Property Investment entrepreneur Zeeshaan Shah, 27, from London became the fifth candidate to leave The Apprentice Series 9 after he was fired by Lord Sugar in Episode 5.
The teams were tasked with negotiating and buying a number of key items for an almost completed foyer of a new multi-million pound hotel in Dubai. Zeeshaan led his team to glorious failure despite his memorable quote of “I’m a ‘Great’ of my generation. I’m an innovator and leader in business. I take inspiration from Napoleon; I am here to conquer”. Mixing metaphors, Zeeshan met his Waterloo in Dubai.
At the start of this week’s task it was an early morning call for the candidates as they were briefed on their business trip to Dubai. A rapid packing of bags was needed as the teams then headed off to Gatwick and the UAE. The team had to help with the opening of the Waldorf Astoria hotel by buying 8 key items.
The buying of a list of specified items at the lowest overall cost is a staple episode of every Apprentice series and is usually one of the most enjoyable (for the viewer). We get to see how great a candidate’s negotiation skills really are – they normally use pretty basic tactics like pleading for a price reduction despite claiming negotiating brilliance. The traders in the souks will see them coming a mile off.
With the firing of Uzma Yakoob last week, Team Endeavour were somewhat light of team members so Leah Totton was transferred from Team Evolve. Zeeshaan Shah volunteered to project manage the task, as he had lived in Dubai. Leah Totton also offered to lead but the team felt Zeeshaan’s local knowledge would be a big benefit. For Team Evolve, Myles Mordaunt offered to lead, citing his international business experience.
- Myles Mordaunt (Project Manager)
- Luisa Zissman
- Francesca MacDuff-Varley
- Rebecca Slater
- Jordan Poulton
- Jason Leech
The teams had to split into two sub-teams, the logic being that one element could target the souks and one the shopping malls.
The list included: the national dress of the UAE, a Sago palm in a pot, a 6ft wide Dubai flag, a brass arabic coffee pot, Frankincense crystals, mosaic tiles and a hood for a falcon.
Zeeshaan’s team were smart to order their flag on the phone so they could just pick it up. A great idea but they managed to phone in the wrong sizes and ended up with a tea towel sized flag.
Neil Clough managed to buy the male clothing for 60 dirhams. A good negotiation but unfortunately it turned out that they bought the wrong style of clothing.
Zeeshaasn was convinced that everything could be purchased in the markets so forcefully prevented Leah from visiting the mall. One of the biggest challenges for the teams was to identify what the items actually were. There was some debate whether oud was local arabic perfume or a wooden musical instrument.
Jason, Luisa and Jordan for Evolve, finally managed to figure out that an Oud was a wooden mahogany musical instrument and not a perfume.
The team’s had to deliver their items to the hotel manager and then return to London.
Back in the boardroom. Team Endeavour were underwhelmed by Zeeshaan’s project management and his claim of local knowledge.
In team Evolve, Myles was criticised for buying the Sago palm for 250 dirhams rather than the 75 dirhams achieved by Kurt. Also Myles spent over an hour waiting for a flag to be made.
Team Evolve purchased 6 of the 8 items costing £311.54. They failed to get the mosaic tiles and the falcon hood, which incurred a penalty, taking the total spend up to £696.16.
Team Endeavour purchased 4 of the 8 items and got fined for lack of purchasing 4 item. They also purchased the wrong type of national dress so with 5 fines the total spend amounted to £783.36.
Team Evolve and the triumphant Myles went off to a cocktail bar to celebrate. Meanwhile Zeeshaan and Team Endeavour went off to the La Cabana Cafe to think over their failure.
As team Endeavour were called back to the boardroom, Lord Sugar was not impressed by Zeeshaan’s miniature flag, although Kurt owned up to mistaking inches for centimeters when ordering it. When asked to name the two teammates he was bringing back, Zeeshaan let Kurt off the hook, despite the calculation error. He also decided not to bring Neil back, despite the purchase of the wrong clothing.
Zeeshaan Shah decided to take Natalie Panayi and Leah Totton back into the boardroom with him. Zeeshaan said that Natalie was just a spare wheel and didn’t contribute on the task. Leah and Zeeshaan were at loggerheads from the start of the task.
Natalie and Leah both said that he seemed to have a problem working with women. Given he had let the two males who made mistakes walk away I find it hard to disagree.
Zeeshaan dug a massive hole for himself by not bringing back Kurt and Neil. Lord Sugar decided that Zeeshaan was responsible for the failure on this task and fired him. “A man whose mouth outran his abilities” was Nick Hewer’s summary.
So eleven candidates remain and Lord Sugar’s search for his business partner continues.