Warren Buffett Offers Advice to Students
Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is a philanthropist and one of the wealthiest people in the world. Referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha”, he is known for his plain-folks manner; common-sense approach favoring simplicity over complexity; priceless wisdom and personal frugality.
Every March, tens of thousands of people travel to Omaha, Nebraska for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting. A favorite part of the event is the Q and A, where Buffett answers questions for hours.
In separate events, the 79-year old billionaire also hosts informal question-and-answer sessions with school groups.
His advice to students is considered by some to be “life changing”.
At a time when many college graduates face uncertain futures and are struggling to find jobs, Buffett advised students that, “investing in yourself is the best thing you can do — anything that improves your own talents.” He advised parents that, “investing in your children is, in some ways, investing in yourself.” “No matter what happens in the economy, if you have true talent yourself, and you have maximized your talent, you have a terrific asset.”
Speaking with students at Rice’s Graduate School of Business, he didn’t give out stock tips, but offered the following: “unconditional love is more valuable than any amount of wealth.” He urged the students to surround themselves with people who love them, and to give love in return. When asked what he thought about the correlation between wealth and happiness, he explained that “success is getting what you want, and happiness is wanting what you get.”
When speaking at Columbia University, Warren Buffett said: “find what turns you on…. do what you would do if … the money meant nothing to you… You’ll have more fun and be more successful”.
Speaking with Emory University students he offered the following, “I enjoy what I do, I tap dance to work every day. I work with people I love, doing what I love. I spend my time thinking about the future, not the past. The future is exciting. We’re all successful, intelligent, and educated. To focus on what you don’t have is a terrible mistake.”
At Notre Dame, Buffett told students that taking a Dale Carnegie public speaking course was extremely valuable and that the ability to communicate is a very valuable skill that played a critical role in his success.
On a more general note, Buffett counseled an MBA student: “Be a nice person. It’s so simple that it’s almost too obvious to notice. Look around at the people you like. Isn’t it a logical assumption that if you like traits in other people, then other people would like you if you developed those same traits?”
When offering students life and career advice, Buffett has stressed the importance of pursuing work that one is passionate about; being patient; reading, thinking and learning; and working smart to reach one’s potential.
Buffet has encouraged students to use all their horsepower. “How big is your engine, and how efficiently do you put it to work?” Warren Buffett suggests that many people have “400 horsepower engines, but 100 horsepower of output”. According to Buffet, the person who gets full output from a 200-horse-power engine is a lot better off. Those with a modicum of intelligence can be very successful.
Buffet started his business career as a child working at his grandfather’s grocery store and delivering newspapers, two of about 20 businesses he tried by the time he graduated from high school.
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