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[People of Bigstep] Mihail Musat - Between Squash Champion and Director of Operations

There’s no doubt that hobbies and sports improve our quality of life. Who better to talk about this other than Mihail Musat, Director of Technical Operations at Bigstep, whose life has been changed for the best by squash. Enjoy our newest blog post from the series People of Bigstep that aims to find out more about our employees, work habits and passions alike.

Hi Mihail, please tell us a few words about yourself.

I just changed the prefix this year, reaching 40. I am happily married and the proud father of Darius, who’s almost 9. I joined Bigstep back in 2014 and since 2017 I am Director of Technical Operations, coordinating all our data center and infrastructure related activities. Outside work, I am a squash addict. I am speaking about the sport.

How does your work day look like?

5:30 AM. Yes, this is the hour when my day starts. It helps me make sure that before everyone else in my teams gets online, I’ve covered my most important tasks for the day. Then, once they are online the words which best describe my day are chaos and multi-tasking. I am in charge of 8 different business areas, from Technical Customer Support to Security Audits and I constantly need to jump from one to the other. Not to mention about the interactions with other departments coordinated by my peer managers.

We know you enjoy playing squash in your free time. Why squash?

For this we need to record a dedicated podcast, because I could go on and on about it for a full day. But to go to the core of this, I believe here is where I said it all: “you are making me a better man”. It is so much more than a sport for me; it is rather a life journey. Maybe that is why I can honestly say that I am in love with this sport.

Which are some of your most memorable moments related to squash?

18 February 2018. Almost 1 year from my first contact with squash. It is about my last match during the first national squash tournament I played at. This day and match are memorable because it is the first time I managed to play real squash. As with tennis, it is one thing to run around the court and have some fun and another feeling to actually play real tennis. Well, this is what happened for me that day: the first time to play real squash.

You also play squash competitively. Is there any tournament you’re particularly proud of?

Fast forward. Two years from that day: third place at the National Squash Championship in Romania, B division. In 2018 I was barely entering C division. In February 2020 I played in B division, places 50 – 80 in the national ranking. An achievement itself. One that I had to work so hard for more than two years. And I did not stop there, but actually made it on the podium. This achievement also put me 33rd in the national rankings.

What common challenges have you encountered in your work as operations manager and in your hobby, and how do/did you overcome them?

The biggest one, that maybe I’ve subconsciously been looking for, is to face challenges for which I was not ready at the time. The job itself is one such challenge. From day one in this role I had to cover business areas where I had little to no experience. I am sure that many of you know the feeling. Someone sees some potential in you and it does not throw a rock at you, but the whole mountain. Well, this has been the case for me too. But luckily, I’ve been patient and methodical enough to take each challenge and lesson at a time. Like in squash, professionally there was no change overnight either, but now I can surely say that it has been a really amazing journey.

Of all the players you’ve met and/or interviewed, is there a person who impressed you most, and why?

My coach, George Constantinescu (Gelu). Not only that he is one of the pioneers of this sport in Romania, after a professional career in badminton, but he is still one of the main drivers after 12 years. He, together with his team, have produced in the last 5-6 years the first generation of junior players for Romania. Now, this generation dominates all national rankings and wins all tournaments. More than this, they bring newer and brighter perspectives internationally for us, better than ever before.

Leadership at work and in sports: how to achieve it from your own experience?

I would say that the top three ingredients are passion for what you do + respect for your team and peers + hard work. For sure there are many other ingredients, but these are the top 3 ones that I discovered to be working for me.

Which are the three things that you enjoy most about working at Bigstep?

People, People and People. People because we are a small enough group to know a little bit about each other. People because almost every day (without being a cliché for me) I get to learn something new form my colleagues. People because together we’ve generated too many memories for life.

You will represent Bigstep at GoTech World Online 2020, and you will be a speaker at the Business Transformation Stage. What will you discuss there, and what does this experience mean to you?

I am looking forward to dust off my presentation skills in front of an unknown audience. Taking into account it will be a demo of our Bare Metal infrastructure editor diagram, my goal is to make this presentation as useful and insightful as possible for the attendees.

Join Mihail online at GoTech World, where he will explain how to plan, prepare, and provision an elastic, high performance and cost-effective bare metal infrastructure for handling Black Friday or Cyber Monday kind of events. See you online, and don’t forget to visit our Bigstep booth!

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