Warren Buffett hosts Rice MBA students

On Friday, November 20, 2009, 27 Rice MBA students met Billionaire Warren Buffett. The visit to Mr. Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, Nebraska, included a two-hour Q&A session followed by a two-hour lunch treat. In addition to touring some of Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiaries including Borsheims and Nebraska Furniture Mart, each student had a personal photo session with Mr. Buffett.


 
“The Buffett visit was an unforgettable experience. During the Q&A session, Warren Buffett proved to be a true stand-up comedian. He made numerous jokes while answering questions about politics, economics, and life. Buffett also confirmed his optimism about the U.S. According to Buffett, the U.S. has a great system that unleashes human potential. This system has always worked, and will always work, despite periods of recession and depression.”

 - Jan Goetgeluk ’10

   Goetgeluk
     

“Warren Buffett should not be admired mainly by his wealth, or achievements, but by his warm spirit, his intelligence and openness, his humble heart which strikes you. He is almost 80 years old, believes in long-lasting marriage, in commitment, in peace of mind, in surrounding yourself with the right people, in loving what you do, in following your passion — all to the way to be willing to work for free — and that success is getting what you want, and happiness is loving what you've got. Certainly, Mr. Buffett has success, but undoubtedly, he is one happy man.”

- Marcela Alanis Cantu ’10

     

“Some funny observations on Buffett:
 

I got a recreation of the pick-pocket photo that he did with his fraternity brothers at Wharton. Some guy wanted a photo with Warren putting the guy in a head lock. Warren just laughed and said, “Sure.” The guy goes over to him, and Warren just grabs the guy like a pitbull on a T-bone. He was tossing the guy like a rag doll. The look on the guy’s face was priceless. 
 

Our school gave Warren a gift and he told us to put it in his car. We asked, “Just go into your car and put it in there?” Warren says, “Yup. It’s over there. The door is open. Just go ahead and put it in there.”  Said it like he’s known us for years.

   Reuwer

During the joke about having a Nebraska football entrance for an AGM, Buffett claps, throws his fist in the air and jogs for a bit like he is running through the smoke. It was hilarious. For those of you who are obsessed with Seinfeld, “it was gold Jerry. GOLD!”
 

I admire Buffett far more after I met him (I didn’t even think that was possible.) He made everyone feel like he was their pal. He comes across like a boy in an 80-year-old man’s body (with the wisdom of a man that has lived 200 years.) He was fist pumping, cracking jokes constantly. He had more energy than most of the students there. The guy was beaming.”

- John S. Reuwer ‘10
 John Reuwer’s notes on Buffett Q&A

     

“Personally, there’s no other business personality that’s as complete as Mr. Buffett. He somehow minimizes his thorough business acumen through a combination of humbleness, wit, humor and even a paternalistic image so that people in general (and even those who do business with him) somehow don’t mind the fact that he is the world’s most sophisticate investor and does so by achieving high rates of return on the capital he deploys. For a good example of that, there’s his last year’s purchase of Goldman preferred stock with a cumulative 10% dividend.
 

For us as students, this was an opportunity to learn about Mr. Buffett’s “mental latticework” (a phrase coined by Mr. Charles T. Munger, Buffett’s longtime business partner and avid fan of Ben Franklin.) The fact that he is able to quantify human emotions and takes into consideration issues such as the relativity of time when analyzing business opportunities, made this experience all more worthwhile.”

- Jose L. Trevino ‘10




 

“Warren Buffett is an inspiring figure, and is a role model to me and many of my peers. I was mostly amazed by Buffett’s energy — he spoke for two hours straight, took us out to lunch, and then took individual pictures with at least 100 students. It was clear that his passions pushed him past the point of exhaustion. There are very few business leaders who so genuinely take interest in students’ careers.”

- Rohit Reddy ’10

 

   Reddy
     

“As Mr. Buffett indicated, unfortunately, people don’t always pick the right heroes and they sometimes get disappointed or let down. For reasons other than his financial position, Mr. Buffett should be viewed as a positive role model and hero to anyone that knows him or his background. The fact that he doesn’t do professional conferences or sessions, and only does them for the students as he knows they’re still impressionable, validates his preference to avoid the popularity and the masses and speak directly to those who can appreciate him most.

 

Although I entered the session thinking deeply about business with a strong investment focus, I left thinking more about personal goals, philosophies and morals, and how I can make sure I’m concerned with what matters most in life. As people often wonder about how he’s become the great person he has, it’s amazing that it boils down to strong morals, passion and selflessness. 

 

The Buffett trek was truly a moving experience and will forever be ingrained in my mind and as part of the wonderful Rice MBA experience.” 

- Scott Silvas ’10