MEMP Student Gets Face Time with Warren Buffett

July 17, 2008

by Bridget Fletcher

When Pratik Shah, a Master of Engineering Management student from Aurangabad, India joined the Duke Investment Club, he expected to meet other students with a similar interest in investing and finance and to get some valuable networking opportunities. He did not expect a lunch meeting with Warren Buffett.

More than 150 students from Duke, the University of Tennessee, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were extended an invitation to dine with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska this past April. Buffett likes to meet with the younger generation each year to get a sense of how they view the world of investing. Shah, a lifelong Buffett idolizer and future investor, was lucky enough to attend.

In February 2008, Buffett’s net worth of $62 billion earned him the title of richest man in the world. With that kind of distinction, Shah expected that Buffett would be hard to approach, but was delighted to report that he was very down to earth and seemed genuinely interested in all of the student’s questions, though he was unwilling to offer direct tips for investing.

According to Shah, Buffett spoke very passionately about his commitment to charity and discussed the fact that he will be leaving a substantial portion of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which corresponds directly to his believe in higher education. Buffett sited Benjamin Graham, his professor at Columbia Business School, as his mentor and the reason behind his success. Shah said that hearing an endorsement for higher education from the richest man in the world resonated well with all of the students.

”Meeting Warren Buffett was one of the single greatest moments in my entire life,” said Shah. Before leaving for Omaha to meet Buffett, Shah told MEM Faculty Director, Jeff Glass, “This is a dream come true for me. I will be meeting him as a student tomorrow and hope to meet him as an investor someday.”