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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 16, 2004

photos: left, Tippie MBA student Jong (James) Woo with noted investor Warren Buffett; right, MBA students John Mickelson (left) and Matt Anfinson (right) give noted investor Warren Buffett a Iowa Hawkeyes shirt. Photos link to high resolution images.

Tippie MBA Students Meet Wall Street Legend

Every year, students in the Tippie MBA Program at the University of Iowa arrange personal visits with prominent industry leaders throughout the country. This year, Jafar Azmayesh, a resourceful second year MBA student, decided to test his networking skills by attempting to set up a visit with Warren Buffett, one of the greatest American investors in history. Azmayesh's tenacity paid off when Buffett agreed to the visit with MBA students from the Tippie Leadership Association and undergraduate students from the Hawkinson Institute of Business Finance. 

"I was thrilled that we were able to make this visit happen," states Azmayesh. "We were all impressed by how open, accessible and personable he was. His willingness to meet with us was just the first sign."

A group of 49 students made the journey from Iowa City to Omaha, traveling by chartered bus across the state. The group met with Buffett at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, for a 90-minute informal question and answer session. Buffett covered a range of topics including his views of Social Security and the state of the U.S. dollar to more personal thoughts on how he evaluates managers and leaders. Afterward, he took the students to lunch at Gorat's Steakhouse, where he continued with a more informal conversation on business. The day concluded with tours led by executives of two of Buffett's businesses, the Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheim's Jewelers.

For Derek Johnson, second year MBA student and president of the Tippie Leadership Association, Buffett's down-to-earth style impressed him. "He stressed the importance of taking your time, doing due diligence and that you really only need one good idea a year to be successful," he explains. "He was also extremely funny and told great stories."

"It's important for students like us to hear him say that he doesn't invest in the things that he doesn't understand," recalls second year MBA student Jeffery Rahm. "He believes it is important to invest within your circle of competence. In addition, he doesn't regret investments that he wasn't a part of, he concentrates on making solid decisions and seeing that those work out." 

Hawkinson Scholar and Masters of Accountancy student Brad Downes, stated that Buffett provided great insight into being successful as a young professional. "He told us how important it is to align your investments with your personal philosophies, that you shouldn't compromise your values. He told us to do what's right in your own opinion, not what others think is right. That's great advice for students entering the workforce to hear."

In preparation for the visit, all students were required to attend two meetings. Participants were provided with background information on Buffett and his companies and then participated in a mock question and answer session with Lecturer Brian Kelly. Kelly teaches both the Henry Fund and Krause Fund classes at the UI, which provide business students with a hands-on opportunity to manage real money funds. 

The visit was sponsored by Iowa State Bank and Trust; the Tippie School of Management; the Office of the President at the University of Iowa; and University of Iowa Student Government. As a token of appreciation for visiting with them, the students gave Buffett two gifts: an Iowa Hawkeye jersey and a gift certificate for a $20 account with the Iowa Electronic Markets.

According to second year MBA student Avery Robinson, "The personal exposure to Mr. Buffett will not soon be forgotten. The fact that we received an invitation to visit this business icon is incredible; this is a feat that even major players in the investment community aren't able to accomplish."

Warren Buffett has been referred to as one of the greatest Wall Street legends of our time. It is widely known throughout the investment community that when Warren Buffett makes a move, investors pay attention. Buffett is currently the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which holds investments in companies such as Coca Cola, GEICO, MidAmerican Energy and Gillette.

The Tippie MBA Program is devoted to providing students with the management training and skill development needed to succeed in today's business world. Students meet frequently with business executives through a series of in-house lectures and company visits. This exposure to working professionals, combined with a comprehensive business curriculum, ensures that Tippie graduates are prepared to make an immediate impact in the workplace.

The Tippie School of Management offers three MBA programs designed to enhance professional education: a Full-Time MBA; the MBA for Professionals and Managers (MBA-PM) in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities; and the Executive MBA, with programs in Iowa City and Des Moines. The Tippie School also offers an International Executive MBA program in Hong Kong and Beijing.

The Hawkinson Institute of Business Finance prepares top undergraduate business students for careers in investment banking, consulting, and finance services and provides them with access to firms that do not always recruit at the University of Iowa. Established in 1999, the Institute has successfully established Iowa as a school with talented, hardworking, and well-prepared graduates. In the past two years, the Institute has been able to place 100 percent of its graduates in firms around the country.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Writer: Barb Thomas, 319-335-2188.