So, Sir Alan Sugar publicly admitted last week that his firing of Miriam was the only mistake he has made.
But his justification - that she was too cool for his organisation - raises some interesting questions for employers. The panel of interviewers quickly homed in on this fundamental question: who was the most likely to fit the Amstrad culture?
This is not as straightforward as it might seem. Margaret and Nick, and indeed the new henchmen we met, Claude and Bordan, are hardly clones of Sir Alan himself. Any successful corporate enterprise with professional management will have a diverse range of personalities. Culture is much more to do with values than style.
As his three wise men observed, however, Sir Alan is looking for an apprentice whom he intends to mentor personally. Because relationship is so important to effective coaching, the fit has to be right in terms of chemistry and trust.
Sir Alan has always given Paul the benefit of the doubt because he could see something of his own entrepreneurial spirit in him - but after the interviews he could also see for the first time that he was a potential liability.
An apprentice, by definition, has to have a deep desire to learn from those who are more experienced. Both James and Paul betrayed their belief that they were there to give more than to take. If you give yourself 9.5 out of ten, there's hardly room for growth.
If you believe that you can sell anything, what more is there to learn? As Sir Alan said in the post-final wrap-up, this wasn't acting for the cameras. They and Saira suffer from self-deception: they actually believe their own hype, which is very dangerous for an organisation which needs to trust its management to be open and accountable.
In fact, trust was the key issue for Sir Alan. Could he really have given major responsibility to someone like Saira who is prepared to be economical with the truth on her CV and is unashamed about doing so? This wouldn't fit with Sir Alan's declared value of integrity in business relationships.
The bottom line in recruiting and developing key people is to understand that they will only fit into your organisation and flourish if they have the appropriate strengths for the role. Saira sees loudness, aggression and confrontation as strengths. While they may be helpful in selling tickets on the street, she has learned the valuable lesson that these can be a turn-off in the business world - but they could be converted into the real strengths of self assurance, effective communication and authority.
Which brings us to Tim, the deservedly victorious Apprentice. He stood out as being different from the other three at the interview stage. He was humble and realistic in his self-assessment and honest about his lack of experience. Ben, the recruitment expert, astutely analysed his strengths as a genuine willingness to learn and empathetic people skills - essential for effective leadership. But, most of all, he is the right choice because an East End boy with strong family values and a hunger to succeed will work better with an apprentice who has the same profile.
Tim's superior judge of character resulted in the dream team for his riverboat event, rather than the selfdestructing rivals picked by Saira. Without an ego to satisfy, he was able to mobilise the formidable strengths of Miriam, Ben and Sebastian to pull off a jaw-dropping fashion show in three days. And, for the first time in the series, Sir Alan thankfully switched the emphasis from the unreality of making money fast to the reality of building the foundations of a sustainable business with a compelling proposition.
Seeing the apprentices in a live TV studio also rehabilitated them to the real world. Suddenly, they were genuine, vulnerable and rather likeable people again, although Paul did his best to stay in character.