This 23-Year-Old Is The CEO Of A College Prep Empire
Education is now one of the biggest markets with highest liquidity. With the demand for better education the field of tutoring and mentoring becomes a big hope for parents and students in their persuit of education and sustainable future. Crimson Education is one organisation growing at a rapid rate without much signs of hinderance. The 23 year old CEO of Crimson Education, Jamie Beaton is here with in his Bangkok office with us to answer our curious questions.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in New Zealand. In New Zealand, a country of four million in the other corner of the world, you have to go global early otherwise you are not going have much of an impact on the world stage. It was a priority for me in high school to think where I can go for university and how can I put myself in an environment that can really challenge me. I applied to all these schools around the world. I got into Harvard, where I did my undergraduate in Integrated Applied Maths and Economics. Along that journey, it was a mind-blowing experience because I was around so many talents. That experience made me really want to give that change to more students around the world.
Following Harvard, I went to Stanford for an education degree, and now I am learning more about use of technology and learning. I’m doing a PhD on online education. I’ve really gone all in on the education theme; it’s really close to my heart.
So now tell us about Crimson Education?
At its core, we are a global mentoring organisation that supports students to reach their full potential by helping them connect to mentors they couldn't ordinarily interact with. These mentors typically help them with the college application process but more broadly they help them with personal growth and improving the academic mindset, improving their core soft skills—things like public speaking, communication and self -confidence. We also integrate the parents as well to create a more practical environment for their child.
I started Crimson initially to help New Zealand kids, to help my country. To strengthen its leadership skill and strengthening its global reach. But we were able to go global, and Thailand was actually one of our first global offices outside of the hub.
I think Thailand has a number of really interesting things. First of all, Thailand’s culture gives immense importance to education. For generations, education has been viewed as something of intrinsic value, not only does it help to propel your career, it also helps you become a citizen. Secondly, there’s been a recent shift in Thailand to look global for education. The third thing is amazing people.
Who are the mentors at Crimson?
There are more than 2,000 mentors at Crimson. These mentors come from top undergraduate schools like Harvard, Stanford and Oxford around the world. We also have fresh team of strategists who have been working for college counseling for a long time. We also have a technology platform for the students to use to connect with this global team. It’s really fun and exciting; it is what the youth of today want to see.
When can the students start?
Typically, students start around 13-14 years of age. Here in Thailand, half of our students are 15 or younger. Parents come to us, wanting good academic outcomes but also that personal growth and soft skill development. One of the things we see in Thailand is that when they first come to us they tend to be a little shy, but after that, say even 12 months into the programme, they stand a bit taller. They have more confidence and can articulate more clearly. The growth is not overnight. Some families come to us in a frenzy when their children are 17 with admission in a couple of months. We tend to want families to engage with us a little earlier than that.
What do you think has made Crimson so successful?
Hard work and luck too. The first thing is we get more students to top universities than any other organisation. We also have good support. The former president of Harvard, Larry Summers—he is now our lead advisor. We have many fantastic educators joining this movement because they see this as a way to make this world a smaller place, reducing friction between different countries and not letting where you were born dictate your academic future.
I’m not naive, however. I know that the students who comes to Crimson tend to be from more affluent backgrounds, but we are seeing more and more students with different backgrounds through our scholarship programme. We are hoping to develop our work here. I feel like we are doing well but we can always do better.
What is education to you?
I think that education is a lifelong process. It’s a mindset that you feel you have to constantly have to improve yourself, level up. To be a better version of yourself everyday. If you only view education as that formal classroom setting, you will become outdated right away.
How important is a diploma?
I think with education, accreditation, diplomas and certificates are very valuable. You cannot self-study everything. You need to have some structured program. Harvard or Middlebury are what they are today because they have very good curriculum, good training and good alumni that create a repeated process that help to make you a better version of yourself. Our focus is to find suitable universities for the students that will contribute to their long-term success.
What are your thoughts on young people like yourself in the education industry?
First of all, there aren't enough young people coming into education with understanding of technology and how students today experience the world. The kids of today are totally immersed in, say, from e-sports to Instagram. These dynamics are hard to understand for the educators of three generations ago.
Do you consider yourself individually as successful?
Not really. I’ve done relatively well for my age, but I feel like every year we reset and what you’ve done in the past is irrelevant. Look forward and look for new mentors that can make you better.
Crimson Education is located at the Alma Link Building on Phloen Chit Road in Bangkok. Learn more about Crimson Education at crimsoneducation.org, or call 02-255-7466.