For the seventh straight year, a student team fielded by the Rutgers Economics department, Newark, reached the semi-finals of the College Fed Challenge sponsored by the Federal Reserve. Theirs is a record unmatched by any other collegiate team in the New York Federal Reserve district.
“No other school in the competition can boast of making the semi-finals seven years running. Each year brings new economic challenges, and this year's team worked long and hard to keep up our winning tradition. I am very proud of them and what they have accomplished," explains John Graham, economics department chair, who coaches the Fed Challenge team each year.
Only six of the 36 NY/NJ teams advanced to the Nov. 14th semi-finals from the first-round competition, which was held on Nov. 9th at the NY Fed. Along with the students from Rutgers University, Newark, these teams were from Cornell University, Hamilton College, New York University, Pace University, and the State University of New York – Geneseo.
However, the team lost a close semi-final round and was eliminated from this year’s competition. The overall semi-final winner was Pace University, whose team will go on to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals in late November.
Members of this year’s team –economics majors all --are Harrison Edelman of Jersey City, N.J.; Edson Cornejo of Fords, N.J.; Michael Jen of Bloomfield, N.J.; and Andrew George of Morristown, N.J., all seniors; and junior Adeel Ganju, of Allendale, N.J.
Assisting the team in their research and presentation was Benny Ng, a finance major from New York City. The student coach of the team was graduate student Sher Singh, from Summit, N.J. Francis Ng, who teaches finance and economics at the Rutgers Business School, also assisted the team.
In each round of the competition, five members from each team act as if they are the monetary policy committee of the Federal Reserve, known as the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes the nation’s monetary decisions. Team members give a 15-minute presentation, including Power Point slides of economic and financial data, and then conclude each presentation with a monetary policy recommendation concerning the federal funds rate and the Fed’s other credit easing policies introduced after the financial crisis of 2008.
Finally the panel of judges questions each team for 15 minutes, grilling them not only on their presentation and policy recommendation, but also the team’s overall knowledge of macroeconomics, how the Federal Reserve operates, and the major monetary issues facing the Fed. Each team is then scored in several categories, including teamwork, knowledge, and presentation skills.
Rutgers-Newark has been part of the competition since 2005. Last year the team came in second in the nation at the national finals, bested only by the team from Harvard. In 2009 the team also placed second in the national finals, beating teams from Harvard and Northwestern, and in 2006 the team placed third in the nation.