Business Technology Grad Goes From Barista To Supply Chain Operations With Starbucks


Chris Barber never thought his part-time job would land him his full-time career.

Having grown up on the competition’s coffee with lots of milk and sugar, the Ryerson University grad admits it wasn’t until he moved to Toronto to study Business Technology Management that he was first introduced to Starbucks‘ coffee – and its culture – by a friend.

“I have only been working in the office for a few months, but I already have a development plan and had the opportunity to job shadow someone in a role that is of interest to me.” —Chris Barber, Customer Service Representative – Supply Chain Operations, Starbucks

“I started to visit the store regularly because it was close to campus,” Chris says. “Not only is the coffee really good, but I also saw that it was a great place to work.”

It wasn’t long before Chris became a Starbucks partner – Starbucks’ name for employee  – working part-time as a Barista.  Within his first five months,  he was promoted to Shift Supervisor, where he was able to balance school and internships in his field – the perfect student job.

“The flexibility and people really fit my lifestyle,” he says, adding that Starbucks health benefits, which are offered to full and part-time partners, are great for students.

After graduation: Taking the next step

Upon graduating from Ryerson, Chris was ready to take the next step in his career.

“My store manager suggested I apply for a contract role at the head office in the Supply Chain Operations team,” he recalls.  While at first Chris was uncertain about how his university experience and skills would apply to the role, he found he was a great candidate for Starbucks and Starbucks a great fit for him.

“Throughout the process, I met many Starbucks partners and it gave me a clear idea of the work I would do, the office environment and the people I would work with.”

Starting out as a part-time Barista in university, today, Chis is now a permanent Starbucks partner, supporting the company’s Canadian store operations.

Starbucks: Opportunity to be more than an employee

“In my current role I support our store operators with any order issues and inventory questions,” Chris explains. He ensures they have the products they need when they need them by working closely with Starbucks’ carriers, vendors and warehouses across Canada.

He also puts his business technology management knowledge and skills to work with  Starbucks’ information systems, which include inventory management software and customer relationship management tools.

Chris says that he has felt supported by Starbucks from the beginning – first by his store manager and now by his colleagues at Starbucks’ head office.

“I have only been working in the office for a few months, but I already have a development plan and had the opportunity to job shadow someone in a role that is of interest to me.”

He’s also using Starbucks’ tuition reimbursement program to start studying Portuguese, which he has always wanted to learn and is looking toward the future, thinking about how he can make an impact at the company in business technology.

Chris’ career advice for students

“As a new grad, you may not start where you thought you would and there is no ‘perfect opportunity’. You need to get your foot in the door and work your way to that position you dreamed of,” he says.

He recommends finding a company that’s a good fit for you and will allow you to carve your own path.

“Be patient – the experience will come.”

For people wondering if Starbucks might be that fit, Chris suggests going into a store and meeting with a store manager.

“If you like being involved in your community and meeting new people all the time, then Starbucks could be a great fit for you!” he says.

A job at Starbucks is the beginning of something big, something better. It’s an opportunity to be more than an employee. Become a partner.


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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.