Some of the 25 international offices at education consulting business Crimson Consulting, run by young Kiwi millionaire Jamie Beaton, are empty and the phones ring unanswered.

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The company, estimated to be worth NZ$410 million, founded by Kings College student Beaton in 2013 promises to help students get into to their chosen universities, with 25 offices around the world.

But an investigation by USA Today found no one was at Crimson Education's New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London offices when their reporters visited, and in some cases there was no sign of them ever being there.


Staff were found onsite at some of its other offices, including Auckland and Shanghai.

The company also claims its 2,400 tutors, many who are recent graduates or parents of students who have used its services, are members in college adviser's associations, but USA Today found these claims were overstated and in once case an employee's membership had expired. Crimson told USA today the employee was looking into this.

Crimson Education charges between US$5,000 to $10,000 in US currency for sessions where the tutors, mainly via video chat, assist would-be students to prepare for admissions tests, fill out applications and choose a university, according to USA Today. Hour tutoring services and discounts were available.

The company, according to its website, claims to have helped 60 students secure offers to Ivy League universities and 160 student have offers to Oxbridge and the Russell Group.

Beaton, 24, runs the company with his girlfriend Sharndre Kushor from the company's San Francisco and Auckland offices.

The company also plans to open an international online high school, Crimson Global Academy, led by Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris in February 2020.

Crimson has recently enlisted former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as a director and investor. Key's son Max worked for the company from 2015 until 2017, helping students get into top American universities through excellence in sports. He also fronted marketing campaigns.

Beaton told the Herald last month Crimson was investing more than $10 million into the new school out of $31.5m of new capital that it raised in October, which brought the company's total value to US$260m ($410m).


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