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

The first University of Miami player to wear the coveted turnover chain will no longer play football ...

In 2016, the Miami Hurricanes had tight end David Njoku, who went in the first round of the 2017 NFL ...

Four days had passed since his University of Miami basketball team squandered a 13-point second half ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ search for offensive line help is set to continue on the weekend of Jan. 26, w ...

It looks like Chad Thomas will have another opportunity to show NFL scouts that he is ready to play ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skill-building ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-1) returns to action on Sunday, as it travels to N ...

Highlighted by a thrilling, three-set, top-five win by sophomore Estela Perez-Somarriba, the Miami w ...

The Canes won four events against FGCU on Saturday while also recording a total of 11 top-three fini ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-1) opened the spring portion of its 2017-18 schedu ...

The Miami women's basketball resumes play Sunday at 1 p.m., at Boston College with its northern ...

TMH Twitter Feed
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.