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back to article 'The Apprentice' is a load of old codswallop, says biz prof

BBC "reality" TV show The Apprentice is totally rubbish and offers no lessons of any value on how to succeed in business - indeed quite the opposite - according to a professor. “The Apprentice presents the idea that you have to be sociopathic in your relations with others in order to succeed in business," fumes Professor Martin …

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It's TV

I enjoyed the first couple of series, but after that came to realise that The Apprentice is utter tripe. Ok just maybe some of it would be appropriate at a call centre selling PPI or double glazing, but what's distinctly missing is the importance of having a good business idea.

The programme is now well past its sell by date!

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Unhappy

Re: It's TV

I can only agree with you. I have not seen anything that would inspire me and most of the time find myself unable to understand any of the antics of those taking part. The 'tasks' appear so unrelated to useful activities that they really belong on 'You are being framed'. Because the activities are pre assigned to be done in a few moments and clearly aimed at a TV slot, they lack reality.

To be effective it should be based on the apprentice coming up with the idea and working it through from concept to success or failure. It should be about seeing how well they deal with the need to develop their idea, drop failures and identify required corrections.

A great deal of business is like politics, 'the art of the possible'.

Frankly the apprentice is just not possible as many of the past results have shown.

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Meh

Re: It's TV

Yes it is just a Game Show with a prize, that anyone takes it seriously is beyond me.

Just sit back, watch it and enjoy the fact that you can watch a bunch of inadequate self publicist idiots humiliate and make fools out of themselves.

It takes over where Big Brother left off, it's fun to watch.

The fact that they all take themselves so seriously is even funnier, I mean, we all know people like this exist but to bring so many together in one place, amazing!

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Headmaster

Re: It's TV

At the age of 69½ it has become clear to me that life is w..a...aaa...y too short to waste a millisecond of it watching the antics of these boring losers

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Re: It's TV

Just stop calling it (and associated crap like Big Brother) "reality" TV. Or at least insert the words "nightmare alternate" in front.

Reality TV should be reserved for shows about real people doing real jobs, in the fly-on-the-wall reporting style, and where they're doing jobs that are at least vaguely interesting. Things like Ice Road Truckers, that Eddie Stobart show on C5 and the few there have been lately on BBC2 about the railways and underground. All quite watchable (if not exactly mentally taxing) but none (or few) of the made-up primadonnas that the TOWIE-style drivel seem to excel at.

But then I guess in this modern-day celebrity-obsessed, look-at-me social media culture, having stuff to watch that maybe needs a bit of an attention span could be too much to ask.

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MJI
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Re: It's TV

I thought the railway and the underground programmes were an excellent use of our licence fee.

As to the Apprentice

Not a fan of Amstrad, but he has made a fortune out of selling crap.

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Re: It's TV

It really took you a couple of YEARS to realise it's utter tripe?

Wow.

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WTF?

Re: It's TV: develop their idea, drop failures and identify required corrections

This happens in microcosm every week on every task. It is exactly what it's about. That, and finding out that behaving like an arse gets you nowhere in the end.

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it's fun to watch.

No it's not. Along with all the other "reality" shows, it make quiz shows look good.

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This ain't academia.

I worked for a few MagaCorps in my life. The backstabbing and mistrust seems pretty realistic.

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Happy

Re: This ain't academia.

I still work in a MegaCrop, the backstabbing and mistrust are part of daily business, certainly among those that wish to climb the corporate ladder, most of them are absolute losers though.

BUT, the same "backstabbing and mistrust " I have also seen in smaller companies, certainely in the ones where there was money to be earned.....

Human beings are far from perfect. It is not for nothing that greed is one of the 7 sins.

I have only seen clips of that program on YT but from what I have seen it has nothing to do with creating your own business and more to do with getting yourself a little exposure ( exposure is good for business though).

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Re: This ain't academia.

Not just corporations and smaller businesses - it would be pretty similar in many academic departments. There are some pretty atrocious government departments around this city too.

Incidentally, I know that Warwick and Keele (my alma mater) are universities ... but Staffordshire? Is that the old North Staffs Poly?

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Black Helicopters

Re: This ain't academia.

