Bruce changed my life. He's been my #1 mentor (along with his wife Ava) since I met him ten years ago when I started my MBA at Columbia Business School. He not only taught me value investing (and he really had to start from scratch given my liberal arts background)—but also hired me on numerous occasions to give me more experience. What I value most though is how he has believed in me and empowered me, and how he makes value investing accessible to non-Wall Street types (who are genuinely interested) and takes extra care and encouragement with them. Like his teachings about seeing through the unreliability of information based on dubious assumptions in typical Wall Street discounted cash flow models, he cuts right through the nonsense to the heart of anything or anyone-- right to the value. I also remember sitting in his office in the summer of 2007 (between my 1st and 2nd year of my MBA), with two others in the room: his niece (who was in college and new to value investing), and another highly intelligent, experienced, and successful fund manager. The four of us were working together on investment screens and going through 10Ks. I obviously wondered how I got in that room, but Bruce led us all with complete equality, patience, and respect. I've never had an experience like that with anyone else and it was 180 degrees from my other working-in-finance experiences. That story also reminds me of how he often returns to simplicity and fundamentals.
I was also Bruce's teaching assistant for the Exec MBA Globalization class (co-taught by Joe Stiglitz) five times (2008-2013) and of the hundreds of student conversations I've seen him have during that time, he always had the perfect answer, presented with clarity, a Socratic style, and a wellspring of data and personal experience, no matter how random and precise the question. And students always lined up to talk to him between his lectures so he didn't even get a break for himself. He also has this sense of humor that lightens the room and keeps everyone amused when he lectures for hours in one day, and I often wonder protectively of him: "can he really say that here?" because he shares such raw quips and accounts no other professor or speaker touches. He gets so close to that line-- but he owns it and has the substance to back it up. You can't help but be filled with genuine appreciation and awe to be around him. There is no one like him. Thank you, Bruce.