Villanova School of Business Students Met with Warren Buffett

“The Oracle of Omaha” inspired and told tales of his life

Omaha, NE, October 22, 2010 — Warren Buffett, primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, met and dined with 20 Villanova School of Business (VSB) students and David Nawrocki, Katherine M. and Richard J. Salisbury, Jr. Endowed Professor of Finance, for a lunch and a Q&A session on October 22 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Salisbury Endowment provided the funding for the students and two faculty members to travel to Omaha for the meeting.

The students visited the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Headquarters for one of eight events each year that allow universities to get up close with the “Oracle of Omaha.” This year, over 200 schools applied to the lottery system that selected the 48 schools that would get to attend. This is the first year that VSB attended and they were the only Philadelphia region school that participated.

Prof. Nawrocki, oversees the Villanova University Equity Society, the only student-run organization that actively manages a portfolio of equity securities at Villanova University. He also teaches the student managed fund (SMF) classes that manages a portfolio of socially responsible, real-world investment funds and led the process that established the Applied Finance Lab, a state-of-the art financial research and teaching center. Nawrocki submitted VSB to the annual selection process to meet Buffett and took 13 students from the Villanova Equity Society and seven students in the student managed fund (SMF) classes on the trip.

“I thought that the stress he placed on public speaking was important as he said it is a message very few business schools send to their students,” said Nawrocki. “Part of his message was that it is far superior to go through life as a positive, friendly person who is compassionate about others.”

The seven slots for the SMF students were decided through a lottery. Over 30 students applied for the lottery and seven were selected from a drawing. This year, 8 women and 12 men had the honor of trekking to Omaha to learn from Buffett, widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world and an avid philanthropist.

Villanova School of Business was joined by students from the University of South Dakota, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Pepperdine University, the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin.

Buffett shared with the students his personal stories, life lessons and advice for the future during the two hour Q&A.

“Not only did Buffett talk the talk, he walked the walk,” said Amanda Leggio, VSB student and Secretary of the Villanova University Equity Society. “He had a noticeable glimmer in his eye and a spring in his step as he entered the room; we were all hypnotized by his energy.”

Buffett used himself as an example when he discussed choosing managers that truly love their job, he said, “I tap dance to work because I get to paint my own painting.”

When asked about China, Buffett stressed that the world is not a "zero sum society" and that Chinese growth helps the rest of the world, just like US growth helps the rest of the world.

“Warren Buffett was, as advertised, an incredibly humble and modest man, whose thoughts not just on finance related issues, but on leadership and people were simple, but at the same time, remarkable,” said Rob Haderer, VSB student and Co-President of the Villanova University Equity Society. “His ability to break down complex issues into several succinct points provided us insight into how his thought process works.”

The students also had the opportunity to tour Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheim's Jewelry businesses owned by Berkshire Hathaway and received a firsthand perspective on financial operations from Bob Batt, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Furniture Mart and Susan Jacques, CEO of Borsheim’s.

About Villanova School of Business
Founded in 1922, The Villanova School of Business is ranked #20 in the nation among undergraduate business schools by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The school is home to six Centers of Excellence in the areas of creativity and innovation; marketing and public policy; global leadership; church management; business analytics; and real estate.

Warren Buffet with VSB Equity Students

Warren Buffet with VSB Equity Students Society Students

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