Cyril Arrosteguy, HEC MBA alumnus from the Class of 2020, has been making waves in France. The former engineer has gone into the business of nurseries, using his organizational savvy and leadership skills honed at HEC to spearhead the opening of several “micro-nurseries” all across France. We spoke with Cyril about the inspiration for his successful business and how the HEC Paris MBA prepared him for the life of an entrepreneur!
Tell us about your business!
A micro-nursery is a form of childcare for young children aged 2.5 months to 3 years, accommodating up to 12 children daily. Spaces are available according to the chosen mode of care: regular, occasional, or emergency care. Families benefit from an all-inclusive service formula, hot meals, and diapers are provided. Guided by early childhood professionals, children thrive in a serene and nurturing environment. This high-quality educational approach promotes the development of each child’s potential. Child development is our priority and is fostered through co-education between professionals and parents.
What makes Kokoon nurseries unique?
Our competitive advantage lies in building our business around and with our employees. As a result, our teams are involved in setting up new nurseries, developing educational projects, and managing daily operations. Additionally, children’s activities are collaboratively planned, driven by a shared commitment to nurturing our children in a safe, secure, and warm environment. This employee involvement ensures their well-being of children within our establishments and ultimately guarantees the fulfillment of both children and parents.
Why did you decide to begin this business?
I decided to venture into this sector during my MBA program at HEC. As an engineer by training and working in the construction industry, my plan was to open the Spanish branch of my company. Throughout my professional and academic journey, I quickly realized my strong affinity for the world of entrepreneurship, particularly in team management. Being a business owner presents numerous challenges, which intrigued me and fueled my drive to embark on my own adventure! It became evident to me that creating my own business was the path to satisfying my passion for entrepreneurship and management.
My close proximity to many early childhood professionals, who discussed the market demand and the profound societal need to promote the well-being of our children by offering quality care, drew me in. Furthermore, managing employees in a field vastly different from my previous experience was a genuine challenge I wanted to face.
What challenges did you face when getting started and how did your HEC experience help you overcome them?
My initial challenges included understanding how a nursery operates and meeting customer expectations. Offering a competitive edge in a highly regulated sector, where introducing innovations while complying with regulations was difficult. It was not easy working to achieve profitability in an industry where making a profit is extremely challenging and often viewed negatively by public opinion.
In this context, my MBA courses in finance, business management, and company valuation were crucial. I also needed to recruit personnel quickly and manage increasingly larger teams. In addition, my courses in behavioral analysis, the MBA Tournament (aka MBAT), as well as numerous TEC sessions provided me with invaluable insights.
Finally, negotiation courses were very enriching and were quickly put into practice with my various stakeholders.
Tell us a little about your time in the HEC Paris MBA. Were you part of any clubs ? What’s a fond memory?
It was simply an incredible experience. The diversity of cultures, the richness of exchanges, and the quality of the courses profoundly changed me and shaped my desire to become an entrepreneur.
I participated in TEC (The Executive Committee). I was also the President of the MBAT team: What a memory! The countless hours working late, the teamwork, and the dedication of each member to prepare, anticipate, and plan for this sports event culminated on May 8th during those three days of festivities and camaraderie.
Another particularly memorable event was my meeting with the CEO of Airbus Group during a TEC session. After a few months at HEC, doubts arose about my strengths and my value compared to other students. A few conversations were enough to boost my confidence, analyze my strengths, and open my eyes to my qualities and contributions!
How do you feel like your time at HEC prepared you for your current work?
The MBAT, TEC, and the courses with many group projects provided me with practical experiences that allowed me to develop my leadership skills, become aware of my strengths, deepen my knowledge, and improve my weaknesses.
Learning to lead a meeting, set deadlines, delegate, use individual strengths, and bring out the best in a group, as well as managing conflicts within teams, are all skills acquired at HEC that I use daily in my role as a business owner and more broadly as an individual.
What’s some advice you have for current or future HEC MBA students?
Dive into the courses, enjoy your classmates, their cultures and knowledge, the clubs, and various events offered! Savor this exceptional environment! Take part in everything you can! It was such a rich experience and it went too fast!
Enjoy every minute!
If you’re a prospective student, and would like to hear more about the application process, connect with us here and your dedicated Marketing and Recruitment Manager will get in touch.