• 03.01.04

The Trump School of Business

Donald Trump’s reality series provides a playbook of sorts for corporate strivers in all manner of jungles.

Nobody could mistake it for a Peter Drucker seminar. But Donald Trump’s NBC reality series, The Apprentice, provides a playbook of sorts for corporate strivers in all manner of jungles. In episode one, the 16 moguls-in-training were dispatched in sex-segregated teams to peddle lemonade on the streets of Manhattan. Here’s what we learned.


Suck up. The ladies earned their new boss’s approbation by naming their fantasy company Protege Corp., causing a beaming Trump to nearly burst his buttons. The guys settled for the lame Versacorp, a name straight out of Office Space.

Flaunt it, baby. The women’s team won the first challenge by charging a premium price for their brew. Their value added? Kisses and phone numbers to hunky customers. The fellas should have staked out Chelsea, home to Queer Eye’s Fab Five.

Mind your manners. Real estate entrepreneur Jason was nearly downsized on the spot for daring to shush the chief. “When you’re trying to be chosen by someone, don’t interrupt and say, ‘Let me finish,’ ” Trump admonishes. “That’s number one in terms of life. Bad move!”

Don’t be too proud to beg. After being dissed by his entire team, Sammy Glick-like Sam saved his skin by shamelessly toadying up to the big guy. He proved there’s no future in being discreet. Or perhaps it just goes to show that reality TV needs to keep one certified loser around for everyone to root against.

About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.