20 Minutes With Warren Buffett
Some call him the "Oracle of Omaha." Some just call him Mr. Buffett. Whatever you call him, one thing's for sure: getting an audience with the world's richest man (according to Forbes) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Here's a recap of the meeting the students at San Diego State University's Montezuma Money Management (MMM) had with super-investor Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) annual meeting this Saturday, May 3.
'A Cultural Experience'
"The trip was amazing... We really had a great time," says Dave Seaton, MMM's CEO.Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting is part high-level debriefing, part spectacle. Forbes' Robert Lenzner referred to it as, "Mecca for investors." Indeed, the call for this pilgrimage is a strong one. Omaha's Qwest Center saw 31,000 shareholders gather last weekend to hear what Buffett and his team had to say. "It was a cultural experience," explains Seaton. "One of the things that was really neat for me was going to a place like Omaha, and immediately, every taxicab you get into, every restaurant owner you run into, all of them are normal people that are multi-millionaires because they've been investing in Berkshire Hathaway for the last 10 or 20 years. Pretty much the whole community is built around Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway." The meeting's glitzy side wasn't lost on Seaton and his fellow students, though. "Some people call it the Woodstock of capitalism, but it's true," says Seaton, "it's really a whole rock star event." "On Sunday night," recalls Seaton, "we went out to dinner, and Bill Gates [Microsoft's (MSFT) chairman of the board], Charlie Munger [vice chairman of Berkshire's board] and Warren Buffett [Berkshire's board chairman and CEO] were sitting at the table next to us. It's impressive to see the amount of influence these three guys have -- just sitting there eating their dinner." Quality Time While the students from San Diego State had hoped to ask Buffett for career advice, their plans changed a little when they found out that they weren't going to have as much time with Buffett and Munger as they had expected. "All together, we only ended up having about 20 minutes with him," recalls Seaton. "Even so, it was still really special because out of something like 31,000 people, we were the only group that got to meet with him and take a picture."
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