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Can This MasterClass Turn You Into a Business Genius?
Career Growth

Can This MasterClass Turn You Into a Business Genius?

The internet has been a boon for distributed learning. First came opportunities for self-directed research, like Wikipedia and Investopedia. Soon enough, actual higher learning institutions opened up online shops, allowing students to enroll from across the globe. The latest iteration of online learning focuses on personalized instruction in specific fields, offered via outlets like MasterClass.

Though the site offers classes from dozens of experts across multiple subjects, entrepreneurs will likely be most interested in former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s MasterClass in business leadership.

What’s A MasterClass?

MasterClass is a website that offers anyone access to lessons from some of the best minds in their fields. The instructors tend to be extremely high-profile: Think cooking lessons from chef Gordon Ramsay, acting lessons from Natalie Portman, or music production tips from Timbaland.

MasterClass offers multiple access plans. For $180 per year, you can stream their entire catalog of classes, which as of now boasts 50+ celebrity instructors. Some (but not all) classes are offered a la carte, though that usually comes at a steep markup. In all cases, the classes are streamed in short-ish, easily digestible video segments.

Who Is Howard Schultz?

Howard Schultz is a world-renowned businessman, best known for his role as the CEO of Starbucks, which he held from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017. He’s also a former owner of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics, and was heavily involved in the team’s sale and eventual move to Oklahoma City.

Most of the modern touches you associate with Starbucks -- the rewards program, the mobile payments, the innovative coffee drinks -- were Schultz’s brainchildren. His second stint as CEO came at a time when the company was experiencing rapid growth, but only because they were opening so many stores; same-store sales were flagging. By closing weak stores, calling for technological upgrades, and retraining the entire company, Schultz got the company back on the path to organic growth.

What Will I Learn In The Howard Schultz MasterClass?

The Howard Schultz MasterClass focuses on business leadership from what feels like a high-level perspective. Here’s the course listing:

  1. Jump In
  2. Values and Profits Are Not Enemies
  3. Be Curious
  4. Don’t Pioneer. Disrupt.
  5. Focus and Get in the Mud
  6. Find the Right Investors
  7. Coffee Break
  8. Overinvest in Culture
  9. Hire a Values-Based Team
  10. Don’t Manage. Lead.
  11. Cannibalize Yourself
  12. Real Leadership: What Do You Do in Crisis?
  13. Onward

As you can see, it’s pretty pie-in-the sky stuff, more a collection of guiding principles than specific business advice. The course is structured in such a way that entrepreneurs will find the A-Z nature useful, but people in current managerial roles should still find plenty to get out of it.

All told, the 13 videos span 90 minutes. (It should be noted that chapter 7, “Coffee Break,” is literally Howard Schultz showing you how he makes his favorite French press coffee.)

Howard Schultz MasterClass Pros And Cons

Should you sign up for Howard Schultz’s MasterClass in business leadership? Consider the following to decide for yourself.


  • Howard Schultz is world-renowned as a successful business executive
  • The course takes a holistic, high-level approach that could apply to any business
  • Howard provides insights at all phases of a business’s lifecycle, making it useful for both budding entrepreneurs and seasoned managers.


  • It’s extremely high-level, not technical. If you don’t have a formal business education, a 90-minute course won’t teach you the basics of finance, accounting, and management
  • Howard Schultz only has one perspective. If you’re truly looking to become a business leader, you’ll probably have to supplement this course with classes and books from other business icons like Jack Welch and Carl Icahn.
  • It’s expensive. Right now, the Howard Schultz MasterClass is only available as part of the all-access package. If his MasterClass is all that interests you, $180 is a lot of money for 90 minutes of Howard Schultz talking (and making) coffee. But if the rest of the catalog interests you, it could be a great value.

If you decide it’s for you, you can sign up for the class here.

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