12 years professional rugby in Montpellier, Bath, Brive and Biarritz, and 13 caps for the French National Rugby Sevens team.
Masters in Entrepreneurship, 2011, Montpellier Business School. MBA, 2020, HEC Paris and Chicago Booth. Head of Sports Advisory, KPMG, 2016 – 2019. Associate, Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Bank of America, beginning summer 2021.
Jacques Boussuge was still a professional rugby player when he had his first interview at KPMG. He had finished his first master’s degree in finance while playing rugby in England and France, squeezing in classes and homework around his year-round rugby schedule, and was contemplating his next steps. “The very first thing said to me was, ‘No athlete has ever made it in mergers and acquisitions in France, and you will be no exception,’” Boussuge recalls.
In France, where children are divided at an early age into separate schools that focus on sports or academics, Boussuge, born and raised in Paris, had to choose which path he wanted to pursue. Though Boussuge had American dreams of playing football in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers like his idols, Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens, he chose rugby. By age 15, he was attending an academy specifically for rugby, and by 18, he was a semi-professional.
“In France, they incorrectly assume people who do sports are not clever,” Boussuge says. “But they don’t realize we work hard and learn fast, we are very good with a team and we know what it takes to perform at a high level. As athletes, we bring other things to the table.”
Boussuge retired at just 30 years of age, despite having many years of pro rugby left, to pursue the opportunity at KPMG, where he worked to set up a sports practice in France. He will complete his second master’s degree in business administration from HEC Paris in the spring of 2021, after which he will begin a job with Bank of America.
Boussuge is also an entrepreneur. His start-up, Fiters, brings physical activity into the corporate setting. Additionally, he is RMC Sport’s main color commentator for rugby and is working with the French Ministry of Higher Education on a project to create opportunities for those educated in schools geared toward sports to move into the business world; now, he says, that transition is virtually impossible unless the athlete has the wherewithal and the network to create his own bridges, as Boussuge did himself.
“I could have played rugby a lot longer, but I stick by my choice,” Boussuge says. “I knew from early on I wanted to go into business. I just like to make deals.”
BOUSSUGE’S BUSINESS TIPS
“This is a basic. It takes long hours and high intensity, but if you work twice as hard as everyone else, whether it’s on a rugby team or in business, good things will happen.”
“Sometimes, when you work really hard, nothing happens. And sometimes, the opposite is true and things come really, really easily. It’s not always fair. But you must stay humble and trust in yourself, and trust that it will happen.”
“In The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo wrote, “Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor being severely tested.” I was rejected by so many schools and banks. People didn’t know what to do with me. But I knew if I was persistent, I would get my chance.”
GET UP EARLY:
“If you want to be able to reach the people who make a difference, you have to get up early. Set the alarm for 5 AM, because that’s the time to get in touch with all the top guys. Club owners, league owners, CEOs, they’re all awake early. And once their day starts at 8 AM, you have no chance.”
Division I football, Howard University, 1998-2002. Five years NFL football with the Titans, Bills, Ravens and Jaguars 2004 – 2007.
Bachelors of Science, Finance, Howard University, 2002. Entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, executive coach, and corporate trainer with clients including AXA Advisors, The Home Depot, JP Morgan and Chase.
Marques Ogden speaks from experience. He talks about ambition, having a plan and focusing on yourself and not the competition, because he wants you to succeed where he failed. As a keynote speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer, Ogden shares his up-and-all-the-way-down story. “I’ve already made the mistakes,” Ogden says. “So I try to inspire people to take accountability by sharing my life story.”
Ogden was drafted into the NFL in 2003 and played five years as an offensive lineman. In 2005, he suited up alongside his older brother, Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden, with the Ravens. Knowing that for most people, NFL stands for “Not For Long,” Ogden saved over $2 million while playing by adhering to a tight budget and keeping a monthly profit-and-loss statement, a tool he learned at Howard University. He also took courses at the University of Southern California in construction development, and eventually founded a construction company in Baltimore in 2008.
Kayden Premier Enterprises quickly became a multi-million dollar company, but in 2013, Ogden’s bubble burst. A single bad business deal spiraled out of control, costing him over $2 million of his own money – his entire savings – in just 90 days. He lost his business, his home, his two cars and his credit. He was literally days from homelessness when a grant from The Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust covered his rent; he would have been $100 short.
Ogden experienced a moment of truth when he took a job working a 10 PM to 5 AM shift as a custodian for $8.25 an hour. “Someone’s trash, spoiled milk, rotten banana peels, got all over my body and clothes,” he recalls. “I went to the curb, sat down, put my head in my hands and said, ‘Marcus, what has happened to your life?’ It was that pivotal moment that launched my speaking career.”
For two and a half years, Ogden didn’t get paid for a speaking engagement. But his message caught on, and in April 2016, he booked a gig at Miller-Motte College in Raleigh, NC. Red Gold Foods was the first to give Ogden a group coaching opportunity, which helped him take his new brand, Ogden Ventures, to the next level. “I’m just trying to make a positive impact,” Ogden says. “I want to help anyone who wants to help themselves.”
OGDEN’S INVESTMENT ADVICE
“Save at least 20% of your check. It’s hard, but try. And if you can, put that money into an investment or a small money market account, where you can’t see it and it’s hard to access.”
“Don’t bother looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. They do not exist. Investments are a long-play.”
FIND A MENTOR:
“We all need someone to teach us to handle our money. If my dad had been alive, I never would have gotten into the hole I was in. If no one in your inner circle is business savvy, ask for recommendations for a financial planner and keep asking until you find one.”
LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS:
“Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. When you start to feed your ego, you can’t stop, and you’re constantly fighting to be something you’re not. Look at your bank statements. Know what’s coming in and what’s going out. It is very easy to spend money, but it’s extremely hard to earn it.”
TIGHTEN YOUR INNER CIRCLE:
“When you try to take care of your inner circle, it gets bigger. Even if it’s just buying drinks for your crew, it adds up. You can buy a six pack eight times in a month, or that $80 pays a bill. Most of us get paid twice a month, but we buy things every day. You have to be mindful.”