2011 warren buffet recap
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The Warren Buffett Trip Smart Woman Securi t i es presents
MARCH 31st: Union Pacific Visit TD Ameritrade Visit Page 2 Executives Reception and Dinner Page 3
APRIL 1st: Nebraska Furniture Mart Visit Q&A with Warren Buffett Page 4 Lunch at Piccolo Petes with Warren Buffett ConAgra Foods Visit Page 5 SWS Exclusive Dinner with Warren Buffett Personal Reflection Page 6
APRIL 2nd: SWS Interactive Event Page 7
On March 31st, we wel-comed 20 members from the eight current chapters of Smart Woman Securities to Omaha, Nebraska. This was the fifth annual SWS trip to visit Warren Buffett, and all the students were excited to hear Mr. Buf-fett's insights on business, in-vesting, careers, and life in gen-eral. Mr. Buffett fielded ques-tions in a two-hour Q&A ses-sion and graciously answered questions over steak and root beer floats during an exclusive dinner with SWS members.
In addition to spending time with Mr. Buffett, SWS mem-bers visited ConAgra Foods, Nebraska Furniture Mart, TD Ameritrade, and Union Pacific, where students heard from a variety of business profession-als. SWS members also inter-acted with industry leaders at the Business Executives Din-ner, which was a great oppor-
tunity for students to engage with executives on a one-on-one basis. The trip concluded with an SWS Interactive Event, where members shared best practices across the eight cur-rent chapters. The trip gave SWS members a well-rounded sense of different experiences and perspectives in the busi-ness and investing worlds.
We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Mr. Buf-fett for his willingness to host SWS members for our fifth visit. It was a tremendous hon-or to be invited back again. We would also like to thank Carrie Kizer in Mr. Buffetts office for her help in planning the trip. Additionally, we would like to thank our various speakers and dinner guests for sharing their experiences with SWS mem-bers. Lastly, we wish to thank the SWS Chapter Trip Direc-tors Rebecca Horne, Ford-
ham; Bridgette Taylor, Dart-mouth; and Lisa Yu, Harvard who committed their time, energy, and ideas to ensure that this trip was successful. Please read on to learn more about the experiences during this years trip.
Tiffany Niver, Teresa Hsiao, and Tracy Britt
Smart Woman Securities National
Le t te r f rom SWS Nat iona l
March 31, 2011 - April 2, 2011 Omaha, Nebraska
Overheard in Omaha
I like to evaluate things in a vacu-um... If I dont know enough to come to my own opinion about it, I dont want to learn someone elses opinion.
- Warren Buffett
When hiring someone, I have three criteria I am looking for them to meet. I call them the three I's. One is intellectual curiosity. If they get the interview, they are smart, but I want to know if they want to learn more. Two is intensity - do they have the passion and drive? And three is integrity.
- Dean Hollis
Don't worry about hav-ing an impact right away. If you love what you do, it will impact the world.
- Joe Moglia
By ALYSSA DENNING, YALE 13
The twenty representatives of the eight chapters of SWS embarked on their first company visit to Union Pacific, one of the largest freight rail companies in America and a competitor of Berkshire Hathaways recently acquired Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The first stop was the Harriman Dispatch Center, often called the Bunker because of its ability to withstand natural disasters, which coordinates Union Pacifics around-the-clock operations to move 2,000 trains across the country each day.
SWS delegates gathered in a glass-enclosed room looking over a floor of dispatchers, each surrounded by four to eleven computer monitors. Union Pacifics remote dispatching of trains requires a delicate balance between tech-nology and employees to keep traffic flowing and efficient. Rebecca Horne, a
Fordham sophomore, later summed up everyones first impression: It looked like a trading floor!
After a short video on Union Pacifics history and a question and answer ses-sion, students followed Charles Eisele, Senior VP of Strategic Planning and Ad-ministration, to the Heritage Fleet in Council Bluffs, IA. This site contains historic Union Pacific trains that have
TD Ameri trade
Union Pac i f ic
By: REBECCA HORNE, FORDHAM 13
Rather than taking a more traditional tour of TD Ameritrades headquarters, trip participants were treated to an inti-mate discussion with one of the most formative executives in the firms histo-ry. Joe Moglia, the firms current Chair-man of the Board and former Chief Ex-ecutive Officer, spoke at length on topics ranging from career advice to romance to life philosophy.
