【S】Conversation Lunch with Howard Behar and Scott Armstrong

Almost every quarter, 12 CISB (Certificate of International Studies in Business) students get an opportunity to talk with executives who work in the international business field in an intimate setting, called “Conversation with Global Business Leaders”. This opportunity was set up by Howard Behar, the former president of Starbucks Coffee Company International; where he would bring different executive to talk with us for an hour, and I always get so much out of it. I think this was the third time I participated, and I have to say it is part of my favorite experience in CISB. 🙂

This quarter he brought Scott Armstrong, the Owner and CEO of Brenthaven, who had previously worked in Starbucks, Bausch & Lomb, and Expedia, and has lived in several countries including Taiwan. 🙂 I always love meeting different people, especially ones with such diverse background and international interest (maybe because this is something we have in common). I don’t know…there’s something really exciting about that, and I’m just curious and interested in listening to their stories. And of course, I really admire their courage and success. 

Anyways, I thought I’d share what I learned from this session. Like many college students, sometimes I also feel a little lost about what to do post-graduation, simply because there are so many options and possibilities. And their advice gave me exactly what I need right now.

About Job Searching

  • Informational Interview: e.g., “I’m interested in what you do, can I buy you a cup of coffee to chat and learn more about your company?” (I’ve done a couple of them, and I always take away some good advice. If anything, it’s pretty fun learning about what they do and their experience, especially for college students who have limited “real world experience”) 
  • Go for the “Fit”: Do you fit in the company culture? Do you identify with their values?
  • During interview, ask “in-depth” questions, such as the company’s values, showing that you have done your research and that you are curious. 
  • Cover Letter: written specifically for the company. 
  • Your resume should show your stability, record of success, relevant experience, “interesting stories/experiences”, differentiation.
  • During interview, you should never be surprised– do your research beforehand: does the company match your values? How does one get in trouble in this company? What are some possible interview questions? …etc 
  • Control the interview: show that you are thoughtful and meaningful. 
  • Talk about your passion and now that can bring value.
  • Build relationships

About Networking

  • It’s not just about who you know, but whether or not you have a “relationship” with them. People like to work with who they like. (I guess this ties into following up and actually getting to know them…etc, not just “I got your name card last year during a networking event”.)
  • Networking is about genuinely wanting to get to know them. Not asking for a job. 
  • Talk to people, talk about them. Be curious, be helpful. 
  • Other ways to meet more people (particularly if you are in a new place where you don’t know anyone): Volunteer for things you like/care about, LinkedIn. 
  • You can read more tips on networking from my previous blog article: Networking 101.

About Life/Career Decisions

  • Just ask: if you don’t ask for it, you may never get it. Generally people are very kind and willing to help. (e.g., I want to help your company…)
  • When you are thinking about what you want to do, think about what is it that you try to accomplish? What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to learn? What are your values and what do you care about? Does this decision match your goals? 
  • Whatever you do, be intentional– so that you don’t feel guilty or feel like “I should have…” later on. You are the only person in charge of your life.
  • How to have a fulfilling life? Wear the same hat you wear throughout the day. Be yourself.  You are you.

I love getting inspired. Every time after an authentic and meaningful conversation I get this feeling of…hope, energy, enthusiasm and…happiness. I don’t really know how to explain it, but maybe listening to people’s interesting stories makes me believe that our own future is full of possibilities and potentials. Plus, since all of our lives are so different, it’s always fun to hear about other people’s stories and experiences. It’s kind of the same reason why I love reading novels and watching movies?

Anyways, I’m blabbering too much. But hope this is interesting and helpful to some of you as it is to me 🙂



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7 thoughts on “【S】Conversation Lunch with Howard Behar and Scott Armstrong

  1. Pingback: ?S?Conversation Lunch with Howard Behar and Scott Armstrong … | Marisol Nichols Twitter

  2. 這天下之大 感動人、振奮人的事情何其多 但妹妹能記載下來 已經是〝實踐〞某個不知名、無以名狀的小小夢想第一步了! 持之以恆 一定會看到自己發光發亮的那一天!

  3. Wow 🙂 Yeah I love listening to inspiring speeches, it’s great that you try to attend so many of these networking events…I can’t agree more, especially “be curious”, people always love to talk about themselves, so having relevant and in-depth questions to ask during interviews/netwokring events is so important!

    I remember mom or dad once said that he/she loves listening to speeches because we spend an hour to listen to their 人生精華!!!

    about linked in though, i remember you took a class in spain that helped you with it? could you tell me more about it? i don’t really use my linked in but i heard it’s helpful…..how?

  4. Pingback: 【S】It’s Not About the Coffee- Howard Behar (I) | ♥Pair’adise / sharon&nora's交換日記♥

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