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K-State Today

April 6, 2012

A day with the boss: Student Finance Association members get time with business magnate Buffett

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

When Warren Buffett talks, people listen -- especially if they are members of Kansas State University's Student Finance Association.

Twenty members of the group recently got to meet with the billionaire investor in Omaha, Neb. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, the multinational conglomerate holding company.

After a two-hour question-and-answer session with Buffett, students joined him for lunch and then had the opportunity to take photos with him.

"I was not expecting such candid and witty responses from Mr. Buffett," said Sarah Huelskamp, senior in accounting and finance from Andover. "They made the experience so genuine and informational."

Along with meeting Buffett, students visited with top executives from two Berkshire Hathaway companies, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheim's, and learned about the history and business model of the companies and how they operate under Berkshire Hathaway.

Each year Buffett hosts student groups from schools across the country. Kansas State University's College of Business Administration was one of only 48 schools to be selected from the more than 200 that applied for the opportunity. This is the fourth year that the university's Student Finance Association has been selected.

"Most of the students who attend from other schools are master of business administration students, but this is one of the many situations where our undergraduates get opportunities that a lot of undergraduates at other schools don’t get," said Scott Hendrix, the Student Finance Association's faculty adviser, Gates Capital Management faculty fellow and instructor of finance.

The university group was one of the most diverse to ever participate on this trip. Of the 20 undergraduate and graduate students, nine were international students. To be selected, students submitted applications describing what they know about Buffett and what they hope to accomplish on the trip.

"This opportunity for K-State business students is truly incredible and is what I believe differentiates my experience as a College of Business Administration student," Huelskamp said

Along with Huelskamp, students getting the opportunity to meet Buffett included:

Eric Bartley, senior in finance, Abilene; Trista Fenton, senior in finance, Holcomb; Megan Sorrick, senior in finance, Lawrence; Alvaro Orellana, senior in social sciences, Lenexa; Ryan Ackerman, senior in finance, Manhattan; Keaton Goedert, senior in finance, Ottawa; Eric Hefferon, senior in finance, Overland Park; Lainie Sjeklocha, senior in accounting and finance, Sublette; Sarah Bruner, senior in finance, Topeka; and Travis Altenhofen, senior in finance, Westmoreland

From out of country:

From China: Xinye Han, senior in accounting and finance; Chao Liang, senior in finance; Jiayi Wang, senior in finance; Wei Wu, doctoral student in educational leadership; Yuqin Xu, senior in accounting; and Ying Zhang, master's student in business administration.

Elvis Hodzic, senior in finance, Montenegro; Huang-Keng Chou, master's student in business administration, Taiwan; and Katekanog Panumatrassamee, master's student in business administration, Thailand.