How to get a job in business? Short Buffett
Raj Rajagopal will graduate from business school in May and he’s currently looking for a job. But don’t expect the Cornell University student to get a call anytime soon from Warren Buffett.
That’s because Rajagopal recently put together a report in which he recommended selling shares of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in part because “adoration is not an investment strategy.” In short, Rajagopal said anyone who sinks money into Buffett’s empire is chasing past returns and buying shares “at the tail end of his career.”
Rajagopal’s 15-page presentation is making the rounds on Wall Street and being circulated by some hedge fund managers who aren’t particualy big fans of the so-called Oracle of Omaha.
The presentation points out some common criticism of Buffett’s company, including the failure to develop a clear succession plan and the firm’s seeming reliance on a handful of individuals to make investment decisions.
But the report prepared by Rajagopal, who was a former Wall Street analyst according to his blog, also accuses Buffett of being a bit of a hypocrite on the subject of derivatives. He notes that Buffett famously decried derivatives as a “financial weapon of mass destruction,” yet continues to use them as part of Berkshire’s investment and hedging strategy.
Rajagopal, who could not be reached for comment, also blasts Berkshire’s most recent big deal–the $34 billion acquisition of railroad giant Burlington Northern. He said Buffett overpaid for a “boring” regulated utility company.
But what’s more likely to grab attention are some of the sharp zingers aimed at Buffett and his financial empire. One such line is: “The buffet is cold, stale and ending (pun intended).”
Clearly, Rajagopal isn’t interested in getting invited to any dinner parties hosted by Buffett–something the legendary investor has been known to do with people who send him investing tips.