Kettering's Karthik reveals all after leaving The Apprentice
Kettering IT consultant Karthik Nagesan won the hearts of many during his seven-week stint on The Apprentice.
His charm offensive, tendency to talk a bit too much and that monobrow made him stand out head and shoulders above the other candidates.
The 34-year-old was fired by Lord Sugar after one of the worst results the show has ever seen, selling just £188 compared to his rival’s £40,000 plus.
But Karthik says he didn’t play the game, and if he did he might have survived.
He said: “Each task is about two to three days long and there’s a lot of filming, there are some really hard days.
“They cram that into a one-hour show and 20 minutes of that is in the boardroom, so there are decisions people take that don’t get shown.
“If I had gone all out TV and played the game and distanced myself from some people I think I could have stayed.
“I didn’t get any help in the boardroom when Lord Sugar asked if I was a good project manager.
“One day you’re a hero, one day you’re a villain.
“It wasn’t the worst team performance, just the worst result.
“There were only two high-ticket sales in it but it wasn’t a car crash, it was a s***storm!”
Karthik was given the boot along with Samuel – who he is good friends with – leaving nine candidates remaining.
He doesn’t know who thinks will win, but thinks it could be a surprise package.
He said: “I think 25 years ago someone like me could have won and Lord Sugar could have worked with me.
“But now he’s a bit older he will go for a producer because he can do the selling.
“He wants someone who will listen to him so it could be someone who’s a bit shy who might not be the best in business.”
Is Lord Sugar as fierce as he comes across on TV? Not according to Karthik.
He said: “I think Lord Sugar is very sweet old man and I can imagine him in his pyjamas at Christmas.
“When the cameras are on he too is under pressure.
“I do not think he is that bad but he does not show us that side of him on TV.”
Despite his bid to become Lord Sugar’s business partner coming to an abrupt end, Karthik says the experience has seen a number of people offer him roles in their business.
He said: “The whole experience was absolutely amazing, the house is lovely and the food is brilliant.
“Everyone is pretty normal and gets on, people are completely different in the tasks.
“Quite a few people have come up to me and told me I should have won, and not because they found me funny but because what I was saying made sense.
“People are asking me to be their business parter.”
When the show reaches its final stages, candidates must present their business idea to Lord Sugar.
Karthik, who is originally from India, says his idea was ‘Skype for doctors’, and it’s something he’s still pressing ahead with even without the tycoon’s investment.
He said: “My business idea was basically a version of Skype for doctors.
“Everyone will require medical advice at some point in their life and the world is changing so much now that there are many people here who speak different languages.
“My idea was that there will be a website or app so that if you’re say, Hungarian, and want to speak to a Hungarian in your mother tongue, you can do so very easily.
“I still plan on starting this with one language and one country and then go from there.
“It’s not live yet but the website will be elifeguru.com.”
Karthik settled in Kettering at the age of 23 with his then-fiancee, after travelling around the world.
He soon got into business and has offered advice to any budding young entrepreneurs out there looking to make their mark.
He said: “If you want to go on The Apprentice do so, but treat it as a fun adventure.
“Do not treat what you see on TV as how businesses are run, because on TV if you fail you are fired.
“But in real life nine out of 10 ideas fail and my motto is to fail fast.
“When you get to the 11th idea it could be the money maker.”