Aspiring entrepreneurs among college students nationwide who met with Buffett
By L.M. SIXEL
May 15, 2009, 10:18PM
Ernesto Manrique will work for Cargill in Miami as an accountant.
Twenty-seven students and one faculty member from the University of Houston received special insight into life lessons after meeting with the “Oracle of Omaha.”
Students from the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship joined students from other universities last month at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
They toured the Nebraska Furniture Mart and then participated in a lengthy question-and-answer session where Berkshire’s leader, billionaire Warren Buffett, was asked about entrepreneurial opportunities during rough times, how to maintain business integrity and his view of the current economy.
We asked three students graduating today with bachelor’s degrees in business administration to recount what they learned.
Danny Klam is graduating with a dual major in entrepreneurship and marketing. He already has a job: Klam owns Chef Huang’s, a Chinese take-out, on the corner of Westheimer and Chimney Rock, and is part-owner of a doughnut shop.
Lauren Valinoti is leaving the university with a dual major in marketing and entrepreneurship. She already has a couple of job offers but is still looking.
Ernesto Manrique has a dual major in entrepreneurship and accounting. He will begin working for Cargill in Miami as an accountant in mid-June.
This is what they said:
Q: What was the most important tip or idea you learned from Warren Buffett?
A: Klam: Just being able to live a humble lifestyle even though he has a great amount of wealth. Most people lose focus when they get to that level of greatness or success.
That’s something I want to have — that sense of being well grounded and knowing your roots of where you started from. I’ve done the whole “spending a lot of money” in the past and this is a new avenue I’m going to take.
Valinoti: That would definitely be to follow your true passion and by doing that, that enables you to wake up every single morning and be excited about what you’re doing with your company.
Manrique: To never procrastinate and never be too forward — don’t be pushy because in business, things come at certain times.
In this economy, knowing it’s the right business at the right time is very essential. And also making sure you’re going into the right business is also very important.
Q: How will you use what you learned from Buffett in your own career?
A: Klam: I need to be able to slow down. I’ve learned that in the past couple of years, but he solidified that for me. I’ll be 28 on July 1st and that gives me a little advantage of real world experience, and you have to make conscious decisions at a slower pace rather than rushing through things like when I was younger.
He talked about the need for work/life balance. You can’t just work.
You have to have a personal life and balance the two.
Valinoti: He’s always thinking of long-term results, not short-term results.
I will take that same sort of mindset to my business and think about how it will affect my company in the long term and help it sustain and grow.
Manrique: Beginning my career now in accounting, I’ve learned that success takes time and with that I will dedicate as much time needed to become successful in my career.
I’ll work as hard as I can to help Cargill become the number one private company in the world.
Q: If you could give Buffett one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Klam: I would just continue giving him encouragement. To continue to do what he does best and to continue to give back to the community with his foundations.
Valinoti: Come to Houston and to the entrepreneurship program and see the students who are striving and driving to be successful entrepreneurs.
Manrique: To continue on his success and become a leader for other entrepreneurs such as myself.Related Links
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