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As part of the Value Investing trip to visit with Warren Buffett '51 on March 16th, the Oracle of Omaha agreed to a 30-minute video interview by 3 MBA students the next day in his offices. In what ended up being an almost 1.5-hour session, Mr. Buffett discussed leadership and ethics.
This video will be used in the classroom as part of the Individual, Business and Society (IBS) curriculum and it will have among other things, Mr. Buffett’s views on leadership and corporate integrity. Mr. Buffett articulated that when he buys a company, the qualitative assessment of management is one of the most important criteria in his selection process. As he stated: “I look at management and how they behave; are they going to over-reach?”
Any follower of Mr. Buffett recognizes that he has a clarity of thought that transcends investment acumen. His intense rationality—his “ability to see things as they really are”—is impressive and inspiring not only when he’s discussing past investments but perhaps even more so when discussing his life philosophy.
In his open session with about 160 students and in the interview, he spoke about integrity in business and life, the qualities he looks for in a management team, our role in society, and the single most important thing to look for in an employer.
For now, we are delighted to report his generous offer to be part of next year’s IBS curriculum, which will help reinforce the importance of principled leadership as a cornerstone of the Columbia Business School experience.