On Friday, November 21st, twenty-eight of Wake Forest University’s MBA students had the chance to spend the day with Warren Buffett, the highly respected American businessman and owner of Berkshire Hathaway, investor and philanthropist who was recently named the world’s richest man by Forbes.
The one-day event in Omaha, NE was hosted by Berkshire Hathaway and included students from five other MBA schools from the United States and Canada. The day began with a guided-tour of the 500,000-plus-square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, with Robert Batt, a Mart executive vice president and grandson of founder Rose Blumkin. The legendary single-location Nebraska Furniture Mart got its start in 1937 when Russian immigrant Rose Blumkin ("Mrs. B") began selling furniture at a slight markup out of a shop basement. Her motto: Sell cheap and tell the truth!" Warren Buffett purchased a majority stake in Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983.
Following the tour, students gathered at Buffett’s downtown office for a three-hour question-and-answer session with Buffett, who is often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha.” The session was filmed by Fox News and will be aired in early December. Afterward, Buffett took the students to lunch at one of his favorite local restaurants, Piccolo Pete’s, where they dined on steak, parmesan chicken and root beer floats. After lunch each student had the opportunity to get their photo taken and speak one-on-one with Buffett. The day closed with a tour of Borsheim’s, a jewelry store owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and a question-and-answer session with Susan Jacques, CEO of Borsheim’s.
Josh Barwick, Wake Forest MBA ’09 student commented, “What stood out most for me from Warren Buffett was the simplicity of his approach to business. There are so many complicated theories we are learning as part of our MBA program, and they are all valid. However, understanding fundamentals and using common sense to make well informed decisions seemed to be how he has been so successful. Mr. Buffett has made sure that he fully understands the companies in which he is investing. The other thing that made an impression is the overall humility of Mr. Buffett. There are people I meet every day who have a much larger ego than he does."
The trip was led by David Perkins, MBA ’09, who has been a “fan of Buffett’s wisdom and inspiration” for nearly a decade. As an undergraduate, Perkins joined his uncle in Omaha each May for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, which is affectionately known as “Woodstock for Capitalists.” After the trip ended, Perkins commented on the experience; “It was more than I could have imagined. In addition to the day's events with Buffett and the Berkshire subsidiaries, I was just as thrilled to see the excitement from the other working professionals from the group. Several students made the comment they were too excited to sit down after having their photo taken with Buffett. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to spearhead this trip, it is something all of us will remember the rest of our lives.”
Link to Fox News Story