Grant Rousseau’s rise in the esports world occurred at warp speed. In less than two years, Rousseau moved from team to organizational management, vaulting past where the 24 year old admits he thought he could go. In the interview below, Rousseau discusses the forward thinking required to manage 60 employees and plan ahead in an industry that’s constantly growing and evolving. Read on for more.
FYG: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career history, Grant.
Grant Rousseau: I am the Director of Operations for Splyce. I’m 24 years old and from the UK but currently based in Berlin (due to move to USA shortly!) with a passion for esports that started building around six years ago. In 2016, I completed a masters degree in chemical engineering with business management. Then, I went into accountancy briefly before making the hop over to esports.
Initially, I went into direct team management (on site management of a singular team) in League of Legends (LCS). I spent 2017 with two teams (Counter Logic Gaming and Mysterious Monkeys) before joining Splyce permanently in the autumn of 2017 as their LCS manager. I also took on a secondary role of European Operations Manager, which led to my current role. My passion for esports developed from a love of competitive sports mixed with a love of video gaming.
FYG: How would you describe your job to someone who knows nothing about what you do?
GR: I am responsible for the day-to-day running of the company, as well as the long-term improvement of the company’s culture and growth. It can range from paying bills or helping hire new staff all the way to introducing new Standard Operating Procedures and redeveloping our corporate structure. It’s a wide range.
FYG: What kind of experience or degree would someone need to get a job like yours? How did you obtain that experience/degree?
GR: I always recommend finding a degree that provides a skill set that can be applied to esports. For example, with me, chemical engineering is all about three-plus-month, team-based projects. I learnt leadership, time management and problem solving from that and apply it to this role. Find what you are good at, further it in a degree, and then apply it to esports in your own way. Never go the route of specifically finding a degree with the pure goal of it leading into esports…they don’t exist.
Accept as well that as with any job, you need to build and put in time and kill it at your role. I’ve been lucky enough to reach this level job after just 18 months in the industry, but I had to work hard and take risks to reach this point.
FYG: What advice would you give to kids in high school, especially kids from rural areas, who want to get into esports?
GR: Study hard in school, look into further education, and keep esports as a hobby initially (as in watching it or playing video games). When you feel ready to take the leap, look into initial opportunities at low level (managing a non-paid team, sending video content for free to teams, etc.), and find the avenue to turn that hobby into a full-time job.
FYG: What kind of lifestyle does your career allow you to live? What sort of salary and work environment can people typically expect from a position or field like yours?
GR: While it highly depends on organization culture, the nature of esports doesn’t follow the norm of corporate jobs. I am indeed in an office, but it never follows the 9-5 structure. I can be relaxed in my hours and work around what needs to get done. The entire company is built on trust of employees because of their love within the industry to provide performance. Hence, if you want to spend an hour playing video games at work for example, you can! As long as by the end of the day, your work is done to a high standard.
Often the initial joining of an esports team means a low-level wage (minimum wage…sometimes less), but it doesn’t take long to go past expectations. In 18 months, I’ve gone from volunteering in a team to living well above all my friends around me and being on a wage I could only dream of having finished university. The esports market is inflated in terms of wages, but it also means you have to work at being the best to break into it.
FYG: What strengths, skills, or character traits do you think are most important for your position?
GR: Leadership, time management, problem solving and organization. I am responsible for a company of 60+ employees running smoothly day to day. Every day, I need to delegate work out, firefight against unexpected issues and provide a clear mind with each roadblock that appears. Thinking ahead and balancing projects over months at a time takes these skills above. Being able to communicate clearly and public speak also add to that.
FYG: What does it mean to you to Find Your Grind? Why is it important?
GR: I would say that finding your grind relates to discovering what it is you love, and be willing to fight and push every day in order to reach your goal in that job/industry. Grinding relates to working hard at something, even knowing the end product is so far away.
It’s important because every person dreams of spending their life working in what they love. When you have a passion which you are able to earn from, it never feels like work, and hence you feel like you’re living a much more fulfilling life.