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5 Reasons to go on The Apprentice - and one big reason why it's bad for your business

The Apprentice is a UK reality TV show where contestants go head to head in various business challenges in order to avoid being fired and to ultimately win the prize and become the contestant ‘hired’ by its host, British business magnate Sir Alan Sugar. Based upon the American original of the same name and billed as the "job interview from hell", the programme focuses on a group of people who all who aspire to reach great heights in the business world.
Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs and young and up-and-coming business people apply to become contestants on the show, seeing it as a direct route to the elite of a business community that could otherwise take years to break into. 
Watching the contestants being pushed to - and sometimes beyond - their limits, there would seem at times to be no good reasons to go on the show! But there are some very good reasons to consider putting your name forward for a place.

1.      It’s a Learning Curve Like No Other

As experiences go in business, you’d struggle to get the opportunities that The Apprentice offers, anywhere else. Years at Business School couldn’t teach you as much as all those invaluable real-world business experiences that are offered to contestants on The Apprentice in just a few weeks on the show. Those ‘ins’ to the big corporations, the private meetings and personalised feedback from top industry professionals, the chance to try out many different roles, the mentoring by one of Britain’s most successful businessmen, and the valuable life lessons you can gain in a very short space of time. Those kind of experiences are worth their weight in gold and are extremely hard to come by ordinarily.
There’s no doubt that being a contestant on The Apprentice is a steep learning curve, but isn’t that what you’re seeking when you’re new to the business world and want to make an impact?
Employers always becry the lack of real-world experience of potential employees  these days… well, how about those experiences on your CV?

2.      It’s the Toughest Job Interview Going

Yes, the potential to be humiliated on national TV is there, but if you can successfully navigate your way through this interview, then wow, you can get through anything. The boost to your confidence and the chance to get feedback on your performance from some of the UK’s most experienced and sought after hirers and firers, is beyond valuable.

3.      You Can Learn From Others’ Mistakes

Every week on the show, once a task is finished, the teams of remaining candidates have to report back to Lord Sugar in the boardroom, where they are either congratulated on their success or given an opportunity to explain their failure, depending on how the task has gone for them that week. It  can be a gruelling experience, especially if your team is the losing team that week, but it is also an opportunity to learn very quickly how not to succeed in business by observing others’ mistakes. And when the prospect of being fired makes the stakes that much higher, you can be sure you’re going to learn some valuable lessons.

4.      You Can Pitch Your Business Idea to One of the UK’s Most Successful Business People

When else do you get the opportunity as a new starter to pitch a business idea to someone in a position to make your business dreams come true overnight? The prize on offer really is something that money can’t buy. The mentorship and financial backing that your business idea could win is definitely a prize worth making the effort for!

5.      It’s A Launch Pad to Great Things

Even if you don’t win The Apprentice - and clearly most people don’t - it could still be an incredible launch pad to great new things. The exposure you can get for yourself is greater than any amount of publicity you might be able to drum up through the normal channels. If you’re canny enough to make the most of the exposure and use it to your advantage, it can propel you several leaps ahead of all the competition in one small.

And the reason not to go on?

Well, how many of the top 100 business people in the UK currently, or in fact at any time since the inception of the show, came from The Apprentice? And how many former winners can you name? Even if you an are avid follower of the show, chances are you can’t remember too many great success stories linked to former contestants. And worse, your name and any businesses associated with you could be tainted by the association if you’ve had a particularly bad time of it on the programme! One mistake on the show could be a PR nightmare that could seriously dent your ability to get a job or launch your brand for several years after appearing on the show.

Yes, some former contestants have gone on to get TV jobs but usually only for a limited time and unless that’s what your big business idea is, you’re probably better off taking the well-worn but slightly longer route to business success. Work your way up, apply for business start up finance the same way everyone else does, and gain your experience in a way that doesn’t also come with a painful dose of humiliation on national TV!

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