Avi Sharma poses in a suit against a black background
Avi Sharma was the youngest candidate on his season of The Apprentice, which he believes was an advantage. (Credit: Yusuf Auckbar)

After nine weeks on The Apprentice under the watchful eye and sharp tongue of Lord Sugar, Avi Sharma was used to feeling under estimated.

“I was constantly going through a state of imposter syndrome on that show because, whenever I lost, I was told that it was my fault, but whenever I won I was told that I was lucky. I was always thinking to myself ‘am I really meant to be here?'”

But it wasn’t until week eight when Sharma won as project manager for the second time that he asserted himself as a valuable candidate on the BBC1 business reality TV show.

He recalls, “Right at the end of the boardroom, Lord Sugar said to me, ‘Avi, you’re a very lucky boy’. And I was sick of it, so I spoke up and I said ‘Lord Sugar the harder you work, the luckier you get’ and he was stumped.”

Sharma has applied this mantra in his life so far. The 25-year-old graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in economics and a taste for partying before he decided to follow a career in banking where he accepted a job at Barclays in London’s Canary Wharf.

‘Before I even applied for The Apprentice, I visualised myself having jokes with Lord Sugar’

“When you study economics, everyone around you is applying for banks. So I was kind of a sheep in that I didn’t think for myself.”

But what made him abandon a future of wealth and stability for a reality TV show?

“From the day I started at the bank, I was always thinking of how I can get out because the money was good, but I was not really interested in the work. I wasn’t really having an impact on people. Before I even applied for The Apprentice, I visualised myself having jokes with Lord Sugar.”

Sharma, who hails from London, went on the show with an open mind and the attitude that he wouldn’t take himself too seriously. He says, “They can kind of make you look however they want to. And I knew very early on that the character that they portrayed me to be was the clown of this series. So I had to play to that otherwise I probably would’ve got fired.”

He continues: “I know that what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to make an entertainment TV show. And I think sometimes it goes in your favour if you can be the one people laugh at. Do you really want to see sharp, hard-faced businessmen in suits battling it out or is it more of an entertaining, family-friendly show?”

Since the show went out in 2022 Sharma has made a big impression on Lord Sugar and viewers alike. He has 40,000 TikTok followers and even gained a notable “Keep in touch” from Lord Sugar after he was fired in week nine of the series.

“I liked Lord Sugar, I think he’s such a unique person and his way of communicating is unlike anyone I’ve ever met before. He’s so direct and has got a great sense of wit and charm about him.”

Adjusting back to the real world after the hyped-up madness of The Apprentice has had its challenges.

“You go from having no phone, you’re not allowed a watch on your wrist and you’re not even allowed to go to the toilet without someone following you.”

Sharma credits his social media platforms for growing his brand. In particular, his boardroom rapping series, where he would create a rap summarising the antics of each episode, which racked up hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok.

“I wanted to be better and unique, and I thought, no one’s ever done this before. I think it’s fun. It allows me to lean into my creativity so let me see how how far I can take it.”

‘I used to hang around the fun people and they werE kicked out of school. It could have been me’

He hopes for future success for his media brand Avi Tv and aims to inspire others through his motivational speeches. His advice for young aspiring businesspeople is to be aware of who you surround yourself with.

“They say you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself by. I used to hang around the fun people and they ended up getting kicked out of school. That could have very nearly been me. I made a choice when I was 16 to stop hanging around those guys, and I started to turn my life around.”

Overall, despite his challenges, Sharma believes his experience on the show has changed his life for the better.

He reflects, “I always used to tell myself that I’m an entrepreneur, even when I was deep in the bank working on Excel spreadsheets. But now the show has meant that I can live my dreams every single day, and I get to inspire people. I step outside my house and get asked for selfies and my autograph. It’s a bit weird, but I’m just so grateful.

“People are questioning what’s my next move. They’re interested, they’re on the edge of their seat. So now, I’ve just got to give it to them.”