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Carroll School of Management Graduate Programs

"If you want a life changing experience, meeting Warren Buffett is it."

Carroll School has been invited to Warren Buffett Trip this year for fourth time

Warren Buffett and Students
Warren Buffett and Students

September 8, 2011

What MBA professor doesn't admire Warren Buffett?  The Carroll School of Management’s Senior Lecturer; Professor Robert F. Radin, loves Warren Buffett.  For three years Radin has hosted Carroll School students to attend a two hour Q&A with the famous investor and philanthropist along with MBAs from seven other selected programs.  This year's session takes place on Oct. 21 and the Carroll School has been invited back, yet again for a fourth time.

How the meeting began
Radin first approached Warren Buffett’s assistant five years ago, asking if Buffett would be a guest speaker at the Manager’s Studio he hosts. Buffett declined, but invited the Graduate School of Management to apply to attend an annual forum Buffett hosts with groups of MBAs.

Radin was successful with his second application four years ago.  The Carroll School was one of 36 MBA programs selected in the past and has been invited back by Warren Buffett each year.  Typically hundreds of MBA programs apply.  Radin suspects the Carroll School is selected because of its grounded culture, because Buffett is impressed with the Boston College president, Father William P. Leahy, and because of the professionalism displayed by the students.

Radin prepares his students for the visit by requiring that each student read the Essays of Warren Buffett, and a lesson on appropriate etiquette in this forum. "Warren Buffett is one of the most amazing human beings of our time.  Having this exposure to him is a gift to young people who are still forming their views of life and business,” he says. 

Meeting with Warren Buffett

Radin says the room typically hosts 160 people.  Previously, the Carroll School group was accompanied by students from George Mason University, Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Kansas, Brigham Young University and the University of Dayton, Ohio. Everyone is naturally nervous with having Warren Buffett so near and securing the best seats can be competitive, he says. 

Part of the Q&A session allows a photo opportunity with Warren Buffett.  Each MBA program normally is able to ask three questions and Warren Buffett responds thoroughly.  Each year, Radin carefully records what Warren Buffett says and later shares these in class.  Here are some gems:

  • On discussing whether people should ever retire: Buffett said talent is too   scarce to be discarded. He described his friend who retired at age 103 who    died the next year, which is incentive enough for him not to retire
  • The two things not taught in graduate schools are oral and written communications. You need to be able to get your ideas across and I can’t think of any course that would be more valuable than learning how to communicate
  • You’re in the luckiest one percent of those ever born on this planet and with that comes responsibility
  • You have got to be responsible for your own money
  • I believe there should only be two courses to a business program, how to value a business, which includes a psychological set of criteria, and how to think about securities, and the language of business is accounting

Selecting who gets to go

In August, Radin asked interested parties to apply.  Attendance costs around $700, which covers expenses for the hotel, airfare and a copy of Warren Buffett's recent book. Typically, Radin gets 90 applications for 20 spots. Previously, Radin selected students based off of what questions they would ask Warren Buffett.  This year he created a lottery.  Radin is excited about this year's trip, and on September 9 he announces who gets to go.  "The students are extremely lucky,” he says. “If you want a life changing experience, meeting Warren Buffett is it.”