“America’s Next Top Model” is coming back to television on February 29, so it’s been easy to assume that whipping wannabe models into shape (while smizing) is how Tyra Banks has been spending all of her time. But the talk show host, actress, and model has been working on her MBA at Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program, which is three years of three-week sessions spread over time…I suppose doable in the midst of it all. Last week she took the time to give advice to a select group of HBS students about how to find happiness while also keeping your money right.

Tyra’s goal is to turn her media company, Bankable Enterprises, into a leading force in entertainment using well-advised business decisions and not just her gut. Instead of seeing herself as a soon-to-be Oprah Winfrey, she sees Walt Disney as her role model, considering comparisons to media’s leading female force “extremely flattering, impossible to live up to, and inconsistent with my goals.”

Tyra admitted that her persona on “Top Model” is more of a character that she “would love to have…in the boardroom” than her true self and admitted that she might seem tough but it’s not all its cracked up to be. A few bits of her advice on how to make it (and fake it) while still being happy:

“It’s okay to be vulnerable.  Things don’t always have to be perfect.”

“You have a drive that the average person does not have.  I’ve just started to take care of myself, and you need to do that, too.”

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

Read more here.


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  • edub

    Snark: The day Harvard gives a professional advanced degree (barring any honorary doctorates) to an individual who has not even completed a bachelor’s degree is the day this campus will riot! I have a sneaking suspicion that Tyra is getting a certificate of some sorts. HBS has TONS of such opportunities that they will offer up to those who can pay for it.

    Non Snark: I really like the sound of Tyra in this interview. She seems mature and confident in her intelligence. I’m happy for her success and wish her continued success!

  • On one hand, I think it sucks that you can “buy” an Ivy League degree. On the other hand, learning has changed so much in the past 20 years. Harvard is just trying to keep up, in a sense. One of the weaknesses of schools like Columbia U. (where I went) is that they teach you theory without giving you a lot of real-world skills. People do not have the time to sit long in a classroom. They need the skills quickly so they can go back into the real world and apply it. Harvard is trying to adapt to prepare the next generation of leaders for an ever-changing world, and I commend them for that. (I sound like a brochure, lol)

    • edub

      well put. If tyra is buying a PHD in mathematics, then I would personally be offended but she’s in the business school. She runs a successful business. There is really nothing a traditional MBA can teach her. She’s her own case study!

      I did a little research and she is enrolled in a non-credit certificate program that meets for 3 weeks a year for 3 years. No prerequisites. In this case, I ain’t mad at her. Now, if she starts throwing up in our faces that she’s a GRADUATE of HBS, the I will throw her some shade for the simple fact that it is not true.

      Regardless of her pedigree she’s a business woman!

    • pink

      Girl: The philosophy in giving honorary degrees is based in part on “life experiences.” And in all fairness Tyra has lots….she has been runnng her business “Bankable Enterprises” for years. I’m really proud of her, and so glad she hasn’t squandered her money. Unlike some of the ballers that have made millions….and now don’t have a pot to piss in!! LOL LOL

  • pink

    edub: I am definitely for higher education. But let’s be clear…..there are lots of successful business people that don’t have degrees. Just look at the multi/million/billionaires that don’t have degrees; and we can start with some of the brainy-acks in the tech industry. Bill Gates comes to mind. In my opinion success has a lot to do with drive/your passion/offering a service/product people want and, or need. And the biggest factor I think is destiny. I’ve always felt that Oprah’s destiny was set the day she was born. Also President Obama. Some things are just meant to be.

    • edub

      No argument here. She clearly does not need an MBA. I would not be surprised if she teaches a course either at Harvard or elsewhere.

      My only hangup is in the verbiage. She is not a graduate of HBS. That’s it.

      I wish Tyra nothing but continued success. I really like this interview, she’s embracing her intelligence. I was so sick of her trying to dumb it down so that she would be liked.