Tyra Banks Is Attending Harvard Business School
03/14/2011 AT 11:15 AM EDT
But why did Banks, who runs a successful multi-million-dollar empire, feel the need to further her education?
"In order for my company to grow and be the best, and to reach these women, and to serve them, I needed the best. So I went to the best," Banks, 37, told CBS News recently.
Going back to school has been a long time coming for Banks, who started modeling at age 17, just months before she was supposed to start at L.A.'s Loyola Marymount University.
"The day that I put college on hold because I got discovered to go to Paris and try this whole modeling thing ... was one of the most difficult decisions of my entire life," she said.
But Banks turned that opportunity into dreamlike success: In 2009, Forbes listed her as the highest paid woman in prime time, with an annual income of $30 million.
Now, Banks can clearly afford the steep tuition at Harvard's elite Owner/President Management Program, which requires students participate in intensive three-week sessions costing $31,000 a year for three years.
The America's Next Top Model host admits that people are often shocked to hear she's attending such a prestigious university – but Banks likes it that way.
"When people have low expectations, you're just constantly going, 'Ta-da!' And they're like, 'Wow,' " she said. "It doesn't take a lot to wow them when they have low expectations."