May 26, 2024

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Lessons in leadership for rugby legend Thierry Dusautoir

Even at the starting of his rugby union career, former France captain Thierry Dusautoir was contemplating about the end. “Being a specialist rugby player is good — it is the ideal factor that has transpired in my existence,” he claims. But it can cease at any instant, he provides, whether for the reason that of damage or a person superior coming up, so you “need much more weapons, like finding out, to have much more options”.

It may now appear to be stunning that a person so acclaimed at any time apprehensive about upcoming career options — or experienced time to. Even though Dusautoir, 39, did not participate in rugby right up until his mid teens, at first preferring judo, he turned specialist in 2001 at 19, going on to enjoy a effective career with French clubs this sort of as Biarritz and Toulouse.

In 2006, he was called up to the French nationwide team, earning 80 caps in an global career that incorporated some legendary times. In 2010, he captained the French facet to Grand Slam victory right before top them to the 2011 Globe Cup ultimate, which they missing to New Zealand’s All Blacks. He was also named Player of the 12 months in 2011, the next Frenchman to win the global title.

But Dusautoir also observed close friends wrestle for a pair of several years right after leaving the activity while they worked out what to do future. “I just wished to be the master of my existence,” he claims. With an eye on ensuring he would certainly have “options”, in 2008 he invested in his very first enterprise, All My SMS, a text and voice messaging service. He now works in organization advancement and tactic for the platform, along with investing in other, mostly tech, corporations with a associate.

A conversation with former global teammates Frédéric Michalak and Sébastien Chabal — the famously hirsute “caveman” — opened up the future alternative. Michalak and Chabal both equally began EMLyon’s govt MBA in 2019. Soon after listening to what they ended up up to, Dusautoir was attracted by the notion that an EMBA could assistance him analyse the corporations to make investments in, and superior guidance his possess.

“I went to EMLyon for the reason that I wished academic instruments to assistance me consider choices and have much more self-confidence when [I was] going to deal with a person, speak about organization or do risk investigation of a enterprise,” he claims. “I applied to make investments with my guts. Now I want to make investments with my brain.”

Thierry Dusautoir: ‘I just wished to be the master of my life’ © Magali Delporte

A chemical engineering graduate, Dusautoir claims it was “weird” going again to school in September right after fifteen several years. But he is now making the most of the networking and peer mastering that appear with an EMBA. “It is actually satisfying to meet up with men and women from distinct backgrounds who are beginning something with you,” he claims.

The sense of cohesion struck a familiar take note early on throughout the class. Throughout the very first 3-day examine block, his bicycle was stolen while he was out with class mates for an evening. He was stunned that all people wished to assistance.

Thierry Dusautoir and his Toulouse team with the Heineken Cup in 2010
Thierry Dusautoir and his Toulouse team with the Heineken Cup in 2010

“I was like, ‘Wow, I have regarded you for a single day and it actually felt like something that I skilled in rugby — the solidarity,” he claims. “I felt that something was beginning in between [us]. I would not say thank you to the thief, but it was a instant that confirmed me that perhaps I was acquiring into a new team.”

Dusautoir is now mastering and reflecting on the lessons and his old existence. The very first block was on administration, a topic he is familiar with. He claims he does not know that a lot about finance but “quite a bit” about administration as the captain of a team. It has been appealing to take into consideration whether top a rugby team would have been much easier with the know-how attained from the programme, he provides.

For case in point, there was a hard instant in the 2011 Globe Cup when the French facet was pretty much knocked out. Though the way the team bounced again alongside one another is a single of the proudest times of his rugby career, Dusautoir claims remaining the leader came at a personalized value. “I was contemplating that perhaps if I experienced regarded this [about administration] at this time, would it have been much easier? Would I have experienced much more vitality for remaining a superior player on the pitch? For the reason that I missing a great deal of vitality handling the fellas,” he claims.

Though his administration experiments made him replicate on his rugby career, he intends to use his practical experience as an elite athlete to meet up with the demands of his EMBA. “I am going to use the exact same recipe as when I was a player — so operate really hard and try to discover superior organisation with the spouse and children,” he claims. “My spouse is with me: it is not my choice, it is a pair choice and a spouse and children choice. I assume that is going to assistance me a great deal in this, for the reason that you are not able to do something alone.”

Testing moments: Frédéric Michalak

Frédéric Michalak started a sport tech venture after finishing playing
Frédéric Michalak began a activity tech undertaking right after finishing enjoying

“I do not have any regrets, so that is a superior factor,” claims Frédéric Michalak, Thierry Dusautoir’s former teammate, reflecting on a rugby career that spanned pretty much twenty several years. It is straightforward to see why: in 2015, he completed his global operate as France’s top details scorer, with 77 caps, 3 Grand Slam victories and participation in 3 Globe Cups.

But in 2019 Michalak switched to costing, compliance and macroeconomics on an govt MBA at EMLyon. The preceding calendar year he co-established a new undertaking, Sport Unlimitech, an initiative to bridge investigation, activity and entrepreneurship to produce activity tech, and started to take into consideration organization school. In addition to remaining “curious”, he claims he essential new instruments to development.

Those people competencies are now remaining put to the test. As well as mastering a great deal from fellow students, Michalak is placing his formal lessons to superior use. Just as the class covered disruption, Covid-19 struck. Even if your organization objective was 3 to 5 several years ahead, he claims, you experienced to act now.

“I was lucky to be in school at the time,” he claims, including that he essential to respond and generate a new organization model for Sport Unlimitech.

But his suggestions is to entirely commit to the EMBA. “Do it for the reason that you want to do it and put a hundred for every cent on that. It is going to be really hard,” he claims, including that placing some income away is a superior notion as it is high priced.

An open head is also handy. “Travel, be curious, speak with men and women, try points, do improper, learn about that,” Michalak claims. “You can learn a great deal when you are losing.”