Tyra Finishes HBS Program

Supermodel and host of “America’s Next Top Model” Tyra Banks graduated last week from the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Owner/President Management Program.

The program is designed to help executives learn how to become more effective leaders and deliver greater value to stakeholders, according to the HBS wesbite.

In order to complete the program, Banks was required to complete finance, leadership, and marketing courses.

Banks, who enrolled at HBS last year, posted photos of her graduation on her Twitter account on Thursday. The picture included the caption, “Smiling ear2ear on the Harvard Business School campus w/ my diploma! Tnx 2 my fab photographer mama 4 the pic!”

Banks, who dropped out of Loyola Marymount University at age 17 to pursue a modeling career, has said she hopes that her graduation will inspire others.

“On Twitter and Facebook, a lot of people comment about wanting to go back to school,” she told Businessweek Magazine. “It used to be that 80 percent of what I’d hear was about beauty and body image. Now it’s about education and empowerment.”

Around 100 students and faculty were invited through a lottery to hear Banks speak on Feb. 14. During the talk she also spoke with HBS Professor and Senior Associate Dean Youngme E. Moon in front of audience members.

“I’m not looking to build my company based on fans,” Banks told the audience, according to the HBS Harbus. She said that, instead, she wants to build a sustainable business that is based on a message of self-esteem and empowerment.

“Don’t chase the money, even if you want to be a banker,” she added. “Chase the passion. Chase the dream.”

Despite the conclusion of her time as a student, Banks will be remembered within the HBS curriculum.

Professor Rohit Deshpande is preparing a case study on Bankable Productions, Banks’ independent film and television production company, to be incorporated into future coursework for the Executive Education Owner/President Management Program.

—Staff writer Brian C. Zhang can be reached at brianczhang@college.harvard.edu.

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