I would submit that the amount of backstabbing and bastardness is directly proportional to the greed & avarice of those involved.

So is a good indicator of who to distrust in the first place as you attempt to weave your way through life as comfortably as you're able with the minimum of outright bullshit.

Black helicopter cos a good conspiracy theory will always deflect attention from what shitty behaviour you're really up to

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Re: This ain't academia.

The amount of backstabbing and treachery is inversely proportional to the actual capabilities of those involved.

About 98% of the crap I've seen in the corporate arena has been pulled by those who were not well suited to their roles. If you're really good at what you do you are immune to office bullishit and protected by those who you make money for and you have no reason to wallow in the mud with those involved in that crap.

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Re: This ain't academia.

par for the course for NHS managers too.

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Staffordshire Uni

...is AFAIK an mash-up of North Staffs Poly and one or two of the old FE colleges in Stafford. There's a large site on the edge of Stafford, as well as the old Poly site in Stoke.

I went to Keele too, but I don't think it counts as an alma mater cos there weren't no latin spoke there in my day.

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Stop

Re: This ain't academia.

How many of these "absolute losers" are a) ahead of you up the ladder b) in charge of the company and c) earning real megabucks in salary, perks, "expenses" and options? Because love them or hate them you may want to redifine your idea of what constitutes "a loser",

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And it's taken how long to notice this?

The Apprentice is *nothing* to do with how to succeed in business and everything to do with how to succeed in television.

Though I have had a sneaking suspicion for a long time that people who throw *everything* into a 'career' - working all the hours there are, 'apprentice'-like behaviour, ignoring work-life balance and so on - are suffering from at least a form of OCD.

Sane people work to pay off the mortgage and to eat; earning more than you can possibly ever spend is not a sane goal even if there are a handful of examples of people who have done it.

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Joke

Re: And it's taken how long to notice this?

Sane people work to pay off the mortgage and to eat; earning more than you can possibly ever spend is not a sane goal even if there are a handful of examples of people who have done it.

The trick isn't earning more than you can spend, it's the much more difficult goal of earning more than your spouse and children can spend too...

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Re: And it's taken how long to notice this?

No joke. Also, how much can all of you spend throughout the rest of your life when you retire at 35 instead of slogging your guts out for SFA till you drop dead of old age?

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Re: And it's taken how long to notice this?

@Anonymous Custard:

Well, if you're going to assume that the spouse should have no ambition beyond sitting around at home alternating between Raising The Kids and Cleaning The Home (with occasional forays into Spending Your Hard Earned Cash, Grumble Grumble) then yeah, I guess you might run into trouble. That doesn't mean it's how everyone does it.

@Lallabalalla:

Retiring at 35 to arse about on a beach is all very well, but the shortening of your life expectancy resulting from the kind of stress usually involved in the relatively few jobs that can actually pay that well will mean you're not necessarily doing well compared to those who decide that Loads Of Cash + Early Retirement isn't the goal. Horses for courses, of course, but there's no one right answer that applies to everyone...

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Professor late to party

Of course it's not realistic, otherwise it would be on BBC2 or BBC4, though given the number of youngish candidates it could be on BBC3.

It's tv, its entertainment based on a "real" idea. If I wanted to try to learn how to suceed in a business environment from TV I'd watch as much of Michael Roux Jr on the box as I could and become a chef. Education on TV was the Open University at obscure hours of the day, never midweek prime-time.

I watch the Apprentice and I enjoy a lot of it, but I have the leave the room for some of the mixture of vileness and competence they show - and even then I am aware of that it's been carefully selected by the producer/director for just that purpose. Outside that little TV bubble they may even be half-decent human beings (witness the post-ejection programme on BBC2 with Daira).

I presume though the good professor is using his criticism of the programme to boost himself, not quite as sordid as the using-each-other-as-footstools-to-the-top portrayed on the goggle-box.

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How would the professor know though?

While I am sure that the TV show will be innacurate in places, how many million does the professor have in the bank? Why would anyone take business advice from anyone with less than a couple of million to their name?

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Re: How would the professor know though?

