Yesterday we chronicled the media spree that Tyra Banks has been on to promote the “college edition” cycle of America’s Next Top Model and all of the attention it has drawn towards her Harvard Business School education. You see, Banks has been name dropping the tony institution left, right, and center, which has prompted journalists to call her out on the fact that the program she attended (the non-degree granting, open-admission Owner/President Management Program) is not quite on par with a Harvard MBA, and much of the reporting surrounding her course of study has been misleading.
Banks’ camp, it seems, is understandably less than pleased about the unwanted attention (though we’ve gotta say we haven’t seen ANTM get this much publicity since a good ten seasons ago). A representative for Banks sent us the following statement last night:
“Tyra has always been open and honest about the Owner/President Management Program that she attended and completed – a program taught as three one-month, 6-days-a-week sessions over the course of three years – at Harvard Business School and this has been well documented in many respected news outlets, including stories running as recently as two days ago in USA Today, Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly to name a few. Tyra is extremely proud of this accomplishment and rightly so – graduating from this program was major feat and she continues to be an inspiration to people around the world.”
While some publications reported on the program accurately and openly, the nature of OPM was buried in many others, called a degree (aka MBA) program, or not mentioned at all. Banks is also repeatedly labeled a “student,” while the program she undertook refers to their participants as “clients” (nit-picky, yes, but true). And what most people (though not all) are taking issue with is not that Tyra herself has been dishonest, merely that the Harvard Business School name is getting bandied about all over the place in a way that, in certain places, misrepresents the truth.
We wholeheartedly commend Tyra on going back to school, and believe she has every reason to be proud of her accomplishments. But that doesn’t mean the record shouldn’t be set straight.