Did Warren Buffett listen to four
University of Nebraska at Omaha students who recommended that he invest in John
Deere & Co.?
But last week's disclosure of a
Deere investment by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shows the students had the right
idea when they completed their final exam for adjunct instructor Robert Miles,
who teaches an executive MBA class at UNO.
Gretter Ramirez, James Bowen,
Chandrakanth Are and Vincent Wong wrote in their 20-page research paper that
Deere would fit Berkshire's criteria — good earnings, a strong brand name, a
“moat” to protect against competitors and growth prospects given the world
demand for food.
They turned in the paper Oct. 13.
Last week, Berkshire reported that it had purchased about $330 million worth of
Deere shares sometime before Sept. 30.
“Bingo, they got it,” said Miles,
who has written books about Buffett. “It made me feel good.”
The MBA students are a diverse
group: Ramirez is a native of Cuba, Are a native of India and Bowen a native of
Nebraska. Wong, from Seattle, took the class as a “lifelong learner.”
Miles said the students' correct
reasoning about Deere shows that one can study Buffett's principles and past
investments and come up with ideas that would fit into Berkshire's investment
portfolio. The purchase likely was not by Buffett but rather by one of his two
like-minded money managers, Ted Weschler or Todd Combs, who handle most
During the three semesters Miles
has been teaching the Buffett-oriented class, students have made a couple of
dozen such recommendations, and this is the first one to nearly coincide with
an actual Berkshire investment.
Next Class: April 29 - May 1 http://cba2.unomaha.edu