Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Students Get Tips from Famed Investor
The Oracle of Omaha. The Wizard. The Sage. Famed investor Warren Buffett is known by many names to the masses, but to a select group of students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston who had the opportunity to visit with him personally in mid-March, he became a newfound mentor.
Twenty students from the college’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship got to talk shop with Buffett during a tour of Berkshire Hathaway headquarters and lunch in Omaha, Neb.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came at the request of Buffett himself. Since 2009, he has included UH Bauer in his exclusive list of schools invited to spend time with him. The center’s namesake, Melvyn Wolff (BBA ’53), is chairman of Star Furniture, a Berkshire Hathaway company.
Alongside leadership from the program, the students traveled from Houston to Omaha to spend one-on-one time with Buffett and participate in a question-and-answer session, where they could ask for his take on just about anything. The discussion led to a call from Buffett for the students around him to take time to appreciate their ample resources.
“One of the points that Mr. Buffett spoke on that stuck out to me the most was his outlook on the U.S. economy and the deficit we face today,” entrepreneurship senior Adam Cooper said. “He said that we need to realize exactly how lucky we are to have been born in this era, rather than the decade of the Great Depression, and that we are ever so lucky to have the technology, medication and communication we have become so accustomed to today.”
The students were also able to speak to Buffett about specific issues that related to their own business plans and aspirations. Entrepreneurship senior Jessica Bolanos, who is beginning a social entrepreneurship endeavor that aims to solve low literacy rates across the globe, posed the question, “What advice would you give to social entrepreneurs starting organizations to help resolve the global issues of the world, such as access to education and poverty alleviation?”
“His response was to ‘look for the heroes’ in my particular sector. Whoever is leading the organizations that I look up to…find those heroes and say, ‘Here I am! Now what are you going to do with me?’ Mr. Buffett said those leaders would not only have more access to funding, but would also be inspirational on my journey as well.”
Being selected to attend the trip was a great honor, Cooper said.
“We were among some of the best and brightest students in the nation, asking the most successful investor in the world questions about business, politics, advice and his personal life,” he added.
“The thing that blew me away was that out of all the schools who attended — Harvard, MIT, Yale — we were the only undergraduates allowed. If that doesn’t show the magnitude of the WCE program and the successful students who are enrolled in it, I don’t know what does.”
By Amanda Sebesta