Obituary: Professor Harry Hansen
Saturday 15 August 1992
HARRY HANSEN, Professor of Marketing at the Harvard Business School, was a pioneer of management education in Great Britain and played a leading role in setting up and developing management programmes and business schools throughout the world.
His six-week trial Advanced Management Programme at Durham University in 1964, with a distinguished faculty drawn from the Harvard Business School, was so successful that the Advanced Management Programmes International (AMPI) Trust was formed to administer it as a separate activity. Hansen was Programme Director for the next two decades, taking it to Bangor, Strathclyde and Swansea, before it became part of the Oxford Centre for Management Studies, now known as Templeton College.
Some of his sayings became legendary. As a pupil of Hansen's in 1972, I feel sure that many of his former pupils will identify with 'What is the problem? - What can we do about it? - Where lies the opportunity?' and 'He who has eyes sees everything in something.'
A member of the Harvard Business School faculty for more than 40 years, Hansen's commitment to management education was recognised throughout the world. He directed his first overseas advanced management programme in 1956 in the Philippines. In 1963 he became the first head of Harvard's Division of International Activities, and also established programmes and taught management seminars in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, as well as the US and Europe.
'Hansen was one of the first members of the faculty at Harvard to see the necessity of broadening the scope of our teaching and research,' said Professor George Lodge of Harvard. 'Thanks in large part to his early efforts, the courses given at HBS became more international in their focus long before most people gave any thought to the global economy.'
More than 30 years ago Hansen introduced HBS's first field course in marketing. Known as Creative Marketing Strategy, it enabled students to work on a real problem with a client in the workplace. This programme continues to flourish in a wide variety of areas in Harvard's curriculum.
In recognition of Hansen's work in the UK, the AMPI Trust recently established the Hansen Research Fellowship in Anglo-American Management at Cambridge University, in conjunction with Emmanuel College (where John Harvard, the 17th-century benefactor of Harvard College had been a student) and the Judge Institute of Management.
Among Hansen's many honours around the world was the Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal from the Royal Society of Arts, the citation for which praised his 'unique contribution to the advancement of management education in Britain'.
He also received Harvard's highest honour, the Distinguished Service Award.
When Hansen retired from the Harvard faculty at the end of 1977, he became Dean of IMEDE (Institut pour l'Etude des Methodes de Direction de l'Entreprise) in Lausanne, Switzerland, until 1981. This was followed by five years at IESE (Instituto de Estudios de la Empresa) in Barcelona, where he had been a founding member of its Advisory Committee since 1963.
When I visited the Harvard Business School in 1988, during a tour of the Baker Library Hansen gave me a booklet, The Merchants Ivizo by JB Marchant (1589). In it Harry wrote: 'We did not spring from a tree. There were others who went before us.'
It is only now that his message is truly sinking in.
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