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Harvard Business School has added a world-renowned cultural idol to its student body—model and media personality Tyra Banks.
After Banks was recently spotted strolling through Boston, visiting Harvard’s dining halls, and walking around the HBS campus, both administrators and students confirmed her presence.
She is currently enrolled in the Business School’s Executive Education Owner/President Management Program (OPM), according to Jacqueline Baugher, director of the OPM program.
Baugher said the program usually attracts “presidents and CEOs of companies with sales from anywhere between five million to several billion dollars.”
With annual earnings upwards of $20 million and a foundation to her name, Banks should fit in with the other businesspeople participating in the executive education program.
But Banks stands out among her classmates due to her celebrity status. Baugher said that people of Banks’ fame don’t frequently attend the OPM program.
“This is a first for us,” Baugher said.
Banks has already made successful ventures into modeling, fashion, and philanthropy, and has established herself as a television personality with her headlining work on both “The Tyra Banks Show” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
At HBS, she will participate in classes teaching entrepreneurial skills and techniques for managing a company’s growth.
The OPM program, which usually draws in about 200 students, requires participants to attend one three-week session of lectures at the Business School each year for three years. Tuition for the first of the sessions comes to $31,000.
While the OPM program is noted for its selectivity, it is very different from a full-time MBA degree program, Baugher said. OPM’s schedule gives students a large amount of leeway while trying to balance their full-time careers with an intensive educational experience. Most of the program’s participants are employed, and the majority have already earned bachelor’s degrees.
Those who are enrolled look to the program to “gain the skills to take their business to the next level in the private sector,” Baugher said.
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