You’re Fired! – ‘Apprentice’ comes to the College

They weren’t facing off for a position with Donald Trump, but students at “The Lion’s Apprentice” on Tuesday were ready to do business.

Modeled after the NBC reality series “The Apprentice,” the competition involves six teams of students who will show their creativity, teamwork and leadership skills in a series of weekly challenges.

With the Business Building lounge set up as “The Lion’s Den,” a panel made up of judges from the College and outside businesses will evaluate the teams.

As part of the competition, students will have the opportunity to work with “real world” clients, including the Trenton Thunder, Bloomberg LP and a regional music and movement center.

Each week, one of the six teams will be eliminated, and the competition will conclude with a grand finale on March 28. There will be six challenges in all.

During week one of “The Lion’s Apprentice,” the teams were introduced to the panel of judges and briefed on the rules of the competition. They were also given details about the first in a series of six challenges.

The first challenge of “The Lion’s Apprentice” is to design a theme meal for Eickhoff Dining Hall. Teams will have to think up an appropriate theme, plan a menu, decide on decor and design marketing materials to promote its meal. Marketing materials could include posters, online advertisements and radio announcements. The winning team will have its theme meal served in Eickhoff and advertise its event to the campus.

“As you can see, your first task is timely, strategic and challenging,” Christine Zelenak, assistant dean of the School of Business, said.

The theme meal challenge was presented by Karen Roth, director of Auxiliary Services, John Higgins, general manager of Dining Services, and Joanna Hower, coordinator of marketing at the College.

The prize for the first challenge is an upscale meal for the winning team.

The panel of judges includes James Conroy, executive in residence for the School of Business, Ceceilia O’Callaghan, director of the Office of Career Services, Debra Kelly, assistant director of Career Services, Kristin Appelget, president and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, and David Stryker, assistant treasurer of Risk Management at Bristol-Myers Squibb and a member of the Board of Advisors for the School of Business.

“(Since) I’m a senior, this is a chance to take what I’ve learned in class and do it hands-on,” David Boudwin, senior business major, said. Plus, he said, the competition offered many potential networking opportunities.

Brian Gross, sophomore finance major, said he was interested in “The Lion’s Apprentice” because it seemed different from anything the College had to offer.

“Networking was definitely a big part of it,” Gross agreed.

The next challenge of “The Lion’s Apprentice” will be announced on Feb. 14 in the Business Building lounge. Since the next piece of the competition will take place on Valentine’s Day, it will be a Valentine’s event, complete with cake. The teams will present their team meals, and after one team is eliminated, the five remaining teams will advance to the next stage in the competition.

“The Lion’s Apprentice” was developed by Emmanuel Osagie, dean of the School of Business, in conjunction with Alfred Pelham, associate professor of marketing, and David Puskar, of Bloomberg LP and an alumnus of the School of Business.

The goal of the competition, the School of Business said, is to “identify student’s leadership skills and their ability to deal with conflict and take risks.”

At the close of Tuesday’s event, Osagie addressed the teams about the importance of working together. He cited that the reason that Kwame Jackson, a contestant from the NBC show who recently spoke at the College, didn’t win the first season of “The Apprentice” was because of a lack of teamwork.

“I cannot overemphasize the importance of teamwork,” Osagie said.

There are six challenges in all, and the winner will be announced in a grand finale on March 28.

“There is a big prize for the winner,” Osagie said, “but we aren’t saying yet.”