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Light the Lights! Buffett and Gates Prepare to Answer Students' Questions at Columbia
CNBC.com | November 12, 2009 | 11:40 AM EST

Just over one hour from now, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will appear before roughly 700 Columbia Business School students to answers questions from the "next generation" of the world's business leaders.

Buffett often meets with college students in Omaha, but today's event is different and has a much higher profile.

CNBC cameras are here to record the session for a one-hour special " Town Hall Event " airing tonight on CNBC at 9p ET.

I will be blogging here on CNBC.com's Warren Buffett Watch with highlights, starting around 12:45p ET.

Right now, I'm sitting at a folding table near the back of the brightly-lit Roone Arledge Auditorium in Columbia's Lerner Hall on Broadway in uptown Manhattan.

Near the front of the auditorium, there are two black chairs waiting for Buffett and Gates, who did a walking tour of the campus earlier this morning.

Plain metal and plastic chairs are lined up both in front of, and behind, the stage, for the audience of students that will soon be "loaded in," the phrase used by the dozen or so production types who are scurrying around and getting ready.

There are two cameras about halfway back from the stage and another two cameras behind the stage. Rock music is being piped into the hall.

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