ANDREW CRITIEN

Logistically, pursuing a tertiary education in Malta as a local is far simpler than most other countries.

Despite all the benefits, a significant number of undergraduate students and an even larger number of postgraduate students seek education overseas.

Of course, pursuing a degree overseas comes with its own set of challenges – hence why many foreigners relocate to Malta year after year with the sole purpose of gaining a top quality education from a recognized, accredited institution in Malta.

As he reads for an MBA at the Anglia Ruskin University after having graduated from the University of Malta, it’s safe to say that Elephant & Cross Managing Director Andrew Critien has experienced first-hand the advantages and disadvantages of both local and foreign educational institutes.

It was the hardships brought on by these two experiences that drove Andrew to take the leap and found Elephant & Cross.

“Finding the right course that worked with my preferences and lifestyle was a lot more challenging that I expected. I reached out to friends and family who had gone through the same process and everyone I spoke to had the same response – finding the right programme is a nightmare,” Andrew tells MaltaCEOs.mt.

“It’s a mixed bag out there, there was a sea of options: some great, some bad, and some which just didn’t fit in with what I was looking for. This experience – of going at it alone – inspired Elephant & Cross,” he continues.

In light of these circumstances, Andrew went ahead and launched Elephant & Cross – an agency that guides students towards the best academic and financial options.

“We want to make education more accessible and affordable; we want to give people the tools to take their career to the next level and achieve more,” Andrew highlights.

“Education is often presented through a very ‘one-dimensional’ perspective, that is, if you want to do this job then you should do this course at the University of Malta. I think this approach has closed a lot of doors for anyone who can’t be a full-time student,” he reflects.

Luckily, his agency has already helped redefine the concept of education for people with specific needs or requirements who can’t attend university in the traditional sense.

In fact, Andrew’s most rewarding moments since founding Elephant & Cross mostly involve introducing “hardworking individuals/adults with children to flexible, online degrees or diplomas.”

“Receiving positive feedback from students who have taken a leap at starting a new career or learning something new is extremely satisfying. Of course, as a start-up, we’re only at the beginning of this adventure, and we can’t wait to hear more success stories from our students,” he says.

Given Elephant & Cross’ success since its foundation as well as the universality of its mission, it comes as no surprise that Andrew envisions his company going international in a couple of years’ time…

“Online education is an extremely powerful tool – one which knows no borders. We have been working on growing our infrastructure to implement such changes, however, a lot of time, resources, and planning is required for any project like this,” Andrew highlights.

Before parting ways with Andrew, we asked him to share the advice that has helped him the most throughout his experience as a young entrepreneur. This is what he had to say.

“Do not underestimate yourself because of your age, and don’t let others use it as a tool to undermine you. Young people have a unique perspective on what other people want and the way things work,” he says.

“Never stop asking questions – take any opportunity to learn from others with experience. Adapt fast to things which don’t seem to be working. Invest in yourself today to enjoy a bright tomorrow.”

Featured Image:

Andrew Critien / LinkedIn

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