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Business Undergraduates Meet Legendary Investor Warren Buffett in Omaha
Twenty students from the Seaver College Business Administration Division recently flew to Omaha, Nebraska, for a Q&A session with legendary investor Warren Buffett. The students also ate lunch with Buffett and accompanied him on a tour of two of his companies in Omaha.
A lifetime entrepreneur, Buffett has always had a knack for investing. As a young child, he often bought Coca-Cola from his grandfather's grocery store to resell for a profit. At just 11 years old, he bought his first stock. As he grew up, he took advice from his mentors Ben Graham and Phillip Fisher and applied them to his personal investing style. Today, Buffett is regarded as "the Oracle of Omaha" and one of the most prominent investors in history.
“I can honestly say that this trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” says student Steve Padis. “When I read The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (written by Alice Schroeder with Buffett’s cooperation) in my freshman year at Pepperdine, I became captivated by Buffett’s life. The opportunity to meet one of my heroes was truly exciting.”
“The highlight for me was the question and answer session and the lunch that followed right after—I was not expecting someone of such high caliber to be so personable and relatable,” says student Ariana Almeida. “He kept the students laughing throughout and made sure that he gave well thought out and detailed responses to every single question.”
Jere Yates, professor of organizational behavior and management at Seaver College, contacted Buffett to give his students the opportunity; Buffett hosts selected business students every fall, and the competition is tight. Out of the 250 universities that applied, only three were chosen to attend the event. “I think this is an important opportunity if for no other reason that that it inspires and motivates the students,” says Yates. “They dream bigger dreams as a result of that. Plus, they picked up insights about business from one of the greatest investors the world has ever known.”
During the question and answer session, students asked Buffett for advice on a wide array of topics ranging from investing to choosing companies, making investment decisions. and what he would have done differently in his career if given the opportunity.
Associate professor of finance Levon Goukasian accompanied the student group to Omaha and was impressed with their level of preparation and professionalism. “They read about him, about his investing philosophy, and the art of investing,” he says. “It was nice to see how our students were preparing their questions, the maturity of their questions, and to some extent, what they had learned and mastered in their finance courses. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to visit one of the best investors of all times and learn from him—Buffett gave some good tips for success.”
“Much of Buffett’s advice regarded making good choices,” agrees Almeida. “It’s all about motivation, focus, and drive. I absolutely think there are still opportunities for the ‘next’ Warren Buffett to emerge with a certain amount of enthusiasm and good decision-making.”