Fed Challenge Panel at the Eastern Economic Association Meetings 2019

UCONN Stamford Faculty Lead the Panel at the Eastern Economic Association Meetings in NYC, March 1, 2019

Professors Natalia Smirnova and Oskar Harmon organized the panel “College Fed Challenge: Impact on Students’ Knowledge Acquisition” at the Eastern Economic Association 45th annual conference in New York on March 1, 2019. Among the panelists were faculty advisers of the Federal Reserve Region 2 participating teams: Mary C. Burke from Fordham University, Christine Storrie from SUNY – Oneonta, and Cynthia Bansak from St. Lawrence University. Additionally, the captain of Rutgers University team, Ashton Welles, and UCONN Stamford team captain, Jonathan Herrick, were present.

The substantial and heated discussion revolved around the following questions. The first one was about the learning outcomes for students participating in the Fed Challenge competition. The panelists shared that in their opinion the learning that occurs is quite substantial. They mentioned real-life application of economics, team building, developing presentation skills, “thinking on your feet” during the Q&A portion, and the opportunity to connect with alumni and professionals in the off-campus setting. All of these help students to immerse in economics, learn what real economists do every day, and get the opportunity to interview (and, occasionally, even get a job offer!) through alumni and professionals who work with the team.

The second discussion question was about challenges in selecting, organizing, and preparing the team. Many challenges were listed, such as short deadlines; either short supply or abundant supply of interested students, both of which present various challenges; the blend of academic and practical literature that needs to be studied for the competition, to name just a few.

The third question was about successful strategies to cope with the challenges. Panelists shared their experiences, which were pondered by all participants. Students shared various practices utilized by their teams. The cross-pollination of ideas about how to improve the preparation, how to involve practitioners and alumni, and how to organize preparatory work at our respective campuses was very helpful.
There were additional comments and questions from the audience which consisted of around fifteen people. Overall, everyone learned a lot and will improve approaches to team preparation going forward. This panel discussion will, hopefully, lead to a better outcome for UCONN Stamford team at the Fall 2019 competition.