Rutgers-Newark Students Capture First Place in NY Regional Finals of College FED Challenge

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The College Fed Challenge team of students from the Economics Department at Rutgers University, Newark was awarded first place in the regional competition held at the New York Federal Reserve bank in New York City, Nov. 16.

Second place in the NYC competition went to the team from Pace University, with honorable mentions to teams from Cornell University and Hamilton College.

This is the fourth year that the team from Rutgers-Newark, coached by Economics Professor John Graham, has won the NY regional competition. With the first place win the team advances to the national competition to be held at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C on Nov. 29.  They will compete against teams from the Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Richmond Federal Reserve districts.  Last year the Rutgers-Newark team placed 4th in the nation; in 2009, the team was second in the nation.

The Rutgers students who made up the winning team are:

  • senior Victor Castaneda, an economics and mathematics major from Elizabeth, New Jersey;
  • junior Michael Jen, an economics and history major from Bloomfield, New Jersey;
  • junior Bryan Myers, an economics major from Rahway, New Jersey;
  • senior Gaurav Pendse, a finance and computer science major from Parsippany, New Jersey;
  • and senior Sher Singh, an economics and mathematics major from Summit, New Jersey.

The team is coached by Economics Department Chair John Graham of South Orange, NJ.

This year’s competition is co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Eastern Economic Association.  To reach the finals, the Rutgers-Newark team had to win both a preliminary and semi-final round.  The competition began on October 28th with 36 teams; six teams advanced to the semi-finals, and four teams made it to the finals.

In each round of the competition, five members from each team act as if they are the monetary policy committee of the Federal Reserve, known as the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes the nation’s monetary decisions. Team members give a 15-minute presentation, including Power Point slides of economic and financial data, and then conclude each presentation with a monetary policy recommendation concerning the federal funds rate and the Fed’s other credit easing policies introduced after the financial crisis of 2008.

Finally the panel of judges questions each team for 15 minutes, grilling them not only on their presentation and policy recommendation, but also the team’s overall knowledge of macroeconomics, how the Federal Reserve operates, and the major monetary issues facing the Fed. Each team is then scored in several categories, including teamwork, knowledge, and presentation skills.

The full presentation of the Rutgers team can be viewed on You Tube, at