Others - "A KEDGE graduate, I'm now a Financial Auditor...
Hello Nathan! To begin, can you tell us about your background?
I started out my studies in the scientific field and was sure that I wanted to work in sports medicine (Physical Therapy - Ostheopathy), which is a very popular field. When I was faced with making some final decisions about what area to study, I realised that I wanted something that was more open, and exotic. That's when I started to think about going to a Business School, Kedge Business School. I joined the POST BAC Bachelor's programme and chose a general major program, with a minor in Corporate Finance. While at KEDGE, I did all of my internships in the automobile industry, a field I knew I wanted to work in after my studies, and mostly in small companies.
I concluded my studies with a 6-month internship. I reached out to a well known automobile company in Aquitaine, that was looking for a new team member and explained that my 6-month internship would be a good opportunity to test my capacities (at a reduced cost) and then they could decide whether or not to hire me, but that my background made me a perfect fit for the position. And it worked, they hired me! I quickly made a good impression on the leadership team and obtained results at least as good as more senior employees. In order to increase my motivation, and to ensure I received a proper salary, I benefitted from a Pay Plan, which was inspired by the company's employee savings plan.
10 months after creating your company, how are things going?
We are going to celebrate Icon Motor's 1-year anniversary soon. The company is a representation of the idea I had of the automobile business after my different experiences. I have always felt the need to follow my heart and my conscious, and to make decisions that seem right to me. Sometimes I get it wrong, but the most important thing in order to move forward, is to realise when we are wrong, and to take into account both the good and bad decisions we've made. I had a real desire to join the company that hired me for my internship, however, my desire to create my own company grew throughout my internship and even though I am young (too young?) I thought I was capable of going through with my project. We have earned nearly 2 million euros in revenues, and expect to earn 740,000€/year. Things went really fast, and we have already planned new projects like the Mechanics Workshop in addition to the sales activities, and plan to hire a Workshop Manager and other staff.
What are your plans for the future?
In the future, I plan to develop my company by internalising most automobile services in order to reduce prime costs, increase existing benefits, and create new ones by opening these services to new external clients. First, I will need to reduce transport costs, that will the 3rd part of the project (1 - Purchasing/Sales 2 - Mechanics Workshop). I would like to open a bodyshop very quickly. This is also a high demand/return activity. And to finish, and more for the pleasure I am working on a luxury project to integrate the Sport Auto professional sphere.
How did your time at KEDGE Business School help you become who you are today, how did what you learn help you in the development of your project?
Kedge brought me a global knowhow regarding the business work, and today as a CEO, I don't know any one field (except maybe sales) perfectly, but I am able to keep an eye on everything, and have a discussion on any subject with specialists. The Kedge network is also very useful for entrepreneurs!
If you had one piece of advice for KEDGE Alumni who would like to do something similar, what would it be?
Probably, not to be afraid and try! You have got to go for it, but with intelligence, and a plan in mind (and on paper, obviously!) and plan out the steps. Work hard before starting your business (in order to arrive prepared with the knowledge, and a little savings). Work hard at the start of the project and don't expect it to be easy, but except it to be really interesting!