Three Bath players are swapping their rugby boots for reading books as they venture into studying an EMBA in Business Administration to put a framework in place for when they retire from rugby. We caught up with Rhys Priestland, Henry Thomas and Will Chudley to see how they were getting on.
Why did you choose to start the EMBA?
Henry Thomas: I thought now was a good opportunity whilst I am settled to continue with further education after starting an economics degree and doing some accounting work in between. I wanted to get something really meaningful in place before I finish playing.
Will Chudley: There had been a couple of years where I hadn’t done anything outside of rugby. A couple of my friends had to retire, and it kicked me back into gear in terms of trying to work out what I wanted to do. I thought an EMBA was a really good way of exploring lots of avenues that I could potentially go down, whilst learning new things and enhancing my CV.
As a player what do you find challenging about committing to a course or a degree?
Rhys Priestland: At the start of every season I go, ‘right I need to go out and get some work experience, start a course etc.’ I have every intention of doing so, but if you don’t do it straight away, time gets away from you and next thing you know the season has gone and you might have different stresses on you then.
And what about the course itself, what has been the biggest eye-opener?
Will Chudley: It’s pretty tough, the work-load is quite high. I’ve been to Uni and I expected it to be harder than a degree but it’s a lot more work than I could have anticipated. The students they’ve got there however are very impressive and from a range of different places. Although we might moan that it’s hard work, we are all loving it. It’s great to be around people with different jobs, that are all unique and special in their own way.
Does it help having all three of you on the same course?
Henry Thomas: Yes, definitely. It is quite a broad spectrum of topics and we each have our own strengths in certain areas, so we all help each other. The club help with scheduling as well to make sure we are all coming to the right places at the right time.
Will Chudley: It’s helpful when doing assignments because you can pick each-others’ brains. They’ve kept us away from each other quite a lot on purpose, but it’s great to bounce ideas around and we know what each person is going through. Sometimes it is just about giving someone a confidence boost or a kick up the backside - safety in numbers and all that.
What process did you go through to get on the course?
Rhys Priestland: Matt Leek (Bath RPA Development Manager) was really good with us and proactive when I first got to the club. He sat down with me and I told him that I was interested in doing something, so he would send me through different courses and then said that there was an open evening at Bath University. Myself, Will and Henry went along to that and sat down with the course administrators and they assured us that they would help out as much as they could and that was probably just the kick I needed.
What advice would you give to players looking to enhance their personal development?
Will Chudley: You will never regret doing one (a course) and you will learn so much. Obviously, you’ve got to be prepared to put the work in but it massively helps your time management and thinking about life outside rugby.
Rhys Priestland: The advice I try and give is to make sure you are well rounded young men because if you neglect your studies and throw all your eggs into the rugby basket then there are so many factors outside your control that could happen. I want to be pro-active, but it is then just finding the time. Say you have a week off or a big game at the weekend, do you really want to go and spend eight hours in an office or on a building site? Half the battle is to just book it in and then you have no excuse.