Tyra Banks to Teach Personal Brand Class at Stanford

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

MBA students at Stanford University will be able to take a class from the former host of “America’s Next Top Model” next May.

Former Victoria’s Secret model Tyra Banks is scheduled to co-teach a class at the business school on creating and protecting a personal brand.  She will be a guest lecturer for two weeks in the class.

Banks will teach an estimated 24 graduate students a number of tips including how to showcase their strengths and how to handle press exposure as a business leader.  The official course description states that the first assignment, “Project You: Building and Extending your Personal Brand,” will require students to film a short video that introduces themselves in addition to their vision for a brand.

The course is expected to teach students what a personal brand is and why one is needed, as well as how to differentiate themselves and create a brand identity.  In addition, students will learn how to use social and traditional media to boost their brand in an effective manner and measure the metrics of social media responses.

The 42-year-old described her teaching style as fun, but tough at the same time.  “If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them.”  She added that she hopes she can keep the college students away from their phones during her lectures, unless it is to “tweet something I’ve said.”

Celebrities have been an increasingly common presence at business college campuses across the country.  Oprah Winfrey taught a “Dynamics of Leadership” class at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2000.  Musicians including Steve Miller, Bun B, and Todd Rundgren have also given lectures across the United States.

Student seats have also been taken by celebrities.  Tennis player Maria Sharapova recently enrolled in an executive education course at Harvard University, and Tyra Banks completed an HBS executive-education program in 2012, writes Dahlia Bazzaz for The Wall Street Journal.

Allison Kluger, a management professor at Stanford, will be teaching the course alongside Banks.  Kluger is a former producer for both “The View” and “Good Morning America.”

Kluger first spoke to Banks about helping her teach the course after she had seen her speak at a Stanford event.  Banks shared anecdotes during her speech pertaining to how she became an entrepreneur, saying that she had cold-called CEO Tony Hsieh of the online clothing and shoe company Zappos to ask for advice on how to go about starting her own company.

“I was mesmerized,” said Ms. Kluger, who teaches courses in leadership and communication. “She’s a natural.”

Kluger and Banks will plan the details of the course of the next few months.  Portions of the class will be available to stream on Facebook Live, while additional presentations will be available for download on YouTube.  Registration for the spring 2017 course will be on a first-come, first-served basis.