Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Social Business - Articles

From Manager to Entrepreneur via an HEC Paris EMBA

In December 2014, Sandy Beky founded KyoSei Leadership, a startup that specializes in managerial innovation and human capital development. For most of her 20-year career, Sandy did not think of herself as “daring enough” to become an entrepreneur, but her experiences in the EMBA program at HEC Paris changed her mind.

 

Based on an interview with Sandy Beky Founder and Managing Director of KyoSei Leadership. 

 

Lessons learned from at HEC Paris - go beyond what you think your limits are

Sandy Beky decided to enter the EMBA program at HEC Paris in 2012 in search of new opportunities for both professional and personal growth. “My 18 years of working in the corporate world was a privilege that enabled me to touch on multiple fields and provided me with rich experiences, including cross-cultural exposure and cross-functional management, but by the end of my time as a salaried employee, in 2012, I had reached a plateau. I was definitely hit by the glass ceiling,” Sandy explains. “Meanwhile, on a personal level, I had just had a baby, and I felt an enormous energy and motivation to lead a more meaningful life.”

While Sandy values the technical expertise that she gained, she says the most valuable lesson of her time at HEC Paris was the breaking down of mental barriers around what she thought was possible.

 

The motto at HEC Paris is ‘the more you know, the more you dare,’ and that really was my most impactful lesson. My experiences there inspired me to go beyond what I thought my limits were and expand my possibilities.”

 

Across the various fields (Merchandising and Licensing, Pharmaceuticals, ICT,) in which she has worked, Sandy has consistently focused on sustainability, and she kept this as her focus for her EMBA final paper. “I studied how the concept of sustainability can be integrated into managerial and decision-making processes, working with 20 global companies.” Sandy emphasizes how important connecting with a rich array of profiles at HEC Paris was to launching her company - “I was able to meet with so many different people, including many entrepreneurs, which showed me that more paths were open to me than I had previously realized. It was inspiring.”

 

Lessons learned from entrepreneurship - make use of your complete range of skills and talents

In December 2014, Sandy founded the managerial innovation startup KyoSei, which she explains is a Japanese word that means “working together for a better life.” Her company promotes “ModelC”, a new career and corporate talent management model based on circular economy principles. “The world of work is going through a wave of change, and we need to take a more integrated approach when looking at people and their skills. People tend to get labeled and boxed into one expertise or field area, yet everyone has an incredibly wide range of skills and talents that can – and must – be developed and tapped into.”

 

When asked what the hardest challenges of starting her own company have been, Sandy says brand management and work-life balance. “As the founder and president of a company, I have become my own brand and the credibility and visibility of my company is my own credibility and visibility. This makes my network and ability to raise my profile on social media a critical asset.” Secondly, she explains, when she became an entrepreneur, former boundaries between work and personal life dissolved. “Since it’s my own business, I can - and often do - work from Monday to Sunday,” she notes. “In a way, this is incredibly energizing. I have realized that I have all these internal resources that I didn’t even know I had. But on the other hand, setting limits is a new challenge for me to manage, so that I don’t end up burning out, which is a risk facing many enthusiastic, fully energetic entrepreneurs.”

We tend to enter into an Executive MBA program thinking of it as a career booster and a way to learn technical skills – let’s move up the ladder, increase our expertise, and so on. And then you also realize that the exposure to new people and new ways of thinking is an opportunity to embark on an extraordinary personal development journey that can change you in ways that are impossible to anticipate,” Sandy concludes. “When I joined the EMBA program, for example, I did not imagine that my experiences there would give me the boldness that I needed to found my own company !

 

3 years after HEC Paris EMBA Sandy is not only the owner of KyoSei Leadership, her own company, she is also an associate partner in two other successful businesses founded by two other HEC Paris ‘EMBAers’ - IMV Management Partners a firm specialized in strategic and transformative change and JCLIP Partners, an IT company which is also a pioneer in adaptive software.