Eller College senior scores visit with Warren Buffet
Persistence pays a dividend for finance major Max Burke and 74 UA undergraduates
TUCSON, Ariz. – January 8, 2008 – The University of Arizona senior Max Burke, finance major at the Eller College of Management, counts billionaire investor Warren Buffett among his role models. When Burke saw a story about a collegiate group meeting the “Oracle of Omaha,” he set out to arrange a similar trip for Eller College students. It was easier said than done.
Through his online research, Burke discovered that every year the financier invites select students from colleges and universities around the world to the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Neb. However, there is a long waiting list. As a senior preparing to graduate in the spring, Burke didn’t have time to wait.
He put the networking skills he’d learned in his business classes to work, and eventually connected with Paul Lountzis, founder of Lountzis Asset Management in Wyomissing, Pa., and a former business colleague of Buffett. “Early on, without trying to stir up false hope, I mentioned my ambition to members of the Financial Management Association [FMA, a UA student organization],” said Burke. Ganes McCulloch, senior finance major and vice president of FMA, had recently attended a guest lecture given by Lountzis, and told Burke about the Buffett connection. “Soon I was on the phone with Mr. Lountzis, and he became the catalyst for making this dream happen,” Burke explained.
In late November, 74 Eller College undergraduates, accompanied by associate dean of undergraduate programs Pam Perry and finance department lecturer Arvind Singh, traveled to Berkshire Hathaway headquarters to meet the financial wizard. They were joined by graduate students from the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Business at a luncheon where they were able to meet with Buffett and ask the questions they prepared.
“Mr. Buffet has an amazing presence and a great sense of humor,” said Burke. “I know I can speak for all of us in saying we had an incredible experience and are extremely grateful to Mr. Lountzis.”
Buffet asked the students to return to Omaha in May to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #48 in the U.S. The College is among the leaders of business schools generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the 25th ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 750 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and a satellite campus in Phoenix.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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