Harvard turned him down
Warren Buffett is rightly characterized as a hometown guy from the Midwest who has a particular affinity for Cherry Coke, McDonald's, and See's Candy (all businesses he owns shares of, or has owned in the case of McDonald's) -- but he is also outrageously intelligent.
Buffett graduated high school at age 16 and promptly enrolled in Ivy League stalwart the University of Pennsylvania, but transferred closer to home to the University of Nebraska after two years. Upon graduating college in 1950, he applied to Harvard business school, and then went to Chicago to be interviewed by a Harvard alum. A 1988 Fortune magazine story chronicles the interview like this:
"What this representative of higher learning surveyed, Buffett says, was ''a scrawny 19-year-old who looked 16 and had the social poise of a 12-year-old.'' After ten minutes the interview was over, and so were Buffett's prospects of going to Harvard. The rejection stung."