SPOKANE, Wash. – Twenty Gonzaga University entrepreneurship students will spend a day this fall in Omaha learning about business, ethics, and life from billionaire Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” one of the most innovative and influential business leaders in the world.
Buffett is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an Omaha-based conglomerate of more than 70 companies with nearly a quarter-million employees that also invests in numerous companies and investment vehicles. Buffett invites a select number of universities to Omaha every year.
Todd Finkle, Gonzaga’s Pigott Professor of Entrepreneurship, initiated the visit with the assistance of Paul Buller, the School of Business Administration’s Kinsey-Robinson Professor of Business Management. Finkle wrote an in-depth case study on Buffett and Berkshire before coming to Gonzaga. Buffett read the case and invited Finkle and 27 students from University of Akron, where Finkle taught before coming to Gonzaga. They spent a day in Omaha at Berkshire Hathaway’s world headquarters and two of his subsidiaries.
“Buffett does not invite just anyone to Omaha. You have to earn your visit,” Finkle said. “I assigned a creative and innovative project to my entrepreneurship students in the spring. Their objective was to create a brand new product to catch Buffett’s attention to get him to invite us to Omaha.”
Finkle’s class sent three products to Buffett: The design for a Warren Buffett Pinball Machine; a parody of the game Clue that focuses on Gonzaga and Buffett; and a DVD about Gonzaga.
“We heard back from Buffett within five days and he said that he liked all of the projects and was inviting us to visit him this year,” Finkle said.