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.




Fed Challenge 2012

Start early – When beginning the class, you will have about 2.5 months until your competition…and this is not too early to start.  Come up with a story.  What is wrong with the economy and why?  Make major points and make sure everything relates to these points.  Start building a Powerpoint ASAP.

Read – Read articles everyday and relate them to your “story.”  All the articles you read  will not be useful, so screen out the ones that you can’t use.

Meet outside of class – Start this from day number one.  Don’t wait until the competition is a month away.  Meeting outside will build team chemistry, as well as allow you to work on the presentation/script.

Watch old videos – The finalists videos should be on Youtube.  Watch their presentations and see how they approached it.

Plan for Round 2 – Starting everything early will allow for some breathing room in the days leading up to the competition.  Make sure the script is finalized 7 days before.  This gives you enough time to memorize it and plan for any last minute changes.  Also, go through some economic scenarios and see how your group would tackle them.  This will prepare you for Round 2.

Have fun – As econ majors, you should enjoy this class.  Staying up to date with all the statistics, news, and analysis will be time-consuming, but remember to enjoy the process.

Advice For Future Fed Challenge Teams

– Create a sound timeline. It may seem that you have plenty of time but there needs to be a sense of urgency throughout the semester. Failures to do so could create an environment were the team’s quality and efficiency might be overlooked.

-Clearly outline the most important parts of the economy that need to be considered in your presentation early in the semester. After, select members that will specialize in those parts and will continue to inform the team about the movements and relevance throughout the semester.

-Talk about past and current monetary policy religiously. Using FOMC minutes and speeches will allow all members to align themselves with a particular point of view. Then have members voice their opinions and create an environment where healthy debate can allow members to strengthen their ideas and look at wide variety of remedies for the economy.

-Be serious about this commitment. This is a challenge, thus the name, and as a member you need to prepare yourself for a semester of serious learning. This is not a class, more like on the job training.