Road Trip to Omaha

Investment management students from the Lubar School of Business travelled to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha in May, joining close to 40,000 attendees comprised primarily of the company’s shareholders from around the globe.

“This experience gives our students the unparalleled opportunity to learn from two of the most well-known investors of all time,” says G. Kevin Spellman, director of the Lubar School’s investment program, who led the study trip. “Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger provide words of advice on strategies for investing, their thoughts on industries and stocks, and even helpful pieces of advice on life.”

Berkshire Hathaway, of course, is the widely diversified business led by chairman and chief executive officer Warren Buffett.  The annual meeting has been dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalists” because of the masses who attend each year to hear from Buffett and Munger, the company’s vice chairman.

Among the topics covered at this year’s Q&A session with the two executives was Wells Fargo’s recent sales scandal (Berkshire owns 10% of Wells Fargo stock), which Buffett attributed to a significantly misguided incentive system, and made worse by executive inaction.  Berkshire Hathaway’s relatively new and growing position in Apple (currently more than $18 billion) was also a subject of discussion.  Historically, the company has not invested significantly in the tech sector.

“Some people dream of seeing their favorite athlete or musician in action, but for me, nothing compares to the opportunity to attend the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting,” says Carl Schemm, a student in the MS in Management-Financial Analysis program as well as the highly competitive Investment Management Certificate Program.  “Although the investing knowledge I learned is tremendous, my greatest takeaway from this trip was witnessing the humility and ethical qualities of these gentlemen.”