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Ball State senior hopes to play ukulele with Warren Buffett

Student wins lunch with business mogul through video contest

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 4:29 pm

Ball State University senior Jenna James prepared herself to expect not to win, but on Sept. 7 she received the phone call that made her jump out of bed and dance around her room.

James, a telecommunications major at Ball State, won a lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett.

“It's still really surreal,” she said.

James, a native of Newburgh, will fly to New York on Thursday and attend Business Wire's New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell luncheon on Friday. Buffett is chairman and CEO of Business Wire's parent company, Berkshire Hathaway.

James' cousin sent her the link to the Business Wire contest, which required entrants to make a short video about the future of public relations and communications. James said she tried to use graphics and eye-catching details instead of making a video of herself just sitting and talking in front of the camera.

James' video can be seen on Facebook here.

In preparation for the lunch, James picked up one of Buffett's books and watched a documentary on the business mogul.

She said she's gotten a small taste of what it must be like to be a celebrity because media has been contacting her and asking her all kinds of questions about the lunch, which she said has been “a little overwhelming” and “completely crazy.”

James plans to bring her ukulele in hopes to play with Buffett, who plays the electric ukulele, and wants to know what his favorite Dairy Queen Blizzard is.

“I have a lot of random questions I'm excited to ask him,” she said.

But on a more serious note, James also wants to discuss Buffett's views on design and technology in communications, a topic James said she and Buffett will likely disagree on. She also wants to talk about his charity work.

As a senior telecommunications major, James hopes to land an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee or "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," but said she will also have an opportunity to network at the luncheon.

“I'm going to give (Buffett) my business card, so we'll see,” she said.