Let’s say the Federal Open Market Committee — the part of the U.S. Federal Reserve that oversees our country’s money supply and makes critical decisions about setting interest rates — asked you for your thoughts on what they ought to be doing.
Would you have a competent answer?
Fordham students threw themselves into a mock version of that highly stressful situation last week when they competed in the U.S. central bank’s College Fed Challenge. University teams researched and planned for weeks to be adequately prepared for any question that the judges, acting as the Federal Open Market Committee, might throw at them.
Participating students had to analyze economic data, develop a forecast, determine what potential future economic risks could lie ahead, put together a formal presentation, and get ready for those challenging questions.
Below, John Mantia, a member of Fordham’s team, gives his account of the competition, held at Pace University.
Organized by professor Mary Burke of the economics department, Fordham’s group of five aspiring central bankers — all seniors — marshaled all of their training, talent and ideas to discuss the health of the global economy and where the Fed can best drive the U.S. economy.
Using a unique “News Hour” format, we took the audience step by step through the headwinds facing the economy and how the Fed should react. After our 15-minute presentation, we were challenged by the audience on our mastery of complex monetary theories and tools such as price targeting, reverse repossession agreements and credit default swaps.
I had an incredible time at Pace. We spent so many hours working on this presentation, and having all that work come together was really exciting. I couldn’t be prouder of our group. My classmate Nick Novak (FCRH ’13) played a pivotal support role for our team, testing us on each and every point and ensuring that we were well-prepared for questions from the judges.
“I watched a ton of Fed Challenge videos online and had a good idea of the style of questions the judges might ask,” Nick said. “I dove deep into the Fed’s documents and statements to ensure that we had official data. I used this to rigorously test the team, and while it was tough at first, they ended up being much better prepared when the day of the competition came.”
Though we were bested by a group from NYU, we performed admirably, getting high marks from the judges.
Lower photograph courtesy of John Mantia.