The world number one ranked ODI batter and captain of the Pakistan cricket team, Babar Azam, and wicketkeeper, Muhammad Rizwan, the vice-captain, are the first cricketers to join the Harvard Business School’s executive education program on The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports (BEMS), with their mentor, the Saya Corporation Founder, and CEO, Talha Rehmani.
The trio is representing Pakistan and the cricket world among a myriad of global movers and shakers in sports, media, and entertainment.
Babar and Rizwan will be among the lengthy list of celebrities and top-tier sportspersons who have taken the famous course previously, these include Kaka Edwin van der Sar, Gerard Piqué, Oliver Kahn, NFL’s Brandon Marshall, NBA’s Miami Heat teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and Hollywood A-listers including Channing Tatum and LL Cool J, Major League Baseball’s Alex Rodriguez, NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, and Pau Gasol to name a few.
The trio flew out from Karachi for the USA to participate in the program from May 31 to June 3, at the
Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.
They will be engaging with the various communities in the US after the program till June 13.
“It is a huge honor to represent Pakistan on such a prestigious global stage. We are going to the BEMS program at Harvard to learn from the best of the best in the world – both in terms of faculty and program fellows – and at the same time to share our journey and learnings with everyone. I am certain that this will be an exciting journey, and I look forward to sharing our learning and experiences with the next superstars of the cricket world,” said Rizwan, the no. 2 men’s T20I batter of the world.
The program chair is the brilliant Professor Anita Elberse, one of the youngest women ever to earn tenure at Harvard Business School.
Prof. Elberse is known worldwide for her work on digital media strategies. She has conducted case studies on dozens of personalities, entertainment companies, and other entities. Her work includes case studies on Jay-Z, Beyoncé, K-Pop band BTS, Walt Disney Studios, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Sir Alex Ferguson, etc.
“I am delighted to be able to welcome Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan to the Harvard Business School and to the BEMS program,” said Elberse. “We think the other participants will benefit greatly from their experiences as world-class athletes with a strong interest in the business world.”
It is the first time any professional cricketer has participated in the prestigious program.
Like Rizwan, Babar is also delighted at getting the chance to experience one of the best classrooms in the world with the top leaders in various industries coming from different countries.
“I am a lifelong learner and I have had detailed chats about this program with Prof. Elberse and [Talha] Rehmani. My inspiration for joining this world-class program at Harvard is to connect, explore, listen, learn, grow, and give back to the community worldwide. I am sure there are scores of things to learn from the amazing athletes and top business executives from the entertainment, media, and sports industries who are coming from corners of the world,” said Babar.
“Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam are global icons and bigger than what they do on the cricket field. Their participation in this program is also important for the representation of cricket as a global sport as billions of fans enjoy it globally,” said Talha, a Fulbright scholar. He attended Carnegie Mellon University for his master’s degree in Robotics.
“As the USA is investing increasingly in the cricket world, I am positive that this is only the beginning of a new historic chapter for cricket. We have worked extremely hard for this to happen and are grateful for the opportunity to gain experience and learn from the best minds in the world,” he added.