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Category Archives: Graduate Life
On [a rainy] Easter Sunday, it is particularly relevant to write a few thoughts about the past few years of my life here in Nashville. Today is about meaning and significance. It begs remembrance, reverence, and purpose. I feel that I must call myself to account for my time in this city; and as it has revolved much around business school, I will try to especially hone in on that context.
The title of this writing is borrowed from the reverend John Piper, who wrote a book by the same name that was given to me by my church community upon graduating from high school near Charleston, South Carolina. I had absolutely no idea nor conviction as to why I should have read it at the time, because I was 18 and ruled the world. But its message was as relevant then as it is today, will be tomorrow, and I suspect in the last minutes of my life. It’s also a great title because I figure that 97% of anyone glancing at this only wanting the twitter version, or executive summary, can already walk away with it.
A team of 15 Owen students will head to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business next month to compete in the MBA Games, an annual fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics of North Carolina. Started by Fuqua students in 1989, this event is in its 25th year and has raised over $2.2 million for this great cause.
I almost didn’t make it. The week of our planned trip to meet with Warren Buffett, a snowstorm went through the northern US. Twelve inches of snow was expected the evening we were supposed to arrive in Omaha, and so everyone in our group of 20 who could got excused from class on Thursday (the final day of Mod 3) to fly out early in the morning instead of late afternoon. However, about ten of us had to do final presentations and were stuck with the original flight plan. On the way to the airport we were anxiously checking flight updates and making contingency plans for flying from Minneapolis to Omaha in the morning if we happened to get stuck there overnight. When we arrived in Minneapolis and our second flight was already boarding, I think it was the first time it really hit us that we were actually getting to do this. We were really going to meet Warren Buffett.
Business school is bursting with unique forums in which students have access to some of the greatest and brightest minds in modern industry. These standout moments can be pivotal points in shaping the next generation of business creativity and innovation. Prior to Spring Break, 20 Owen students were treated to just such an opportunity—the rare chance to sit down for a Q&A with one of the world’s greatest investors, philanthropists, and public figures, Mr. Warren Buffett. The lucky group traveled to Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, arriving in tact despite a major snowstorm that threatened the event (and precluded other chosen schools from making the journey).
The trip was a brainchild of Owen finance professor Philip Woodlief, who had reached out to Buffett through a personal connection to convey Vanderbilt’s interest in visiting the investor. With the meeting arranged, preparations began months in advance, with students doing their research by reading up on Buffett’s philosophies on investing, politics, and life. The group convened on multiple occasions to formulate a list of poignant questions to pose to the “Oracle of Omaha”, trying to focus on themes that had not been addressed in the litany of Buffett materials already available.
On Monday, January 7, 2013, at approximately 4pm, I return home, sit down, and crack open a Coors Light, smiling at the blue “Super Cold” bar near the bottom of the can. The first day of Mod 3 classes is done, and I have to admit, it feels really good to be back at work, though today it somehow feels different. Not long after my first sip of cold Rocky Mountain magic, my roommate enters with a new, but soon-to-be common request: “Hey bro, you have a minute to take a look at this cover letter? My application for this internship is due tomorrow.”
“Sure man…email it to me and I’ll send you some feedback.”
“Thanks. You’re so lucky you don’t have to worry about this shit anymore.”
Somehow, I’m a trusted source of cover letter advice these days.
Now why, when recruiting season is just beginning to amp up, am I drinking Monday afternoon beers instead of sweating over internships? Let’s Tarantino this thing and go all the way back to the beginning to find out…