Your list of achievements when Ben spoke to you last year was already vast, but tell us what’s been happening with you and Crimson Consulting since then?
Since the last year, I’ve been very busy with Harvard, Crimson and equity investing at Tiger Management for Julian Robertson. At Crimson, I’ve just closed our fourth acquisition of a Dunedin based company called Unitutor. Unitutor is a University tutoring platform that offers group workshops and one on one tutorials to Law, Commerce and PreMed students at Otago University. Unitutor joins Medview, Motivational Corner and Play Atlantic on our books of acquisitions for 2015. We have also just closed our second funding round, in which we raised $5 Million USD at a $50 Million USD valuations. University has been going well! Crimson was also the winner of a rising star award in the Deloitte Fast 50 and we were national finalists in the Entrepreneurship Challenge.
My academics are exhilarating and my extra curriculars have provided fantastic opportunities off campus. On campus, I am president of Black Diamond Capital, the largest student run hedge fund at Harvard. I’m completing my Masters in Applied Mathematics and Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Economics in 3 years when typically this takes 5 so I am staying true to my focus on academics. This semester I have a variety of interesting classes including PhD Statistics and PhD Market Design classes, a computer science class, a PhD engineering science class on innovation, an independent study on the use of contractors in businesses and my senior thesis. My thesis advisor is Professor Lawrence Summers who is utterly amazing and has been my academic role model for more than 5 years now since I discovered a love for economics. Outside of school, I recently competed in the annual Point 72 Stock Pitch Competition with two of my buddies, where we are thrilled to have placed first and picked up a 10k first prize.
The most exciting achievement for me quite frankly has been our student’s results. In the last 12 months, our clients have gained admission into every single Ivy League school, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford. With our acquisition of Play Atlantic, New Zealand’s leading sports placement agency for US colleges, and our teams of former admissions officers from every single Ivy League school we are in an unparalleled position to provide Kiwis of all passions to apply and dominate applications across New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. 50% of students at Auckland Medical School used our test preparation business MedView and I continue to be dazzled by the strength of leadership of the team of medical doctors and students who run this operation. The top undergraduate scholarship in New Zealand to America was the Robertson scholarship and 4 out of 6 short listed candidates were Crimson students as well as the eventual winner. Finally, we have an unprecedented number of head boys, head girls and Duxs that have received these awards after going through our academic and leadership programs. I would warmly encourage any teachers with students who aspire to enhance their academics, need career counseling or university guidance to come our way!
How critical do you believe enterprising education to be, and how important has it been to you personally?
Enterprise education provides a unique experience for high school students to have the opportunity to be dynamic thinkers, to step outside of the box and to develop skills that cannot be acquired sitting behind a classroom desk. The skills that I learnt during my enterprise education have formed the foundation of my love for innovation and desire to break barriers and establish a new generation of thought leadership around personalized education. When we connect a student with global academic leaders from the world’s top universities seamlessly through online technology alongside local mentors and tutors and individuals in the careers the students aspire to whether that be at Google, Goldman Sachs, medicine or otherwise, we fundamentally reshape the trajectory of achievement of these students. We have seen this again and again over the last 2 years and I am incredibly proud of the level of ambition and motivation we instill within our students. I aspire to ensure every Crimson student feels the burning passion for entrepreneurship, self-improvement and academic aspiration that myself and many of my core team do.
How would you describe your experience with the YES program?
YES stands out as one of the most meaningful high school experiences to me because it gave me the chance to apply the theoretical business knowledge I learnt from reading and from class to practical situations and also gave me the opportunity and freedom to developing a better understanding of myself as a business man. I enjoyed working closely in a team and believe my ability to work closely with others was enhanced significantly from this experience. I think that one thing that could substantially improve the ability for young Kiwis to actually innovate meaningfully in competitions like YES is computer science. There are not enough students taking computer science and we guide large numbers of Kiwis and Australians with mathematical strength into these programs to facilitate their intellectual development and also entrepreneurship.
You spoke about the lessons you learnt from YES in terms of scaling Crimson Consulting, but can you think of any other business or general life lessons you learnt from your time in the YES program?
No matter what you call an institution, the world is fundamentally groups of people of varying sizes – individuals, groups, families, businesses. Learning to adapt to a team environment, motivate others and push yourself, show respect but also push high standards are all critically important people skills. YES played a formative role in establishing many of these.