Econ150_L

The Fed Challenge

The Federal Reserve Challenge Competition gives economics students the chance to put their skills to the test in front of Federal Reserve, private sector, and academic economists.

In fall 2006, economics professors Tung Liu and Cliff Stone gathered the first-ever Ball State student team—Andy Blough, David Barker, Brandon Eichmeier, Tony Kumming, and Mark Lewis—to prepare for and participate in the Fed Challenge regional competition in Chicago. The October competition required the students to study the U.S. economy, make forecasts and policy recommendations, and defend their views to the judges.

Kumming, who graduated in December 2006 and landed a job as a financial analyst, says that although the students worked hard to prepare, they were still amazed at the competition. "I had an idea of the time commitment," he says, "but I never imagined how much I would learn in such a short period of time."

Now that he is working, Kumming says he understands how decisions made by the Fed have a real impact on business, and he appreciates the value of participating in the Fed Challenge, even though the team didn't win. "For anyone considering studying economics, or doing anything with the monetary system, I think the Fed Challenge is an experience you can't do without," he says.

Stone agrees that the competition is nothing like being in a classroom situation and much more like what students will face once they are in the workforce. "It's what they'll have to do after they graduate—make a presentation, answer questions about it, and defend their answers," he says.

With their first competition under their belts, the team coaches understand what it takes to compete with the likes of Northwestern University, which has won both the regional and national competitions in previous years.

"I think if we want to be really effective, we have to recruit in the spring so the students can start reading and getting together by e-mail over the summer," Stone says. "We certainly want to make a run at Northwestern."

In 2007, our team finished in the final four in the regional competition.
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