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"The Apprentice" walked in an entrepreneur . . . and walked away a winner.

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After 13 riveting weeks, Donald Trump made his final decision and chose entrepreneur Bill Rancic as "The Apprentice." Rancic, 33, who nine years ago started CigarsAroundtheWorld.com, an online purveyor of premium cigars (which he sold in 2003), has also run real estate development company Rancic Properties for the past three years. Now he will oversee construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. I caught up with Rancic only days after the announcement to learn more about his thrilling victory.

How do you think your entrepreneurial background gave you an edge over the competition?

Bill Rancic: My instincts were honed in business. You hone your instincts and your ability to adjust your style with each task. If you [watched] the show, my management style changed with each task we had.

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