Inspired by Giants

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Jackie Hanks learns from Warren Buffett.

Jackie Hanks, a senior marketing major, has a keen eye for business success. Jackie has excelled in her course work at The W.A. Franke College of Business, is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, formerly worked as a peer instructor, and is recipient of the dean’s list award. However, it was one experience – a trip to Omaha, Nebraska—that truly opened her eyes to a world of opportunity, and provided her with a blueprint for pursuing her passion.

Hanks was one of a select group of business students to meet Warren Buffet, one of the greatest businessmen and philanthropists of our time and the chairman and CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway. Through this experience, she was able to learn from not only Buffet himself, but also about the inner-workings of other companies within the Berkshire-Hathaway portfolio and some of their respective CEOs.

“I was extremely lucky to be able to speak with them, one-on-one, and I learned so much from them and their experiences,” Hanks says.

Reinvigorated studies

While on the trip, Hanks and the rest of the group were able to tour companies in which Buffett had invested. Hearing the stories of how these CEOs got to where they are today was an informative and inspiring experience for the group and Hanks.

“It was fascinating to talk to the CEOs who ran these companies, and learn how they started their careers,” Hanks says. “It was eye-opening.”

Now inspired to accomplish her goal of starting her own business, Jackie has returned from Omaha and re-engaged in her coursework, with a renewed energy that stemmed from more clearly understanding how to achieve her vision for the future.  

“I’ve always been a very conscientious student, but when I returned from the trip, I was even more motivated to succeed,” Hanks says. “The experience inspired me to think about my future.”

Donations provide opportunity

Donor support enabled this trip to become a reality, and included the dean of The W.A. Franke College of Business, Craig Van Slyke, as well as Buffett himself. Hanks is grateful for the financial support and the donors that provide the funds which ultimately allowed her this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Without the donors, the trip wouldn’t have been possible,” Hanks says. “We owe everything to them.”