The Apprentice viewers witnessed a first for the long-running BBC One show tonight when Aleksandra King abruptly decided to quit the contest.
The business consultancy owner sensationally walked out on the process before the task had even begun, leaving her teammates in complete shock and prompting Lord Sugar to quip that he’d “saved a cab fare”.
Speaking to loaded, business guru Aleksandra admitted that she hadn’t discussed her decision to leave with anybody.
“It was a shocker for everyone,” she said. “You could see by Grainne’s reaction, she didn’t know what to say. No one knew what was going on – I hadn’t spoken to any of the candidates.
“I had performed really well until then, I’d never been brought back to the boardroom. I knew how to fight my corner, knew how to perform in the tasks.”
Aleksandra confessed that she had become increasingly uncomfortable with the “blame culture” fostered between candidates on the series.
“There were two things that didn’t gel with me. The first one was the blame culture, it creates unnecessary stress in people,” she explained.
“Although it makes excellent TV and it’s funny to watch, on the business floor and in that environment it’s unnecessary. I’m a firm believer in collaboration and encouraging each other and a more flexible, friendly way of working as opposed to ‘Whose fault is it?’
“I don’t think it’s healthy and I didn’t want to bring that into my business. There are lots of ways to be successful in business, but that particular way is not for me.”
“I’m a believer in collaboration… and a more flexible, friendly way of working as opposed to ‘Whose fault is it?’”
Aleksandra also had issues with the lack of contact she was allowed to have with her family, adding: “This whole process really restricts the amount of contact you’re allowed to have. I can’t tell you how much because I’m not specifically allowed to, but believe me it wasn’t enough.
“I wasn’t able to pick up the phone and check if my kids were okay. Is that a good business test? For me it’s nothing to do with business and work-life balance is important. It’s not about business, £250,000 and forget everyone. That’s nonsense.”
Despite leaving the show unexpectedly, Aleksandra said she’s glad she went through it.
“Lord Sugar said you learn a lot about yourself. I learned so much, it’s not what I expected though. I’m much more confident in my beliefs and in my values,” she said.
Aleksandra famously described herself as Tasmanian devil when she joined the show – does she still see herself that way?
“I’m 100% the Tasmanian Devil. I torpedoed my way in and I torpedoed my way out!”