The MBA world has been buzzing for the past few weeks about a new adjunct professor at Stanford GSB.
None other than the inventor of “smizing”, Ms. Tyra Banks. We at Admissionado haven’t seen her show up in any “What Matters Most Essays” in the past 9 years (although, I’m sort of wishing we have!), but you can’t deny her abilities at building a brand and making it stick, two things that are central to building a successful business.
So, yeah, that could be a fruitful class.
Of course, Ms. Banks is a pretty unconventional choice for a business school prof. It’s not often – or ever – that you get a celebrity teacher in b-school. And even if that were a thing, you’d expect more of the likes of Richard Branson or Howard Schultz. But maybe that’s sort of what makes this whole thing so exciting: bringing in someone rather unexpected, but someone who has truly mastered some component of business from whom students can learn some pretty cool and valuable strategies.
Or, maybe it’s just cool because…it’s Tyra Banks.
Either way, if this is the future of b-school, we’re in. But, as long as we’re making some big, sweeping changes to the MBA curriculum, we have a few requests for A-Listers from whom we could learn a thing or two. After all, if we’re going to go back to b-school again, we need people who will make it worth that GMAT re-take. Here are a few of those folks.
Kris Jenner – I know, I know. What does this mom of six know about business? Turns out, a LOT. She not only reignited Bruce Jenner’s career, making him millions in motivational speaking events, but she took six kids and turned them each into multi-million dollar business moguls. From hair products and extensions, to lip kits, to socks, to iPhone apps, to selfie phone cases (surprised?), Kris Jenner single-handedly puppeteered her family into an empire. That. just. keeps. growing. She took a family that was famous for doing nothing, and got them to do… everything. Love her or hate her, this woman knows how to build successful businesses, and I’d definitely want to hear what she has to say.
Robert Fornaro – CEO of Spirit Airlines: When was the last time you heard someone have something positive to say about a flight on Spirit Airlines? I know my answer: never. If the man can keep a company with a substandard product (I’m being generous here) afloat and profitable, imagine what you can learn from him about building and running a successful business with a GOOD product! Other valuable lessons: The Art of the Up-Charge, Overcoming Poor Online Reviews.
Muktesh Pant – CEO of KFC: OK, so first the company took the word “Chicken” out of their name because, well, what they’re serving may or may not be chicken. And despite that, the company continues to grow and expand worldwide. Even more, the KFC team, led by Mr. Pant, has changed the game when it comes to brand diversification. Chicken and biscuits can only get you so far, after all. Branching out into fried chicken-flavored nail polish and fried chicken-scented sunscreen? We can learn a LOT from this man.
Travis Kalanick – CMO at Uber: Kitties on demand? Uber ice cream? Rides in a Delorean? Sausages being delivered by Grandmas? Thanks to the marketing genius that is Travis Kalanick, Uber is to transportation what Kleenex is to blowing your nose and Xerox is to making copies. It takes a LOT to get heard (let alone remembered) in the noisy marketing space we live in today and companies/entrepreneurs are searching tirelessly for a way to break through. So a class taught by Travis Kalanick? I’d give up $150K and 2 years of income for that.
Sophia Amoruso – Founder of Nasty Gal and Author of Girl Boss: Forbes named her the richest self-made woman in 2016. (Uh, she’s worth more than Beyonce.) And she’s a 32-year-old woman who is changing the face of women in business. I wouldn’t just sign up for a class taught by this woman, I’d sign up for an entire MBA program run by this woman.
And as long as we’re at it, let’s put in a request for whoever came up with Shark Week, Elon Musk, Kanye West and Tina Fey.
Anyone you’d like to see in the front of an MBA classroom?