David Sokol, CEO of Mid American, one of the many firms he has a majority share in, called him the “Einstein of Business”. He is the second richest man in the world. One share of his company Berkshire Hathway is worth close to 90,000 dollars. Yet, he drives his own car. Warren Buffet is an epitome of simplicity.
Whether it’s deciding on which business to put his money in or which stock to pick, Buffet takes a fancy only to things that are understandable to him (and in his own words understandable to most).
There was a loud roar in the hall, which housed the IITians along with students from Chicago Business School when Buffet said “I asked my friend Bill Gates that if there was one school he wanted to recruit from which one would it be. And the answer was IIT”.
IIT is not unfamiliar to Buffet. Ajit Jain, one of his most trusted Managers is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. Vinod Gupta, one of the most distinguished alumni from IIT and because of whom this trip was made possible, is an old acquaintance of Buffet. Buffet said, “I would love to have more like Ajit from IIT”.
It was about a year back that Vinod Gupta floated this idea of bringing a good bunch of students from the IIT B School to Omaha, Nebraska. Apart from meeting Buffet, the idea was not only to expose them to faculty from global schools like University of Omaha (UNO) but also to top honchos from Fortune 100 corporations. VIN, as he is called in the US says” I wanted to change the lives of a whole bunch of people from the IIT business school”. It was an opportunity that many students didn’t want to miss.
During the eight daylong stay at the campus, the students attended workshops on international finance, competitive intelligence, strategy, marketing of high tech products etc. These sessions were also attended by faculty from VGSOM, who had the opportunity to interact with some top class global professors. Afternoon sessions were devoted to corporate visits. These sessions were most fulfilling from the students’ standpoint.
Jim Young, the CEO of a company like Union Pacific stood in front of students along with his top Management discussing everything about his company viz- its long term strategy, operational tactics, challenges, and limitations of the company. “The openness and clarity with which these companies interacted with the students, speaks a lot about the relationship that University of Omaha shares with these Companies and also the respect that American Corporations have for IIT” said Deepak Khazanchi, a senior Professor from UNO.
Conagra, another top Corporation, did the same by using the presentation that they used for their investors. InfoUSA (Vin Gupta’s company), 400 million dollar organisation was another one of the Corporate visits during which Rakesh Gupta, CEO interacted with the students in an equally long and informative session. Gallup and Nebraska Furniture Mart were the other companies that the students had the privilege of meeting.
Evenings were fun that included a visit to the baseball stadium and apart from parties and interaction with UNO students from all over the world. “This was an opportunity for VGSOM to fuel its growth and I am happy that we have come out much stronger” said Mr Probir Gupta, the Dean of VGSOM.