Clark University team takes 3rd in high-intensity Fed Challenge economics contest

The Clark University team captured third place in the 2015 Boston Regional College Fed Challenge, an The Clark University team captured third place in the 2015 Boston Regional College Fed Challenge, an "intensely competitive" contest held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Nov. 6). Pictured, from left, are Jorge Galvez Rodriguez, Rahul Dutt, Associate Professor of Economics David Cuberes, Doga Bilgin, Roei Shimony, and Assistant Professor of Economics Chang Hong.


A team of Clark University seniors captured third place in the 2015 Boston Regional College Fed Challenge, an annual competition held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, on Nov. 6.

The Fed Challenge competition asks teams to present monetary policy recommendations regarding interest rates and to answer questions before a panel of judges comprising economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Clark's participation in the Fed Challenge reflects the Economics Department's "effective practice" opportunities in correlation with the University's Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP) higher education model, and also is linked to the course "Money and Banking" taught by Associate Professor of Economics David Cuberes.

The Clark team placed third, behind Bentley University (first place) and Harvard College. Twenty-five teams competed, including undergraduates from Harvard University, Dartmouth University, Tufts University, Boston University, Boston College, Brown University, University of Connecticut and others.

"This is an amazing opportunity for our undergraduate students. It offers them the chance to work on a very serious research project for several months and then share their ideas in front of a very demanding — sometimes even intimidating — audience. It is also a big plus in their resumes. I strongly encourage future students to take part."~ Prof. David Cuberes

Clark's Fed Challenge team members include Clark seniors Doga Bilgin, Rahul Dutt, Roei Shimony and Jorge Galvez Rodriguez, under the mentorship of David Cuberes, Associate Professor of Economics and the assistance of Chang Hong, Assistant Professor of Economics. The department has participated in the challenge every year since 2008, improving in place each year. The completion consists of two rounds. In the morning round, the 25 teams compete in groups of five and only the best team in every group qualifies to the afternoon round. Remarkably, this is the first time the Clark team progressed to the second round, competing against top universities like Boston University.

"I can say that the Fed Challenge was a great experience, that helped me develop my research skills as well as learn more about the economy as a whole, and was great to finally put all of my economic knowledge into a real world experience," Galvez Rodriguez said. "Being able to be under such pressure really forces you to adapt to the situation and think outside the box. All in all, it was a great experience with the best teammates I could have possibly asked for, and I'm more than glad I participated in it."

"To apply the theories we learn in class to evaluate economic situations in real-time was a welcome challenge. Competing against other excellent universities and having our work recognized was one of my most rewarding experiences at Clark." — Doga Bilgin '16

"The Fed Challenge is an intensely competitive contest," said Hong. "It requires solid macroeconomic theory foundation, close attention to the latest economic situation in real life, in-depth knowledge about decision-making process of the Federal Reserve, eloquent and professional presentation skills, and quick response ability to fluently and effectively address difficult questions from judges."

Bentley's winning team will face other competing districts at the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark's pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark's faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University's motto: Challenge Convention. Change Our World.