As a student at the business school at Rice University, I had the opportunity to meet Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. If you follow the now 86 year old business magnate at all, the "Oracle of Omaha" was just as you might imagine - jovial, optimistic, playful, wise, and candid...
...and maybe even a bit flirtatious with the ladies! I certainly got an enthusiastic kiss on the cheek from Mr. Buffett. All in good fun though. I loved every minute of it.
About 100 or so MBA students from around the country started the day at Nebraska Furniture Mart, one of Mr. Buffett’s first purchases. It seems that every business encounter and dealing of Mr. Buffett's comes with an entertaining story, and the Nebraska Furniture Mart certainly has one. More on that below.
We were invited to meet with Mr. Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway Headquarters after touring the NFM facilities, and then were invited to join him at his favorite lunch spot, Piccolo's, which unfortunately closed their doors last year. In his usual jovial and folksy manner, the spry 80 year old billionaire imparted the words of wisdom to us. He said that he was an open book and to ask any question. Here are a FEW of the amazing and hilarious nuggets he shared with us that day-
**Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded in 1937 by a Russian immigrant woman called Mrs. B. She was about 4’ 10”, couldn’t read or write, and was widely known as one of the sharpest and also one of the most irascible women in business. NFM went on to become the largest home furnishing store in North America with the simple business tenet “Sell cheap and tell the truth”. In 1983, she sold a majority interest to Mr. Buffett with a one page contract in simple, straightforward language. Mrs. B signed with an X. If you know Mr. Buffett’s investment philosophy, you know that he looks to buy companies with strong management already in place, and he intends to keep the management team in place after the acquisition. Mrs. B continued managing Nebraska Furniture Mart up to 103 years of age, when she officially turned over the reins to her grandson in 1997.