BMCC Finance and Banking Team Wins New York Fed Competition

BMCC Fed Challenge team with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in Washington D.C.

BMCC Fed Challenge team with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in Washington D.C.
November 29, 2018

A team of students from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNYFinance & Banking Club won first place in the final round of the Maiden Lane division of the College Fed Challenge Competition, November 14, at the New York Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) in lower Manhattan. The BMCC team bested nine other college teams in the New York Fed’s second district. This is the second time the BMCC team has won the district competition.

The BMCC team was invited to attend the national competition at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington D.C. on November 29. There, they had an opportunity to meet Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, other members of the Board of Governors as well as other senior staff economists.

The Federal Reserve system, also known as “The Fed,” is the central bank of the United States. An important component in the nation’s economy, it sets monetary policy—such as interest rates—that impact individuals of all income levels.


As students in the BMCC Finance and Banking club have learned, the nationwide Federal Reserve Board system sets policy for 12 Federal Reserve Districts and district banks. The banks are jointly responsible for implementing the monetary policy set forth by the Federal Open Markets Committee. The New York Fed is the largest, in terms of assets, among the 12 districts, and is considered to be the most influential in terms of implementing monetary policy. The College Fed Challenge competition is designed to bring real-world economics into the classroom.

Faculty advisers for the competition included the Business Management Department professors Julian Schroeder, Nick Adamou, Christian de Rojas and Yanni Tournas.

Team members and their majors include:Jason Guan, business management/computer science; Celia Nightingale, financial management; Ambar Peralta, financial management; Kimberly Suarez, business administration; Charles Reid,economics and Mateja Tokic, business management.

Tournas said the College Federal Reserve Challenge of the Federal Reserve System is an annual academic competition sponsored by several reserve banks and is administered by the New York Federal Reserve Bank in the 2nd District. The College Federal Reserve Challenge consists of teams of three to five students from the New York Fed area striving to create a professional presentation 15 minutes in length to be delivered in front of a panel of judges consisting of academics and professional economists. He said this presentation is followed by a 15-minute, question-and-answer interaction.

Fed Challenge participants develop skills—the ability to think analytically, make effective presentations, work as a team and think on their feet—that are valuable in both their academic and professional careers, according to the College Fed Challenge website.

“What distinguishes the BMCC students is their academic commitment and their dedicated hard work, enabling them to participate and win first place in the 2018 College Fed Challenge academic competition in the Maiden Lane Division,” said Tournas. “The BMCC team student members have actively participated in intense academic discussions and meetings with faculty—even during the summer months—of the Finance and Banking Club jointly with other BMCC interested students.”

The BMCC student team includes business management/CIS major Jason Guan; financial management major Celia Nightingale; business administration majors Ambar Peralta and Kimberly Plata; economics major Charles Reid and business administration major Mateja Tokic.

“During the district award ceremony luncheon, judges visited our table and congratulated the student team members for their articulation and understanding of economic and finance concepts in their presentation,” said Tournas.

Professor Julian Schroeder shared his insights about the importance of the competition experience for the students: “In addition to their in-depth analysis of the cases presented, the students made excellent very natural presentations, often drawing on their own personal experiences to illustrate theoretical points. A competition like this is won or lost with the questions and answers, and with a great deal of practice for a whole range of questions, this team was exceptionally prepared, helping each other as multiple members responded to questions. Over the final weeks we worked intensely, sometimes every day. I commend the student presenters, not just for winning, but also for doing an exceptional job in every phase of the competition.”

Following their success and their overall experience and inspiration for academic excellence the team members shared their thoughts:

Mateja Tokic: “The Fed Challenge, along with Finance and Banking Club, has been the most inspiring, growing and challenging experience that I have had since I came to BMCC. I am very grateful that I got to learn from professionals in the area of finance and economics that work in the most prestigious institutions in this country, and after Fed Challenge I am inspired to seek for more opportunities.”

Celia Nightingale: “When I first signed on to do the fed challenge I didn’t necessarily know what I was in for, just that I would learn a lot, and that I would be working with some very motivated peers, and professors eager to share their wellsprings of wisdom, and that was enough for me. I couldn’t be more thankful to be surrounded with so many wonderfully supportive individuals at the finance and banking club at school, and to the FED for creating these incredible opportunities to expose students to the inner workings of the central Bank .

Ambar Peralta: “After participating in the Fed Challenge I realized that school isn’t about going to sit in a class for hours and then leave, but it is about us getting involved in the things we are passionate for, even when we don’t receive credit for it because that is when we really find out if that is our passion or not. I learned so much more about economics and finance in the club that I did in class and realized that we learn more when we do things voluntarily than when we do them because we have to do them. ”

Kimberly Suarez: “I highly encourage anyone interested to know more about economics and finance to participate in the following competitions. It is really a rewarding experience where you start from scratch and end up understanding better the economic world around you without even realizing it. Professor Tournas and Professor Schoeder did an amazing job on coaching us. ”

Charles Reid: “It is important to remember that like Economics our life our time, our strength, our knowledge are limited resources and we must allocate these efficiently and when shared it greatly improved our output. The sense of community and camaraderie we shared is an intangible, invaluable experience I will always cherish. The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions but to understand that there are sometimes multiple solutions and at other times solutions we don’t currently have.”




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