When BYU junior J. T. Davis was 14 years old and first read a book about Warren Buffett, he never imagined that one day he'd be riding in the front seat of Buffett's Cadillac DTS.
But on March 30, Davis had just that opportunity. As one of 70 BYU participants, Davis, an investment student from Plano, Texas, attended a question-and-answer session and lunched with the famed "Oracle of Omaha," an opportunity Buffett has extended to 35 universities during the 2006-2007 school year.
"We got to talk about everything from business to integrity and teaching family values," Davis said. "Although you can only teach so much in a couple of hours, it was very valuable to see what principles help lead to success."
Charity lunches with Warren Buffett have sold on eBay for more than $600,000, an amount that eBay representatives report is the second highest for a charity item sold on the site. However, when BYU students were invited to meet with Buffett, all they had to do was schedule the flight.
"Warren Buffett only does this for students," said Amy Beck, corporate relations assistant for the Marriott School of Management. "This year we were paired with the University of Washington and were able to bring our investment students as well as some of our economics and accounting students."
The two-hour session spurred responses ranging from investments and cash flow to balancing work and life.
"It was a fascinating opportunity to dive into the mind of one of the world's most prominent individuals and to hear about his approach to life and the financial world," said senior James Pierce, a finance major from Pleasant Grove. "He is charismatic and portrays a unique combination of success and passion for what he does."
While some might let a title like one of the world's richest people influence how they act, Buffett says this is one of the biggest misconceptions about him.
"People have a stereotype that because you're rich, you're different — it's hard not to see the money sign," Buffett said in the question-and-answer session. "I get my enjoyment from the same things everyone else does; if your kids are turning out well, you're doing all right."
Writer: Karianne Salisbury