Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an Interplanetary Journalist and I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working to improve education. We all have the ability to make a big splash on education and today I’m talking to one of them! Come with me to New Zealand to meet Jamie Beaton, co-founder, and CEO of Crimson Education.
Spiffy: Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me. So, can you tell me what educational challenges are you addressing?
Jamie: Thanks so much for making the trip, Spiffy! Crimson’s mission is to break down the geographic barriers associated with expert college admissions support. Our services are all online, and we connect our students with top Ivy League, Oxbridge, and other top university graduates, who provide comprehensive one-on-one support in all areas of the US/UK application process. It doesn’t matter where a student is—it’s more about where they deserve to be.
Spiffy: There’s a big difference between those! What motivated you to hone in on this aspect of education?
Jamie: I founded Crimson at the age of 18 after I’d applied to the world’s top 25 universities and got accepted into all of them. Initially, it was about helping friends and trying to prove to others that they don’t have to follow the pre-prescribed domestic university path. So beyond a desire to equalize the global playing field when it comes to quality education access, I’m motivated by a desire to provide options to students. No one should be denied access to a world-class education if they have the motivation to go for it.
Spiffy: I totally agree! Can you tell me how Crimson Education is working to make the world a more equitable place?
Jamie: Well Spiffy, with the running of the Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship, a social equity initiative, we aim to level the global playing field for underrepresented indigenous New Zealanders. By paving pathways to top universities, we hope talented Maori students will gain the tools and confidence to develop into visionary and impactful leaders of tomorrow. We’re also proud to offer scholarship programs for students around the world, supporting them with the personalized mentoring and tutoring they deserve.
Spiffy: Do you have any recent milestones that you can tell me about?
Jamie: Last year we doubled down on this ‘breaking geographic barriers' philosophy by launching our online high school, Crimson Global Academy—employing top teachers from around the world in the A-Levels and advanced placement curricula. We have students from more than 20 countries, learning together in virtual classrooms and receiving incredible results (scoring 92% on average, a third of them scoring 100% in their first A-Levels exams). That was a real milestone for us —and me personally—to see these kids achieving together.
Jamie Beaton, Crimson students, and Mark Phillips, the wonderful principal of the online high school, Crimson Global Academy. (Image courtesy of Jamie Beaton)
Spiffy: I’m always curious how entrepreneurs handle failure. What about you Jamie? When have you experienced failure and what did you learn?
Jamie: Well Spiffy, I think the start-up universe lends itself to lots of learnings through failure. One that comes to mind was an executive hire I made in the early days. I put a lot of trust in this executive only to find our visions for the company didn’t align. One of our company values is ‘student outcome obsessed’ so what I learned from that experience was that I needed to hire executives slowly and deliberately and make sure we have a similar vision as to what we want to achieve.
Spiffy: What is something unexpected you’ve learned from someone recently?
Jamie: I recently learned about how Brazilian entrepreneurs managed their ventures through tumultuous currency fluctuations, inflation risks, and macro-shocks during the 1990s. This was fascinating in comparison to the more stable operating environments in countries like the USA!
Spiffy: That’s interesting! Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Jamie: Education can create a snow-ball of career momentum that unlocks doors you never dreamed possible. Don't shy away from the fact that education is high stakes. Embrace it and throw your all at your learning journey. The idiom that education changes lives is true—so if, as an educator, you have a chance to be a part of that process, enjoy it, and be grateful for every moment.
Spiffy: Those are inspiring words to send us off with. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Jamie, it’s been an honor!
Jamie Beaton is the co-founder and CEO of Crimson Education. At the age of 17, Jamie applied to the world’s top 25 universities and was accepted into all of them. In 2016, he graduated from Harvard University, two years ahead of schedule, and was accepted into Stanford’s Graduate School of Business at the age of 20. In 2019 he graduated from Stanford University, having simultaneously begun his Ph.D. as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. He undertook all of the above while growing Crimson and launching Crimson Global Academy.
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Written by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog