Pictured above: Blue Blazers members Morategi Kgomokhumo and John Whitman at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder’s meeting.
A unique organization that provides Westminster students hands-on experience investing in the stock market, the Westminster Blue Blazers Investment Committee traveled to Omaha, Nebraska earlier this spring for the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. At the event, Westminster students had the opportunity to see financial tycoons Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger speak. They also toured the expansive Berkshire Hathaway showcase, which represented a variety of business and investment opportunities.
Blue Blazers members John Whitman and Yunus Yenikalayci (committee president) in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.
“The trip to Omaha for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting put me as close as physically possible to the movers and shakers of the financial world,” member Morategi Kgomokhumo says. “It was awe-inspiring to see how many people came out to see Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger in investments and listen to what they have to say.”
Member John Whitman says the experience was inspirational and something he’ll remember. “The Berkshire Hathaway trip provided me with an opportunity to witness what a successful and trustworthy company looks like,” Whitman says. “Buffett and Munger’s insight into markets, companies, and the financial field was something I can take with me forever. To see such a spectacle and so many people prosper in one place was a truly inspiring process.”
Morategi Kgomokhumo exploring the shareholders meeting.
Member Yuan-Fei Zhai says about the meeting: “Berkshire Hathaway’s exhibits are fascinating in terms of its varieties, ranging from aerospace to the consumer sector. It was invigorating to see over 40,000 people gathering together in the stadium and to receive wisdom from two legendary investors.”
Yuan-Fei Zhai with limited edition Coca-cola can.
What is Blue Blazers?
The Blue Blazers Investment Committee, a student-maintained investment organization, was founded in 1996 when Brock Ayers ’82, with help from his summer interns, Brandon Eckhardt ’97 and Jenn (Stumpf) Warren ’97, proposed to the Board of Trustees that select students be allowed to invest $200,000 from Westminster’s endowment fund.
The group strives to achieve long-term capital appreciation through investment in a diversified equity portfolio. They rely on investment analysis and a careful selection process to implement the portfolio, which is diversified among sectors. They also maintain a watch list of potential new opportunities for research and investment. Ayers continues to oversee the group, facilitate the research process, and teach them about various aspects of the investment process and industry.
The group has traveled to New York to learn the ropes of Wall Street eight times, most recently in 2016, where its members developed business connections and learned about the industry while visiting financial investment centers such as the New York Stock Exchange, JP Morgan Asset Management, and Bloomberg Business News among others.
This year, the BBIC reached a milestone in its investment history: The group’s profits have surpassed the $600,000 mark. As of May 1, 2017, the group holds 41 positions in its portfolio, 38 of them with positive returns (including Berkshire Hathaway “B”), and only 3 with negative returns.
BBIC is now in its 20th year and is preparing for its ninth trip since 2001 to New York City in February of 2018.
For more information about this signature organization, visit the Blue Blazer’s Investment Committee’s website.