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01.12.2009 Feature Article

Reforms to Africa's Corporate Organizations (Part I)

Chris Opoku-Agyeman poses with Warren Buffett   Chris Opoku-Agyeman poses with Warren Buffett

Warren Edward Buffett, popularly acknowledged as the “Oracle of Omaha” and the “Value Investment Philosopher,” has blown it out again in the US but this time with a Ghanaian student.

In the corporate world, Mr. Buffett is well-known as the smartest investor of all time. People refer to him as a genius, intelligent, honest, loyal, frugal, smart, generous, humble, forthright, disciplined, patient, consistent and a wealthy persona.

Every year the billionaire Investor, Warren Buffett, invites groups of college students to spend a day with him learning about business, ethics and life. It is very imperative to note that CEO's and other high ranking managements in renowned businesses earned an opportunity to have a lunch with Warren Buffett by paying millions of dollars. In spite of all these achievements, Warren Buffet is so down to earth, very humble and appreciate people from all walks of life.

This year, after a competitive bid from host of best schools in the US and perhaps other countries, the efforts and publications of one professor Dr. Todd Finkle earned the University of Akron a place to spend a day with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska.

“According to Dr. Todd Finkle, it has taken him not less than two years of contacts and published work to earn a place for this conference which include (a) two –hour session for questions and answers (Q &A) (b) a three-hour lunch with Warren Buffett and (c) Tours of a couple of business owned by Berkshire Hathaway.”

Among a pool of competitive student from the University of Akron, a Ghanaian was selected to join 26 other students to spend a day with Warren Buffett. Chris Opoku –Agyeman was the fortunate person to share in this life time opportunity with Warren Buffett. As the only international and black student to make it through to the richest investors in the World, I deem it a great obligation to share my experiences with students, scholars, corporate executives and the entire population of Africa.

To set the record straight, I am not trying to blow my own horns but with the numerous hullaballoo about Warren Buffett and the University of Akron student in the US, it is progressive to celebrate our students who are promoting the good image of Ghana abroad. Not just that, but also to share my experiences with other students back home to always set their gaze on their visions and purposes in life.

At the conference Warren Buffet emphasized issues ranging from business ethics, valuation of assets, strategies in buying stocks, assets valuation approaches and marriage phenomena. At this point, I will elaborate on only four major themes revolving around Mr. Buffets' Business ethics and values:

In life, there will be mistakes but do not agonize over those mistakes because a character needs to be built out of those experiences. He noted that people's failure in life, is due in part to the fact that they vacillate on their setbacks and refuse to explore further prospects which may bring solutions to their impending worries. For example, Buffett notes that he “once spent $3 billion to buy a shoe company that is now worthless.” No matter the bad investments you have made in the past, do not agonize over them; just make a head start now.

Do not make mistakes for the fun of it but rather avoid mistakes if it is within your jurisdiction. Buffett stated “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong.” Learn from other people's mistakes and experiences, not just your own.

The most important mistakes are ones of omission — those that don't show up in statements, but rather are missed opportunities. He notes “the things I needed to do, and can do, but did not do them will constitute my biggest mistakes in life.”

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” No matter your past failures, you can still make amends and start anew –never agonize over mistakes.

Folks, a journey of a thousand mile begins with a step. Let's take the step now and start living in honesty and integrity. You can join me propagate this ideology!! Watch out for part 2.

Stay blessed and keep hopes alive. It is well with you!!!

Credit: Chris Opoku –Agyeman ([email protected])

University of Akron.

Chris Opoku-Agyeman
Chris Opoku-Agyeman, © 2009

The author has 6 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: ChrisOpokuAgyeman

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