I knew that Rady would open many doors for me, but I could never have dreamed that it would open a door for me to get the opportunity to meet a legend like Warren Buffett. Aaron Chiu (MBA ’16) and Rady Graduate Career Connections made this dream possible. Chiu, who had gone on a similar trip in the past, applied for Rady to be chosen to attend and partnered with Career Connections to organize it. We all hear stories about how humble, inspirational and generous Warren is, but meeting him in person turned these stories into a reality. He really focuses his entire life around making positive changes in the world and solving problems that no one else even attempted solving because of fear of failing. Warren says that you should never be afraid of failing because if you haven’t failed, you haven’t challenged yourself enough.
When I walked out of the airport in Omaha, snowflakes were falling and I already felt the magic in the air. Two friends in my “Radyfam” and I decided we would head over to Warren’s house so we could get more of a feel of who he really was and where he came from to get to where he is today. His house was very charming, but not extravagant whatsoever which is exactly who Warren is. He is an altruistic person and would rather give than spend his money in a selfish fashion. He is truly happy living in the same home he’s lived in for 30+ years in his welcoming, inviting neighborhood. He is content living a normal life and spending his money on things that really matter to him and that will make a difference in the world.
I could barely sleep the night before the Warren Buffett meeting because I was so anxious and excited and couldn’t fathom that it was finally happening. We had the opportunity to tour two companies that Berkshire Hathaway had recently acquired (The Nebraska Furniture Mart and The Oriental Trading Company) and that was an enlightening experience because we were able to see how successful these companies became after Warren became a part of them. Because he believed in them, they were able to turn things around and make the positive changes necessary to triumph in their perspective industries.
After touring, it was time for the Q and A session with Warren. Everyone was waiting with baited breath and when he walked in the room, you could feel the energy and the awe from the crowd. When he answered questions, he was so respectful and kind and painted his words into stories filled with hilarious jokes mixed in. I felt like it was my grandfather on stage giving me advice and truly caring about what I did with my life and who I became as a person. This is why it was such a moving and motivational talk because he personally connected with each and every one of us. It’s amazing that a man who is as busy and successful as he is wants to prioritize his time so that he can hold events like this to pass on his knowledge and leave behind a legacy.
At the luncheon, I was overcome with emotion from the Q and A session and almost in disbelief that I would soon be able to shake hands with this influential person who defines a generation and has provoked so much positive transformation in the world. When it became time for our group to go in for our picture, I handed Warren our surfboard gift to hold in the picture and he appeared touched by our kind gesture. While posing next to Warren for the photo, he was telling me about the last time he was in San Diego and stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado. I told him how much I love to go to there and how it’s one of my favorites spots in the city. I couldn’t believe I was making small talk with Warren Buffett. It was definitely an out of body experience. He was just such a warm and charismatic person and that exuded onto all of us while we shook his hand and got photos.
Later, the “RadyFam” was still on cloud 9 from our dreamlike encounter with Warren, but we decided to get the most of our Omaha experience before our flights home. We traveled to the picturesque Missouri River where the longest pedestrian bridge links Nebraska to Iowa and walked across to where we could stand in two states at the same time.
This trip has been the most impactful memory at Rady thus far, but I am only finishing my second quarter so I know that there will be tons more remarkable memories that will shape me into the innovator and leader I want to become. I already feel like I have grown more in my first two quarters at Rady than in the last two years and the program never ceases to amaze me with all of the fabulous people I have had the opportunity to come into contact with.
Samantha Bishop (MBA ’18) is a first year Flex Evening student at the Rady School. She is a licensed toxicologist and has been with Millennium Health for five years. She hopes to be the best leader she can be in her industry after Rady so that she can inspire teams and make a difference in patient lives through technological and scientific advances. She is a Rady Student Ambassador and a member of the Rady Mentor Program.