What once began as 18, has now been whittled down to the final five candidates on The Apprentice – James, Joanna, Elizabeth, Sarah and Michaela.
Having been a candidate this season, I got to know each of them independently. I worked with James on all the tasks I was involved with on the show– and of course who could forget Michaela – she was my project manager the week I was fired on the robot task!
Here is my take on the strengths and weakness of each remaining candidate as the show gallops towards this week’s final.
James White, 26, owner of a recruitment firm, from Birmingham
I found James to be a great person to work with. He has great business acumen and is very shrewd on the show. He did great being project manager two weeks in a row, but he has to be careful if he wants to reach the final, as he is against four very articulate women who would throw him under the bus given half a chance! I hope he takes Lord Sugars advice to ‘man up’.
Sarah Lynn, 35, owner of a confectionary company, from London
Sarah has come across as the most competent candidate of the show. She always makes valid points, is a great public speaker and is very calm and collected. She is the only candidate in this year’s show that I genuinely believe has no game plan. She was great fun in the house – what you see of her on television is how she is in real life – and is definitely a pick to reach the final.
Elizabeth McKenna, 39, owner of florist chain, from Nottinghamshire
Well what can you say about Elizabeth? She is eccentric – totally crazy and domineering – but I love her! Not only was she a great person to live with and chat to, but as the series has progressed, she has proven herself to be a solid businesswoman who is not to be messed with. Who can forget her measuring the walls with the tape measure in week two or chasing chickens in week seven! She has put in good boardroom performances – I hope she makes the final two candidates.
Michaela Wain, 33, business owner of construction magazine, from Bolton
I don’t know what to make of Michaela. While I was on the show, she was very loud in the house and makes her point known. In the boardroom, she has come across as a bit of a mouse – very shy to speak her mind – which is not a trait Lord Sugar endears to. She was the project manager who bought me back to the boardroom on the task I was fired and she was responsible for the failure of the task. She has a very successful business outside of the process however, so I wouldn’t rule her out as a finalist as she clearly has some business acumen in the real world.
Joanna Jarjue, 23, digital marketing manager, from Manchester
Being the youngest of the candidates, Joanna also has the least business experience out of the remaining candidates. On the show she has put her point across and made her presence known. She did really well in this week’s task being project manager, but I wonder whether it is just too early in her business career for Lord Sugar to invest in her. Having said that, she has been underestimated time and time again throughout the show and survived, so you never know!
The Apprentice continues on Wednesday, 9pm, on BBC One