scorecardWarren Buffett's advice for college students looking for a career: Don't focus on the money.
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Warren Buffett's advice for college students looking for a career: Don't focus on the money.

Stephen Jones   

Warren Buffett's advice for college students looking for a career: Don't focus on the money.
Investment2 min read
  • Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's No. 2, has died at age 99. They both are known for sage advice.
  • Buffett recently has given college kids advice for finding a job when they graduate from college.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, has had some advice for college students who want a fulfilling career: Don't think about the money.

In an annual letter to shareholders from 2021, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman and CEO discussed his continued enjoyment for his work. He referred to his regular talks with university students.

"I have urged that they seek employment in (1) the field and (2) with the kind of people they would select, if they had no need for money," Buffett wrote.

Although he conceded that "economic realities may interfere with this kind of search," he urged students "to never give up on the quest."

"When they find that sort of job, they will no longer be 'working,'" Buffett said.

Buffett, 93, took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965. Together with his long-term business partner and confidant Charlie Munger, who died at age 99 on Tuesday, he's grown what was a struggling textile mill into a holding company with a market capitalization of more than $784 billion.

It holds significant shares in firms including Apple and the Coca-Cola Company and owns outright the BNSF Railway and Geico insurance company, among other major holdings.

"At Berkshire, we found what we love to do," Buffett writes. "With very few exceptions, we have now "worked" for many decades with people whom we like and trust."

Teaching helps Buffett to 'clarify his thoughts'

Buffett has offered similar advice in the past.

In a 2020 address to graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his alma mater, he told students about the importance of finding a fulfilling career.

"I've been lucky enough to have one like that and I can tell you there's just nothing like that. It isn't work anymore, it's actually something you look forward to every day. You won't necessarily find it the day you get out, but it is out there," he said.

Students should also polish their communication skills and read lots, he advised.

Buffett started his first investing class 70 years ago and continued to work with students of all ages until 2018, he said in his letter.

"Teaching, like writing, has helped me develop and clarify my own thoughts," Buffett wrote, adding that this was a phenomenon Munger called the orangutan effect.

"If you sit down with an orangutan and carefully explain to it one of your cherished ideas, you may leave behind a puzzled primate, but will yourself exit thinking more clearly."

As for Munger, he said at the most recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha that a key lesson in life is cutting out toxic people.

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