BCA’s 2018 Winning Fed Challenge Team

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The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States and arguably the most powerful financial institution in the world,” according to Investopedia. However, relatively few people actually understand how this complex and crucial system works. One in seven Americans believes the Fed should be abolished according to a WalletHub survey, which may be attributed to the fact that the American public is woefully misinformed.

These statistics paint a bleak picture, but as with many things, young people may be the future. The High School Fed Challenge aims to “bring real-world economics into the classroom.” What does this entail? Fed Challenge teams must act as monetary policymakers, making recommendations for the trajectory of monetary policy by evaluating economic conditions.

BCA has its own Fed Challenge team advised by Mr. Schwimmer, who teaches courses in finance, accounting, and economics. Mr. Schwimmer offers a two-trimester elective to selected students from the Academy for Business and Finance in order to prepare them to compete. BCA’s Fed Challenge team is split into a research team, consisting of juniors, and a competition team, consisting of seniors. The seniors who compete each have their area of expertise: GDP, labor markets, inflation, and policy and mentor the juniors from the research team. The research team collects data, makes graphs, and creates a professional presentation and book to be presented to the judges.

Fed Challenge serves as an application of concepts discussed in depth in IB Economics, ABF’s core class. Instead of merely learning about theories, students have the opportunities to see the real-world implications of their knowledge. Fed Challenge is an extremely valuable way to facilitate a deep understanding of macroeconomics, the significance of which cannot be overstated.

BCA Fed Challenge is not simply a group of students working on a presentation for a competition. The team is made of collaborators and friends, who share traditions such as eating lunch together at a restaurant called Zeytuna, located just a minute’s walk from the Fed, after every competition. They work together to solve problems and to help each other learn, all while genuinely enjoying each other’s company.

Fed Challenge judges have said, “From start to finish, the team was very polished in its communication and it was evident that they were well prepared… In addition, it was nice to see the team demonstrate great teamwork by asking for time to collectively think about an answer to a particularly hard question during the Q&A session.”

Through their preparation and teamwork, BCA’s Fed Challenge team won first place and became the 2018 Fed Challenge champions on April 17th. Mr. Schwimmer, their proud advisor reflected upon the competition and his team, saying, “Fed Challenge is the ultimate team competition. It entails the ability to assess current economic conditions, create and justify economic forecasts, and identify appropriate monetary policy responses to those economic forecasts.”