sofianne.

On the other hand, I think Courtney is speaking with authority and developing nicely over the weeks. At first he was very quiet and hard to understand, but now I think he has much more oomph and credibility.

But tensions are HIGH within Team Nebula and the pressure is on. This tends to happen when one team has a history of losing the tasks. It puts a lot more stress on the team members to perform and nobody likes the “café” experience. Nobody. Trust me – I was there a lot in our season! It was tough.

Now, for the fun part! The BOARDROOM.

“More like Coat and Scarf than Cote D’Azur!” Always on point, Lord Sugar. Love your witty one liners!

I’m SO proud of Nebula for their win. And of Frances for successfully getting her PM role done so well. Good work!

As for Karthik’s team… They were a shambles. I’m not surprised that Lord Sugar decided to fire Karthik on the spot without allowing him to bring anyone else to the boardroom. I realise that he’s an eclectic guy, but sometimes he can seem downright crazy. He does have a strong head on his shoulders but I’m not sure about his judgment. From the beginning, Karthik has made crazy comments and decisions on a whim. And I agree with Lord Sugar that it would not make sense to give him the right to bring anyone to the boardroom…

As for the rest of the team, Grianne did well in this task – regardless of the team’s failure to sell – and she 100% didn’t belong back in the boardroom. And Courtney, too – he’s starting to shine.

So it made sense that Alanna, Sam and Dillon were the ones to face the music. Lord Sugar gave Alanna a chance because he recognisest she’s been a business owner for a while and knows what she’s doing. I’m really happy he didn’t give her the boot because I think she’s underestimated. I’m hoping that she will have a glory moment soon.

Dillon also escaped the firing line as Sam was sent packing. I think his departure teaches you a lesson – try not to make enemies! I wish him and Karthik all the best, however. They both did a great job in this process and added a lot of value to the series. They’re sure to have a great, bright future ahead.


Vana Koutsomitsis is CEO of Date Play