She may not have landed the top prize in The Apprentice, but Ruth Badger could still find herself working for Sir Alan Sugar.
Ruth, aged 28, from Wolverhampton, lost to former checkout girl Michelle Dewberry in the final of the programme last night and missed a £100,000-a-year job with the Amstrad tycoon.
But Sir Alan said he would be meeting with Ruth soon to discuss possible job opportunities.
Michelle, aged 26, from Hull, left school with only two GCSEs and a year later her older sister Fiona, aged 19, fell to her death from an eighth-floor window.
The tragedy spurred Michelle on to success and by 24 she was running her own telecoms business.
She was stunned to learn Sir Alan had chosen her to be his apprentice.
"For someone like Sir Alan to recognise my ability is unbelievable," she said. "It wasn't until right at the very end when he said I'd won that I believed it."
Ruth, a sales manager, could not hide her disappointment at losing the contest.
"I've never in my career or my life fought for something so much. There's nobody in this country who inspires me more than Sir Alan. Even though I've come second I absolutely worship the man," she said.
Sir Alan said he had agonised over which woman to choose.
"I was in a terrible dilemma this year," he said. "It was very, very tough. Last year was much easier, there was no contest.
"Those who are close to me know I was struggling this last couple of days.
"They are both very employable people, both have tremendous skills. And I think it's down to the job that I have in mind that pipped it for Michelle.
"I found her very focused, very determined, very organised, and this particular job I have in mind requires all of those skills."
He told Ruth: "I'm not worried about you, I know you're going to go on and be a success. You're already a success, you've done it before - as you've told me 20 times already."
The final episode saw Michelle and Ruth compete to stage a show-stopping party on London's Tower Bridge.
Michelle chose a Bond theme but Ruth failed to impress Sir Alan by putting on a murder mystery evening.
Sir Alan's final decision, however, was not based on the task alone. Both candidates have spent the past six months working at Amstrad's headquarters in Brentwood.
But if Michelle was hoping to land a glamorous job on winning the show, she may be disappointed. Sir Alan has tasked her to launch a new business called Xenon Green, disposing of firms' unwanted computer equipment.
Sir Alan explained: "It's a 'New World' kind of business. It's going to be a kind of greenfield business and Michelle is going to mastermind the thing. We're going to turn it into a very, very big business."
* Applications for the third series of The Apprentice are available at www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice