By Jeniel Terrero
Assistant News Editor
Members of the Economics Student Organization of Long Island (ESOLI), have entered the College Fed Challenge for the first time. The group of students who are now registered in the Fed Challenge course, ECO 46, attended the first leg of the challenge on Friday, Sept. 18. The semi-finals won’t occur until Oct. 29, but in the meantime, the group of nine students is preparing to move further ahead and make it into the final round.
According to Economics Professor, Veronika Dolar, the Fed Challenge is a competition constructed to bring real-world economics into the classroom. Teams play the role of monetary policymakers by investigating economic conditions and their very own monetary policies for hypothetical scenarios. Additionally, students establish and apply their economic analysis skills, more thoroughly understand monetary policy decision-making, and hone their public speaking and teamwork skills.
Students who participate in the challenge sharpen prior skills, such as the ability to think analytically, to make effective presentations, and to think on their feet; skills which become valuable in both their academic and professional careers. By participating, students get a hands on experience on the role of the Federal Reserve in U.S. monetary policy making and how it ensures financial stability. The participating students also get the advantage of learning more about the internship opportunities such research assistant opportunities at the Fed.
Professor Dolar first introduced the competition to the ESOLI during the Spring 2015 semester. From the enthusiastic response she received, she organized a group of students to enter into the competition this fall. It wasn’t until summer that the students participating discovered that joining also meant registering for this credit course. “This is a new, but a very active student group and they really wanted to participate in this event. So, the motivation for offering this course really came from all the enthusiasm that students expressed for this competition,” said Dolar.
The Fed traces back to the earliest attempts at central banking in this country, which was the creation of the New York Fed in 1914, and has been running ever since. On the first leg of the competition, Dolar took the group of nine students to a workshop, which is known as the Macro Boot camp, at the NY Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street. This part of the program allows college students in the greater NYC area to provide advice to the central bank on monetary policy.
Dolar described this section of the competition as the “easy part.” “We were given a boot camp in macroeconomics and monetary policy. Students who attended this event asked a lot of great questions and also answered some of the questions posed by the economists working at the Fed,” she said.
Senior Economics major, Mijail Quintín Mariano, who is also a tutor in the Economics department, said he was sold on the idea of the challenge based on Dolar’s eagerness to have Post involved with the competition. “She explained to us how other colleges in the area, like our neighbors at NYIT, had been participating in the challenge,” he said. “Her enthusiasm sold me on the idea that we could actually apply what our professors and studies have taught us.’
The participating students have been meeting weekly with Professor Dolar as they prepare for the semi-finals. “We’ve been really focusing on going over Macroeconomic principles to where we have it down pact,” said Mariano. “There is a question and answer portion of the competition and we’ve been practicing how to answer how the Fed should react in the outcome of a hypothetical economic scenario.”
He also said that the group has just received their case file sent by the Fed, which they have to study, work on, and present for the semi-finals. Mariano said that the class and the overall experience has been new and exciting. “Aside from visiting the Federal Reserve Bank in the city, which is great, we actually get the opportunity to meet and network with many of the bank staff members,” he explained.
Dolar hopes that this is the beginning of a new tradition at Post and that there will be a team to represent the university every year. Students that are interested in participating in this competition are required to take Intro to Microeconomics.
If you are interested in learning more about the challenge and the club, ESOLI’s next meeting will be on Oct. 12. Meetings are held every other Monday during common hour in Humanities 109.