First, Mr. Moglia spoke about the state of TD Ameritrade when he joined as CEO in 2001. Rather than being dis-tracted by all of the problems at hand, Mr. Moglia chose to focus on three pri-orities: clients, shareholders, and associ-ates. By creating an energy surround-ing this three-pronged approach to busi-ness, Mr. Moglia was able to separate this firm from every other financial firm in the world. With this key differentia-tion on its side, TD Ameritrades assets under management grew from $24 bil-lion to $400 billion under Mr. Moglias leadership.
Through his experiences with TD
Ameritrade, his football coaching ca-reer, and numerous personal obstacles, Mr. Moglia developed his personal phi-losophy of spiritual soundness. Pro-fessionally, a spiritually sound person leverages his or her core competencies as competitive advantages. In a personal sense, Mr. Moglia claims that spiritual soundness means getting to know who you are, what you are good at, and what you like.
He overcame so many obstacles . . . and stuck to his principles of spiritual soundness throughout his entire life, said Jiaxi Huang, a sophomore from Cornell. He is a very reflective per-son.
Finally, Mr. Moglia left SWS with some tips for interview success. Among other skills, he stressed that how you handle yourself under stress will differenti-ate you from everyone else. These comments capped off what proved to be a very memorable experience for all of the ladies in attend-ance.
THURSDAY | MARCH 31, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
been refurbished to look like original passenger cars from different historical eras. Car designs ranged from sleepers paneled with African mahogany to old cargo cars turned into exercise rooms. Nicole DSouza, a sophomore at Ford-ham, excitedly noted her fascination: I take the [New York] train home all the time, and I never realized trains could look like this.
DARTMOUTH PERSPECTIVE By BRIDGETTE TAYLOR, DART-MOUTH 13
Overlooking the Missouri River at Ricks Caf Boatyard, the ladies of Smart Woman Securities conversed with Omahas top business executives over hors doeuvres and dinner.
Before sitting down to dinner, SWS members circled around various executives to discuss their experiences and industry knowledge. Within these conversations, Dean Hollis, a Senior Advisor at Oaktree Capital, recalled his favorite acquisitions, while Robert Maher, the Vice President and Investment Manager of Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, described his
work with non-profits.
Paulina Karpis, a sophomore from Dartmouth, described the early interac-tions: It was so interesting to hear from these men and women. It was a great op-portunity to talk with them more person-ally and learn from their careers.
Each SWS member was then assigned to speak with a specific executive during dinner. I joined David Brown, the Presi-dent and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Omaha Chamber. Mr. Brown is a Dartmouth alumnus and nostalgically reminisced about his Dartmouth days and football career. After laughing over Homecoming tales and quirky professors, Mr. Brown went on to describe Omahas
unparalleled culture and explain why businesses came to the city.
In addition to sharing valuable career advice, Mr. Browns stories and success reminded me of the variety of fields ac-cessible with a Dartmouth degree. At times, it can often seem like the only field Dartmouth graduates can enter is finance. Mr. Brown offered a refreshing perspective as someone who escaped the trend, and sought a profession he genu-inely loved.
Jenna Zerker, a sophomore at Dart-mouth, agreed: Becoming a leader in the Chamber of Commerce is a career I never thought of, but after talking to Mr. Brown, it sounds so interesting.
Executives Reception and Dinner
COLUMBIA PERSPECTIVE By LILIYA MUKHAMADYAROVA, COLUMBIA 12
Our first dinner in Omaha was a warm welcome from the heartland of America. We met men and women from a variety of fields such as financial ser-vices, investments, retail, transportation, and biomedical research. The atmos-phere was different than I had expected: All of the executives were very excited to meet us and help us in the pursuit of our dreams.
