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Investing in the future

5/7/2012
Students & alumni attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha.

While many celebrated Cinco de Mayo, TLU alum Dave Sather and a few lucky students were in the company of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. As director of the university’s Bulldog Investment Company, Sather, along with senior accounting majors Philip Bauch, Kevin Haugen and TLU alum Jon Zahradka, traveled to the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
Led by founder Warren Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger, the Berkshire Hathaway event is a yearly gathering where the who’s who of finance mingle, answer questions and offer economic strategies. This year, Sather and his group had the opportunity to not only hear risk management advice from Buffett and Munger, but high-profile value investors like Whitney Tilson, Mohnish Pabrai and Mario Gabelli. The interaction with such influential people in this field is what Sather said is most beneficial for students.
“A textbook can talk about ideas but actually being in a room with lots of very successful people in the field you plan on going into brings extra benefits you can’t get in the classroom,” Sather said. “Anyone could get a transcript of the Berkshire Hathaway meeting, but being there and discussing how to implement what you’re learning into reality truly sticks with you.”
As a senior accounting major in the master’s program, Bauch is thankful he had the chance to see so many icons and now plans on attending the event annually.
“I learned about Berkshire Hathaway 11 years ago when I first became interested in the stock market,” Bauch said. “I never expected to be sitting in a room with two of the wealthiest people in the world. It is very impressive to watch Buffett and Munger answer questions off the top of their head while remaining very calm.”
Zahradka, who now works at Sather’s financial firm as an analyst, compared watching Buffett answer questions to seeing Michael Jordan play basketball.
“You know he is one of the greatest of all time and you just feel grateful that you get the chance to be there,” Zahradka said. “He is truly a living legend and he will only be around for so long. It was a great experience being able to take some of his wisdom with me.”
Sather hopes his students also took away Buffett’s message of leaving the world a better place.
“With all of the problems the economy has seen in the past ten years, Buffett always talks about how we must constantly be both honest and successful in the business world,” Sather said. “Having good ethics is part of being a productive and contributive member of society. That’s another important idea I know students took away from this experience.”

Learn more about Business Administration, Accounting and Economics at TLU