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Respect, Growth and Self-Sacrifice – Amandine Chantal Henry: Emlyon Business School

Amandine Chantal Henry
Amandine Chantal Henry

Determination, resilience, an appetite for success and a dedication to self-improvement. Such qualities can be typically found on the CV or personal statement of anyone seeking to gain entry to the C-Suite – a seat at the table in the boardroom. The same skillset can also be found in the locker rooms and on the courts and pitches of any sport in the world – from ping-pong to football.

Indeed, professional athletes share a skillset and an attitude akin to many of the most successful and ambitious leaders in industry today, so it’s hardly a surprise that so many of the world’s sporting elite find their way to business education, and excel at it. Whether to satisfy their consistent desire for professional growth and improvement or to set in place a plan B – a way to continue their legacies when their sporting glories are behind them, business schools around the world are opening their doors to students from less stereotypical backgrounds such as sports, recognising the value such individuals can bring.

In this BlueSky Thinking mini-series, we sit down with sporting stars around the world, transforming the attitudes, values and ambitions developed through lifelong competition to the classroom. Here they share how their own experiences have helped to shape their futures, and provide learning opportunities for those around them.

Name: Amandine Chantal Henry

School: emlyon business school

Programme: Unlimited Players Major Program, a tailored programme run in collaboration between emlyon business school and UNFP

Nationality: French

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did your journey in competitive sports begin? How have you grown as an athlete over the years? 

I started playing football in Lille as an amateur at the age of five. I then joined the competitive sport at Olympique Lyonnais in 2007 at the age of 17. Football has allowed me to grow as an athlete but also as a woman through values such as respect, surpassing oneself, a sense of sacrifice etc.

Studying and training for competitions must take up a lot of time. How do you balance your busy timetable, so that you are able to perform both academically and athletically?

Major programme training is very well organised. It allows me to manage my schedule between my training sessions and my lessons. We have an online platform that allows us to catch up on our lessons, and we can also work at our own pace, even when we’re travelling. 

Are there scholarships/schemes/facilities at emlyon that have helped you keep competing in sports while studying? If so, how have they helped you?

I’m lucky to be able to count on UNFP (Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionels) to finance my studies, and the teachers who are really exceptional for the content of their work. And the people who also enable us to coordinate between the school and us athletes. We have access to special coaching if we want it and longer deadlines if we need them.

“Football has allowed me to grow as an athlete but also as a woman through values such as respect, surpassing oneself, a sense of sacrifice etc.”

Business and sports are both highly competitive environments. Have you found there are advantages from having a foot in both worlds? And if so, how have these advantages shaped your time at business school?

I think it’s a real plus to have a dual project because it keeps your mind occupied if you need to, and allows you to take a step back from situations that are sometimes complicated to understand. But it also means you can plan ahead for a change of career. 

Finally, what are your future plans? How do you see your time as a sportsperson shaping the rest of your career? And how will your studies also provide career opportunities in the short and the long-term?

I haven’t finished the course yet, but I hope it will give me job opportunities in the corporate world. It will also have given me a more solid grounding in different areas such as management, accounting, human resources and so on. Later on, I’d like to work in the world of sport, but more in sports management.

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