Loyola Business Blog

Loyola to compete in semi-finals for College Fed Challenge

For the second year in a row, the Loyola University Maryland team has won the Baltimore-Washington regional competition for the College Fed Challenge Competition, held annually at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Baltimore branch. 

Members of the 2018 Fed Challenge team await the results of their recent competition.The Loyola team advances to the semi-final competition hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on Friday, Nov. 16, where they will compete against the winners of the Virginia and North Carolina regional competitions (Virginia Commonwealth University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Today’s winner will go on to the national championship hosted by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.

Loyola’s 2018 Fed Challenge roster includes Tristan Byrnes, Kristen Conniff, Grace Cosgrove, Conor MacNeill, Matthew Scutaro, and Katelyn Zelko, all economics majors and members of the Class of 2019, and has been led by John Burger, Ph.D., professor of economics, since 2000.

The first round of the competition took place in October at Towson University, where Loyola competed against teams from American University, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

The College Fed Challenge competition requires students to present their analysis of current and prospective economic conditions and recommend an appropriate course for monetary policy to a panel of judges who are experts in these fields. After completing a 20-minute presentation, students face a series of questions from the judges. Feedback from the most recent competition indicated that Loyola’s team excelled during the Q&A period.Dr. Burger and the Fed Challenge team meet to discuss an upcoming event.

“When I have the opportunity to discuss real-world data and how that has an impact on our presentation going forward, it helps me to understand and appreciate why I've been working so hard in my classes, because I'm applying the material I've learned,” said Tristan Byrnes.

Traditionally, students taking EC430 Monetary Economics are invited to participate. They do not receive any additional academic credit for the competition, and rather participate based on academic curiosity. 

“I am in Dr. Burger's Monetary Economics class this semester, and being a part of the Fed Challenge has allowed me to become a better student in terms of understanding the material on a deeper level,” said Katelyn Zelko. 

The Fed Challenge team poses for a photo with competition judges.The team generally meets weekly to discuss current economic conditions and formulate a presentation for the competition. As the date of the competition approaches, meetings become more frequent and students put in significant hours polishing their data presentation and policy recommendation. 

“At the end of the day, there's no group I'd rather analyze the economy with,” said Conor MacNeill. “The amount of effort and dedication I have seen from my classmates is exemplary. I don't want it to end. Sure, other schools may have big names and reputations, but at the end of the day... why not us?”

We are thrilled for and very proud of these dedicated students and all they have accomplished in this year’s Fed Challenge, and we will be rooting for the Loyola team in the semi-final round!