On top of his GAME

Graduate student spearheads New York City homecoming for 'hallmark event'

By Chris Brodeur, Photos by Crandall Yopp Jr. '21 November 10, 2023

Dylan Jones '22, MBA '23 served as oversight chairman of Quinnipiac GAME Forum XII in New York City.

As he prepared to serve as oversight chairman of the Quinnipiac GAME Forum — the largest student-run financial conference in the world — Dylan Jones ’22, MBA ’23, was already training for a half-marathon. He would tend to his GAME Forum duties for seven or eight hours, find time for an 8-mile run and then unwind with a guitar in his hands.

For eight months, Jones prepared his team of 45 student volunteers from the School of Business for this moment, a two-day engagement in New York City, the financial capital of the world. But for Jones, a first-generation college student from Hopewell Junction, New York, a management lesson from his high school track coach proved especially apropos for GAME, the acronym for Global Asset Management Education.

“It gives me peace to think of it like organized chaos,” Jones said from a plush armchair in the Carl Hansen Student Center, a few days before departing for GAME earlier this year. “There's going to be so many things going on at once that you know you're not going to be able to manage everything, so you have to be able to just have an organized process for whatever you can control. My track coach would use that term because I would ask him, ‘How do you manage what 50 or 100 athletes are doing every week?’ And he would tell me it’s organized chaos — and that stuck with me.”

When it was finally time for more than 1,300 sharply dressed students representing 120 colleges and universities to descend on the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel — just a short subway ride from the city’s fabled financial district — Jones was ready.

With a phone in one hand and a leather-bound planner in the other, he was the corporate world’s version of an air-traffic controller, directing the flow of footsteps into a series of spacious ballrooms where market-shaping insights were being traded.

Unlike the previous two GAME Forums, which were relegated to Zoom screens, there were finally logistics to consider and problems to solve. “If you need to hit the panic button, call me, call Aidan,” Jones assured one volunteer, referring to his co-chair, Aidan Green ’23, MBA ’24, who will succeed him next spring.

But a little “organized chaos” signaled a welcome return to the event’s roots.

“There’s all these little glimmers of the pandemic being over, and this is certainly one of those hallmark events,” said panelist Tom Keene, the quick-witted, on-air anchor of the long-running morning news show, Bloomberg Surveillance.

The star power, the sharp commentary, the manic energy, the fancy threads — all the things that first attracted Jones to GAME and Quinnipiac were on display. He had attended the last in-person GAME Forum in 2019 as an admitted student. Jones was so impressed by the professional atmosphere the students had helped cultivate that he knew he had to get involved.

The past four years saw Jones rise from promotions co-chairman to oversight co-chairman to graduate oversight chairman, a role where he had a direct hand in devising the 2023 agenda and setting the guest list.

The chance to play such a pivotal part in the event’s homecoming was a dream come true.

“After two years of being virtual, I’m so excited to be back in New York City and to hear from some of the brightest minds in the finance world,” Jones said in his welcome remarks. “GAME Forum has been designed for and by students. Our team worked diligently to make this event possible. We’ve also had the support of Quinnipiac’s leadership and faculty to bring GAME Forum to you.”

President Judy Olian urged the attendees to take advantage of a “golden opportunity to network with peers, potential employers and with luminaries in the financial sector.” She outlined some of the most urgent questions contributing to a fraught economic climate and praised a distinguished lineup of panelists in advance for seeking solutions.

“Our students have assembled a set of speakers and panelists who are the go-to experts for global finance and asset management,” Olian said. “If anyone can make sense of what’s going on in this interconnected world of global economics and the social and market consequences, they can. To each of our presenters over the course of these two days, a huge thank you.”

Olian was introduced by School of Business Dean Holly Raider, who retraced the recent history of GAME and warmly addressed attendees from around the world who were seeing the city for the first time — some of whom, Raider said, she had already met “on the elevator, at breakfast and in the hallways.”

“[GAME] is an occasion for you to deepen your knowledge in areas you’re familiar with and to venture into new ones,” Raider said. “It’s an occasion for you to connect with speakers, with ideas and with each other.”

The coast-to-coast roster of schools in attendance included Yale University, the United States Military Academy, the University of Miami, Purdue University, Providence College and Washington University in St. Louis. The event also had an international flavor, with representatives from HEC Montreal, the University of Saskatchewan and American University of Beirut all making the trip.

The GAME students were joined by an impressive assortment of prominent financial firms and organizations, including gold sponsors M&T Bank, The Wall Street Journal, Merrill and Charles Schwab.

The Day 1 slate kicked off with a lively panel hosted by Keene entitled, “Economic Outlook for 2023 and Beyond.” The topic might have suggested a dramatic start to the proceedings, but the host’s needling of the panelists diffused much of the tension.

The morning session concluded with a panel on the outlook for markets and investment strategies hosted by Peter Spiegel, U.S. managing editor for The Financial Times. Afternoon sessions included a discussion on global asset allocation and portfolio risk, along with a panel featuring GAME alumni who provided tips on entering the workforce.

The objective of the conference, Spiegel said, was to prepare the next generation for the wonders of Wall Street, but also allow them as young people to have “big ideas” and marinate on them.

“[GAME Forum] allows you to sit and think and ask serious questions and have multiple points of view on these kinds of serious questions, and it’s just a very rare opportunity,” Spiegel said.

Jones will never forget the feeling.

As he sat between sessions in a third-floor meeting room that served as a makeshift headquarters for his team, Jones was reflective. He sipped ice water and soaked in the moment, after making his way from ballroom to ballroom. And back again.

The conference was only about a third of the way over, but Jones could take solace in knowing — like any good track coach or Fortune 500 CEO — that the best leaders loosen their grip and trust the process.

“Everything has gone the way it’s somewhat been planned,” he said with a smile.

After debating whether he could reasonably slip away for a jog in Central Park, he had decided against packing his running shoes. Not to worry. It’s safe to assume Dylan Jones got his steps in just fine.

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