I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors
10:51 GMT, 19 December 2012
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Sir Alex Ferguson says although he was sceptical, he imparted some of his management secrets to Harvard Business School students to help young people to succeed in their careers.
Ferguson, whose managerial methods and philosophies are the subject of a case study at the prestigious American university, has led United to unparalleled on-pitch success and has been instrumental in making them one of the world's biggest sporting brands over the past 26 years.
In 2011, HBS professor Anita Elberse and co-author Tom Dye travelled to Old Trafford to conduct meetings and interviews with Ferguson, past and present players, and staff at the club.
Business secrets of United: Sir Alex Ferguson spoke at Harvard Business School this year
The Manchester United boss travelled to Boston earlier this year to assist in teaching some of the brightest young things in America. But why did he decide to open up
Ferguson said: 'When you’re approached by an institution like Harvard, you know you are dealing with top quality.
'I had to consider that I was opening myself up to something I’ve never done before.
'But at this stage of my life, I felt that if I’m helping young people progress through their own routes to management, then ultimately that was an important and compelling factor for me.'
Ferguson also praised the students he spoke to for their diligence.
Fergie time: The United manager travelled to Boston to spill some of his secrets
He added in the Harvard Gazette: 'The whole atmosphere was professional,' said Ferguson.
'It was clear that they had done their homework. That was the important thing.
'They had properly read the case study and supplemented that with their own opinions and research. … That gave me a certain assurance that I had made the right decision to go ahead with the case.
'At this stage of my life, I felt that if
I’m helping young people progress through their own routes to
management, then ultimately that was an important and compelling factor
– Sir Alex Ferguson
'The process was excellent, enjoyable, and comfortable,'
'I never felt intimidated in any way, and I never felt reluctant to be anything other than completely open.'
Elberse said that it was a dream come true to compile the Ferguson report, which focuses on his leadership skills, his body of work and the secrets to his success.
She said: 'It’s just a dream to be able to understand the drivers of his success'
She was also delighted to have welcomed him in Boston.
'To have him there, and for students to be able to see him in action, see how he addresses a group, and see snippets of his personality, there’s no replacement for that live experience.'
Ferguson praised Elberse for her own style of management.
He said: 'The key element for me was Anita, and how she controlled the room. I am always talking about “control”.
'She controlled that room. She was the boss. I thought that was very impressive.'
The Fergie report: Harvard professors travelled to Old Trafford to interview the United manager
No stranger: Sir Alex Ferguson at the University of St Andrews, where he was awarded an honorary degree in 2002
FERGIE RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE STARS
Sir Alex joined a prestigious list of people to have wandered through the hallowed halls of Harvard when he made his visit.
Among the array of great political minds to have been moulded there are Barack Obama, Theodore Roosevelt, John F Kennedy and Benazir Bhutto, as well as Al Gore and Henry Kissinger to name only a few.
The Ivy League university was also attended by some of the world’s most famous actors, such as Natalie Portman and Tommy Lee Jones.
Matt Damon (right) was an undergraduate there, though he never graduated, having pursued acting instead.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates are among the best-known alumni, along with Fox News’ Bill O-Reilly.
The institution offers nearly 3,500 courses, with a average class size of 12, and has a 97 per cent graduation rate.
The great education comes at a price though. The university estimates that the total cost of one year of an undergraduate degree, including room, board and other expenses would amount to around $60,000 (nearly 40,000).
Financial aid is offered to around 70 per cent of undergraduates according to the university, with families on an income of under $65,000 not expected to contribute to college costs.
But getting a place is hard enough, with an acceptance rate of less than six per cent. Most of those admitted ranked in the top 10-15 per cent of their high school class and have taken the most rigorous course of education available.