UMES team excels at 2011 College Fed Challenge

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - (Nov. 15, 2011) - UMES business students earned runner-up honors in a qualifying round of the Federal Reserve Bank's 2011 "College Fed Challenge."

    Team UMES' second-place finish is the university's best performance in the nine years it has participated in the national economics and banking policy competition, according to head coach Monisha Das, a marketing professor.

     "I can confidently say our team showed it was capable of competing with any undergraduate program in the country," Das said. The event attracts 100 of the nation's best-known business schools each year.

    UMES students made a 20-minute role-playing presentation using real-time financial and economic data, then debated policy strategies for increasing employment and lowering inflation as though they were Federal Reserve governors.

    2011 UMES "College Fed Challenge" team

    The 2011 UMES College Fed Challenge team, left to right: Tobi Solaja, Sean Williams, Dr. Vichet Sum, Kyle Wolfe, Robel Lakwe, Marie Jonas, Dr. Monisha Das and Preston Johnson

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    UMES team members included: Preston Johnson, Tobi Solaja, Kyle Wolfe, Sean Williams, Robel Lakwe, Brittany M. Thomas and Marie C. Jonas.

    "Being on the team helped me … identify my strengths and weaknesses as a leader," Jonas said.

    A panel of judges graded Jonas and her teammates on their analysis of current market conditions as well as their answers to rapid-fire questions. Judges did not know the names of the six Maryland schools in the Nov. 2 competition held in Baltimore.

    Loyola University narrowly edged UMES to qualify for the next round in the competition. Mount St. Mary's University finished third. Other teams in the event were from Salisbury University, the U.S. Naval Academy and St. Mary's College of Maryland.

    Students and their faculty advisers spent two months doing research and practicing for the annual event.

    "I hope this shows … incoming and potential students that UMES is full of bright individuals who are applying themselves … to be better for future endeavors," Jonas said. "We have the same opportunities as those in other schools."

    Karen Kokernak, senior Economic Education Specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (Baltimore Branch), has watched UMES compete annually since 2007. "Every year," she said, "the team has demonstrated tremendous growth. This year, the students should be especially proud, for the presentation was very professional and well researched. A job well done!"

    Das said the university's 2011 team performance demonstrates UMES business students are learning the same "critical thinking" skills as their competitors in order to tackle complex, real-world econox