Professional ballerina/dancer Courtney Celeste Spears has returned to school, having enrolled in the Harvard Business School Crossover Into Business program, a semester-long program in which professional athletes develop their business acumen by working with MBA student mentors.
Built to help professional athletes be better prepared for business activities during and after their active sports careers, the Crossover Into Business program matches athletes with a pair of Harvard Business School MBA student mentors who help the athletes develop their business acumen and empower them to make better business decisions, all in a way that fits the athletes’ busy lives, is tailored to their interests and leverages the acclaimed Harvard Business School case method.
“I am ecstatic and beyond grateful for this opportunity,” said Spears, whose orientation took place on Sunday, February 2.
“I’ll get to be in a classroom with people who think and operate differently than I do, and I’m certain that I will learn so much from them. I want to be the most well-rounded artist I can be, which means growing in the studio just as much as the classroom. I’m so excited to be a student again and open my mind to all that’s coming,” she said.
Spears will continue dancing full time with Ailey while doing the Harvard program remotely, which she said is a blessing.
“I will go to Harvard for two days to meet my professor, Harvard Business School mentor and my classmates which consists of other professional athletes. We will check in weekly with our teams and have a final presentation at the end of the semester.”
Spears is the first Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer to be accepted into the program for professional athletes.
“Harvard Business School is one of the most celebrated institutions in the world and I never thought in a million years, I’d be able to call myself a student within its walls. I absolutely love to learn. I get to learn every day from my amazing directors and co-workers at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, but I always loved being in a classroom. I loved school and I found that I learned so much about myself while reading, studying and talking with classmates.”
She also realizes the takeaway she will be able to apply to her ArtSea Dance program.
“In starting ArtSea Dance I quickly started to realize the amount of knowledge and experience it takes to efficiently run a business. I believe that this program is not only [going] to give me that wisdom, but elevate my skills in a way that can make my dream of making ArtSea Dance the leading dance organization within the Caribbean a reality.”
Spears learned about the program through a friend who had previously completed it, read up on it and said she was immediately intrigued.
“When I first found out about it, I had already missed the deadline for applications, so I made sure to set a reminder in my phone to remember for this year.”
Spears is a graduate from the Baltimore School for the Arts, and graduated summa cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham Dance BFA Program with a minor in communications and media studies. She has attended summer programs at Cedar Lake 360, the Juilliard School and American Ballet Theater, where she was recognized consecutively for two years as the American Ballet Theater National Training Scholar.