Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fed Challenge Team Beats Harvard, Northwestern to Win 2nd Place

On Dec. 2, 2009, students Lakshya Aeri, Sharissa Barrow, Victor Castaneda, Diego LaFuente and Michael Martins scored a second place finish - beating Harvard and Northwestern Business Schools, and winning a $15,000 award from the Moody’s Foundation - at the national finals of the ninth annual College Fed Challenge. Their coach is Economics Department Chair John Graham.

The team is pictured at left on the steps of the the Federal Reserve in Washington DC.

Just before the break, I managed to get in contact with Sharissa Barrow for her thoughts on the experience. (That's her smiling from her perch in Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's chair!)

This is what she had to say:

"The College Fed Challenge is hard work. Preparation requires extensive and constant reading, analysis of data, and an understanding of both macroeconomic theory and the economic and financial systems. At the beginning of the semester, I knew very little about the Federal Reserve or about the intricacies of the economy. That has certainly changed; changed so much in fact that my daily routine now includes following the release of data for key economic indicators and reading the Wall Street Journal and speeches.

That said, participating in the Fed Challenge has been the most remarkable experience of my college career. Not only have I learned more in two to three months than I would have ever expected, but I was able to work as a part of a team that was made up of some very bright people. Professor Graham was fantastic—his patience and dedication to getting us through the competition were unbelievable.

The team poses in the boardroom of the Federal Reserve before the competition

Then there was Washington. Beating Harvard and Northwestern was certainly a feat. We didn’t win, but we did break a tradition—Harvard and Northwestern are no longer the only schools to have placed first and second in the competition. I am proud to have been a part of that! And being in the very room that the Federal Open Market Committee meets to discuss current economic conditions and sitting in Chairman Bernanke’s chair and shaking his hand weren’t so bad either :) !"

For more coverage of this story, see Rutgers Students Capture 2nd Place in National Contest

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