Warren Buffett's 'Professor' Teaches 12 Steps To Financial Success

Warren Buffett partnered with Lemann, a Harvard graduate, to close the largest deal in the food industry's history, the $23 billion acquisition of Heinz. The Oracle of Omaha said, "This is my kind of deal and my kind of partner." Brazil’s richest citizen, Jorge Paulo Lemann, may not be a household name–yet. But the brands he controls are already quite familiar to consumers around the world. With his partners, Lemann runs the makers of Budweiser beer, the Whopper and soon even Heinz ketchup. Lemann made international headlines when he partnered with Warren Buffet in the largest deal in the food industry’s history, the $23 billion acquisition of Heinz. Buffet is excited to partner with Lemann, “this is my kind of deal and my kind of partner… I want to learn more about Brazil and Jorge [Paulo Lemann] is a great professor ,” said the Oracle of Omaha to Brazilian Magazine EXAME. In a speech to students in 2011 organized by Jorge Paulo Lemann’s foundation, Estudar, which provides merit-based scholarships to young Brazilians willing to study in universities like Harvard, the intensely private and media-shy billionaire, worth $17.8 billion, revealed 12 principles that guided him to achieve financial success: 1. Dream Big. “I always say, to have a big dream requires the same effort as having a small dream. Dream big!” “Maybe I was accepted to Harvard only because of my tennis skills since I definitively had no great academic achievements. I was 17 and only thought about surfing and playing tennis. I had almost never left Rio de Janeiro and had never been to the United States. Suddenly, I was at Harvard, that place so full of ideas. In my freshman year, I was forced to read Plato and Socrates. I was learning things I had never even heard before. Up to that point my biggest dreams were to surf bigger waves or win a tennis championship.” Lemann learned he should shoot for the stars, just like most people at Harvard were doing. 2. Choose partners well. “The three short years I spent at Harvard, where I lived with excellent people, taught me not only that I must know how to choose my partners but also that choosing excellent partners is a skill you can learn. Obviously, when you spend time with the best, you learn how to choose among them.” Lemann knows the importance of being among the best. He was chair of the Latin American Advisory Board of the NYSE and in the 1990s was nominated to the board of razor maker Gillette, where he met Warren Buffett.

“You have to be always trying to do something better. and Carlos Alberto Sicupira.” 6. Develop your own method to achieve the results you want. (Read: Brazil’s Richest Owns Burger King. Some of the decisions we made. Lemann worked with Marcel Herrmann Telles. Heinz. 5. Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old. 4. Soon. Most of our companies have a maximum of five goals and employees working for us also have 5 personal objectives. This methodology allowed me to know exactly what I would learn before signing up for any class.” Not only look for simplicity but learn how to explain anything in a simple manner. whom he had met while surfing in Rio de Janeiro. Budweiser. The trio became inseparable and have been acting together in every major transaction ever since. I interviewed former students and professors before signing up for any classes. Develop your own long term vision. Be careful with too much theory. Budweiser makers] were based on the vision we set up 20 years ago.” What you do today will cause effects in years to come. Don’t limit yourself to make decisions only focused on the short term. such as leaving financial companies and buying industrial/commercial companies. I also found out that previous exams were available in the library.” Does it sound a bit overwhelming? Well. You can always improve. It is going to be much easier to get in the habit of constant improvement if you have a big dream. Simple is always better than complicated. Always try to get better. “In our bank Garantia we [Lemann. It also helped me to change my status from one of the students with the worst grades to a top student while taking six or seven classes per semester instead of only four as most of my peers. Ethical behavior is the best long-term strategy. “Look at the four or five essential points of any issue. 3. Good ideas have a bigger effect than any temporary fact. you don’t understand it yourself. I realized that professors usually repeat their questions. Sicupira and Telles] developed the basic ideas that are part of every single business we engage in. And More and The Burger King Deal Winners: Three Brazilian Billionaires). [like Burger King and AB Inbev. are surrounded by the right people and have a long term vision. 7. I graduated when I was only 20 and was on the dean’s list.At Banco Garantia.” “I developed a system for choosing new classes [at Harvard]. maybe that’s why you need to focus on the three first principles. . or improve yourself all the time. I’ve always tried to nail questions down to what is essential. who started as a trainee at Garantia.

” “You need to do more than only study.” “There are some basic principles that are embedded in every company I have a stake in. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being. in life. In day-to-day life you have stimulus to behave unethically. My friends knew it was almost impossible for me to surf such huge waves. the best must also be willing to be with you as well. but to do the exceptional you need to take risks. 9. I believe principles eight and nine go together. but in the long term it always pays off to be ethical. Always work with people who are also owners. but in general college teaches you not to take risks. In college we usually don’t learn how to measure risks. “A lot of people study too much.” 8. It was dangerous.or 4 meter-high waves. you will have to settle for the ordinary. I felt blood running fast all through my body. However. Talent retention is one of the hottest topics among corporations of all sizes. I was always looking for the biggest wave.” “Every two or three years there would be a storm and some huge waves would show up on Copacabana beach. from startup to multinationals. When I was on vacation from Harvard. I went for it and experienced the maximum adrenaline ever. 10. The bottom line is: you want to be surrounded by the best. you have to risk. I mention this story because I think that in life it is important to take some risks. However. I would go back to Brazil and enjoyed my summer break playing tennis and surfing. Take risks.“I have learned that the ethics of the so-called markets can be different from what we learn at school. Meritocracy Those who perform the best must be those who are best rewarded. To keep the best close to him.” “For me that was enough. but I decided I would do it. we only learn theoretically. but those were at least three times higher. Ownership: It is fundamental to have partners. Lemann imitated Goldman Sachs’ method of rewarding the most brilliant executives at bank Garantia with stock shares. too dangerous.” Some other of my favorite quotes about risk: He who risks and fails can be forgiven. We were used to surfing only 3. – Paul Tillich If you are not willing to risk the unusual. – Jim Rohn .

Focus on what you do best. “I am ready to help. inflexible and inexorable. – John Paul Jones 11. Know thyself. Instead. Do not spend more time building up your weakness or finding shortcuts.It seems to be a law of nature. Get your hands dirty “The best way to learn anything is by doing it. on one way or another. Each one of us has a unique combination of personal traits and capabilities. Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Don’t let your natural talents go untapped. that those who will not risk cannot win. 12. The only way to achieve excellence is to spend most part of your day doing what you do best.” . Don’t try to be everything for everyone. anyone who was accepted to Harvard. Focus on your main strengths. develop you strengths.” Lemann concluded his speech reaffirming the importance of being among the best and said.

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