Guilford economics team takes second place

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Guilford College Economics Team placed second out of seven teams at the Regional Fed Challenge hosted by Wake Forest University. The team consisted of senior Ben McVey, senior Caroline Webster, senior Hannah Rouse, junior Enrique Gudino, senior Brayden Currin and Early College student Ben Miller.

The competition tests competitors’ knowledge of the implementation of the Federal Reserve’s policies and the current economic situation and abilities to assess risks to the economy and make recommendations on the Federal Reserve’s policies.

In the morning, each team gave a 15-minute presentation prepared in advance in front of a panel of judges, consisting of economics professors and analysts. This was in the format of a mock meeting of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Students incorporated economic data into their presentations, working long hours on fine-tuning.

“We spent our entire fall break on lots of practices in the library and lots of mapping out economic theories,” said Webster.

The efforts of the students paid off in the competition, as the team moved onto the afternoon rounds with a successful showing in the morning presentation.

“We practiced the competition a lot and we were confident to advance,” said Miller.

Voehringer Professor of Economics Robert G. Williams coached the team but emphasized the student-led nature of it.

“I didn’t recruit anyone,” said Williams. “They recruited me to coach. They formed the team itself. They chose who would be on it.”

Three members of the team, Rouse, McVey and Webster, found their motivation in the disappointing finish of the previous year’s competition.

“We worked together well since we did this last year,” said Rouse. “Our goal was to advance to the afternoon rounds and did that.”

Only the top two teams from the morning qualified for the afternoon round. The afternoon round consisted of a new scenario given to each team, who then had five minutes to prepare for a five-minute impromptu presentation on the scenario, followed by a 15-minute questioning session.

Miller elaborated on the difficulty of the afternoon round.

“The time constraint was difficult along with a question from one of the judges that we struggled to answer,” Miller said.

Beyond the thrill of the competition and having their effort pay off, the team consisting of economics majors found the experience to be beneficial to their learning in general.

“Working on the Fed Challenge affirms my choice on studying economics and validates the strength of the economics department,” Webster said.

McVey expressed similar sentiments.

“We each worked on what we did last year and worked on whatever was needed,” said McVey.

Another member of the team, Gudino, also commented on specific skills he learned from teammates.

“I learned how to use excel to graph data from my teammates,” said Gudino.

Through the process of researching and practicing together, team members learned to trust one another.

“We trusted each other with the details even if we had disagreements,” Rouse said. “I trusted everyone to finish what they are supposed to.”