THE BATTLE to win The Apprentice gets underway again this week as the 11th series of the BBC show hits our screens.
Aspiring businessmen and women will be seeking to impress Lord Sugar and his team as they are asked to show their entrepreneurial and leadership skills in a series of challenging tasks.
But what is the secret to success on The Apprentice? Sheffield University statisticians have decided to look at what the numbers tell us.
They have analysed the peformances and outcomes of the 159 previous contestants in the past ten series to produce their own strategy for success in Lord Sugar’s boardroom.
They have found that age is a crucial factor for success, with both the youngest and oldest candidates more likely to be fired earlier in the process. All 10 winners so far have been aged between 24 and 31 but gender and recent job history appears to have little effect on the chances of winning.
Repeatedly volunteering to be a team leader was also found to often be a poor strategy, with team leaders twice as likely to be fired in the boardroom.
Dr Chris Stride, from the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Work Psychology, said: Dr Stride added: “A candidate’s chances need not be hijacked by incompetent and quarrelsome teammates; despite its team-based structure, there appears to be an inherent fairness in The Apprentice.”
The research, which involved reviewing footage from 102 episodes, has been published by the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and the American Statistical Association.
RSS executive director Hetan Shah added: “If you’re a budding apprentice hoping to impress Lord Sugar, statistics might just be as important to your chances of winning as your sales skills.”
Five keys to success in the Apprentice.
1. Don’t volunteer to be a team leader just to look enthusiastic and active – even if you win the task, having been the leader adds nothing to your chance of actually winning the series.
2. Shine when on a losing team as well as when on a winning one – being on the losing team but avoiding being dragged into the boardroom is better than just winning.
3. For the same reasons, get on well with your teammates and team leader to increase your chances of dodging the boardroom when losing.
4. Be aged between 24 and 31 – all ten previous winners have been in this age range.
5. Have good academic qualifications – less qualified contestants used to do well but highly qualified professionals have dominated in recent series.