A two-year doping ban may keep Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova off the court this summer. Instead, she will be strolling about the Harvard Business School campus.
The five-time Grand Slam champion won’t be an MBA member of the Class of 2018, but like rapper LL Cool J, hip-hop producer Swizz Beatzshe, and model Tara Banks, Sharapova will be taking advantage of the school’s vast array of executive education programs. She apparently has enrolled in a couple of certificate-granting courses this summer, including a two-week program on campus.
She announced the news on her Twitter feed with a photo of her posed on the campus in front of a Harvard Business School sign (see above). Her tweet: “Not sure how this happened but Hey Harvard! Can’t wait to start the program!” It’s not clear which course she will attend but it’s not likely to be Finance For Senior Executives or Audit Committees in a New Era of Governance.
Sharapova’s HBS experience could very well be the first time she has been a student at a university. She enrolled at a tennis academy at age 9 and turned pro by the time she was 17, She handled her tennis career while attending Keystone High School, via correspondence on the Internet, but never attended college.
FOLLOWING CHANNING TATUM, LL COOL J & OTHERS TO HBS
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) banned the 29-year-old tennis star in June, after a positive test for the banned substance meldonium during January’s Australian Open. At a news conference in March, Sharapova said she had taken meldonium since 2006 as a preventative measure for health reasons. She is appealing the decision with the hope of reducing or overruling the ban.
A ruling on appeal is expected by mid-July. While at HBS, Sharapova will be able to play on the school’s own outdoor tennis courts situated next to the posh Shad Hall fitness center. A possible outcome of her appeal is to get the ban backdated to when she tested positive, a circumstance that would allow her to compete in the 2016 Olympics.
In recent years, HBS exec ed courses have attracted nearly a steady stream of celebrities. Beatzshe took Harvard Business School’s nine-week Owner/President Management program, while LL Cool J, actor Channing Tatum, and NBA players Paul Gasol and Chris Paul enrolled in Anita Elberse’s The Business of Entertainment, Media & Sports. These courses do not require GMAT scores or undergraduate transcripts.
After supermodel Tara Banks took the school’s Owner/President Management program a few years ago, she began dropping the H-bomb. “It hit me after graduating from Harvard,” Banks explained in a sequence of “America’s Next Top Model.” “We just have to do a college cycle!”
Time will tell if Maria Sharapova will drop the H-bomb as well.