Say what you will about Tyra Banks’ prominent forehead or her talk-show in which the only thing she ever talked about was herself or the fact that her ANTM franchise is a thinly-veiled attempt to get young women to worship her. No matter what you think of the former swimsuit model, the fact that she was able to go from the cover of a Victoria’s Secret catalog to launching one of the most successful post-modeling careers to date is downright incredible and arguably unmatched.
So why is the savvy businesswoman, celebrating America’s Next Top Model’s nineteenth season, making headlines for not having an MBA?
Apparently, six months after Tyra Banks tweeted a picture of her Harvard Business School diploma, people are realizing that “diploma” is not an MBA and so they feel that Tyra needs to stop lying.
To be fair, Tyra Banks never said she was getting an MBA. She said she was going to Harvard Business School. Only people unfamiliar with business schools would think that going to one automatically means studying for an MBA. Or would think getting an MBA comes before getting an undergraduate degree. Clearly, people with no understanding of higher education are mad because they assumed she was getting an MBA when in fact she received a ‘Certificate of Completion’ for a nine-week course in the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management non-degree extension program. What’s that? According to their website,
“OPM is ideal for CEOs, COOs, presidents, and managing directors of companies with annual sales of at least $5 million. Candidates must be actively involved in running the business and hold a significant equity stake in their firms.”
To me that just reads, this program is for people who either already have or don’t need an MBA.
That’s right. Do. Not. Need.
For some reason, people are still stuck on the idea that a college degree equals worth when in fact, scores of college graduates are saddled with an extraordinary amount of debt, un-or-under employed, and therefore are (monetarily) worth nothing at all. Going to college is an excellent way to learn and become successful in life, but it’s just one way. A person can also learn through reading books, travelling the country, visiting other countries, getting out of their self-imposed box and generally exposing themselves to the world around them. A person can find success by working hard and “studying” their craft be it sports or music or interior design. For some people a formal education is vital, but for others it’s just not. And if those “others” are positively contributing to society then why is skipping college such a huge deal?
In the world we live in today, 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. Sometimes it equals 20 and sometimes it equals negative 16. You can do everything the “right” way and still end up on the wrong side of luck or do things a different way and end up surpassing your wildest dreams. Are we really still buying Apple products, updating Facebook, voting for a political campaign run by David Plouffe, paying to see Woody Allen movies, celebrating The Ellen Show’s tenth year, and watching X-Factor with Simon Cowell yet still shaming people about not having a degree?
Earlier this year, Beyonce was spotted entering the Adult Educational Complex in midtown Manhattan where General Education Diplomas are granted. She never did confirm she was getting her GED, but word got around that she didn’t have a HS diploma. Apparently, the singer dropped out of high school at 14 or 15 to pursue her singing career and has had astonishing success ever since. Still, that doesn’t stop people who, if given the chance, would trade their diplomas for her life in a heartbeat from sneering about her “not even having a GED” as though the lack of a GED somehow erases the validity of her success or her life.
High school and college are still the very best pathways to success, but the truth for some people is that they don’t have to go to college to be successful. I first thought about this when the news broke that Spelman was reaching out to Gabby Douglas. If she decides to go to college, that’s great, but if she doesn’t, that’s great too. She could spend the four years she would have spent in college, financing her post-gymnastics career goals, never darkening the door of a university classroom and be just fine.
There’s a whole list of people who don’t have college degrees or high school diplomas and those people are incredibly successful and ironically motivate others to finish high school and college in an effort to reach that same success. So, there’s no validity to the argument that people publicly admitting they’ve dropped out of school effectively encourages others to do the same. In fact, these people often promote staying in school despite not having needed it to get where they are.
Education is valuable, but the means of getting that education doesn’t have to be the same much like the results of education aren’t the same. Just because a person goes to college doesn’t make him or her “better” than the person who didn’t. There are many reasons why a person may forgo schooling for either a short time or forever. And maybe if we “elite college graduates” didn’t look down our nose at those who went a different route, then we wouldn’t be so shocked at the idea of a person being genuinely excited about getting a certificate. Who says that’s not an accomplishment worth celebrating anyway?
What do you think? Do you think college is always necessary? Do you believe that people are unfairly criticized for not earning a college degree?
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