Lessons in leadership for rugby legend Thierry Dusautoir

Even at the commencing of his rugby union career, former France captain Thierry Dusautoir was considering about the finish. “Being a specialist rugby player is good — it is the greatest point that has happened in my daily life,” he says. But it can prevent at any minute, he provides, whether mainly because of injuries or another person better coming up, so you “need additional weapons, like finding out, to have additional options”.

It may now look astonishing that another person so acclaimed at any time anxious about long term career chances — or experienced time to. Whilst Dusautoir, 39, did not perform rugby right up until his mid teenagers, to begin with preferring judo, he turned specialist in 2001 at 19, going on to enjoy a successful career with French clubs these as Biarritz and Toulouse.

In 2006, he was referred to as up to the French nationwide staff, earning eighty caps in an worldwide career that incorporated some legendary times. In 2010, he captained the French facet to Grand Slam victory ahead of top them to the 2011 Entire world Cup closing, which they missing to New Zealand’s All Blacks. He was also named Player of the Yr in 2011, the second Frenchman to get the worldwide title.

But Dusautoir also observed close friends struggle for a pair of yrs after leaving the sport though they worked out what to do up coming. “I just required to be the grasp of my daily life,” he says. With an eye on making certain he would in truth have “options”, in 2008 he invested in his 1st corporation, All My SMS, a textual content and voice messaging services. He now performs in business enterprise growth and method for the platform, together with investing in other, mainly tech, firms with a lover.

A conversation with former worldwide teammates Frédéric Michalak and Sébastien Chabal — the famously hirsute “caveman” — opened up the up coming choice. Michalak and Chabal both begun EMLyon’s government MBA in 2019. Immediately after listening to what they had been up to, Dusautoir was attracted by the plan that an EMBA could support him analyse the firms to spend in, and better help his individual.

“I went to EMLyon mainly because I required academic instruments to support me choose selections and have additional self-self confidence when [I was] going to deal with another person, converse about business enterprise or do danger analysis of a corporation,” he says. “I utilized to spend with my guts. Now I want to spend with my mind.”

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

A chemical engineering graduate, Dusautoir says it was “weird” going back again to college in September after 15 yrs. But he is previously making the most of the networking and peer mastering that appear with an EMBA. “It is truly satisfying to meet up with men and women from various backgrounds who are starting a little something with you,” he says.

The perception of cohesion struck a familiar notice early on all through the course. During the 1st three-working day examine block, his bicycle was stolen though he was out with course mates for an night. He was stunned that anyone required to support.

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 acknowledged you for just one working day and it truly felt like a little something that I experienced in rugby — the solidarity,” he says. “I felt that a little something was starting concerning [us]. I would not say thank you to the thief, but it was a minute that showed me that possibly I was finding into a new staff.”

Dusautoir is previously mastering and reflecting on the classes and his old daily life. The 1st block was on administration, a topic he is familiar with. He says he does not know that substantially about finance but “quite a bit” about administration as the captain of a staff. It has been attention-grabbing to take into account whether top a rugby staff would have been less difficult with the information obtained from the programme, he provides.

For case in point, there was a tricky minute in the 2011 Entire world Cup when the French facet was pretty much knocked out. Although the way the staff bounced back again with each other is just one of the proudest times of his rugby career, Dusautoir says currently being the chief arrived at a personal expense. “I was considering that possibly if I experienced acknowledged this [about administration] at this time, would it have been less difficult? Would I have experienced additional strength for currently being a better player on the pitch? Simply because I missing a great deal of strength managing the fellas,” he says.

Although his administration experiments created him replicate on his rugby career, he intends to use his expertise as an elite athlete to meet up with the needs of his EMBA. “I am going to use the same recipe as when I was a player — so function tricky and consider to obtain better organisation with the family members,” he says. “My spouse is with me: it is not my selection, it is a pair selection and a family members selection. I think that is going to support me a great deal in this, mainly because you simply cannot do anything on your own.”

Testing situations: Frédéric Michalak

Frédéric Michalak started a sport tech venture after finishing playing
Frédéric Michalak begun a sport tech undertaking after finishing enjoying

“I do not have any regrets, so that is a great point,” says Frédéric Michalak, Thierry Dusautoir’s former teammate, reflecting on a rugby career that spanned pretty much twenty yrs. It is straightforward to see why: in 2015, he completed his worldwide run as France’s top points scorer, with 77 caps, three Grand Slam victories and participation in three Entire world Cups.

But in 2019 Michalak switched to costing, compliance and macroeconomics on an government MBA at EMLyon. The earlier calendar year he co-founded a new undertaking, Activity Unlimitech, an initiative to bridge exploration, sport and entrepreneurship to produce sport tech, and started to take into account business enterprise college. Moreover currently being “curious”, he says he necessary new instruments to development.

All those expertise are previously currently being place to the exam. As well as mastering a great deal from fellow pupils, Michalak is placing his official classes to great use. Just as the course protected disruption, Covid-19 struck. Even if your business enterprise objective was three to 5 yrs ahead, he says, you experienced to act now.

“I was fortunate to be in college at the time,” he says, including that he necessary to react and make a new business enterprise design for Activity Unlimitech.

But his advice is to thoroughly commit to the EMBA. “Do it mainly because you want to do it and place a hundred for each cent on that. It is going to be tricky,” he says, including that placing some dollars absent is a great plan as it is expensive.

An open head is also helpful. “Travel, be curious, converse with men and women, consider items, do completely wrong, master about that,” Michalak says. “You can master a great deal when you are getting rid of.”