“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, has said some of the wisest things anyone has, and the quote above is just one of them. A group of Fisher students applied this first-hand when we had the enviable opportunity to hang out with Warren Buffett himself!
We arrived in Omaha and had a great time at the Upstream Brewery in the downtown area. After a good night’s sleep at the Doubletree hotel, we were up and about in our best suits, ready to get started with the day planned for us. First stop was the Nebraska Furniture Mart. This place was HUGE! We had the honor of hearing from VP Bob Batt, who shared with us the history of the firm, its family business roots and its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway. Here, we met with students from several other business schools from around the US.
After an enlightening tour of the furniture mart, we boarded our bus and headed to the Field Club, where we settled into our seats, sipping coke and waiting with bated breath. Right on time, Mr. Buffett walked in with that endearing smile on his face and accepted the excited applause gracefully.
After a brief speech about his passion for meeting young business professionals, he dove straight into a Q&A session with the students. Each school had their turn and students came up with some excellent questions for Mr. Buffett. His profound wisdom and encyclopedic knowledge of value investing, and even life in general, shone through in all his answers. Mr. Buffett wove in some amusing and insightful anecdotes from his life and relationships that left us the better for having had the opportunity to listen to them.
Mr. Buffett emphasized the importance of doing what you love, with the people you love, from the home you love. He truly believes that opportunity exists for those who seek it, and advised us to be proactive in our careers. He was a careful listener, and made sure to fully understand a question before answering it. Of global economy and politics, he gave his honest opinion about his concern for certain policies and behavior, but indicated that he was very positive about the future of both the developing and developed world.
After more than 2 hours of this valuable interaction, we left for Piccolo’s, Mr. Buffett’s favorite restaurant! A few lucky students got to travel with Mr. Buffett in his limo, and a few more had the enviable privilege of sitting with him at his table. The rest of us enjoyed some excellent Omaha steak and the highly acclaimed root beer float! After a great lunch, Mr. Buffett humored each and every one of the 150 or so students with photographs both plain jane and goofy! Some of the guys got into arm wrestling matches with him, while a few gals actually got him to go down on one knee and “propose” to them! His humility and patience was disarming and truly inspirational.
I think we all left for Columbus rejuvenated by the experience and filled with a new found love for life and a motivation to strive for success. I am immensely thankful that I had the opportunity to meet such a marvelous human being.