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During their day with Warren Buffett, Kellogg students toured a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, shared lunch with the billionaire investor and discussed investing and economic trends. “He’s a pretty optimistic guy,” said Kellogg Professor Robert Korajczyk, who accompanied the students on the trip.

Warren Buffett, Kellogg students toured a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary

Learning from the legend

Students in Kellogg’s Asset Management Practicum spend a day in Omaha with billionaire investor Warren Buffett

By Sara Langen

11/23/2011 - A Warren Buffett fan from the age of 15, Ryan Jordan ’12 recently had the chance to meet his investing idol on the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO’s home turf.

Jordan and 19 other Kellogg students spent Nov. 11 with the “Oracle of Omaha” as part of Kellogg’s Asset Management Practicum, an experiential learning program that allows students to manage an investment portfolio valued at $4 million. For Jordan, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“This past summer, a businessman bid $2.63 million for the chance to meet Warren Buffett and have lunch with him,” he said. “Buffett offers this opportunity on a semi-routine basis to MBA students for free. It’s hard to pass up that offer.”

Kellogg was one of eight business schools whose students traveled to Omaha, Neb., where they toured Nebraska Furniture Mart, a furniture retailer Buffett invested in more than 20 years ago. Before heading over to the billionaire businessman’s favorite lunch place, Piccolo Pete’s, students had the opportunity to ask Buffett questions during a question-and-answer session. During the discussion, Buffett emphasized the importance of reputation and gave his thoughts on the nature of investing and the economy, speculating on what headwinds the market will be facing in the future.

“He has a clear faith in the ability of the free market system to innovate and create jobs,” said Harry G. Guthmann Professor of Finance Robert Korajczyk, who accompanied the students. “He doesn’t feel the market gets it right all the time, but he said that’s where value is created. He’s a pretty optimistic guy.”

That optimistic outlook had a big impact on the students.

“As someone who has been through many business cycles, it’s reassuring to hear this from him,” Jordan said. “It’s also a refreshing message (after) what seems to be a persistent drumbeat of doom and gloom out there.”

But it was his approachable attitude and way with words that impressed Danielle Qi ’12 the most.

“He boiled some complex, controversial topics down to simple talking points, which made those issues feel more manageable and easier to find consensus on,” she said.