Interview in the Malta Business Observer:​ Mdina International provides people-focused solutions for business success​

Melissa Nosrati MT - News



Jo Caruana

“Mdina International was created to help other businesses become the best they can be,” explained Managing Director Alex Galea, who joined the company a decade ago. “Our founder – the company’s chairman Steve Tarr – conceived the idea behind Mdina International 34 years ago, and the company has been growing ever since.” 

The original company pillars were management solutions and sales development. Two additional pillars – HR Services and Process Optimisation – were brought into focus in the years that followed. Mdina International knows that by investing in their people, companies can hope to enjoy fantastic results. With that in mind, they create bespoke solutions and programmes for teams of all levels – from executive level all the way up to C-level. The key thing throughout the company’s journey has been the tailor-made approach that they have taken with every client; they simply do not believe in out-of-the-box solutions. 

With that in mind, Mdina International puts its relationship with its clients at the very core of everything it does. “The origins of our company actually date back to when Steve Tarr worked for a blue-chip company. He was trying to find a trainer that would provide the service he was looking for, but he kept receiving the same syllabus from everyone he approached, and it just didn’t work. That’s when he realised there was a gap in the market, and he decided to start providing custom-made training himself,” Mr Galea explained. 

However, the team here is quick to underline that their offering is so much more than training. “It’s really all about development,” continued Myra Pearson, the company’s General Manager. “So much goes into the process, whether it’s research, feedback, consultation, coaching and learning programmes. Our role is to get to know our client, look at their workings from both the outside and the inside, and suggest an approach that will help them to achieve development or change that they actually need. It’s very holistic and we leave no stone unturned.” 

Clearly it’s an approach that has worked, as Mdina International has enjoyed exponential growth since it was first launched. The company now has offices in the UK, Germany and Malta, and is exploring plans for further expansion over the next couple of years. 

“Our international approach is also very much part of our core ethos,” Ms Pearson continued. “Our team of trainers and coaches travel on projects to ensure global thinking is part of every exercise, as we know that that adds value to our clients’ results. Nowadays, we also optimise on technology, and coach people via Skype or other tools, which means there are literally no boundaries when it comes to the people we can work with.” 

Mdina International has been offering HR services for over eight years, and has assisted various companies by implementing or enhancing their HR practices. A more recent service line that has been introduced is process optimisation. Consultants conduct detailed audits on current processes within organisations and find leaner and more efficient ways through which they can operate. One common thread amongst Mdina International service lines remains that, when it comes to organisations: “it is all about the people.” 

Of course, this very much ties in with one of the biggest challenges that many Maltese companies are facing – attracting talent and retaining it. “We come at this from a different angle and really help our clients to develop their team’s potential, and encourage them to enjoy long-lasting business relationships. We have also embarked on a number of research exercises to help provide insight into this phenomenon. For instance, we recently worked with our partners Business Leaders Malta on a project called XYZ, which specifically tackles generational differences and how to attract, communicate efficiently with, and ultimately retain people of different age groups. We have really embarked on challenging the current status quo both internally and externally,” Mr Galea said. 

And one of the industries within which Mdina International is certainly taking on that status quo is the iGaming sector, and the company has worked extensively with iGaming companies to help them increase leadership skills, enhance retention rates and boost development. “From teambuilding to training, the iGaming industry really has upped the level of the way things are being done in Malta,” Mr Galea explained, “but even in innovative sectors like this one, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. With that in mind, we are working with iGaming companies on how best to tackle their challenges and to think long-term. For instance, one of the tests these companies face is how best to integrate their international employees into long-term life here in Malta. Yes, they can have fun with teambuilding and company events, but there are other vital factors to tackle. So, by bringing our team to the table, we can help to provide insight on how best to strategise for the future, and not just for the short-term. The results these companies are looking for don’t come from a one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s where our experience really does produce results.” 

With all of this in mind, the team at Mdina International stresses the importance of taking a three-pronged approach to your business development and success. “We highly recommend starting with the research phase, followed by the delivery phase, and finally going into the measurement phase,” Mr Galea continued. “When our clients genuinely capitalise on that, they see a real difference – with results. Examples include a company that increased its sales by 15 per cent, and another company that gained a more sustainable structure, encouraging leaders to take more accountability of their respective roles. For us, it all centres on taking a genuine interest in our clients and in getting to know their culture. In allowing us to do that and really giving us the time to assess, the results can be magnified, and then followed up with the right products, consultancy and next recommendations.”

Meanwhile, the team behind Mdina International is as focused on their own future as they are on the future of their clients, and constantly strive to incorporate the very latest research, knowledge and services into their portfolio. Their next goal is the introduction of more technology into their services; this is very much driving the markets today and they have plans in place to integrate this aspect into their current and future service lines. 

Finally, they will also be growing the team and focusing on their own people’s development, so that they can continue to deliver success consistently, both in their current markets and beyond. “At the end of the day, for us, it’s about people and empowering growth – the growth of the individual people within a business, and, of course, the business as a whole,” Mr Galea concluded.