Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge

🕗 Our current Bank of Canada recruitment is closed, as we prepare for the 2023-2034 Challenge. The next wave will likely start in Summer 2024. Watch your email for an announcement!

Since 2017, it has been my privilege to be one of the coaches of UBC’s team for the Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge.

What is the Governor’s Challenge?

The Governor’s Challenge is a collegiate case-competition run by the Bank of Canada with a specific focus on monetary policy. The competition asks students to use their macroeconomic knowledge and statistical acumen to replicate the Bank’s key interest rate setting decisions. This has four main parts:

  • First, students develop an analysis of key trends in the Canadian and international economies.
  • Second, they combine these trends with statistics and an econometric model, to develop a forecast of key variables (especially inflation) relate to the Bank’s policy decision.
  • Third, they perform a risk analysis, to understand threats to their forecast and other features potentially not captured by their original model.
  • Finally, they combine all of these elements together into a single recommendation: how should the Bank set its upcoming interest rate in order to meet its targets?

The students then present their recommendations and analysis to an audience of adjudicators at the Bank, who assess and provide feedback.

This experience gives students an excellent opportunity for experiential learning: putting all their skills to work in an exciting, challenging, and very rewarding opportunity. It also provides valuable networking and career experience, since it closely mimics the kind of work done at major institutions like the Bank or the US Federal Reserve. It’s a very challenging task which requires a combination of economic knowledge, statistical tools, and communication skills from all of the members of the team.

Our past teams have been very successful, making it to the final round in Ottawa in both 2018 and 2019, and winning the entire challenge in 2020! This is due to the hard work and dedication of my amazing students, who have always risen to the challenge – even if the judges haven’t always recognized it!

Joining the Team at UBC

At UBC, we run the Challenge in a two-stage process. Intake for the Challenge team starts in June of the year prior, during the summer semester, where we run a free not-for-credit online course called the “Governor’s Challenge Summer School.” This course is open to all economics students, major or minor, regardless of their degree program. We have previously had a mixture of BA, BIE, and Honours students take part. The course is self-directed, and guides students through an orientation to the Challenge, as well as the basic elements of monetary policy and theory. It culminates in an applied project, which the students present an individual version of the task outlined in the Challenge. It is a difficult course, which requires hard-work, self-study, and motivation: all essential skills for being successful in the actual challenge!

We use the results of the summer school, particularly the students’ final presentations, to select the final team. Your cover letter and academic transcripts are also important. We are primarily looking for a group of students who are excellent communicators, and display a clear understanding of monetary policy and theory. Technical skills or a solid GPA are assets, but so is team-work and communication skills. We want to choose a group of students who will perform well together as a team rather than as individuals.

In September, the selected students join ECON 492F, a 3.0-credit course which is an intensive preparation for the Challenge itself in November. It typically entails 1.5-2 hours of coaching per week, along with work outside of the class with the team to develop the analysis and presentation. This ramps up as the presentation comes closer, eventually resulting in the big event! If successful, students then continue in the course in January, as they prepare for the final round in February.

If you want to join the team, watch out for the Summer School announcement in early summer and get ready to take part! We’d love to have you!

(Last updated: 2023-09-28)