Fed Challenge Team Keeps Winning Streak Alive

Lawrence Lerner

Once again, the Rutgers University–Newark Fed Challenge team has done the campus proud.

For the eighth time in nine years, the team reached the semi-finals of the New York District competition of the College Fed Challenge, losing a close round to a team from Columbia University.

Teams from nine colleges and universities competed in the semi-finals. Three teams—Pace University, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and Columbia University—advanced to the District finals. The Pace University team emerged victorious and will go on to compete in the nationals in Washington, D.C.

“Our team is disappointed not to have reached the finals this year,” says RU-N Economics Professor John Graham, who coaches the team. “Even still, it is no small accomplishment that they won their first round and qualified for the semi-finals at the New York Fed. As always, I am very proud of their hard work and accomplishments.”

The RU-N team had won their bracket in the first round of the 2014 Fed Challenge competition on October 31, enabling them to advance to the semi-finals, held on  November 14 in Downtown Manhattan. 

The 2014 Fed Challenge team members are:

  • Xhensila Pisha, class of 2015, finance and economics major from Belleville, N.J
  • Daniel Terry, class of 2015, economics and mathematics major from Bloomingdale, N.J.
  • Rohan Vaidya, class of 2015, finance and economics major from Mumbai, India
  • Archit Shah, class of 2015, finance major from North Bergen, N.J.
  • Vanessa Martinez, class of 2017, economics major from Colonia, N.J.

The national College Fed Challenge competition is sponsored by the Federal Reserve. In each round of the competition, five members from each team play the role of a Federal Reserve board called the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes the nation’s monetary decisions. Team members give a 15-minute presentation, complete with Power Point slides of economic and financial data, and conclude with monetary policy recommendations.

A panel of judges from the Fed grills each team for 15 minutes on their presentation and policy recommendations, as well as the team’s overall knowledge of macroeconomics, Federal Reserve operations, 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 College Fed Challenge since 2005 and has a long record of success in the competition. In 2011, the team came in second at the national finals, narrowly losing the title to the team from Harvard. In 2009 the team placed second at the nationals, beating teams from Harvard and Northwestern, and in 2006 the team placed third in the nation.