June 19, 2019
While many children admire superheroes like Wonder Woman and Superman, Vinita Bhagchandani’s superhero growing up was the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. When the time came for Bhagchandani to decide where she wanted to attend graduate school, her mind was made up after learning that Buffett listed Mizzou among the universities with elite graduate programs in business at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting in 2001.
Originally from Rajasthan, India, Bhagchandani graduated in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in electronics and communication engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology in India. She worked for Verizon as a business analyst before coming to Columbia to pursue her MBA at Mizzou.
“The Crosby MBA program at Mizzou transformed me,” Bhagchandani said. “I came here with an analytical mindset, and I graduated with a managerial mindset. The professors at Mizzou are phenomenal, and the hands-on experiences you receive are far better than what any other university offers.”
Bhagchandani got real-world experience participating in the Trends in Real Estate and Capital Markets Forum student competition. Bhagchandani and her team conducted research on Amazon to develop a strategy for the multinational company to utilize converted currency from overseas acquisitions.
“I learned so much from working with a team of qualified MBA students from all over the world,” Bhagchandani said. “We all had different backgrounds and we all brought different perspectives to the table. This experience helped me understand the importance of diversity in the modern workforce.”
Bhagchandani and her team were mentored by Andrew Kern, director of the Jeffrey E. Smith Institute of Real Estate and Capital Markets. The group won first place and received a prize of $3,000.
During her time at Mizzou, Bhagchandani was the portfolio manager for the Investment Fund Management Program, where she invested in various stock markets and managed a portfolio of roughly $1.5 million. Bhagchandani also served as vice president of the Mizzou Finance Career Interest Team.
After graduating in May, Bhagchandani moved to Fort Myers, Florida, and began working for the Hertz Corporation as part of the rental car company’s Finance Leadership Development Program. Although she has left Mizzou, Bhagchandani has some advice for incoming Tigers.
“Embrace change and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself,” Bhagchandani said. “Mizzou programs are very fast-paced and you will learn a lot. You will get so many opportunities along the way, so never shy away from sharing your experiences and your point of view. You bring something unique to the table and can help Mizzou just as much as Mizzou can help you.”
As for Bhagchandani’s childhood hero? In February 2018, she had the opportunity to meet Buffett at a conference in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Business students from Mizzou and over a dozen other universities were able to meet and have a discussion with the famous investor and gain valuable advice on business, investing and making an impact in the modern workforce.
“One thing Buffett said that stuck with me is that buying a stock represents buying a part of the business,” Bhagchandani said. “Therefore, investing in businesses with good economics behind them and a wide moat, or sustainable competitive advantage, will lead to long-term success.”