Built Business Tough

Lessons in leadership for rugby legend Thierry Dusautoir

Even at the starting of his rugby union profession, previous France captain Thierry Dusautoir was imagining about the close. “Being a expert rugby player is wonderful — it is the ideal issue that has took place in my daily life,” he says. But it can end at any instant, he provides, no matter if since of damage or someone superior coming up, so you “need far more weapons, like finding out, to have far more options”.

It might now appear to be stunning that someone so acclaimed at any time anxious about foreseeable future profession options — or had time to. While Dusautoir, 39, did not enjoy rugby until his mid teens, in the beginning preferring judo, he turned expert in 2001 at 19, likely on to enjoy a productive profession with French clubs these kinds of as Biarritz and Toulouse.

In 2006, he was referred to as up to the French nationwide staff, earning 80 caps in an worldwide profession that incorporated some legendary times. In 2010, he captained the French facet to Grand Slam victory before major them to the 2011 Entire world Cup closing, 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 worldwide title.

But Dusautoir also saw pals battle for a couple of several years just after leaving the activity even though they labored out what to do up coming. “I just wished to be the learn of my daily life,” he says. With an eye on making certain he would in fact have “options”, in 2008 he invested in his to start with enterprise, All My SMS, a text and voice messaging support. He now is effective in company development and method for the system, together with investing in other, generally tech, corporations with a partner.

A conversation with previous worldwide teammates Frédéric Michalak and Sébastien Chabal — the famously hirsute “caveman” — opened up the up coming selection. Michalak and Chabal both commenced EMLyon’s govt MBA in 2019. Right after hearing what they were being up to, Dusautoir was captivated by the strategy that an EMBA could help him analyse the corporations to spend in, and superior aid his possess.

“I went to EMLyon since I wished educational resources to help me choose selections and have far more self-assurance when [I was] likely to offer with someone, talk about company or do possibility assessment of a enterprise,” he says. “I made use of to spend with my guts. Now I want to spend with my mind.”

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

A chemical engineering graduate, Dusautoir says it was “weird” likely back to school in September just after 15 several years. But he is presently experiencing the networking and peer learning that appear with an EMBA. “It is seriously satisfying to fulfill people today from distinctive backgrounds who are starting a thing with you,” he says.

The feeling of cohesion struck a familiar be aware early on through the program. All through the to start with 3-working day examine block, his bike was stolen even though he was out with program mates for an night. He was shocked that absolutely everyone wished to help.

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

“I was like, ‘Wow, I have identified you for one working day and it seriously felt like a thing that I knowledgeable in rugby — the solidarity,” he says. “I felt that a thing was starting between [us]. I would not say thank you to the thief, but it was a instant that showed me that maybe I was receiving into a new staff.”

Dusautoir is presently learning and reflecting on the classes and his previous daily life. The to start with block was on administration, a subject matter he is familiar with. He says he does not know that considerably about finance but “quite a bit” about administration as the captain of a staff. It has been fascinating to look at no matter if major a rugby staff would have been less difficult with the expertise obtained from the programme, he provides.

For case in point, there was a tricky instant in the 2011 Entire world Cup when the French facet was just about knocked out. Although the way the staff bounced back together is one of the proudest times of his rugby profession, Dusautoir says getting the chief came at a private expense. “I was imagining that maybe if I had identified this [about administration] at this time, would it have been less difficult? Would I have had far more vitality for getting a superior player on the pitch? For the reason that I missing a lot of vitality running the fellas,” he says.

Although his administration studies produced him reflect on his rugby profession, he intends to use his encounter as an elite athlete to fulfill the demands of his EMBA. “I am likely to use the same recipe as when I was a player — so do the job hard and test to obtain superior organisation with the relatives,” he says. “My spouse is with me: it is not my alternative, it is a couple alternative and a relatives alternative. I believe that is likely to help me a lot in this, since you can not do anything on your own.”

Tests situations: Frédéric Michalak

Frédéric Michalak started a sport tech venture after finishing playing
Frédéric Michalak commenced a activity tech venture just after ending actively playing

“I do not have any regrets, so that is a excellent issue,” says Frédéric Michalak, Thierry Dusautoir’s previous teammate, reflecting on a rugby profession that spanned just about 20 several years. It is uncomplicated to see why: in 2015, he finished his worldwide operate as France’s major details scorer, with 77 caps, 3 Grand Slam victories and participation in 3 Entire world Cups.

But in 2019 Michalak switched to costing, compliance and macroeconomics on an govt MBA at EMLyon. The former yr he co-launched a new venture, Sport Unlimitech, an initiative to bridge investigation, activity and entrepreneurship to develop activity tech, and began to look at company school. Moreover getting “curious”, he says he required new resources to development.

These techniques are presently getting put to the check. As very well as learning a lot from fellow pupils, Michalak is placing his formal classes to excellent use. Just as the program coated disruption, Covid-19 struck. Even if your company aim was 3 to five several years ahead, he says, you had to act now.

“I was lucky to be in school at the time,” he says, including that he required to react and produce a new company design for Sport Unlimitech.

But his information is to totally commit to the EMBA. “Do it since you want to do it and put 100 per cent on that. It is likely to be hard,” he says, including that placing some revenue absent is a excellent strategy as it is highly-priced.

An open up thoughts is also beneficial. “Travel, be curious, talk with people today, test things, do wrong, learn about that,” Michalak says. “You can learn a lot when you are losing.”