Alex Epstein talks Apprentice, fame and Lord Sugar

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2010
Alex Epstein (photo: BBC/Talkback)

Alex Epstein (photo: BBC/Talkback)

Alex Epstein, the King David High School boy who couldn’t find his way round Manchester’s Trafford Centre, was the latest victim of reality TV show The Apprentice this week.

The 26-year-old from Whitefield headed Team Apollo for the task of creating a new brand of cleaning product, producing an advert described by Lord Sugar as “shockingly bad”.

Mr Epstein escaped from the boardroom last week despite messing up a marketing strategy in the Trafford Centre, where he had previously worked in retail.

But this week, Lord Sugar blamed him for the failure of another task, saying he fired him “with regret”.

Although disappointed not to go further, Mr Epstein insisted he felt he’d already done an invaluable “apprenticeship” — working with Leeds Jewish entrepreneur Martin Port.

He said: “I feel very lucky that I’ve actually already had that experience of learning from a very successful entrepreneur; even the winner of The Apprentice doesn’t get to work with Lord Sugar every day. If I’m being honest, it was the experience of being on the show that I wanted the most.”

Mr Epstein was a prefect at school. “On the show, I boasted about having 11 A-stars, but what I didn’t say is that the chair of governors, Joshua Rowe, gave me a ride in his private jet as a special reward for doing so well.”

Mr Epstein was a Haagen Daz ice cream manager and studied management at Manchester University. He has been on Birthright and joined an Aish trip to New York in 2002. He was made redundant just as the audition process began. “I thought ‘I’m going to be famous, that’s hilarious’.”

He got on well with fellow Jewish candidates Melissa Cohen and Jamie Lester. “Melissa and I spent a lot time chatting. She’s a talented girl but she didn’t come across like that on the actual show.”

On his final day, Mr Epstein was criticised for his leadership and for putting teammate Sandeesh Samra in the firing line. He now plans to launch a marketing consultancy, but also wants to give something back to the community by mentoring aspiring Jewish entrepreneurs.

“I think I could offer a lot of valuable experience and I’d enjoy doing that.”

Last updated: 12:24pm, November 11 2010