You know, Al Capone had a lot of cash. Same with loads of criminal gangs, cartels etc... So are you saying we should all follow their examples?

You know, there are relatively few 'giant' companies in the world. The vast majority of businesses are small - half a dozen employees sort of thing. Do you think a company of that size will succeed if the owner/manager is a complete prat?

The professor is quite correct, if you want to succeed in your own business, being a megalomaniac will not help you. Doing a good job, having a good product or service, not screwing over your customers, treating your staff well etc... it'll all help you to succeed.

Giant corporations are a different matter - and they're basically an exception rather than the rule.

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Re: How would the professor know though?

I was Just thinking the same thing. I am sure he is correct in what he says but why would an expert in business management be working at a University and not running a successful business?

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Re: How would the professor know though?

A as opposed top taking business advice from someone who flogged load of cheap hifi in the eighties, a load of cheap computers in the early nineties and has done nothing since but rent out the property he bought with the profits?

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Re: How would the professor know though?

well put. Its an outrage that Sugar puts himself forward as some sort of computer guru, his philosophy always was simply beating the shit out of suppliers - for most of them it was their last deal. His affordable PC breakthrough was a fire sale of ill-conceived non-compatible PC things.

That said, I do find his judgement good, he sees through most or all of the cuntestants pretty easily.

As others bemoan, something with the germ of an original idea and some real progression would be so much better than all the vapid marketing bollocks.

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Happy

Re: How would the professor know though?

Seems like a person like that would give good business advice. As for cheap computers, what's not to like ?

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Re: How would the professor know though?

I never said the professor was completely wrong. Also I think you'll find Al Capone was a shit businessmen -- even Jimmy Carr knows to hire a good accountant -- and he actually made no money due to dire business errors. Most criminals are the same -- apart from those who spy on their customers illegally for governments.

Still doesn't answer my question as to why I should follow the advice of a man who has no experience in the field? I know not all millionaires are dicks but, unsurprisingly, a lot of dicks have been a lot more successful than a random academic.

If I want advice on how to be a professor I'll ask a professor if I want advice on how to build a Business I'll ask a successful businessman.

May I ask the successful milionaire business people who voted me down why I ought to listen to somebody who hasn't made it rich?

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Missing the point

It's not about them succeeding, that's almost irrelevant. It's about taking the "high powered management types" who you work with everyday, giving them a practical task, and watching them fail spectacularly due to some schoolboy error.

You watch it and think "I was right in what I thought about my managers"

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Re: Missing the point

Absolutely. Ever seen Celebrity Apprentice? So called high-flyers who appear to be unable to tie their own shoe laces with the help of their PA.

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The Generation Game

That's all it is, it's a knockout format generation game - it's an entertainment format, it's Big Brother in shiny suits. That's all it ever was.

Has it really taken 8 years for the penny to drop that the contestants are chosen for TV, not for becoming middle management? Guess what, the 'board room' isn't really in the pointy bit of Canary Wharf, the receptionists don't really have to use Amstrad emailer phones. Next it'll be 'oh, Dragons Den is all about egos'.

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Re: The Generation Game

At least with Dragon's Den, some of them have gone on to be sucessful. Levi Roots is by far the most successful, but others have benefited as well.

Has anyone on The Apprentice been successful as a result of appearing on the show? It doesn't have to be one of the winners, the most successful Britain's Got Talent contestant was Susan Boyle, who came second, and the most successful X-Factor contestants are JLS who finished second, One Direction who finished 3rd, and the comedy duo Jedward who were knocked out fairly early on in the series.

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Re: The Generation Game

Dragons Den also worked for Ling, the self-styled 'mental oriental' who has a vehicle leasing business.

She turned down the cash offers, then when the producers begged her to renegotiate, did the same again. She costed the equivalent advertising would have been a quarter of a million quid, so giving away the company to a narcissistic bully/granny farmer/carousel VAT entrepreneur is madness by comparison. That's almost certainly why the Levi Roots brand worked, because of the publicity and his own natural charisma.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Generation Game

I've met Ling in person. I only discovered the batshit-insane-ness of her website and Dragon's Den performance afterwards- gave me a good laugh, that did.

