While over three months have passed since a group of Manhattan College students participated in the semi-finals of the College Fed Challenge, preparations have already started for the next one.
The challenge is a national academic competition which is held annually by the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan.
“The College Fed Challenge is a competition designed to bring real-world economics into the classroom,” reads the New York Fed website. “Teams play the role of monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommending a course for monetary policy.”
Not only is the challenge viewed at as an academically-enriching experience, but it also has a number of supplemental benefits as well.
“I think the benefits are that you just learn a lot more than you just would learn in classes,” said junior economics major Zoey McGreavy. “So there’s a lot of work you can do by yourself and learn a lot of things surrounding current events that maybe you wouldn’t get until your senior year of econ.”
For Diego Miguens, a junior finance and global business major, the challenge has helped him improve his public speaking skills and also given him a chance to network.
“It teaches you different things and opens different doors for you in your careers,” said Miguens.
The competition is broken up into two divisions: Maiden Lane (for teams of students who have not taken a 200-level course or higher in economics) and Liberty Street (for teams with at least one student who has taken a 200-level course or higher in economics). Manhattan participated in the Liberty Street division last semester.
Manhattan was one of 43 teams to compete in the 2017 challenge. Their division’s preliminary round took place on Oct. 31. After their performance in the preliminary round, they moved on to the semi-finals on Nov. 14.
While they did not make the National College Fed Challenge which was held on Dec. 1 in Washington, D.C., the students on the team were able to learn from their experience in the semi-finals.
“How to interact more with the judges and people who work at the Federal Reserve. How to appropriately answer questions in the time frame,” said McGreavy on what she has learned from her experience in the semi-finals last year.
Miguens realized how important it is to show the judges their team chemistry when answering their questions.
“We learned that there’s a lot of other schools out there that are putting in as much work as us, maybe more,” said Miguens. “It just showed us how we should be prepared and how team chemistry is a huge contributing factor to making it to the finals because the judges like to see not that one person knows everything and will answer all the questions. They like to see how the team works as a whole and how you guys feed off of each other between questions and how you guys deliver your research.”
Miguens outlined a few things that they could improve upon.
“We saw how we should definitely do a lot more research, prepare our speeches a lot better and potentially get a lot more chemistry so the judges can see that we all work together and can feed off of each other,” said Miguens.
While they have about eight months until the challenge, the team does not have a long offseason. Since the 2017 challenge, they have already recruited a few students to take over for the seniors who will be graduating this May. Not only were they able to fill those spots, but they were also able to add additional members.
One of the new members is a business analytics major who can help with aspects of the data.
The team has also began their research for 2018. They meet about twice a week at 7 a.m. to research the new information released by the Fed so far.
Once it gets closer to the challenge, their meetings increase. During the week before the challenge, they typically meet twice a day; once at 6:00am and once sometime during the night.
The group of almost a dozen students are assisted by faculty advisor, Hany Guirguis, PhD.
Guirguis puts a lot of time into helping the team and that does not go unnoticed by students like McGreavy and Miguens.
“I can only say good things about [Guirguis],” said McGreavy. “He’s really the best. He holds the team together. He knows exactly what everyone is good at so he placed everyone’s strengths and really brings together the team.”
“He’ll help us with whatever we need and even outside of the club,” said Miguens. “Definitely a great guy and we appreciate everything he’s done for us up until this point.”
With eight months remaining until the next challenge, the teams’ hope is that Manhattan can represent the Second District in Washington, D.C. for the National College Fed Challenge in 2018.