News

Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant discusses business, book

At 35-years-old, Randal Pinkett has earned five degrees, co-founded a multi-million dollar consulting firm and become the first and only African-American to win Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” on NBC.

Pinkett visited the University of Miami Friday to speak about his success at the School of Communication courtyard as part of a tour for his book “Campus CEO.”

“Out of curiosity, how many people saw my season of ‘The Apprentice’?” Pinkett asked the audience, referring to the fourth season of the television show that has made him a reality television star.

Pinkett’s reward for winning the show, a contest between successful entrepreneurs and professionals to determine the strongest business leader, was a job with The Trump Organization and a six-figure salary. He now does consulting for The Trump Organization a few hours a week on a variety of special projects.

Pinkett was quick to point out that his career as a businessman began long before becoming a Trump insider. Though he sold lemonade as a child, Pinkett said his aspirations as an entrepreneur grew while he studied engineering at Rutgers University.

“It was my sophomore year when a young man on campus at Rutgers opened up his own business selling T-shirts,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I’ve always been doing something entrepreneurial, if Wayne can do it, why can’t I do it?'”

That summer Pinkett started a compact disc store with two of his roommates in their college dormitory.

“It was my first foray into being a full-fledged business owner,” he said. “I was like, ‘This is not that hard, it’s not as difficult as I thought it was going to be,’ and I was actually able to offset the cost of my education. That set me on a path from that point forward where I’ve never worked for anybody else, except for Donald Trump, in my entire life.”

After graduating with a 3.9 grade point average, Pinkett attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and later earned three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He ran three companies while in graduate school, noting that his share of failures includes all but one of those companies. That business, an information technology consulting company, is now a multi-million dollar firm where he serves as chairman and CEO.

Pinkett engaged in conversations with the audience during his speech, at one point asking attendees to talk about their businesses.

“There is a growing list of companies that are quite successful that were started when their founders were in school,” he said, citing Microsoft, Dell Computers, Google, Yahoo, Pizza Hut, Subway, Federal Express, Kinko’s, Facebook, Napster and YouTube.

Pinkett said that he wrote “Campus CEO,” copies of which the UM Bookstore sold during the speech, to give students the tools they need to get their business ideas off the ground and realize their potential as entrepreneurs:

“The message that I’m looking to bring through ‘Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion Dollar Business,’ is that you don’t have to wait until you graduate or until you’ve got a job or you’re working full time if you want to start a business.”

April 17, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RJ McIntosh grew up loving the University of Miami. So did Mark Walton. After all, both are from Sou ...

They have made their lists and checked them (at least) twice. And now, the final NFL draft boards fr ...

Remember Trent Harris, the Miami Hurricanes' sack leader everyone respected and raved about, th ...

The Hurricanes wrapped up spring with a big, as in 6-5 and 290 pounds, surprise on Saturday. Four-st ...

Spring ended Saturday for the Miami Hurricanes, with hundreds of UM football alumni and family membe ...

University of Miami graduates will hear from a group of extraordinary leaders during this year’s com ...

Cross-curricular performances by Frost School of Music students and faculty increase community aware ...

High-tech space helmet technology, a lifelike infant simulator and 3D printing are featured at the U ...

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and NOAA have worked together for more than ...

The Energy and Conservation Organization was recognized with the 2018 Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foot ...

Hurricanes will compete in Austin Regional May 7-9. ...

The Hurricanes fell behind in the middle innings and could not recover Wednesday, dropping a midweek ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team will seek its second postseason win in as many years ...

The University of Miami baseball team looks to close out a five-game homestand on a high note Wed., ...

The Miami women's tennis team moved up two places to No. 15 in this week's Oracle/ITA rank ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.