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Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Recapping Boston’s Fed Challenge Competition

On November 3 two of our resident Sandbox tutors competed in the College Fed Challenge Competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. This is a team competition for undergraduate students, where teams analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.

Teams present to a panel of judges who are experts in economics and monetary policy. Presentations include an analysis of current economic conditions, macroeconomic conditions, up to date data, economic theory and principles, as well as conditions experienced in different geographic areas, in urban/rural areas, or among different demographic and socioeconomic groups. Teams also forecast near-term economic and financial conditions relevant to the formulation of monetary policy and discuss significant risks to the economy that should receive special attention. The presentation concludes with a monetary policy recommendation.

Historically, Bentley University has had success in this competition and expectations for its teams are set very high. After defeating their rival Harvard College 3 years in a row, Bentley’s team lost to Harvard in the first round of competition this year. Harvard went on to win the competition by a healthy margin, suggesting that Bentley was the victim of bad luck during the randomized bracket selections.

For our resident Sandbox tutors, this competition provided a great opportunity to utilize the many data crunching platforms taught within the CIS Sandbox. Members use Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Google Docs, SPSS, Factset, and numerous other programs to analyze economic data, produce graphs, and ultimately construct a slide show, which acts as a visual aid during the presentation.

The College Fed Challenge competition is a blend of economics, finance, and information technology, and offers the chance to integrate these disciplines to produce a professional grade presentation; The Perfect job for a couple of economics students from the Sandbox!