Veteran investor Warren Buffett wanted to get into the securities business soon after graduating from Columbia University in 1951. But two of his mentors advised him otherwise.
His father Howard Buffett and teacher Ben Graham told him that it was a bad time to start. Graham also refused to let Buffett come work for him at his investment company.
"One thing on their minds was that the Dow Jones industrials had been above 200 all year, and yet there had never been a year when it didn't sell below 200," Warren Buffett had told Fortune magazine in 2005 for their compilation titled "The Best Advice I Ever Got".
"So they both said, 'You'll do fine, but this is not a good time to start'," he added.
Buffett said his mentors were trying to suggest he needed more maturity before starting off.
"I was so immature. I was not only young-looking, I was young-acting," the Berkshire Hathaway CEO told Fortune. "I was skinny. My hair looked awful. Maybe their advice was their polite way of saying that before I started selling stocks, I needed to mature a little, or I wasn't going to be successful. But they didn't say that to me; they said the other."
Graham, professor and investor, emphaised to Buffett the importance of having one's facts right.
"You're neither right nor wrong because others agree with you. You're right because your facts and reasoning are right," Buffett said, quoting his teacher.
But Buffett went ahead to do what he wanted, returning to his native Omaha to sell securities at his father's firm.
There, he kept following up with Graham about the job and persisted in trying to sell him stocks. Graham finally offered Buffett a role in 1954.
Buffett worked for Graham for two years in New York before deciding to move back to Omaha. When he told his mentor about the decision, he asked him to do whatever was best for him.
By the time he quit, Buffett had built a large personal fund and was considering how to use it.
"But then a couple of months later, seven people wanted me to invest their money for them, and a partnership was the way to do it," Buffett told Fortune. "And that began it all."Today, Warren is one of the world's most successful investors with a net worth of nearly $96 billion.