Learning for LifeDecember 6, 2011
Here’s an idea for you that will a) help you become smarter, b) help you to become more interesting and c) help you to build out your professional network. Take a class! I did and it changed my life.
I recently had a life altering, please-pinch-me-because-I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening sort of experience. The punch line: Warren Buffett – yes, THE Warren Buffett, took me to lunch! We dined at his country club, Happy Hollow, in Omaha, Nebraska, and enjoyed burgers, fries, cold Coca-Colas and ice cream sundaes. I’m not even kidding. Hungry for more?
How, you ask, is it that I came to dine with Warren Buffett? I took a course, “The Genius of Warren Buffett,” at the University of Nebraska Omaha taught by Robert Miles. It was awesome. Yes, of course, awesome was having lunch with Warren (by the way, I was joined by all of my classmates. I was one of the EXTRA lucky ones… I sat at Warren’s table!). Even more awesome was taking the course with three people from Kansas City who I respect, admire and now think of a dear friends and confidants. Our drives between Kansas City and Omaha every other week for the three course weekends gave us a chance to talk about… everything! The four of us formed a team – both literally and figuratively. For the final assignment of the course, Team KC researched and presented investment ideas that Warren Buffett might consider… we presented the ideas to the man himself!
Team Kansas City comprised four of about eleven “lifelong learners” of the thirty-two student course. Lifelong Learners were those students who took the course not for credit, not for a grade, but for the shear enjoyment of learning about the character, management style, investment methodology, philanthropy, etc. of Warren Buffett.
Indeed, I left the course smarter than I was before… now with endless stories about the experience of driving to and fro from Kansas City, meeting Warren, interacting with my teammates, etc., I am certainly more interesting… and, I most definitely expanded my network including my KC teammates, my classmates, the professor, the deans of the school and, oh, yea, Warren Buffett.
You don’t have to take a course on “The Genius of Warren Buffett” to enjoy a similar experience. Take a course, any course, on a topic that interests you. Chances are that there will be others in the course who took the course because the topic interested them, too. Voila! Instant conversation starter. You just established some common ground with others who shares at least one similar interest. You will leave smarter… you will be more interesting – especially as you share with others, outside of class, some of the lessons you have learned and you will have automatically expanded your network of very valuable contacts.