In 2016, Dan Moor faced a tough decision. Only in his mid-20s, Moor had already been promoted to associate at Birch Hill Equity Partners, a Toronto-based private equity firm. He was at the dawn of what could be a lucrative and engaging career in a highly coveted industry — a real rising star.
What could draw Moor away from such an opportunity? He also had been invited to train, compete, and travel with Rugby Canada, the country’s national rugby team.
“It was really tough to go through the decision and leave my job,” Moor, now 27, recalls of his eventual decision. For Moor, who had been playing rugby since middle school through college, competing for Queen’s University, the decision to quit his job and compete on the pitch was “his own personal Everest.”
“It would have been like getting 100 meters from the summit and turning back,” Moor says.
TRAINING WHILE WORKING IN PRIVATE EQUITY
Moor grew up playing pretty much every sport. But when it came down to playing soccer or rugby for Queen’s, he chose rugby. And despite taking a job in private equity immediately after graduation, Moor continued to train, waking up at 6 a.m. every weekday morning to lift weights and condition, and coming home after a typical workday and working on his catching and passing with roommates well into the evening. He flexed his schedule to meet afternoon practices with his Toronto club team and occasionally traveled around Canada for matches.
“The guys at Birch Hill were incredibly supportive and let me go on a few Canada tours,” Moor says.
He’d make up for missed work by working late into the night and occasionally heading into the office on weekends. “It seemed like a sacrifice but meant enough to me,” he says. “I loved the work and the industry and worked with great people.”
CHICAGO BOOTH OR OXFORD SAID?
After a year of training and competing for Rugby Canada, Moor was presented with another decision: Where would he earn his MBA?
He had two offers on the table: the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Two things lifted Oxford to the top of the list for Moor — first, the international population of classmates in Oxford Saïd’s one-year program. “That’s one thing that is different from the big U.S. programs,” Moor says. “At the U.S. schools, they’re all coming from the same consulting firms and have been trained a specific way.” At Oxford, where 334 students from 60 countries enrolled in this year’s class, Moor says the students also have a wide range of professional experiences.
And the other differentiator? Oxford has rugby. Specifically, Oxford has what’s known as the Varsity Match, an annual rugby competition between Oxford and Cambridge that dates to 1872. “I thought I could come here and combine some amazing academics and play some rugby as well,” Moor says.
This year, Moor played alongside two other MBA students, Lisiate Fifita and Rob Talotti, for Oxford’s Blues, becoming the eighth Canadian ever to compete for Oxford in the Varsity Match. The trio balanced training and a class schedule that usually went from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Unfortunately for Moor and the other Blues, Cambridge won this year’s match, 20 to 10. “It was really disappointing, but it was still an amazing experience,” Moor says, calling the match a “heartbreaker.”
“They played well and were obviously the better team on the day.”
THE WORLD CUP AND THEN A CONSULTANT
Still, Moor says he found what he was looking for when deciding to attend Oxford. “Oxford is a special place,” he says. “It has been the epicenter of Western thought for thousands of years.”
According to Moor, his teammates include a few Ph.D. students, and post-practice discussions range from potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease to efforts to grow plants in soil samples from Mars.
For now, Moor says he plans to try to earn a professional contract for a rugby team in England and train for an attempt to make Canada’s national team for the 2019 World Cup. After that, he says, he’ll probably try to get a consulting position at one of the big firms.
For future MBA students deciding between continents for B-school, Moor says to take plenty of time to hash out what exactly their goal is.
“Don’t underestimate the amount of time that’s needed to be invested in what do you want to be all about and which program is going to open those doors more broadly for you,” he says.