Meeting the Oracle of Omaha

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The thing you need to know about going to lunch with Warren Buffett is to save room for dessert.

Earlier this month, 20 Tippie MBA students joined with visitors from several other business programs across the country to tour the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart, speak with staff at Borsheims (a Buffett-purchased jewelry store), and sit down for a meal with the Oracle of Omaha himself.

Buffett and Ben Clark

Mr. Buffett's endorsement has to mean something to potential employers, right?

Prior to lunch Mr. Buffett spent two hours answering students’ questions, offering his thoughts on everything from choosing a stock to picking a spouse.  He took up the issue of tax policy calling for increased shared sacrifice among the ultra-rich who aren’t paying their “fair share.” He spoke to his plans for succession at Berkshire Hathaway – pointing to the increasing responsibility of Todd Combs and Ted Weschler for managing equity.  And when asked how he would build a business if he had to start over again today, Mr. Buffett explained that he would work to start running a business as early as possible – exactly as he did with his first paper route at age 13.

At Piccolo Pete’s, a longstanding Omaha steakhouse, the entire group was treated to lunch.  I tucked into my hefty NY strip a side of fries, and enjoyed a cold glass of Coke (Berkshire owns approximately 7% of the beverage giant).  The steak was cooked perfectly, and just as I ate to the point of over-fullness the waitress reappeared with a tray of root beer floats.

“You gotta drink it,” a colleague told me, as he pointed over to Mr. Buffett.  “Look, Warren already finished his!”

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