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With Ningku Lachungpa: The Apprentice Asia Contestant from Sikkim

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The 29-year-old Ningku Lachungpa from Gangtok, Sikkim is the only female among the two contestants from India who joins the first episode of  The Apprentice Asia, which debuts tonight in India at 9:00 PM on AXN channel.

The Asian version of the popular American reality show sees 12 business entrepreneurs competing against one another to avoid being “fired” by AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, on his quest to find the right executive to work for him. Touted as the Asian Donald Trump, he will have the power to hire and fire contestants.

Among the 30,000 applicants from Asia, 100 were called for interviews, before they were cut down to 30, and then to a final 12.

The finalists were then put up in an apartment in Kuala Lumpur for five weeks, where they faced weekly tasks, during which they remained out of contact with everyone, according to The Straits Times Communities.

Here’s our little chit-chat with the young business entrepreneur, who is currently the Director of Yama Enterprises (P) Ltd based in Gangtok, Sikkim. Her company is into Infrastructure development and hospitality.

Hello Ningku, Congratulations on winning a seat at The Apprentice Asia show. Everyone here so excited too. Please share something about yourself?

I was an inherently curious child always questioning and trying to understand everything around me. My mum tells me that as a little child, I used to ask questions that would stump everyone like why is the sky blue, and why does water extinguish fire?  I was a bit etcetera (smiles).

I went to a boarding school in Pune, at a young age and I believe my confidence and my competitive spirit was inculcated right then. After high school and graduation, I went to England to pursue my master’s after which I interned and then continued working in management consulting with Accenture UK for a few years before deciding to return home.

When do you celebrate your birthday and where are you based currently?

Mine falls on 24th February and I am based in Gangtok, Sikkim currently.

The Apprentice Asia sees 12 business entrepreneurs competing against one another to avoid being “fired” by AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes (centre) and his advisers. The contestants have no access to the outside world except for one phone call a week, to preserve the show’s integrity. -- PHOTO: AXN

Also tell us about your experience studying and working in UK ? And how you landed up starting your own entrepreneurship? 

At the University of Bath, I completed the M.Sc. in Advanced Management Practice programme. The programme itself was in its first year and as such all applicants had to go through an interview prior to acceptance. Back then I was one of only 18 people, who were selected to take part in this master’s programme

As part of my degree I had to complete a 6 month internship for which I was hired by Accenture UK. My client was Vodafone and I started as a data entry operator for one of the biggest projects that the telecom giant had. I worked really hard there, I read everything I could, I asked questions and eventually in 2 years, I had moved from data entry operator to technical project manager on the same project.

The economic recession hit around the same time and we lost a few of our colleagues, it meant that I had to take on more responsibilities and so I decided to do something completely different and started managing the finances of the project as well. This was another steep learning curve for me but yet again I learnt on the job and on year end I had overspent by 10 pounds on a total budget of 36.5 million pounds.

I was doing well, I knew the project on the back of my hand and so I increased my scope to manage business as usual roll-out, special events coverage and the 2G side of things as well. By then, my learning curve had stagnated, there wasn’t much I was learning and then my father asked me if i wanted to come home.

This was another milestone for me, my father took me under his wings and taught me everything I know about construction. The project I am doing right now which is in the area of property development, I have been involved right from its design to landscaping to construction and now marketing.I manage and establish the KPI’s (key performance indicators), project risks, issues and dependencies on the project.

Managing investors for various infrastructure development projects including a housing project at Ray Khola, Gangtok , a 3 star resort cum water garden project as well as a 5 star deluxe hotel with Casino in Gangtok.

How and what made you join The Apprentice Asia?

The Apprentice is the opportunity of a lifetime to work with and learn from some of the best minds in Asia, Mr. Tony Fernandes being the icing on the cake. I believe I am at my prime right now and poised for great things and there was no better platform to explore my abilities and test my skill sets than the apprentice program. I am hungry for success and I believe this program will take me to the next level.

The Apprentice Asia contestants

Given the cut-throat competition, what do you think will be your USP on the show?

I have always been a very competitive person. I believe my USP will be the fact that I am myself, no pretences. Besides that, I am a natural leader, I am extremely capable, talented and supremely driven.

And lastly, What’s in your future plan ahead?

Lets keep that a secret until end of broadcast, shall we? 🙂

Fair enough, Thank you for talking to Sevendiary.com and wishing you all the best success with the show.

The show will be aired on AXN (India) on the 24th of May, please see show schedule below:

To help Ningku Lachungpa win The Apprentice Show, Please head over here and request everyone to ‘like’ her profile too. And don’t forget to tweet using hashtag #aaningku

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