University News

WNE College of Business Students Compete in 2021 College Fed Challenge

Published: December 09, 2021 | Categories: All News, Business
Federal Reserve bank Boston

Three College of Business students will begin their Spring 2022 semester at Western New England University (WNE) with a competitive edge thanks to some real-world experience recently gained by competing in the College Fed Challenge, a competition that encourages students to learn about the U.S. economy, monetary policymaking, and the role of the Federal Reserve System.

WNE Finance majors Michaela McCormick of West Hartford, CT;  John D'Aniello of Toms River, NJ; and Michela Kelley of East Longmeadow, MA represented WNE along with professional educator Dr. Wayne Durr serving as Faculty Advisor in this annual event in which students analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.

This marks the second year Western New England University has participated in The College Fed Challenge-a prestigious yearly academic competition co-organized within five Federal Reserve Districts (Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond).

The competition involves teams of three to five undergraduate students from universities and colleges located within the Boston (first) Federal Reserve District. Students competed against semi-finalist teams from Tufts, Dartmouth, Bates, Providence, Harvard, Clark, Bentley, Boston University, UMASS Lowell, Middlebury, Yale, Bryant, Manchester CC, and UCONN.

Teams create a 15-minute presentation of their recommendation and then defend it in front of judges, who were economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Teams were evaluated on economic analysis, responses to judges' questions, teamwork, and presentation. The presentation provides a monetary policy recommendation as of the day of the competition based on an assessment of the current state of the economy, risks to the economy going forward, and condition of financial, labor, and goods markets. In essence, teams are required to 'be the Fed'.

The judges for the final round of the competition were: Antulio Bomfim, Special Adviser to the Board, Monetary Affairs; Brian Doyle, Deputy Director, International Finance; Rick Mattoon, Vice President and Regional Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and Maggie Sklar, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of International Engagement, Financial Markets Group, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The policy recommendation by the WNE team suggested that the government pursue more aggressive tapering – the reduction of the rate at which a central bank accumulates new assets on its balance sheet. "Ironically, though the team did not win the competition, the government has recently been discussing the need for a more aggressive tapering. It is rewarding to hear the government discussing the same idea we used for the competition. It reflects how innovative our students are and how well versed they are in finance," said Durr.

The WNE team scored a perfect score in teamwork, and a near perfect score in presentation. "These two highest scores are reflective of the types of students we had on this team. I couldn’t be prouder," said Durr.