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AUS students meet legendary business figure Warren Buffett
Twenty finance students from the School of Business Administration (SBA) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) met legendary business magnate, investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska, in the USA late last week. The students attended a question and answer session, as well as lunch, with Warren Buffett. Meeting with Buffett was part of a trip which began on March 31 and will end on April 6. AUS students were the first selected from the MENA region to make the trip that included visits to Buffett's companies.
This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed undergraduate business students to gain insight from one of the greatest investors of all time. The students also benefited from visiting top institutions in New York, the financial capital of the world.
AUS was part of a group of the world's most select universities to receive an official invitation from Berkshire Hathaway, an American multinational conglomerate holding company chaired by Buffett and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
Students were also given guided tours of three of Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiaries: Nebraska Furniture Mart, Borsheims and Oriental Trading Company. While in New York, they toured Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as the headquarters of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Students also met with the guru of asset valuation, Professor Aswath Damodaran.
The AUS group is accompanied by two faculty members: Dr. Narjess Boubakri, Professor and Head of the Department of Finance, and Dr. Mohsen Saad, Associate Professor of Finance.
Commenting on the visit, Dr. Boubakri said AUS students were the ones that travelled the furthest, coming all the way from the UAE to meet this legendary man, and were invited to speak first. This is the first time ever a university from the MENA region was invited to meet with Buffett. The trip had been informative at both professional and personal levels. "While preparing for the trip, we had heard how such a visit has been a life changing experience for those who already had a chance to meet with Mr. Buffett. But it comes short of describing how impactful it has actually been for all of us there," Dr. Boubakri said. "We learned so much on the professional and personal level including about being better persons, remaining humble no matter how successful, love life and work, and being ambitious, and ethical," she added.
Participating students also expressed excitement and said the visit inspired them. One of them, Shahrukh Siddiqi, said, "Meeting Mr. Buffett was a surprisingly humbling experience. I ended up getting invaluable advice to add to my set of skills, and was amazed by Mr. Buffett's simplicity, wittiness, humor, and intelligence."
Another student, Rishabh Bafna said, "Meeting Mr. Warren Buffett was one of the unforgettable experiences for me and it will be etched in my memory for many more years! I was amazed by Mr. Buffett's energy and humor at the age of 85, his humility and simplicity in thought, even though he is the one of the richest men in the world. His analogy of making good friendships to going long on a financial market instrument was a strong thought for me and has provided me with a different perspective of living a good life. I would like to mention that our 30 hours of travel to Omaha was worth it to witness and talk to the 'Oracle of Omaha'."
The students who organized the trip are part of Finance Executives, a non-profit student-based academic organization at AUS, which aims to promote student development. Designed to serve as an intermediary between students and the corporate world, the group organizes various activities including lectures with corporate executives, study tours, competitions and other events that provide career-enhancing opportunities.