Anand, 31 (Tampa, Florida), worked for a very lucrative private firm, managing several large multi-million-dollar real estate investments. This successful Emory University graduate, whose past career accomplishments also include being the youngest person to be promoted to a senior role at a Fortune 500 company, thought he was indispensable to his firm because of the high level of expertise he had developed over the years. His eventual layoff came to him as a huge shock, yet was very motivating. In the face of adversity, Anand followed his dream and moved to New York City, where today he is a struggling entrepreneur trying to launch an innovative, new vitamin-infused wine company, while still also looking to get involved in media and the entertainment business. He's finding it rather difficult amidst today's economic environment, and hasn't taken a salary in over a year. An avid sports fan, Anand currently resides in New York City.
Q) Why did you want to be on the show, and why did you think you'd make a good competitor?
A) This show is all about being the best you can be. Only a fraction of people have what it takes to be Mr. Trump's apprentice. I am extremely competitive, I believe in myself, and I've always been able to tackle any challenge that has come my way. This is no different.
Q) What was your reaction when you found out you'd been picked to be on the show? How did your friends and family react?
A) Honestly, I was completely in shock. When the executive producers informed me that I was selected to be on the show, I just sat there looking at them with a blank stare because I had no clue what to say! From the moment I waited in line at Trump Tower during the casting call, up until the moment I was selected, I was just happy to be involved in the process. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be competing to be Mr. Trump's apprentice! It felt very good.
At first, I really had no idea what I would tell my friends and family. I thought they would never believe me because it just sounds so outrageous. Finally when I revealed to everyone my good news, they were so supportive and extremely excited.
Q) With cameras rolling, how does it feel to know you're under America's microscope? What surprised you about the experience?
A) I have never been the type of guy who holds back what he's thinking or wants to say. I usually just put my opinions out there and do. I think when the show first started, I was a little uneasy with a camera in my face at all times and my every word being recorded on a microphone, so I tended to keep a lot of my feelings internal. But as the competition went on, I felt more and more comfortable and was able to phase out those elements and be myself, while focusing on accomplishing the job.
I really have a profound respect for the TV business now. The number of people and man-hours it takes to put an A+ show like The Apprentice together is amazing. There are a lot of people behind the scenes who make this show a hit and they all deserve to be commended for their hard work.
Q) What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
A) By no means is this competition easy. Anything "Trump" and "easy" doesn't even belong in the same sentence. This competition is very grueling and tiresome and is not for the faint of heart. It really tests your mental strength and stamina. It was a heck of an experience and I'm very glad I was able to be part of it. This competition taught me a lot about myself that I never knew and revealed a lot of talents and strengths I never really had a chance to utilize in the past.
Q) Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from either the original Apprentice, or from Celebrity Apprentice?
A) The past winner I can most relate to is probably Piers Morgan. Similarly to Piers, I speak my mind and I have no problems confronting someone if I think they're approach to a task is wrong. Also, I think there was a level of diplomacy that Piers attacked each task with that ultimately led to his hiring. I tried to model my approach very similarly.
Q) Beyond The Apprentice, what's your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A) I consider myself to be a man of many hats with a lot of business talents. After this experience, I have a very strong interest in media and entertainment, and would jump at an opportunity to get involved in those industries. But my first love will always be sports. I think being the general manager of a sports franchise would be the equivalent of getting a winning lottery ticket!