Chances are that you’ve heard Tyra Banks talk about Harvard University. Specifically about Harvard Business School. To promote the “college edition” of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra has been name-dropping Harvard all over the place — in interviews, television appearances, tweets, and any of the myriad media outlets that she’s infiltrated in the past few weeks. But the thing is, Tyra doesn’t actually have a Harvard Business School degree.
In reality, Tyra graduated from the school’s executive-education Owner/President Management Program back in February. While it is no doubt an exceptionally challenging program, there are some key differences between OPM and a Harvard MBA program. For one thing, OPM graduates don’t come out with a degree. Furthermore, the program doesn’t require applicants to take the GMAT, nor does it have any “formal education requirements” at all. Professors refer to participants as “clients” rather than “students,” and each of the three two-week “units,” of which the program is composed, costs $33,000. That is somewhat less absurd when you consider that it exists to instruct “CEOs, COOs, presidents, and managing directors of companies with annual sales of at least $5 million.”
Jezebel‘s Jenna Sauers argues that media outlets have been remiss in reporting this distinction, and that Tyra has dodged questions on what degree, if any, she now holds from the institution. Sauers also contends that Banks telling everyone who will listen that she went to Harvard Business School is “akin to putting an honorary doctorate on your résumé as your ‘Ph.D.’”
That sounds about right when you consider how hard it actually is to get into Harvard’s MBA program, and how royally pissed off you would be if you earned the degree yourself, just to have a celebrity go around talking up her involvement in a program she didn’t attend. Although, on second thought, if you have an MBA from Harvard you’re probably too busy to care about Tyra’s antics anyway.