CBA students get chance for lunch with a legend

“The chance of a lifetime” may be just a cliché for most people. However, for a select group of College of Business Administration students at Northern Arizona University an upcoming trip to Omaha, Neb., actually will be the chance of a lifetime.

In October, these students will be having lunch with the second richest man in the world: Warren Buffett.

With an invitation from Buffett and with the support of CBA alumni, 41 CBA students will be touring two Berkshire-Hathaway facilities and will be involved in a two-hour question-and-answer session. During this time they will get to ask questions of the man whose estimated worth is more than $40 billion and who recently pledged most of his fortune to the philanthropic foundation of his friends, Bill and Melinda Gates.

“I can hardly wait to meet Warren Buffett, as well as getting an inside look into one of America’s most profitable and respected businesses, Berkshire-Hathaway,” said Jim Stone, a management major.

Accountancy major Christine Fimia-Moe has a slightly different take on her upcoming visit. “I have learned about great companies and business minds like Warren Buffett but they seemed theoretical,” she said. “This visit will let me see this in reality.”

The dream became a reality for the CBA students thanks to the efforts of Scott Coor, a CBA graduate.

Coor, vice president for Marketing and Sales for Trendwood, Inc., has a close association with Buffett’s Nebraska Furniture Mart and was instrumental in securing an invitation for NAU to come to Omaha for a visit. The airfare and lodging costs for the students were partially funded by Keith Newlon, another CBA alum and the president of Pioneer Title Co.

“It is an incredible opportunity for our students and a great reflection on the College of Business Administration and NAU,” said Mason Gerety, CBA dean. “It really is the chance of a lifetime.”

The students are understandably excited. Many of them are long-time admirers of the Oracle of Omaha and are preparing to meet their hero by reading articles, watching interviews, and generating questions to ask Buffett.

About 30 of these meetings with Buffett are scheduled by his staff every year and approximately 2,000 students attend. This visit will be the first for an Arizona university.

Generally, two or even three universities are invited to the same meeting.

NAU will be paired with MBA students from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. Gerety smiled as he related the comment of a member of the CBA Advisory Board: “Gee, I hope the kids from Northwestern can keep up.”