Lessons in leadership for rugby legend Thierry Dusautoir

Even at the starting of his rugby union career, former France captain Thierry Dusautoir was considering about the end. “Being a skilled rugby player is fantastic — it is the finest point that has transpired in my existence,” he claims. But it can cease at any instant, he adds, no matter if due to the fact of injuries or anyone better coming up, so you “need extra weapons, like researching, to have extra options”.

It could now seem shocking that anyone so acclaimed ever fearful about foreseeable future career chances — or had time to. Whilst Dusautoir, 39, did not perform rugby until eventually his mid teenagers, originally preferring judo, he turned skilled in 2001 at 19, heading on to enjoy a productive career with French golf equipment such as Biarritz and Toulouse.

In 2006, he was termed up to the French countrywide group, earning 80 caps in an global career that incorporated some iconic moments. In 2010, he captained the French side to Grand Slam victory just before major them to the 2011 World Cup final, which they missing to New Zealand’s All Blacks. He was also named Player of the Year in 2011, the 2nd Frenchman to get the global title.

But Dusautoir also observed pals wrestle for a pair of several years immediately after leaving the sport even though they labored out what to do next. “I just preferred to be the master of my existence,” he claims. With an eye on making certain he would certainly have “options”, in 2008 he invested in his to start with organization, All My SMS, a text and voice messaging support. He now is effective in enterprise growth and tactic for the system, along with investing in other, generally tech, businesses with a partner.

A discussion with former global teammates Frédéric Michalak and Sébastien Chabal — the famously hirsute “caveman” — opened up the next choice. Michalak and Chabal the two commenced EMLyon’s executive MBA in 2019. Right after hearing what they have been up to, Dusautoir was attracted by the thought that an EMBA could aid him analyse the businesses to devote in, and better assist his very own.

“I went to EMLyon due to the fact I preferred academic applications to aid me take conclusions and have extra self-self-confidence when [I was] heading to deal with anyone, speak about enterprise or do risk investigation of a organization,” he claims. “I employed to devote with my guts. Now I want to devote with my mind.”

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

A chemical engineering graduate, Dusautoir claims it was “weird” heading again to faculty in September immediately after 15 several years. But he is now enjoying the networking and peer mastering that arrive with an EMBA. “It is genuinely satisfying to satisfy people today from diverse backgrounds who are starting off a thing with you,” he claims.

The perception of cohesion struck a familiar be aware early on through the training course. For the duration of the to start with a few-working day study block, his bike was stolen even though he was out with training course mates for an night. He was shocked that everybody preferred to aid.

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

“I was like, ‘Wow, I have identified you for a person working day and it genuinely felt like a thing that I expert in rugby — the solidarity,” he claims. “I felt that a thing was starting off among [us]. I would not say thank you to the thief, but it was a instant that confirmed me that it’s possible I was receiving into a new group.”

Dusautoir is now mastering and reflecting on the classes and his old existence. The to start with block was on management, a subject he is familiar with. He claims he does not know that a great deal about finance but “quite a bit” about management as the captain of a group. It has been exciting to take into account no matter if major a rugby group would have been easier with the information acquired from the programme, he adds.

For case in point, there was a challenging instant in the 2011 World Cup when the French side was almost knocked out. Though the way the group bounced again with each other is a person of the proudest moments of his rugby career, Dusautoir claims remaining the chief came at a individual charge. “I was considering that it’s possible if I had identified this [about management] at this time, would it have been easier? Would I have had extra strength for remaining a better player on the pitch? Because I missing a ton of strength taking care of the men,” he claims.

Though his management scientific tests created him replicate on his rugby career, he intends to use his expertise as an elite athlete to satisfy the requires of his EMBA. “I am heading to use the exact recipe as when I was a player — so do the job tough and try to obtain better organisation with the household,” he claims. “My spouse is with me: it is not my alternative, it is a pair alternative and a household alternative. I believe that is heading to aid me a ton in this, due to the fact you are not able to do anything at all by itself.”

Tests moments: Frédéric Michalak

Frédéric Michalak started a sport tech venture after finishing playing
Frédéric Michalak commenced a sport tech venture immediately after ending taking part in

“I do not have any regrets, so that is a fantastic point,” claims Frédéric Michalak, Thierry Dusautoir’s former teammate, reflecting on a rugby career that spanned almost twenty several years. It is simple to see why: in 2015, he completed his global operate as France’s major factors scorer, with 77 caps, a few Grand Slam victories and participation in a few World Cups.

But in 2019 Michalak switched to costing, compliance and macroeconomics on an executive MBA at EMLyon. The previous calendar year he co-established a new venture, Sport Unlimitech, an initiative to bridge investigation, sport and entrepreneurship to establish sport tech, and started to take into account enterprise faculty. Besides remaining “curious”, he claims he wanted new applications to progress.

Those people competencies are now remaining place to the take a look at. As well as mastering a ton from fellow learners, Michalak is placing his formal classes to fantastic use. Just as the training course lined disruption, Covid-19 struck. Even if your enterprise aim was a few to 5 several years in advance, he claims, you had to act now.

“I was blessed to be in faculty at the time,” he claims, including that he wanted to react and make a new enterprise design for Sport Unlimitech.

But his advice is to fully dedicate to the EMBA. “Do it due to the fact you want to do it and place one hundred per cent on that. It is heading to be tough,” he claims, including that placing some dollars away is a fantastic thought as it is highly-priced.

An open intellect is also beneficial. “Travel, be curious, speak with people today, try issues, do completely wrong, master about that,” Michalak claims. “You can master a ton when you are shedding.”