Economic students take on 2017 Bank of Canada Challenge

York University economics students accepted the 2017 Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge to apply theory to real-life financial problems.

The student team put their presentation skills to the test when they competed against 25 other universities in the challenge on Nov. 21, 2017. While at York, they presented via Skype to Bank of Canada Officials in Ottawa.

Left to right: Sam Arami, Professor Wai-Ming Ho, Mahnoor Zafar, Jacob Smith, Alec Klimowicz, Meldon Pereira, Bharat Soni, and Professor George Georgopoulos

This experiential education opportunity saw the students assess and analyze current and prospective macroeconomic conditions to formulate a recommended course of action on Canadian monetary policy for Bank of Canada officials. The team considered current and future risks and the inflation outlook in their assessments.

This year’s team of six students, each assigned a role of expertise, was supervised by Professor George Georgopoulos, graduate economics program director, and Professor Wai-Ming Ho, who teaches and researches in the fields of macroeconomics and international monetary economics.

York University’s 2017 Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge team included:

• Sam Arami, Team Canadian Economy Expert
Arami is a second-year financial and business economics student, who had the opportunity, with this challenge, to partake in advanced level monetary economics research. He calls the event a truly an unforgettable experience.

“The lessons learned in teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking will stay with me for a long time,” he said.” I hope that my endeavour inspires future younger students who are confident in their ability to make an impact in this competition. I would like to personally thank Professor Georgopoulos and Professor Ho who entrusted me with a lot of responsibility and provided their crucial expertise throughout the entire process.”

• Bharat Soni, Team Global Researcher
Soni is a third-year economics major student, who valued gaining a glimpse into the bi-monthly process of over-night interest rate policy that is employed by the Bank of Canada.

“The Bank of Canada Challenge provided a fantastic opportunity to learn about the real-world applications for economics,” said Soni. “It provided an important economic context for many recent economic events and how that influences the economic outlook for Canada. It has allowed me to develop presentational, organizational, and time management skills. It was an honor being a part of the challenge.”

• Mahnoor Zafar, Team U.S. Economy Expert
Zafar is a fourth-year business rconomics student who felt challenged by the process of presenting information in an artful, timely, and effective manner.

“I will always look back on this experience fondly, as it allowed me to learn a tremendous amount in such a short time, not only through my individual research, but through my teammates presentations each week as well,” said Zafar. “I feel so grateful to have had the chance to work with all the lovely people on our team. They have all been great and so helpful. Their hard work and enthusiasm will continue to inspire me.”

• Alec Klimowicz, Team Lead
Klimowicz is a fourth-year financial and business economics student and one of the executives with the Economics Students’ Association.

“The Bank of Canada Challenge optimizes the university experience – intelligent minds expanding ideas through combined efforts working alongside inspirational professors,” said Klimowicz. “It was truly a pleasure working with each contributor. Everyone exhibited a profound teamwork atmosphere; a great experience.”

• Jacob Smith, Team Forecasting Expert
Smith is a fourth-year financial and business economics student, who was exposed to VAR, VECM and other models employed by the Bank of Canada.

“The Bank of Canada Governors challenge has provided me an opportunity to further develop my econometrics knowledge and forecasting ability,” Smith said. “The opportunity to work with Professor Georgopoulos and Professor Ho in an individually focused environment has contributed to my academic development as an economics student and has provided me valuable skills for the future.”

• Melden Pereira, Global Economy Expert
Pereira is a fourth-year financial and business economics major and one of the executives with the Economics Students’ Association.

“I’m very pleased to have been a member of such a dedicated team. The immense amount of research and collaboration that went into this project has led to a final product that we are all very proud of,” said Pereira. “Working with Professor Ho and Professor Georgopoulos has become one of the highlights of my time at York University.”

The Governor’s Challenge is an annual university outreach program organized and sponsored by the Bank of Canada and designed to bring real-world economics into the undergraduate classroom. This outstanding experiential learning opportunity provides a chance to influence actual Bank of Canada policy.

Each of the participant universities were assigned to a grouping containing up to six universities based on region, and all teams compete on the same day. The winning team from each grouping will advance to the national round taking place in February 2018 at the Bank of Canada headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. Stephen Poloz, governor of the Bank of Canada will present an award to the winning team.

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