By Jenifer Wong
Just a week ago, 20 students including myself had the incredible opportunity to meet Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska. The trip was organized by the Financial Management Association (FMA) and consisted of a Q&A session and lunch with Mr. Buffett as well as tours of three of Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiaries. In addition to the Eller College, undergraduate and MBA students from seven other universities (among them the Kellogg School of Management and the London School of Business) were invited to this exclusive event.
For two and a half hours we sat in a conference room and took turns asking Mr. Buffett questions about everything from finance to success to sports. Here we share some insight and advice from this remarkable individual.
- Evaluating Businesses: In terms of the stock market, investors should not necessarily be looking for the best businesses in the world, but rather businesses that they can understand and evaluate on future performance.
- Managing and Motivating People: “The two reasons I am eager to get work every day…I get to paint my own painting and I get applause for what I do. I figured if I like these things, why wouldn’t everyone else who works at Berkshire Hathaway?” In other words, empower people to take charge within their positions and award them for good performance.
- America Moving Forward: Mr. Buffett has an optimistic outlook on the country; the fact that real GDP has gone up 6 for 1 in his lifetime has proven that while the market system in America certainly isn’t perfect, it works.
- Finding Mentors: Associate yourself with people who are better than you are and who have qualities you admire; you will move in that direction.
- Giving Back to Society: “There is no better investment than yourself. You don’t even get taxed for it.” Develop your talents as best as you can and there will be plenty of opportunities to give back in your own way–wealth doesn’t have to have anything to do with it either.
- Follow Your Passions: “You want to work at a job that you would work at if you were independently rich.”
With all of the commotion that is happening in the next two months of our lives, hopefully you have found some inspiration in this as we were inspired by Warren Buffett. After all, “the world is always uncertain and we need to accept that. But these uncertainties should not paralyze us into inaction.”