Lee McQueen: What's in store for Stella now

It's so exciting when you get into the final, and you're waiting for people to come back - it's like picking a five-a-side footie team! I thought Chris had a really good team - Liz and Jamie were two of my favourites to win - but obviously it was Stella who came up with the goods.

Both Stella and Chris managed their teams really well and came up with good products. There was a bit of upheaval on Chris' team, making Prism red instead of clear. Also, a prism isn't the same as a pyramid, Chris! It is nerve-wracking when you're waiting for the finished product to come through, because you literally have no idea what it's going to look like, but both looked really good. Though obviously Stella's Urbon was criticised for looking like a bottle of balsamic vinegar!

But like they said last night, Jack Daniel's owns the bourbon market, so it was really innovative for Stella to put her own mark on the drink, come up with that name and think of marketing it to females. Lord Sugar might have been worried she was just  an organiser and a stickler for detail, but she showed she is creative. Her team helped, but Stella came up with the majority of ideas, from the name to the bottle idea. She also showed she's able to do things very last minute, very well.

To be fair, Chris did well too. His bottle design was really good - it would jump off retailers' shelves. And as you know from my blog last week, I thought he was going to win. I thought he was more mouldable. I felt for Chris, but he has a bright future.

Stella's winning formula

Stella fought well. She actually reminded me of myself in the boardroom, when I was in there with Claire Young. Stella told Lord Sugar the facts: that she'd won more than anyone else, she'd been consistently good, she'd project managed the boys brilliantly that time. It's really difficult to disagree with any of that.

Stella's background is quite similar to mine too: council estate upbringing, no qualifications, working really hard from there to achieve everything, working in a corporate company for several years. Lord Sugar liked her background, because it shows real determination. It goes to show he doesn't see qualifications as the be all and end all - it's about who can get on and do the job.

It was experience that swung it in the end though, I think. Stella has a good six or seven years on Chris. It's a £100,000 job at the end of the day, and Lord Sugar wants someone who's already around director level.

Who wins does also depend on what role Lord Sugar has in mind for the winner, though. We now know she'll be working for his IT company at Viglen, selling PCs to the public and education sectors, going in as an operations person. That role will really use her banking skills, and all the other skills she's shown this series: her organisation and people skills. It will be tough, but if anyone can do it Stella can. She's very focused, and she'll do really well.

What's in store for Stella now

If it's the same process as it was for me, Stella will now probably get a couple of weeks off now before she starts - but then it's down to business.

The first week or two when she starts will be really getting to grips with the business - not too dissimilar to other jobs - then really getting stuck in. Lord Sugar will look for results from her quite quickly. He won't want her resting on her laurels or doing loads of interviews with the press. She'll get all that done in her two weeks break.

Lord Sugar's PR company look after you as soon as you win, and they manage you away from it. But it is weird: I had paparazzi outside my house. When you finally win, everyone wants a piece of you. And you are proud to be able to say: "I grew up on a council estate, and now look where I am." But there's almost no time to be proud of that! You only get two weeks, then all the hard work starts.

Some people see The Apprentice as entertainment, but it's not a fake job. Lord Sugar doesn't just stick you in the broom-cupboard. You've got a lot of responsibility.

Obviously it is a bit different being a winner than if you'd gone through a normal interview process. Everyone was great when I started work, and they backed Lord Sugar's decision for me to win. We all got on fine. But it was quite tough with clients. I'd get appointments, but some clients would just want to meet me because I'd been on The Apprentice!

Some customers would try to test me too: they would negotiate harder or put me under pressure or try to act like Lord Sugar to see if I was good enough. That's quite difficult to get to grips with.

People on the street know Stella now - they will want to come and congratulate her. I really liked that, and I'm sure she will too - but it can get quite surreal. I remember when I went to a meeting with Lord Sugar the week after I won, to see Trinity Mirror. And everyone in Canary Wharf started coming up to me saying, 'That's what I'm talking about!', doing kind of funny impressions of me. But I'm there with my boss, you know, in Canary Wharf!

It's hard sometimes to keep a straight face, but it's a business meeting and you're going to see a customers. It's very strange, but the more Stella gets of it the more she'll come to terms with it. Though I sometimes felt maybe I was being too serious to try to compensate, when all that was going on.

I got a few crazy fans too. A few guys wrote to me telling me I was very attractive, to my home address - which was slightly worrying! Then you get a lot of people asking you for a job. You just have to be polite.

Some really good things have come out the series. Stella will be an inspiration, particularly for people who haven't had a great start in life - she's shown them that actually you can get on and do it. Joanna will be too - she's got up to speed with no qualifications. This series wouldn't have been half as entertaining without Stuart Baggs, but it got more serious as it went on.

At the end Lord Sugar is always left with some really good people. All the winners have gone on to launch their own companies, and I hope Stella can work for him for a few years then go on and achieve everything she wants to achieve. I'm sure she will. She's a real inspiration.

Lee now runs Raw Talent Academy, which encourages employers to look beyond qualification and helps business build internal sales academies. Watch our full video interview with Lee McQueen.

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