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Taking on the Feds

September 25, 2014

The College Fed Challenge is a prestigious annual competition sponsored by the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

This year, a group of BMCC students will join that competition along with teams from 35 other schools including SUNY Geneseo, Rutgers University, William Patterson University, Medgar Evers College, Fairfield University and Columbia University.

“I have confidence in how a community college can perform in the Challenge,” says BMCC Economics and Finance Club member Mathias Bantle.

“I’m a business major and want to go for my finance degree at Baruch College,” says Dilara Beisikemov. “What we’re learning for the Fed Challenge is fundamental knowledge in that area.”

Charles Hall puts it like this: “I thought it would expand my world view. Everyone needs to have economic understanding—we are all buying or selling products.”

Round by round

The first round of the College Fed Challenge will be held October 31, and the winning teams will advance to the semi-finals on November 14.

Winners of that round will proceed to the final round in Washington D.C. on December 2.

Each team will deliver a 15-minute presentation before a panel of judges—officials from the Federal Reserve, business leaders and academics—outlining a proposal for Federal Reserve monetary policy.

The students are interested in economics for a variety of reasons.

“I came from a small town in Northern California,” says Rexford Green.

“I wanted to be in the U.S. military and did search and rescue, stationed on Staten Island. Finance came into play when I realized I was protecting the financial capital of the world—Wall Street.”

The students also see themselves as someday being part of the solution, in helping create a more viable U.S. economy.

“If we all work together, we can see what problems are in finance and government in the U.S.,” says Julia Erhan, “and how that relates to finances in the global sense.”

Dan Moon adds, “different people with different backgrounds and cultural experience can fuse their ideas for an international solution.”

Faculty mentors

Professor Julian Schroeder is helping the students prepare for the Fed Challenge, by building their understanding of economic theory and practice.

“I feel in our discussions we’ve come up with many original ideas,” he says. “Every person in this room knows the tools, techniques of the Federal Reserve, which is unpopular at times, but deeply influential.”

Professor Chukwudi Ikwueze is also working closely with the team, meeting with them through the Economics and Finance Club.

“I think this exposes students not only to tools and techniques of the Federal Reserve, but also to world affairs financially,” he says.

“The students apply critical skills for an understanding of how things work around us,” says Professor Yanni Tournas.

“Others in this club have transferred to prestigious schools to continue their higher education, and they reach out to the students here. Economics helps clarify so many subjects. We also need economics to understand how to maximize limited resources.”

Student Ya Ru Xie agrees.

“It’s good for us to expand our approach to everything, by understanding economics,” she says. “It makes you look at things differently. Believe it or not, every decision in life is influenced by economics.”

BMCC hosts orientation

BMCC recently hosted an orientation for the Fed Challenge in Theater 2 on the college’s main campus.

Suri Duitch, University Dean for Continuing Education, CUNY, delivered welcome remarks and speakers from the Federal Reserve presented on topics to help the student teams prepare for the Challenge.

These included Paolo Pesenti, whose talk was titled, “Notes of Monetary Policy, Headwinds & Tailwinds.”

Deborah Leonard discussed the evolution of the Federal Reserve Bank, and Alina Slavin shared information about careers at the New York Federal Reserve.

To close, Carmi Recti provided guidelines and tips for success, in the upcoming College Fed Challenge.

“I think it’s great that we have a wide array of schools competing in the College Fed Challenge,” says Recti, who serves as Senior Economic Education Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"I really do believe that the CFC is a unique learning opportunity for everyone involved in the competition.”


EDITOR'S NOTE: Preparation meetings for the College Fed Challenge are open to all BMCC students and are held every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in Fiterman 703.  

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  • The College Fed Challenge is sponsored by the NY Federal Reserve Bank
  • BMCC's team will compete with 35 others
  • Each team will deliver a 15-minute presentation on Federal Reserve policy to a panel of judges

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