Business, Politics & Society

Values and Profits Are Not Enemies

Howard Schultz

Lesson time 11:33 min

Howard shares the origin story of Starbucks, and how he built a company where values and profit are not in conflict.

Howard Schultz
Business Leadership
Former Starbucks CEO shares lessons from nearly 40 years of leading one of the world’s top brands.
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Build a Business That Lasts

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rose from a childhood in public housing to leading a company that revolutionized the way the world drinks coffee. With no formal business education, he relied on his values while growing a 13-store chain into a global brand with more than 250,000 employees. In his 90-minute video series, Howard shares what he’s learned about business leadership and being an entrepreneur.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I love hearing from Billionaires on the inside journey that they take to build companies. I would like to hear more about the pitfalls and mistakes as well as the right decisions and advice.

I have learnt the power of pouring your heart to the company, courage to make hard decisions and the humane nature of treating employees

Learned a bunch and took pages of notes to apply to my own company. Awesome.

loved it - Howard says "take the moral high ground and jump in the pool" you believe it.


Michael Stephen W.

Learning from mistakes and understanding the culture and needs of the consumers in the target market are some of the many factors i can say helped Starbucks successfully plant its root in various countries.

shawn M.

if the business has a much lower gross margin, how should we balance the values and profit?

Judah S.

Wondering if the business dynamics vary in most countries or only in non Western cultures like China?

Bart M.

It is never too late to listen to local people who know about the market better.

Kris S.

I'm lucky enough to work for a firm that offers benefits to the 20 and 30 somethings that I wish I had at their age. I would be intrigued to learn the details of the parental health care coverage offered in China and how that stacks up against revenue and profits. Would it ever be possible in the US?


Im married to a Chinese women and I thinking to myself, how in the world did he ever crack China. It would have never occured to me to involve the whole family. Ive been to the starbucks in Vietnam. In Vietnam prices are much cheaper for items than here in the US yet Starbucks charges the same prices as they do in the states, The place is always packed with locals and tourists. Starbucks is a status symbol in Vietnam so many of the Vietnamese clientele are affluent. That's what I see on the outside. Internally Im not sure of the difference in styles they use in employee management.


Employe care and customer values go a long way. I am not the biggest fan of Starbucks, as the Americanisation of the product doesn't suit my taste (hey, and the burnt beans) but I do recognise those good practices and that it was the sparkle for the flame of the 3rd wave of coffee.

A fellow student

I would love to work for Starbucks Corporate office. I have always loved Howard Schultz’s leadership philosophy.

A fellow student

I couldn’t believe it that Starbucks has done the thing that I have dreamed about for my parents in US! Kudos to Howard! I came to US right after college. I got two master degrees in US and have worked for the top banks and financial firms. None of them has the option of providing health insurance for employee’s parents, even I am willing to pay! I hope one day my dream can come true here.

Suze Yalof S.

Thank you so much Howard for sharing your story! Before I opened up my company my biggest dream was to have you help me and now you are! I love MasterClass!