I personally spent most of dinner in the company of Charles Eisele, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning & Administration at Union Pacific. Mr. Eiseles contagious passion and in-depth knowledge of the railroad industry strongly reinforced the importance of pursuing fields we truly enjoy. When I attempted to test his knowledge with a tricky question about 19th century rail-
road grants from my history exam, he easily responded with far more infor-mation than I had ever learned.
Another inspiring executive at my dinner table was the President of Streck Labs, Constance Ryan. Ms. Ryan, a moti-vational and successful woman, shared with us the experience of being one of the few female executives in the industry. Interestingly, Ms. Ryan does not believe in the glass ceiling for women in busi-ness. She spoke of several occasions, especially in her frequent trips to a hier-archical and conservative Japan, where she was regarded very highly and widely respected.
The executives graciously shared their wisdom and insights with us over a deli-cious meal, and we are all very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with these executives and benefit from their experience and advice!
Business Executive Attendees
Robert Batt, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Furniture Mart
David Brown, President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber
Charles R. Eisele, Senior Vice Presi-dent, Strategic Planning & Administra-tion of Union Pacific
Dean Hollis, Senior Advisor at Oaktree Capital
John Kotouc, Chairman and CEO of American National Bank
Robert Maher, Vice President and In-vestment Manager of Woodman of World Life Insurance Society
Joe Moglia, Chairman of TD Ameri-trade
Constance Ryan, President of Streck Labs
THURSDAY | MARCH 31, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
By CINDY FAN, COLUMBIA 12
On a sunny Saturday, after visiting the Nebraska Furniture Market, we had our first meeting with Warren Buffett. The Q&A session began with Mr. Buffett reading aloud from his two-page contract with Mrs. B, the former owner of Ne-braska Furniture Mart. The important thing to remember, he concluded, is that mistakes are not made by environmen-tal liabilities or some legal contract. Mis-takes in deals are made by miscalculating the future economic atmosphere of the industry. With intelligent insights and interesting personal anecdotes, Mr. Buf-
fett expressed his opinion on a broad range of topics, focusing especially on his criteria for looking for good businesses around the globe: competitive dynamics of the compa-ny in the industry, reliable management, and a price that is undervalued in relation to future earnings power. When asked about his success, he emphasized the im-portance of communication skills. Learn how to communicate, and you will make yourself at least 50% more valuable. Mr. Buffett weaved his vivid story into several philosophies he holds in both investing and his personal life. Cracking jokes, Mr. Buf-fett illustrated the importance of pricing
power with an example using Sees Candy: Pricing [of candy] really does not make a difference [in demand]. Every fall I walk into my bathroom and say Mirror, mirror on the wall, how much should I raise the price of candy this fall? And the mirror says, A lot. If the mirror does not say a lot, I will get a new mirror. With his fa-vorite Coke in hand, Mr. Buffett spoke with a high level of energy that excited everyone listening. Lisa Yu, a senior from Harvard, remarked, Mr. Buffett is so pas-sionate when he conveys his thoughts that I cant help but feel excited and want to learn more.
Buffett said he wasn't sure whether or not Mr. Gra-ham was alive when he first learned about him.
Questions ranged from his profes-sional views on investing international-l y , h i s thoughts on quality man-agement and the recent Lubrizol acquisition to more social issues such as American poli-tics and philanthropy. His sunny optimism in life permeated throughout his answers, especially when he defended the future of America, reminding us of the mechanisms that first made America a land of oppor-tunity for all. He also touched us greatly with his thankful attitude towards his lot in
CORNELL PERSPECTIVE By JIAXI HUANG, CORNELL 13
Walking briskly into the ballroom of the historic Field Club, Warren Buffett introduced himself to the audience with a genial wave - one never would have guessed that he was a day over 60. The moment he entered, students in attend-ance from various schools across the world were immediately warmed by his positive energy and enthusiasm. It was hard not to be impressed with his elo-quence and charisma, a quantum leap from the days when young Mr. Buffett was once terrified of public speaking. Throughout the two hour session, Mr. Buffett never showed any signs of fa-tigue, answering each of the questions comprehensively, peppering his answers with personal anecdotes, clear and in-sightful analysis, and jokes with his down-to-earth sense of humor and wit. Melba Madrigal, a junior from Cornell, gives an example: I loved hearing the story about Mr. Buffetts first interaction with Ben Graham. It was really funny when Mr.
life through the question he posed to each member of the audience Suppose you were offered a chance to change your posi-tion in life by forfeiting your lot in the life lottery and randomly picking any other 100 lots. Would you take that offer? Most of you wouldnt because you are the upper 1% of humanity. And for that, you should be grateful.
