TCU grad survives ‘The Apprentice’

TCU grad survives ‘The Apprentice’

They always tell you an MBA from the School of Business will take you far, and for Amelia Henry that has proven true.

Amelia, who goes by Amy, has taken her MBA straight to Trump Tower competing with 16 other finalists for a one-year contract as the president of a Donald Trump company in NBC’s new reality show, “The Apprentice.”

“I have never auditioned for a show before and never really been that interested in them because I don’t watch television,” Henry said in an e-mail interview. “But I really feel like it was fate.”

Henry, 30, graduated from TCU in 1995 and now works at BetweenMarkets Inc., a start-up technology company in Austin.

Originally from Arlington, Henry said landing a spot on the show was a fluke.

“I was headed to Fort Worth to visit my brother who just moved back to town and heard about the audition from a friend,” she said. “I figured life is short and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so why not?”

Henry spent part of the audition day sitting in a bar and was then called in with 10 other applicants to answer one question from the producer — What do you do when you have an irrational boss?

Henry said the other applicants started talking about doing whatever it took and doing anything to make their boss happy, but she was quick to disagree.

“I finally had enough and said ‘Are you kidding me?’ If nothing else, I think I at least earn respect from my boss by challenging him when I don’t agree with him,” she said.

Henry’s answer, which she said probably hinted at a tendency for conflict, impressed the producer. She was flown to Los Angeles within a few days and two months later was living in Trump Tower in New York City.

Once in Trump Tower, the contestants split off into teams of men versus women. The women named themselves Protégé Corp. and the men named themselves Versacorp. Each week “The Donald,” as Trump is called, assigned the teams a new business venture. The team that is deemed the winner of the event is safe from “firing” for the week, while the losing team has to face “The Donald” in the boardroom. Once inside the boardroom, one member is “fired” and sent home.

Filming lasted 13 weeks and Henry is now back at her job in Austin until the show is over. She is forbidden by a confidentialty agreement to do any direct interviews until she is fired, but was able to submit to this interview with an NBC oversight.

Henry said that so far she does not have any special plans, but hopes her time on the show will open new doors.

“I think that this should lead to some interesting new opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said. “Think about it, when does one have the chance to have a 13-week job interview on national television in front of 20 million viewers?”

Henry also said that what she learned at TCU helped her during the show.

“The MBA program at TCU is focused on building communication skills and team skills in preparation for the real business world,” she said. “But, one thing I didn’t use much of is Power Point.”