The Apprentice Insider meets Susan
"I tend to have problems articulating myself sometimes so I come across as a bit of a fool," Apprentice runner-up Susan Ma told the Insider during their chat. That frank admission belies an impressive stint on the series, which showcased a business wisdom that defied her tender age. After firing her in The Final, Lord Sugar suggested that huge success lies ahead, although perhaps not in diplomatic relations with France…
"That was a classic case of me talking to myself!" laughed Susan when the whole 'Are the French fond of their children?' topic was raised. "I really was not being serious with that question. It was just a matter of talking to myself and not articulating my ideas correctly and you gotta take things with a pinch of salt sometimes and not at face value - I do know that the French like their kids!"
Susan also clarified the circumstances surrounding another classic comedy moment: "Yeah, I was 'Snoozan' and 'Snoozy Susie' because I fell asleep on the Reinvestment Task. At that point I was by myself on the sub team, and I'd never been by myself before – there was always noise from another candidate. Sitting back in the car by myself, there was a lot of traffic, it was peaceful, no one talking to me, it was a warm day – and I just drifted off. I was absolutely exhausted going door-to-door carrying big duvets. It was a little power nap that kept me going for the rest of the day!"
"My performance over the series has been a lot of ups, a lot of downs," surmised the skincare expert, "but I do think that I have some good ideas and that was portrayed through various tasks where my ideas have been correct". Nick Hewer often highlighted her canny business nous, much to her delight: "It's fantastic to feel that someone is on your side and recognising that what you are doing that is positive. I have a lot of respect for Nick. He's very fair – he also brings out the negatives in what I do and I absolutely accept all his criticisms and, of course, his compliments."
As for The Final, Claude Littner and his interviewing techniques certainly left his mark on Susan. "He's a great guy, he's very charismatic and he has a way of looking at you and asking you the questions in a very demanding way," she recounted. "It just makes you shrivel up and sort of freeze on the spot. Even if you have a great answer you just can't think of it there and then."
Susan took the opportunity to state the The Apprentice winner Tom is a "lovely guy… and I'm sure his next venture with Lord Sugar will be a success". But what lies ahead for her? "The future is very bright for me at the moment. I have taken a lot from this process – a lot of criticisms, compliments and opinions on board. I've learnt that yeah, I am young and yeah, I can definitely run a business. I can definitely be entrepreneurial and I'm more creative than I ever thought. I think I can do a lot in the future – watch this space!"
Watch Susan discuss 'Bambigate', portraying a cow in the App Task and her ambitious business plan in our exclusive video chat:
What do you think of Susan's achievements and mishaps during The Apprentice? Would she have made a worthy winner?