Q&A with Mr. Buffett
PAGE 4 FRIDAY | APRIL 1, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
By AMY HINZ, BOSTON COLLEGE 13
On Friday, SWS members, along with students from seven business schools, toured the largest home furnishing store in the United States, Nebraska Furniture Mart. The Executive Vice President, Robert Batt, kindly gave us a tour of the facilities and a glimpse of the friendly
culture that keeps customers coming back time and
time again. Paulina Karpis, a sophomore from Dartmouth, commented, It was an extraordinary store and lived up to Mr. Batts description of it as the Disneyland of the Midwest. The furniture department was state of the art, with bright yellow walls, bold signs, and a convenient layout. Throughout the tour, Mr. Batt emphasized the companys mission to satisfy all customers, no matter what their price point or style. For that rea-
son, Nebraska Furniture Mart offers the good, better, best, and the really best. The fact that all 200 visitors were able to sit in a different recliner chair served as an exam-ple of Nebraska Furniture Marts dedica-tion to supplying customers with variety. The appliance and electronics department, added to expand the companys economic moat, was just as impressive and massive. The company appears to have a bright fu-ture ahead and as Jiaxi Huang, a sopho-more from Cornell, stated, Mrs. B really created a great legacy!
Nebraska Furniture Mart
HARVARD PERSPECTIVE By BEATRICE LIEM, HARVARD 11
As a senior whos attended more than her fair share of lunch-with-professionals events, I expected our lunch with Warren Buffett to the same: Someone would say a few words, Mr. Buf-fett would talk, wed sit down to an Omaha steak while watching Mr. Buffett from afar, and wed thank him for his time before leaving Piccolo Petes. But as with everything, Mr. Buffett has never been one to be categorized as ordinary. Throughout lunch, Mr. Buffett smiled happily through a barrage of photo-graphs that might have tested a lesser mans endurance. He was so patient, says Lily Mu, a freshman from Yale.
After lunch, the photos continued as Mr. Buffett merrily posed for pictures with each of the two hundred plus attendees. When it was our turn, Mr. Buffett demonstrated his extraordi-nary sense of humor by hugging, kissing, high-fiving, and even proposing to the girls in their photos! If I were him, Id get so annoyed by the picture after picture after picture, but he wasnt. says Boston College sophomore Amy Hinz. Instead, Mr. Buffett did what he always seems to dohe en-joyed himself.
Mr. Buffetts man-ners are so different from those of the ste-reotypical no-nonsense businessman, and it is refreshing to see an eighty-year-old man acting with the energy of a teenager. He ex-ceeds all expectations and is one of the nic-est, most genuine, in-telligent, down-to-earth, and funny peo-ple I will ever have the pleasure of meeting.
Lunch with Mr. Buffett
FORDHAM PERSPECTIVE By NICOLE DSOUZA, FORDHAM 13
The lunch with Mr. Buffett was the first time the other stu-dents and I witnessed the way Mr. Buffett interacted with oth-ers, and I felt it demonstrated how patient, kind and funny he truly is. Given Mr. Buffetts fame and success, it can be intimi-dating being in his presence, let alone speaking with him. How-ever, his easygoing nature and friendly attitude made me feel comfortable. During lunch, we were able to get a sense of his gracious personality and great sense of humor by simply watch-ing how he interacted with all of the students.
Conversation at the SWS table revolved around each stu-dents experiences and plans for the future. The SWS National members also took the time to share their personal stories, providing anecdotes of finding new interests through recruiting and working. I was very motivated by the stories of how each of the three SWS National members found her current job and passion. The recounting of these experiences reminded me of the importance of taking risks and exploring new interests when
seeking a passion that will make me want to tap dance to work each day.
