Students Excel at NY College Fed Challenge

News Story: November 6, 2014

On Friday, October 31, five students in the Department of Economics and Finance at Sacred Heart University traded in Halloween costumes for business suits to represent the John F. Welch College of Business in the New York College Fed Challenge. Kyle Czarnecki ’15, Scott Gaffney ’15, Elias Gharios ’15, Ken Arnold ’16 and George Ferris ’18 made up the team. For the second year in a row, their faculty adviser was Professor Gerald McCloghry. The program began with Professor Bridget Lyons in 2005.

The Fed Challenge is an economic forecasting competition among universities nationwide. Each team is responsible for creating and executing a 15-minute presentation in front of the employees of the New York Federal Reserve Bank that:

  • Addresses current economic and financial conditions
  • Forecasts near-term changes in economic and financial conditions of critical importance to monetary policy (such as unemployment, inflation and output)
  • Identifies possible economic and financial issues that might present either positive or negative risks to the economy
  • Recommends a monetary policy response

After their presentation, the economists from New York Federal Reserve Bank spend 15 minutes asking questions of each team. The score is based on both the presentation and questioning.

Czarnecki, who has a double major in finance and business economics and was the only returning participant to the team this year, describes the research for the Fed Challenge as “thorough. Preparation was months in the making. Over the course of the summer, the team was tracking economic indicators and fed statements to prepare for the presentation,” he said.

The team couldn’t be happier with this year’s results. They scored higher than previous years and, though they did not qualify for the semi-final round, they consider the competition a great experience and a highlight of their college careers “Presenting at the Federal Reserve in front of their employees and economists allows you to recognize how much you really know. There is truly no room for error,” says Czarnecki.

“The Fed Challenge competition is a great venue for our economics and finance majors to conduct extensive research on the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve monetary policy,” notes Professor Khawaja Mamun. “In addition, the students learn to work in a group while preparing their presentation. They put in considerable time researching and preparing for the competition, and the reward for this effort is quite evident. After the competition, the students know more about the U.S. economy, and I have always found them to be more confident in their attitude afterwards.”

Adds Lyons, “The SHU team received strong reviews from the economists at the Federal Reserve who evaluated the competition. We are delighted that SHU was once again able to participate and are very proud of the team and grateful for the mentoring provided by their adviser, Professor McCloghry.” 

Lyons and Professor Khawaja Mamun helped the students practice for the competition by acting as mock judges while the team ran through their scripts.

For more information on the nature and rules of competition of the Fed Challenge, visit