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Ellen Sirleaf

Nobel Prize for Peace

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: I was a candidate in '97. I didn't win. I felt I'd earned the stripes and I could compete as effectively as anybody else. I'd gone through all the trials and tribulations of political life and also had enough, I believe, international exposure, professionalism. And also, I didn't think there was anybody who could be as competitive, given my experience, background in some things. I thought I was a formidable candidate, and I proved to be right.
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Carlos Slim

Financier and Philanthropist

When you love life, you want to know more about life. I think engineering is important to give you the tools. And in business, to analyze, it's important to simplify, to have the essential points, the essential issues, the fundamentals, the basics, and take out everything that is secondary, to have less variables to study or to look at. Because when you have a lot of variables, and you don't make a distinction between the ones that are essential and the secondary ones and parameters, you have confusion. I will say that engineering is important, but also when I was finishing my (academic) career, I make my thesis about linear programming. That's operational research. That's to optimize functions, optimize results of things, and the study of models that take you to the optimization of the solutions.
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Carlos Slim

Financier and Philanthropist

Carlos Slim: When you make the evaluation of things, when you look at these kinds of investments, it is very important. I think maybe it is more important than engineering to understand the economy, the macro economy. The macro economy is very important, to know the national accounts, what means fiscal deficit, what means trade deficit or trade superávit (surplus), what means each item, but not only quantitative, but also qualitative. I think economy is very important, to know the basics of economy. To understand what is happening, you need to understand economy. You need to understand the financial statements of the companies, the sectors, and to have world references.
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Carlos Slim

Financier and Philanthropist

I learned many things when I was very young, maybe 12 or 13 years old. Then I learned how to understand a balance sheet. I didn't learn that in school. When you look at a balance sheet, there is a lot of information. Not only a balance sheet, but also an estado de resultados. That is a report, financial statement in general. I think finances -- to invest, there are some principles that are very clear, but very easy. You invest with basic conditions. You invest when you have confidence in the management, in the sector -- you like the sector -- and the value of the prices are not high, or are low, low value. Buying intrinsic values in good companies, in good markets and in good sectors. No? I think these kind of things are basics and are not complicated.
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Frederick W. Smith

Founder, Federal Express

I learned an awful lot in the Marine Corps -- particularly about, I think, how to treat people, lead people -- which has played a big role in FedEx. A big part of the employee relations systems and all that we have at our company came from my experience in the service. The Marine Corps is the best when it comes to teaching people how to lead other folks. And so, it had a profound experience on me, some bad, some good.
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Frederick W. Smith

Founder, Federal Express

I think I came up with a very, very different perspective than most people that end up in senior management positions about what people who wear blue collars think about things and how they react to things, and what you should do to try to be fair to those folks. So in that regard it was an invaluable experience. And a great deal of what FedEx has been able to accomplish was built on those lessons I learned in the Marine Corps.
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