Following lunch, Mr. Buffett took the time to take individu-al photos with all of the 200+ students. I am so grateful to Mr. Buffett for taking the time for an amazing Q&A session, a deli-cious lunch, and a very special photo. It will be something that all of us in Smart Woman Securities will remember forever.
By GWENDOLYN TILGHMAN, YALE 14
On Friday afternoon, Smart Woman Securities visited ConAgra Foods, an amalgamation of 90 different operating companies. Cori Reed of the ConAgra Foods Foundation first emphasized ConAgras presence in the American food industry: We are in almost every shelf and aisle across a typical grocery store and are in 98% of households. Rich McArdle, Vice President of Re-
search & Development, reflected on his role as an innovative thinker, generating new ideas for products such as the Pop Up Bowl, which is microwave popcorn that actually pops in a bowl instead of a bag to avoid messiness.
Brand Director of Marie Callendars, Jenn Freeman, emphasized the importance of driving shareholder value by delivering the brand. To strengthen the Marie Callender Brand, ConAgra recently bought Marie Callenders pies and has increased sales by 13% in the past year. Finally, Stacey Taylor, Vice President, Non-Commodity Ingredient Procurement de-
scribed the process of cultivating toma-toes from farmers for use in ConAgra products.
At the end of the presentation, the ConAgra representatives were asked about how they balance work and family life. Upon learning that two of the women employees are supported by stay-at-home fathers, Paulina Karpis, a sophomore at Dartmouth, remarked, It was really inter-esting to see how the women at ConAgra had adapted to the 21st century in that their husbands stay at home with the chil-dren. Overall the experience was really inspiring.
FRIDAY | APRIL 1, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
YALE PERSPECTIVE By LILY MU, YALE 14
Everyone in Smart Woman Securities was thrilled to have an exclusive dinner with Warren Buffett at one of his favorite restaurants, Gorats Steakhouse.
The dinner was set up so that Mr. Buffett would rotate between three ta-bles, in order for each of us to ask him our individual questions and interact with him on a closer level. As Mr. Buffett sat
down at our table, he jokingly proclaimed, Looks like I just got voted off the other island, causing everyone to break into laughter.
The topics of conversations were diverse, ranging from Mr. Buffetts view on the me-dia, the Lubrizol deal, to playing bridge fourteen hours every week. Mr. Buffetts story-telling abilities were a testament to his intelligence, charisma, good humor and warmth. With jokes and laughter, quiet tales of contemplation and reflection, Mr. Buffett
kept us all captivated with his intriguing and often humorous tales.
As the evening came to an end, Mr. Buffett shared a very personal story with us. He told us about his wifes love and warmth and how she had helped him con-nect with others and appreciate the world, making him into the man he is today. Per-haps one of the most valuable lessons to take away from the dinner is our capacity as humans to form trustworthy relationships with others.
at ease. Questions about the industry, his personal life, and his marriage philosophy all came forth in conversation.
Paulina Karpis, a sophomore at Dart-mouth, said, Warren Buffett is the most extraordinary person I have ever met, and I valued the time I spent with him at the dinner. He had a great story for every ques-tion, whether it was about investing in In-dia or marriage advice.
Julia Yue, a sophomore at Princeton, offered a similar perspective; It was amaz-ing having dinner with Warren Buffett. I really liked talking to him in a more per-
PRINCETON PERSPEC-TIVE By TUGBA RONA, PRINCETON 14
Dispersed around three tables at Go-rats Steakhouse, we were all excitedly awaiting Warren Buffetts arrival. Mr. Buffett rotated from table to table, taking the time to personally interact with each SWS member. At every table, he asked each member to introduce herself with both her background and future plans. He was genuinely interested in everyone and despite the nerves prior to his arri-val, his amiable nature soon put everyone
sonal context and hearing his advice not only about investing and careers but also personal life. Hes extremely personable and truly an amazing individual in every aspect.
Our interactions and conversations with Mr. Buffett were very pleasant and relaxed but also extremely enlightening. Mr. Buffett answered each of our questions with de-tailed stories, bringing a different perspec-tive to many frequently asked questions. I am sure I speak for all the members of SWS when I say that this is a dinner I will never forget.
