OTB Meets Sandeesh..

Stuart Baggs may have stolen the headlines for acting like a “f*cknut” last night (not our words, but the words of Speakeasy on Twitter) but Sandessh was the one who ended up packing her suitcase. We caught up with her and asked her why the hell she didn’t bring Jamie into the boardroom..

So how are you feeling after watching last night’s episode?
Obviously I’m completely gutted I didn’t go further in the competition, but it was a tough task this week. We didn’t lose by a lot (£39!) so maybe a few more DVDs or me not dropping the price so much would have made the difference. But we did lose, and unfortunately I think I took the wrong people into the boardroom. (laughs..)

So what was it like being project manager and what did you think of your team overall because on paper it looked like a very, very strong team?
I had a good team and I think we sold twice as many DVDs as the other team, had we put the price a bit higher then we probably would have trounced them. I think I delegated well and I thought that my system of keeping track of all those DVDs going out to customers was really good; so the organisation was there and sales were there, but unfortunately the strategic planning, as Lord Sugar put it, wasn’t sound enough.

So do you blame yourself for losing the task?
As I pointed out in the boardroom, I had two bankers either side of me when I was looking at how many DVDs we should buy. They could have helped me out a bit more because I can’t do everything. But essentially I have a team who should pull their weight as well and if they’re strong in a certain area then I rely on them for that, but we got the costings wrong and we bought too much stock. There were a couple of decisions I have to take responsibility for though, dropping the price a little bit too much maybe. At that point at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when you’ve got to sell you’re just thinking of shifting as many as you can. With these kinds of things, you haven’t got time to think too much, you’ve just got to make a decision and that was my decision.

Lord Sugar seemed to agree somewhat, he mentioned to Liz at the end that maybe she should have worked on the numbers a little bit more.

You mentioned that maybe you took the wrong people into the boardroom. Looking back on it now, who should you have taken?
To be honest, Lord Sugar and Karren were hinting that I should bring in Jamie because he was an irritant throughout the task and looking back at the episode now, I completely agree. I basically didn’t feel that I had a sound enough cause to bring him or Christopher back because they did everything I asked of them in the task. I felt that in previous week’s, project managers have taken me in for completely ludicrous reasons that Lord Sugar picked up on. They were tactical reasons and he doesn’t like tactical reasons or he would have fired me as well. He could have fired more than one person and he didn’t fire me on those occasions. So those backfired on the project managers and I didn’t want to do the same and for Lord Sugar to see right through it. But I think I should have picked up a little more on their hints that Jamie probably deserved to come back, and I didn’t.

Lord Sugar seemed to appreciate your honesty, so you won points in that sense…
I think I did in the end. He gave me his card afterwards which apparently he doesn’t do to everybody and he said “keep in touchâ€?. If he’d hated me or thought I was useless he wouldn’t have bothered. But he said, “let me know what you’re doing and good luckâ€? and all that and we’ve emailed a few times. I think that he does appreciate people being honest and having integrity, being more black and white and not playing games, which I think a lot of people in there are doing at the minute.

In hindsight, how much do you blame Jamie?
His negativity definitely didn’t help. You don’t know how many times he kept coming down and moaning at me and I thought I could be concentrating on other things like speaking to customers and getting them to buy the DVDs. At one point he was trying to sell and he just wasn’t listening to what I wanted him to do, and I think telling the other candidates that were selling for me, Liz and Chris, that he’s a better salesperson doesn’t do a lot for their confidence. I had worked with Chris and Liz before and they were good salespeople. I had never worked with Jamie so how was I to know whether he was a good salesman or whether he was just blowing his own trumpet?

So is that the reason you didn’t put him in sales, as you said you might do later in the day, because it might affect team morale?
Yeah and also because Liz and Chris were doing a good job. We sold twice as many DVDs as the other team. Unfortunately, the price got lowered so had I kept the price high, then we would have won the task.

So as you said, are you going to stay in touch with Lord Sugar?
Yeah, I’ve emailed him a few times and he’s emailed back with feedback and advice. He’s a good guy, very fair, he always gave me a chance to explain why I should be there and what I have contributed and not everyone does that. He shuts you up if he doesn’t want to hear from you. I think he saw something in me but I think he said: ‘too little, too late’.

Did you get the feeling from him that firing you was a case of ‘well, somebody has to go and you’re the project manager, so…’?
Yeah, I think if I had brought in Jamie I would have stood a much better chance of staying. As PM, your neck is always first on the line. And as for the firing, I’ve heard and seen other firings and I think he was quite gentle with me. It was more like, “you’re a hard-worker but unfortunately I’ve got to let you goâ€? and it wasn’t like “you’re really crap and I don’t know what you’re doing here! You’ve really ballsed it up! You’re fired!â€? So I was happy with the way I went, but I would be happier if I was still there! (laughs)

So who do you think is going to win now?
I’ld like to see Joanna and Chris Bates in the final because I think they’re really good candidates, I got on well with them and they’re just really down-to-earth people who have got a lot about them.