Randal Pinkett

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Randal Pinkett
Born 1971 (age 48–49)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Keble College, Oxford
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Spouse(s) Zahara
Children Amira Leslie
Website Official website

Randal D. Pinkett (born 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a business consultant who in 2005 was the winner of season four of the reality television show, The Apprentice. Pinkett was the first African American to win the US version of The Apprentice.

With an educational background in engineering and business, Pinkett is both a Rhodes Scholar and a Walter Byers Scholar, holding five academic degrees. Before entering the reality show, Pinkett had already established a career in business, and had become co-founder of business consulting firm BCT Partners in 2001. As winner of the fourth season in December 2005, Pinkett undertook a yearlong apprenticeship with Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

After The Apprentice, Pinkett has continued as chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, while also acting as a public speaker and appearing on later editions of the show, and on CEO Exchange, and also entering politics.


Pinkett is the author of three books including Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business (Kaplan Business 2007), No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash (Trump University 2008), and Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness (AMACOM Books 2010) with his college roommate and business partner, Professor Jeffrey Robinson of the Rutgers Business School.


Pinkett graduated from Hightstown High School in Hightstown, New Jersey.[1] Pinkett attended Rutgers University from 1989 to 1994, graduating summa cum laude[2] with a BS in electrical engineering.[3][4] Pinkett is the first African American from Rutgers to become a Rhodes Scholar.[2] Pinkett went on to attend the University of Oxford from 1994 to 1996 as a member of Keble College, earning an MS in computer science.[3][4] He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1996 to 1998, graduating with a second MS, this time in electrical engineering, and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.[3][4] He continued his education at MIT, earning a PhD in media arts and sciences from the MIT Media Laboratory in 2001.[3] Pinkett's PhD thesis was titled "Creating Community Connections: Sociocultural Constructionism and an Asset-Based Approach to Community Technology and Community Building."[3]

The Apprentice

In 2005, a 34-year-old Pinkett along with 17 other contestants entered the fourth series of The Apprentice. His wife downloaded the application form, planting the idea of auditioning for the show in his mind.[5] The Apprentice is a reality television series which premiered in January 2004, in which American entrepreneur Donald Trump uses a series of tasks and a process of elimination to ultimately select one candidate for a yearlong apprenticeship with one of his companies. The fourth season began filming in May 2005 and began airing September 2005, with the finale airing in two-parts on the Thursday night of December 8 and 15, 2005. Pinkett reached the finale with one other contestant, 23-year-old financial journalist Rebecca Jarvis. Pinkett was to organise a celebrity ball-game for Autism Speaks, while Jarvis' task was to stage a comedy night in aid of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Despite the game being rained out, Pinkett raised nearly $11,000.[6]

In the final judgement, Pinkett was criticised by Trump for not spotlighting the celebrities in attendance at his event, and by Trump's advisor Carolyn Kepcher for not having a backup plan when the weather turned. Despite this, Pinkett was chosen by Trump as the winner, describing Pinkett as an "amazing leader" and saying "Rarely have I seen a leader as good as you, and you lead through niceness".[6] Moments after the announcement, Trump asked Pinkett his opinion as to whether he should take the unprecedented step and also hire the "outstanding" Jarvis too. In his reply, Pinkett asserted that there could only be one winner of the contest, a view which Trump chose to agree with.[6] This stance attracted much comment after the show, with Pinkett later defending his rationale, but making it clear he had no objection to Jarvis being hired by the Trump organization at a later date.[7] The reactions had taken Pinkett by surprise, but he later stated he remained on good terms with Jarvis.[5]

Pinkett started his apprenticeship on February 6, 2006.[5] His task was to oversee the $110m renovation of the Taj Mahal, the Plaza and the Marina, three casino resorts operated by Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[5]


In July 2006, Pinkett served as a co-chairman of the transition team of newly elected Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker.[8]

On July 14, 2009 it was reported by a number of sources that Pinkett had emerged as the frontrunner to be New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's selection for lieutenant governor in the 2009 Gubernatorial election. Some reports indicated an announcement would be made on Thursday, July 16.[9][10][11] However, no announcement took place, and criticism appeared in the media and from some political leaders regarding Corzine's potential selection of a running mate with no experience in public office.[8] Later in the week, news reports indicated Pinkett's selection was less likely and that other front runners had emerged,[12] due at least in part to public criticism of the idea of a political newcomer as the Governor's running mate.[13] On July 24, Corzine selected State Senator Loretta Weinberg.[14] Currently, Pinkett is the chair of the State Democratic Committee's Yes We Can 2.0; its name based on Barack Obama's campaign slogan, it seeks to turn out newly registered voters from the 2008 presidential election for the gubernatorial election.[15]

Personal life

According to his website, he was also an academic All-American at Rutgers. Pinkett was named a member of the 1993 USA TODAY All-USA Academic Team. While at Rutgers, Pinkett was a member of the Cap and Skull organization. He served as President of MEET, the Rutgers Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, and was the captain of the Rutgers varsity men's track and field team, competing both as a high jumper and long jumper. He was the 1994 male Walter Byers Scholarship winner as the NCAA's top scholar athlete.[16] Pinkett is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[17]

In 2006, Pinkett was given the Paul Robeson Leadership Award by Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts.[18]

On August 8, 2007, Pinkett's wife, Zahara, gave birth to daughter Amira Leslie in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Pinkett family resides in Somerset, New Jersey.[19]


  1. Real People. NJ Next Stop. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dr. Randal Pinkett, Scholar, Author, Entrepreneur, Chairman and CEO, BCT Partners, Author of No-Money Down CEO and Campus CEO Minority Business Summit. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 RANDAL D. PINKETT, PhD, MBA Dr. Randal Pinkett's Website. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 ECE Alumnus of the Year. Rutgers University. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hildee Weiss (n.d.). "The Newest Apprentice: Dr. Randal Pinkett". The Black Collegian. Archived from the original on 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2009-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Trump chooses Randal as 4th 'Apprentice'". MSNBC. 2005-12-16. Archived from the original on 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2009-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Randal Pinkett, 'Apprentice' No More". National Public Radio. 2005-12-20. Archived from the original on 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2009-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Randal Pinkett politickernj.com
  9. Embattled in New Jersey POLITICO.com, July 14, 2009
  10. Report says Gov. Jon Corzine is close to picking Randal Pinkett for lieutenant governor run NJ.com, July 14, 2009
  11. Ryan Saylor
  12. Pinkett tanking, Way surging in what has become an Anybody-But-Loretta campaign; Will Corzine listen to Doblin? PolitickerNJ.com, July 17, 2009
  13. Pinkett expected to drop from LG competition tomorrow PolitickerNJ.com, July 21, 2009
  14. Corzine picks Sen. Loretta Weinberg as lieutenant governor running mate NJ.com, July 24, 2009
  15. "Corzine '09 Campaign, Victory 2009, and "Yes We Can 2.0" Announce Campaign Chairs" (Press release). Corzine '09 Campaign. August 24, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Previous Walter Byers Scholars". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved January 25, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Dr. Randal Pinkett, Affiliations". Retrieved April 30, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Yoder, Glenn (April 16, 2006). "Top apprentice is Robeson winner". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 28, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Apprentice winner Dr. Randal Pinkett and wife welcome a daughter celebrity-babies.com, September 14, 2007

External links

Preceded by
Kendra Todd
The Apprentice Winners
Season 4
Succeeded by
Sean Yazbeck