University of Ottawa Economics Team Advances to National Finals

Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Names of the uOttawa Economics team's members

The Bank of Canada has announced today that the University of Ottawa’s Governor’s Challenge team was one of five teams to advance to the national finals in the Bank of Canada’s sixth annual Governor’s Challenge.

Universities from all over the country assembled teams to research, analyze and present monetary policy recommendations to the Bank of Canada. They present via video conference to a team of judges, and finalists are selected for a second round of presentations.

“Events like the ‘Governor’s Challenge’ provide extraordinary opportunities for students to truly integrate theory and practice – to take the so-called academic part of their studies and discover that this does, in fact, help them to understand the so-called real world,” explains Dr. Victoria Barham, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. “It’s a powerful experience for the students who participate and inspires many of them to go onto pursue graduate studies.”

The work is demanding and the competition intense; success is achieved by undertaking a solid analysis of the state of the Canadian economy and recommending the next monetary policy steps the Bank of Canada should take in light of these conditions. The team needs to pull it together as a crisp, articulate fifteen-minute presentation, and then shine through an extensive Q&A session.

The competition team invested a huge amount of time and energy to assemble a winning combination of content and polish.

“The competition can be daunting, but everyone gives it their all. There is definitely a competitive fervor to have the team stand out,” reflects team member Nicholas Dahir. “The commitment yields rewards, though, both in skills and the kinship developed by the team. It’s worth the effort.”

At the University of Ottawa, the presentation team is drawn from students enrolled in “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. While the learning curve is very steep, the students become real experts in Canadian monetary policy by the end of the term, which serves them well later in their careers or in graduate studies,” smiles Dr. Karnizova.

This year’s presentation team members were Kyra Carmichael, Tania Chaar, Nicholas Dahir, Lidia Liu and Sebastian Ramirez Castro – but while the number of presenters is defined by competition rules, all members of the class continue to work on the analysis and recommendations. Assistance comes from many quarters.

“The team is well supported by the faculty, department and by individuals,” 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 following the November round to allow everyone to focus on the end of term, but the finalists will get to do it all again in the new year as they push to cross the finish line as national champions.

Dean Barham sums the mood at the team’s advancement; “We are just incredibly, incredibly proud of the students, and grateful to the colleagues in Economics who have coached them, led by Professor Karnizova.”

The next round of presentations that will decide the national winner are on the 13th of February 2021.

Read the Bank of Canada's announcement

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