2017 MBAs Dan Moor, Lisiate Fifita and Rob Talotti are playing rugby for Oxford University's Blues team today at the annual Varsity Match against Cambridge, which has been held between the two universities since 1872.
The team's training schedule has been rigorous. ‘The MBA’s schedule is 8:30am to 5pm most days, and then I’m on the pitch from 6 o’clock each night, and lifting weights two or three times a week on top of that,’ said Moor, who also plays for his national team of Canada.
While this might sound overwhelming, it’s nothing new to Moor, who trained for the Canadian squad while also holding down a fast paced position at a private equity firm. ‘If I got in from work late I would often trouble my housemate to throw me fifty passes before I went to bed,’ he said. ‘If you’re committed, you can always find the time for practice.’
Moor believes that the lessons learned on the pitch are readily transferable to the world of business, particularly the mental stamina that professional sport requires. ‘High level competition can be so ruthless,’ he said. ‘Being able to bounce back from those tough times is a great lesson. More broadly, sport is an amazing tool for improving your character. Out there on the pitch, there are moments when you are fearful. For example there could be a huge player running straight at you and in that moment you get to test yourself – are you going to step up and be courageous, or are you going to shy away?’
The diversity of the Saïd Business School MBA cohort was one of key factors in Moor’s decision to come to Oxford, and it’s a trait that is also present in Oxford University’s rugby team. ‘It’s probably the most interesting mix of individuals that I’ve ever met on a team,’ he said. ‘For example, you can spend a whole night practicing, throwing each other around in the mud. Then, half an hour later at dinner, you ask a team mate why he’s here and it turns out he’s at the forefront of trying to solve one of the most complex issues facing the world. I find the dichotomy between this physically brutal sport and its intellectual and socially conscious players fascinating.’
Moor intends to use the skills he gains during his MBA to become an operator for private equity firms, but he’s by no means finished with rugby yet: ‘I will pursue my rugby dream for the year following the MBA, and hope to represent my country at the World Cup,’ he said.
The Oxford vs. Cambridge Varsity Rugby Match will take place at 3pm on 7 December at Twickenham stadium, London.