Eight Ithaca College students were among the 40,000-plus who attended the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, popularly known as the “Woodstock for capitalists.” They were there as guests of three shareholders with IC connections, who, for the second year in a row, offered the opportunity to top-performing business students to get a taste of real-world investing.
Among the highlights: a chance to gain some pearls of wisdom from Berkshire’s plain-spoken chief executive officer, Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors and among the world’s five wealthiest people. He and long-time partner and company Vice Chairman Charlie Munger held forth for five hours answering questions from shareholders, who line up as early as 3 a.m. for the 7 a.m. meeting to ensure they get a spot in the 17,500-seat arena. Latecomers must watch video feeds in other venues.
The IC contingent arrived at 5:15 a.m. “When the doors open, people literally run to get good seats,” said one of the trip’s organizers, Jay Muenzen ’02, director of IC’s investment program and an instructor in the business administration program, noting that the IC contingent “walked fast.”
The meeting was part of a three-day trip organized by Muenzen and Jeff Bush ’10. The tour kicked off with a full day at the Wichita, Kansas, headquarters of multinational conglomerate Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in the U.S. Bush is a manager of a strategy and business development group within Koch’s agriculture and energy subsidiary, KAES. He facilitated a day of conversations with Koch colleagues and senior executives, who offered advice on navigating career paths and what Koch looks for in job/internship candidates, and provided examples of a day in the life of Koch corporate development analysts.