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Obligatory Mitchell & Webb link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ss-59fi4nM

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The whole format is redundant, when's Dragon's den back on?

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Its entertainment, not education

Anyone who tries to learn cooking from Master Chef, survival skills from Survivor or business from The Apprentice can sign up for the new show I'm starting. It is called "Am I the world's biggest moron?"

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Re: Its entertainment, not education

The apprentice I can agree with, but have picked up some good ideas from Master Chef, particularly Michel Roux's walk-throughs.

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Joke

Re: Its entertainment, not education

I learned my survival skills from Master Chief.

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Meh

Can we now discuss the arming of wahabbi jihadis in Syria with seriously serious gear including AA missiles?

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Are they bigger than AAA missiles?

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Happy

No Jihad on the moon with less than 8 D size though.

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TV show is a load of codswallop? I am shocked

TV is entertainment. Most people think it's real, because they watch it day in, day out, and the characters in the soap operas, the news anchors and the characters in the morning shows start to get very familiar, like reliable family members or friends. But it is, in fact, really just entertainment, and unlike real life, in which you expect to see your friends and family at least from time to time, the people on TV have never met you, will never meet you, and don't want to have anything to do with you. In fact they don't know you exist. They are just earning their living playing out a script for the entertainment of the masses.

And to anyone who believes that you can learn a lot from TV - for instance from documentaries - I say: beware. They serve you regurgitated and pre-packaged information, designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator and to give you the illusion of knowing everything about the topic, whereas in truth, you know nothing about it, and your illusion about knowing a lot is likely to stop you* from ever opening up your mind and finding out more in a serious way.

Tinfoil hat version: is designed to prevent you

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IT Angle

Can't stand the show

I've watched a few eps from each season and honestly I woudln't hire a single on of the morongs they have on that show. If I were to launch a product, put together a team and say "you decide who's in charge" and then find out the product was a failure. I do not want to see a group of adults shouting and screaming over the top of each other trying to place the blame. "It's not my fault it was a great idea HE just didn't push it hard enough!" blah blah blah. They act like a bunch of kindergarteners.

I'd much rather see a bunch of people who can behave like adults, people who will say "I put forward the idea and we all agreed on it, it was a market none of us really understood and we could have done with more time to research the demographic. I felt boris didn't put his full effort into the product, but he disagreed with the original idea anyway"

Of course actually seeing people behave like adults would never work for entertainment.

The one thing I do love, for comedy more than anything, is their taglines when they introduce themselves.

"Hi my names Danny and I'm an entrepeneur. I may be short, but I'm large of mad skillz"

I'd like to see one of them on there with this tagline

"Hi my names Boris, and I have the nose of a bluebottle, I can smell shit from a mile away."

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Re: Can't stand the show

I'd like to see one of them, when berated by Sugar for failing, to come back with "at least it wasn't as big a f**k up as the Amstrad eMailer"

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Angel

Get it right

"Hi my names Boris, and I have the nose of a cockroach, I can smell shit from a mile away."

And yes, I work with a exactly the people you see on the show, 1 is a complete butt licker, 1 steals anyone's good ideas for improving productivity/reducing costs and claims them as his own, and the last one only keeps his job because he's related to the owner.

And I pride myself for stabbing people from the front.... that way you can do exactly the same amount of damage to their precious ego AND get to see the expression on their face

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That must be "Professor YouDontSay"

isn't he the one that works for the University of OReally?

In the department of The Bleedin' Obvious.

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Holmes

Walloping a cod can be fun.

The point here isn't that the Apprentice is a load of codswallop, but that the prof thought it could ever be anything else.

Its entertainment. They get a bunch of the most obnoxious and incompatible assholes they can find and ask them to work as a "team" on an obscure project.

We sit back and laugh at them as they fail because they are the kind of repulsive and overbearing individuals we all love to hate.

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Of COURSE it's old codswallup.

TV only exists to sell razor blades, tampons, beer & laundry detergent.

I feel sorry for the drooling mouth-breathers who think that over-produced, badly scripted, and even worse written so-called "reality TV" is anything more than an excuse to sell product ...

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