The brilliant business move all universities should know about

Starbucks’ partnership with Arizona State University could herald an effective way for students to get meaningful degrees–and turn a university into a powerhouse.

Sean Wandzilak /

The announcement this weekend that Starbucks is partnering with Arizona State University to offer free online college degrees to thousands of its baristas raised a number of questions. First and foremost: Arizona State who?

In unveiling its new “College Achievement Plan,” Starbucks put the spotlight on ASU, calling it one of the “most forward-looking universities in the country.” It illuminated an aggressively growing public university in the Phoenix metropolitan area that has been quietly earning academic standing and a reputation for innovation. What probably helped cement the deal is that the university’s sense of civic responsibility matches that of the coffee company.

We don’t want to heap too much praise on Starbucks Corp., as it still make a tidy fortune on the backs of thousands of low-paid workers slinging extra-caffeinated beverages and baked goods. The company reported a profit for the three-month period that ended March 30 of $427 million.…Read More