Tyra Banks, the supermodel, entrepreneur, and investor, is now taking on a new role--as a professor at Stanford.
Banks will be co-teaching a course at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business for the spring 2017 semester. Alongside GSB lecturer Allison Kluger, Banks will teach students how to cultivate their "personal brand" and prepare students for on-air exposure.
The class, offered as part of the school's MBA program, will be a two-credit elective. Assignments include live broadcasting of presentations at a local TV station, as well as on Facebook Live and YouTube. According to the course description on Stanford's website: "Project You will help each student realize: What is a personal brand and how can it be unleashed as a valuable, competitive advantage?"
If that sounds like a breeze, students should consider that homework--in the form of a 1:30 video explaining what you want your brand to be--will be due before the first session. The class itself will be incredibly condensed, taking place over the span of 10 days.
The decision to bring Banks on board was an easy one, a Stanford spokesperson told Poets and Quants, adding that Kluger, Banks' co-lecturer, was impressed with a talk that the former model gave at the university's Women in Business leadership series earlier this summer.
Banks has certainly proven herself as an expert at creating impactful brands: After establishing her career as one of the highest-paid models in the world, she's since parlayed her success into several businesses. In addition to her role as CEO and chairman of the Tyra Banks Company, an entertainment firm, Banks has invested in a number of tech startups through Fierce Capital, the company's VC arm. (Its portfolio includes Locket, an Android application that brings content to smartphone lock screens, and Flixel, a motion graphics startup that last year raised $2.2 million from Banks and other investors.)
Earlier in her career, Banks launched Bankable Productions, the company behind hit TV series like "America's Next Top Model," and "The Tyra Banks Show." After nine weeks spent at Harvard Business School, where she she received a diploma from the school's Owner/President Management program, the entrepreneur launched her own cosmetics startup, called Tyra Beauty, in 2014.
"We [women of color] have to be better than that guy that's right next to us," she said during her speech at Stanford this summer. "And I take this from me being a black model. I had to be better. I had to sell more magazine covers than the white girl for me to get a fifth of what she got."
Ultimately, one of the most important lessons she learned is to know when to pivot: "My mother taught me this: to leave before they leave you," she added.