Wall Street Journal | Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson to Teach at Harvard Business School

Posted April 4, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Sports ~ 5,390 views


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More than three decades of management experience from the sideline of a soccer field have landed former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson a retirement gig at Harvard Business School. He has accepted a “long-term teaching position in Executive Education,” the school announced on Friday.

Of course, Ferguson was more than just a coach during his 27 years at the club. While building a juggernaut on the field and racking up more than 30 major honors, he was also instrumental in turning United into one of the richest, most commercially successful soccer teams on the planet.

He was the subject of a 2012 case study by HBS professor Anita Elberse, which culminated in a lecture and a Harvard Business Review article last year. According to the school, he will now participate in a program called “The Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports,” lecturing to senior executives. The four-day program, which costs $8,250, will run from May 7 and cover topics including talent management.

Ferguson, 72, announced his retirement from soccer last spring and went out on a high note, winning his 13th Premier League title. But he didn’t disappear from the public eye. Though he has more time for his other great passion, owning racehorses, he is still at Old Trafford on a near-weekly basis in his capacity as a club director. (A nine-foot statue of him also stands outside the stadium.)

He has spoken at length about his affinity for the U.S. He is a Civil War buff, keeps an apartment in New York, and “developed a forensic interest” in the Kennedy assassination, according to his 2013 autobiography.

“The time I have already spent at Harvard has been a stimulating experience and I look forward to developing my relationship and activities with the students, faculty and friends of the Harvard Business School community,” Ferguson said.

His management style, learned while running a Glasgow pub and cutting his teeth in the Scottish league, could never quite be called textbook.

Any player who upset him, or slipped below standard, knew he could be in for the locker-room “hairdryer treatment,” an in-your-face hot blast of invective. Ferguson took that to another level during an infamous 2003 incident when he kicked a boot that struck David Beckham above the eye—their relationship soured after that.

In his autobiography, Ferguson used the story to summarize his views on management: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s Alex Ferguson or Pete the Plumber. The name of the manager is irrelevant. The authority is what counts…The focus of authority at Manchester United is the manager’s office.”

Still, when he heads back to Harvard, he may want to steer clear of discussing CEO succession. His handpicked successor at United, David Moyes, is putting together the club’s worst season since the 1980s.

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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