University of Ottawa Team Advances to the Finals in the Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge

Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Economics
Economics
Undergraduate studies

By Mike Heffernan

University of Ottawa Governor's Challenge Team Presentation Coach, OpusEdge Inc.

Members of the University of Ottawa’s 2023 Governor’s Challenge Team with Professor Lilia Karnizova
The Bank of Canada has announced on November 27, 2023 that the University of Ottawa’s team was one of five teams to advance to the national finals in the Bank of Canada’s ninth annual Governor’s Challenge.

The Bank of Canada has announced on Monday, November 27, 2023 that the University of Ottawa’s team was one of five teams to advance to the national finals in the Bank of Canada’s ninth annual Governor’s Challenge.

Twenty-six competitive teams were assembled by universities from all over the country to research, analyze and present their monetary policy recommendations to the Bank of Canada. In the preliminary round they presented via video conference to a team of judges, with finalists presenting in-person at the Bank in February.

“Events like the ‘Governor’s Challenge’ provide a unique opportunity for students to dive into the practice of economics in the real world,” explains Dr. Victoria Barham, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. “It’s an intense experience and inspires many to go on to careers in monetary policy or to pursue graduate studies.”

Teams succeed by undertaking a solid analysis of the state of the Canadian economy, ideally injecting a creative angle to the analysis. They recommend the next monetary policy steps the Bank of Canada should take based on this analysis. The team must pull it together as a crisp, articulate fifteen-minute presentation and shine through a Q&A session.

The competition team invested a huge amount of time and energy to assemble a winning combination of content and polish. “It’s very challenging and incredibly rewarding,” asserts Nathaniel Frémy, one of the team’s co-captains. “It’s great to work with folks who are driven to excellence with similar goals and interests. You learn from each other, form friendships, and of course, learn an enormous amount - both conceptual and practical.”

The team is drawn from the students enrolled in ECO 4195 “The Art and Science of Monetary Policy-Making in Canada,” taught by Dr. Lilia Karnizova. Students in the course are immersed in the theory, tools, and techniques of formulating monetary policy, as well as how to present them.

“I love teaching this course. The learning curve is very steep, and students become real experts in Canadian monetary policy by the end. It serves them well later in their careers or in graduate studies,” says Dr. Karnizova.

Five presenters are selected as defined by competition rules. This year’s presenters were Abrar Arif, Adriana Suuronen, Greg Coleman, Lizaveta Zakharova, and Mathieu Justino. All members of the class worked on the analysis and recommendations, organizing themselves to tackle gathering data, modeling forecasts, crafting charts and slides and drilling the presenters with questions during dry runs.

Assistance comes from many quarters. “The team is well supported by the faculty, department and other contributors,” Dr. Karnizova stresses. “Many professors provide feedback during the dry runs, and we have team members from former years dialing in. Mike Heffernan, our presentation coach, helps sharpen the students’ speaking skills. We’re so thankful to the broader community for stepping up to lend a hand.”

Activity has slowed for now to allow everyone to focus on the end of term, but the finalists will get to do it all again in the new year, pushing to cross the finish line as national champions.

Dean Barham summarizes the mood: “We are incredibly proud of the students, and grateful to our colleagues in Economics who have coached them, led by Professor Karnizova.”

The next round of presentations that will decide the national winner are on 2-3 of February 2024.

 

Article by Mike Heffernan.