Advice for 2012 Fed Challenge Team

First off, this class will consume the majority of your time during the semester.  If you are somebody who does not have very much time to meet with team members on campus outside of class time or is unable to dedicate at least a couple hours a day to reading, researching, and preparing the powerpoint and script for the presentation then this class is definitely not for you.  The amount of time you will need to dedicate to this course will only increase as you get closer to the challenge date.

On that note, my first bit of advice would be to get started as early as possible.  Inevitably, for about the first month of this course you will most likely be spending the majority of your time just reading articles and papers and learning about monetary policy.  As you read these however, start to form a story or an overall idea about the current economic conditions and what you believe to be the most important factors or conditions developing at the time.  Once you have picked these assign each area as a responsibility a group member and begin specializing on your individual areas.  Save good articles (and especially good graphs) so they will be readily accessible (use dropbox).  This will allow you to start working on developing a script and powerpoint as early as possible.

Watch videos of other Fed Challenge teams on youtube as early as possible.  This will allow your group the ability to develop an overall outline on how you want to do your presentation (whether you want your presentation to be in the format of a debate, an FOMC meeting, etc).  Once you decide on the format start working on the script immediately.  Your goal should be to have a finalized script anywhere between a week or two before the competition.  This way you can have a couple of practice presentations in front of VCU faculty judges and you can also prepare for the second part of the competition by practicing different economic scenarios during class time.

Overall, the best advice I can give is to get started as early as possible and not waste any time.  Set up specific deadlines if necessary to make sure that you don’t find yourselves a few weeks from the competition with a presentation that is nowhere near ready.  The last couple weeks should be used to really perfect the presentation through practice, updating the data with the most recent numbers before the competition, and practicing the second round so you will be ready for any scenario the judges throw at you.  This is a competition and will therefore unlike any other course you have taken.  You will be expected to learn a lot more than you have in any of your previous classes and a lot of time will be required to succeed when the date of the Fed Challenge arrives.




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