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Following a career that spanned 13 years and four Premiership clubs, Charlie Amesbury understood the importance of planning ahead. The 32-year-old already has a biology degree to his name and retired from professional rugby to focus on studying for a masters at Cambridge University.

What inspired you to undertake your masters in Social Innovation?

Following the completion of a biology degree earlier in my career I was really motivated to embark on more study. I was definitely drawn to the opportunities available at Judge Business School and spoke to my former Director of Rugby, Andy Robinson, about potentially taking a two-month sabbatical from playing to complete the first year of a master’s degree. Andy and the club were great and agreed to let me start searching through the courses on offer. A masters in Social Innovation immediately caught my attention with some great modules and the opportunity to explore the mechanics of running a business whilst creating a social good.

You then retired from professional rugby in early 2017 to focus on your studies, why did you feel the time was right?

My body was starting to give me signs that it was time to go and I was looking for a new challenge. The opportunity arose to captain Cambridge which has been a massive privilege, a learning curve but also allowed me to stay in rugby.

How have you found the transition?

I miss going into to training and the changing room banter that goes along with it. It will also be difficult to watch from the side lines. But I am lucky to take away some lifelong friends from the game. However I am now enjoying my new focus and its challenges, and it’s been great to build a fresh network of friends away from professional rugby.

What would be your advice to current players looking to explore further education?

For me it’s a no brainer. As rugby players we always worry that tomorrow might be our last day on a rugby pitch. You can never take away the chance of injury, but you can give yourself a fall-back option by completing a degree. I would encourage all players to speak to the RPA and find something that really interests you. It will help you get away from all the stress and uncertainty of a professional rugby career and will keep you motivated and driven to achieve something great.  

Are there opportunities for RPA members to study at Cambridge and Oxford?

Absolutely and I fully recommend it. Although I think you have to take a longer term view and really plan what qualities and experiences you can bring to your desired university. You can’t rely on your rugby career, you need to study, volunteer and do work experience to really amplify your skills and knowledge. They are tough places to get in so you need to put in the ground work to make it happen.

If you’re interested in furthering your education away from rugby please speak to your RPA Development Manager.