Business titans headline world’s largest student-run financial conference in Manhattan

March 30, 2023

Crowd listening to a speaker at student run financial conference

There was no need for headphones, nor a crowded Zoom screen to navigate. Quinnipiac University’s GAME Forum XII — the world’s largest student-run financial conference — returned to its Manhattan roots on Thursday morning for a full slate of sharp insights and spirited conversation from the industry’s brightest minds.

A collection of more than 1,300 sharply dressed students representing 120 colleges and universities gathered in the spacious Metropolitan Ballroom at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel for the event’s homecoming just a short subway ride from the city’s fabled financial district. The pandemic had forced a pivot to a virtual format over the past three years, but the electric energy for which GAME is known didn’t skip a beat.

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In a stirring welcome address, 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 providing market-shaping 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.”

President Olian was introduced by School of Business Dean Holly Raider, who retraced the recent history of GAME (Global Asset Management Education) and warmly addressed attendees from around the world who were seeing the city for the first time — some of whom, she said, she’d 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.”

First to greet the eager crowd was student chair Dylan Jones ’22, MBA ’23, who spent the past eight months spearheading a team of 46 student volunteers. The New York native was involved in everything from sending out invitations to devising workshop topics. But his passion for GAME was sparked four years earlier when, as an admitted student, he attended the last edition held in person in 2019.

Jones has held GAME Forum leadership roles ever since, rising from promotions co-chairman to oversight co-chairman to, finally, oversight chairman as a graduate student. The chance to play such a pivotal part in the event’s return to the big city was a dream come true.

“After three 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.” says Jones

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.

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

The Day 1 agenda kicked off with a lively panel hosted by Tom Keene, editor-at-large for Bloomberg Television and Radio and on-air anchor of the long-running morning news show Bloomberg Surveillance. The panel, entitled “Economic Outlook for 2023 and Beyond,” might have suggested a dramatic start to Thursday’s proceedings, but Keene’s humor and good-natured needling of the panelists diffused much of the tension.

“It’s wonderful to see you all after the pandemic — this is really a celebration for all of us grinding this out day after day,” said Keene, who was introduced by student co-chair Aidan Greene ’23, MBA ’24. “There’s all these little glimmers of the pandemic being over, and this is certainly one of those hallmark events.”

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, as well as a panel featuring GAME alumni who provided tips on entering the workforce. The objective, Spiegel said, was to prepare the next generation for the wonders of Wall Street but also allow them this moment 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.

GAME introduced a number of firsts in 2023, including the debut of a dedicated mobile app that kept users on schedule as they crafted their own itineraries with must-see speakers and panels. The first message it delivered on Thursday alerted attendees that breakfast was ready at 6 a.m., an early start to a busy — and rewarding — day.

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