Q&A with Dr. Cesar Labitan – Doctor Turned Author

March 11, 2010

Dr. Labitan, MD, ABFP, FAAFP, MBA, is a 1987 graduate of AUC and a former student government president. He is a physician, author, and value investor who prefers to be called “Bud” by his friends and readers. He has published 2 books on value investing and is a well known figure in the value investing community. His first book in 2008 was called “The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger – Two Friends Transformed Behavioral Finance.” His second book of 2010 is called “Price To Value” and it will soon be available on Amazon.com as well as Lulu.com

Tell us about your years at AUC/Montserrat?
I studied at AUC on Montserrat from 1985 until clinical clerkships in Chicago, Ill., at Martha Washington Hospital and Mary Thompson Hospital. I graduated June of 1987 and started my family practice residency in July of 1987. I was fortunate to pass the FMGEMs as a senior; and fortunate to pass the ABFP in 1990 shortly after completing my residency in Family Medicine in Gary, Ind.

Best moment on the island?
I was asked to give the Student Commencement Address by Dr. Paul Tien, the founder of our school. When I returned to the island for graduation ceremonies, they had just completed a new two- level office building for the faculty.

When you attended AUC were you thinking of writing a book someday?
No. In those days I was a fun-loving young man who just wanted to become a good family physician and live close to my family in Munster, Ind. We enjoyed the challenge of study and played a little basketball in the late afternoon.

How did this book evolve?
After running my own private practice for seven years from 1990-1997, I left medicine for two years and did software development for a company in Chicago called the Information Management Group in 1998 and 1999. While there, I was part of a two-man team who built the Arthur Anderson Partner Performance Scoring Software. Arthur Andersen LLP, based in Chicago, was once one of the “Big Five” accounting firms, and it out-sourced this project to IMG, Inc. The frontend was in Microsoft Access and the backend was in SQL Server.

My first book evolved after 12 years of being a fan of the value investing style of Warren Buffett and his teacher Benjamin Graham. I became so interested in business philosophy that I enrolled in an MBA program at Purdue University Calumet (PUC) in Hammond, Ind. It was an accelerated 18-month program called MBA of Executives that covered all the courses given at their main campus. The first book evolved from my notes and knowledge of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letters to Shareholders. At PUC, Dean Shomir Sil allowed me to do research on a behavioral finance area for my senior project.  I decided to study the Graham/Buffett/Munger approach to framing an investment decision. That eventually turned into my first book in 2008 called “The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.”

What would you say to students/graduates who have a secondary passion and how can they reconcile that passion with a hectic work schedule?
Eventually, you will move into the area of your greatest interest. The medical education is a good knowledge base upon which you build up your skills in subjective and objective evaluation.

Are you still practicing medicine?
In addition to being an investor, software designer, writer, Visiting Clinical Instructor in Family Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest, I have also been practicing part-time in Whiting Medical Center in Whiting Indiana as a Family Physician. Now, I am a candidate for President and CEO of a local FQHC; Federally Qualified Healthcare Center. So, the book writing may slow down for a bit.