SWS Exclusive Dinner with Mr. Buffett
greatest take-aways from the trip. Meeting Mr. Buffett was fantastic. I
learned so much from hearing him an-swer questions at the Q&A session and at the SWS exclusive dinner. He revealed the significance of being in a position where your work is your passion. Hear-ing his candor, watching his jolly nature, and understanding the basis of his suc-cess inspired me to be as honest as pos-sible with my qualifications when decid-ing on a career field.
The lessons learned from Mr. Buffett were also emphasized during the SWS dinner with Omahas successful business
By SARAH OLSON, BOSTON COL-LEGE 13
Being as this was my first stay in Omaha and my first time meeting stu-dents from other chapters of SWS, I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know how these three days would change my life perspective. The company visits were informative, as the companies operate in industries I knew very little about.
Conversations with Warren Buffett and various CEOs, however, were the
leaders. Joe Moglias remarks on spiritual soundness encouraged me to focus on my core competencies and find my passions in my strengths.
FRIDAY | APRIL 1, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
By MELBA MADRIGAL, CORNELL 12
From ice breakers, to group activities, to the individual chapter brainstorming, the interactive event was the perfect opportunity for everyone to learn from one another and share experiences to improve each SWS chapter. With mem-bers from all eight schools, we started the morning with casual icebreakers to warm up, so that we would be ready to dive deeper into improving our chapters.
Next, we moved on to building our financial analysis skills by evaluating anonymous industries solely based on key financial ratios. My group was deter-mined to quickly and correctly match the unknown numbers to the correct indus-try. After Teresa Hsiao, SWS Co-Founder and a member of SWS Nation-al, asked how we were doing and left our
group without much criticism, I could see the confidence and passion build within the members of our group. Nicole DSouza, a sophomore from Fordham, was excited: We are good at this... I like it! We decided that we could incorpo-rate similar hands-on activities into our chapter's educational curriculum.
The bulk of the morning was spent on evaluating our chapters and brain-
storming ways to improve them. Every-one found these sessions useful as we learned how to address our weaknesses as well as benefit from the experiences of other chapters. Lauren Wallace, a sophomore at Boston College stated, It was helpful to hear what the other chap-ters were doing and this event gave me insight into new initiatives our chapter can take on.
Boston College Amy Hinz 13 Sarah Olson 13 Lauren Wallace 13
Columbia Cindy Xinyi Fan 12 Lilya Mukhamadyarova 12
Cornell Jiaxi Huang 13 Melba Madrigal 12
Dartmouth Paulina Karpis 13 *Bridgette Taylor 13 Jenna Zerker 13
SWS Interactive Event
SATURDAY | APRIL 2, 2011 THE FIFTH ANNUAL WARREN BUFFETT TRIP
Fordham Nicole DSouza 13 *Rebecca Horne 13
Harvard Connie Choi 12 Beatrice Liem 11 *Lisa Yu 11
Princeton Tugba Rona 14 Julia Yue 13
Yale Alyssa Denning 13 Lily Mu 14 Gwendolyn Tilghman 14
It was so great to finally meet the man behind the legend. With his down-to-earth personality and his great sense of humor, War-ren Buffett made an excellent din-ner guest. In this short time, I was given his insights on love, the insur-ance business, the bright future of America, and the best steakhouses in Omaha. The experience was truly unforgettable.
-Amy Hinz, Boston College 13
Mr. Buffett and the various business executives were extremely generous with their time. They gave us compre-
hensive and detailed answers to all of
our questions. Im really thankful that
they were willing to do that for us.
-Lily Mu, Yale 14
If there was anything that could con-vince one about the importance of find-ing ones passion in life, it would be meeting Mr. Buffett in person. You could feel the passion burning within him that powers his mental agility as well as his love for life, investing, and the people around him. Wit-nessing his larger than life personality was the best part of the trip and this could never have been adequately captured by any auto-biography or trip recap.
-Jiaxi Huang, Cornell 13
Special thank you to Lisa Yu, Harvard Trip Director, for overseeing and editing this Warren Buffett Trip Recap Project.