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Apprentice star makes a triumphant return to Royal Holloway

Posted on 05/11/2009

Debra Barr (centre), pictured with Maire Davies (left) and Marta Baker, Events Manager (right)

Debra Barr – star of BBC 1’s ‘The Apprentice’ – returned to Royal Holloway, University of London on 3 November to talk about resilience and risk-taking in business to a packed audience in the College’s Windsor Building Auditorium. Watch Debra′s presentation.

Debra, who graduated with a BA in English Literature in 2006, raved about her experience as a student at Royal Holloway: “It’s a huge honour to be back here, and I can say without a show of a doubt that Royal Holloway was one of the best experiences of my life, and I miss it terribly. When you’re here, you’re part of a community and you feel valued.”

She added, “It feels very natural to be back – like I’ve never left. In fact, I come back every summer to show my friends and family the beautiful campus. I loved my time at the College and have very fond memories, particularly because I met my best friend here. I think that’s what Royal Holloway provides you with: life-long friends.”

Since graduating, Debra has made a name for herself as a tenacious and confrontational business woman, making it as far as the final three contestants on ‘The Apprentice’.

Her presentation, entitled ′Determination: in Life, at University and in ‘The Apprentice’ & Business Situations′, tackled the issues surrounding resilience; the transition from university to the world of work; spotting opportunities and taking risks; and being rejected and bouncing back. The presentation, which is part of the series ‘An Audience With…’, was followed by a Q&A session chaired by Maire Davies, Director of Special Projects at the College.

Debra’s first job after graduating from Royal Holloway was selling residential property for Foxtons estate agents. Before starting ‘The Apprentice’, she also worked as a Senior Sales Consultant in digital media, and has now returned to the retail sector to work as Commercial Manager at E-trader Group Ltd – where she helps retailers and manufacturers to dispose of excess stock to the trade. Debra is also involved with The Children’s Trust and the Surrey Association for Visual Impairment (SAVS).


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