UW College of Business Students to Meet with Warren Buffett

April 10, 2012

It has taken University of Wyoming Assistant Professor Hilla Skiba four years on a long waiting list to get her finance class students the opportunity to meet with business icon Warren Buffett.

Nineteen finance students in the UW College of Business will spend nearly five hours Friday, April 13, with Buffett, widely regarded as one of the world's most successful investors.

The UW students, along with other invited students from around the country, will meet in Buffett's office of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Neb., where he is the company's primary shareholder, chairman and CEO.

Students will engage in a two-hour question-and-answer session with the "Oracle of Omaha," followed by a luncheon and photo session with Buffett, who is regarded as one of the top five wealthiest men in the world.

"I attended three of these Q&A sessions with Mr. Buffett as a graduate student at the University of Kansas," says Skiba, who has been in the UW Department of Economics and Finance since 2008. Investments are her specialty. "As soon as I got here, I put us on the waiting list, and at that time there were at least 200 schools in front of us."

She always knew the "investment junkies" in her classes would relish the opportunity to meet Buffett, who is famous for building a company that made its investors higher-than-average returns. He has become a sought-after voice in philanthropy and government finances and is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people.

Skiba says there are many ways to teach investing strategies to students (short-term trades, indexing type investments), but she has patterned her style of Buffett's philosophy: buy and hold long-term investment strategy.

"Meeting Buffett, when I was a student, was very influential on me. Students need to have good role models, professionally," she says. "He has shown the world how to be successful and to be ethical -- to do it the right way. I am hoping that my own students will be responsible with their finance degrees, because this profession needs more people like Buffett."

Buffett holds five to six student sessions each year, saying this is one of the favorite programs he conducts, Skiba says. She says that a handful of lucky students will be able to personally ride with Buffett to the luncheon, and up to 10 students will sit with him at the luncheon to further engage in private conversation.

"If they are like me, they will be interested in his advice," she adds.

Afterward, UW students will visit Borsheims (a Berkshire-owned company) and meet with either the company's CFO or CEO.

Buffett has made headlines recently during the early presidential campaign for advocating hiking taxes of people earning $1 million or more a year, which has been dubbed the "Buffett Rule."

Skiba says her students are forming questions now in hope that they will be selected to ask Buffett his thoughts on various subjects.

Nicole Choi, Department of Economics and Finance assistant professor, also will attend the meeting with Buffett, along with the following 19 UW students:

Benin, Nigeria -- Odion Oisamoje.

Buffalo -- Toni Schumacher.

Butte, Mont. -- Daniel Markovich.

Casper -- Drew Hays.

Chico, Calif. -- Alex James.

Fort Collins, Colo. -- Cliff Peterson.

Gillette -- Eric Becker, Trevor Hixson and Michael Merryman.

Hanoi, Vietnam -- Duong Do.

Mandan, N.D. -- Katie Cusack.

Newcastle -- Jeremiah Decker.

Novosibirsk, Russia -- Anya Zhurkova.

Rapid City, S.D. -- Michael Campbell and Clayton Schwahn.

Sheridan -- Matt Edwards and Kaitlin Inchauspe.

St. Petersburg, Russia -- Alexandra Shuman.

Teramo, Italy -- Marco Iachini.

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