Bentley vs. Harvard

Some of you may recall that Bentley won the “Fed Challenge” last year.  This involves teams from various colleges presenting their plan for monetary policy, and then responding to questions from Fed officials.  This year Bentley came in second to Harvard in the regional competition, which was the same outcome as two years ago.   Harvard went on to win the nationals.  Basically it’s Bentley and Harvard, and then a bunch of also-rans.  The New England regional is by far the toughest in the country, as Bentley had to beat MIT, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown to finish second.  A second place finish here is essentially a second place finish nationally.  So congratulations to the following students who so ably represented Bentley:

Edith Joachimpillai, James Cruise, Nick Fahmie, Monika Aderbauer, Yulia Podolny, Alfred Amasanti, Matias Bojanic Silvestro, Brett Kirkland, Alex Nocella, and Ross Sabasteanski.

My colleagues David Gulley and Aaron Jackson advised the team.

I suppose if Bentley and Harvard keep dominating the competition it will eventually start to seem unfair, as when the Celtics and Lakers dominated the NBA.  But I don’t think anyone can begrudge Bentley its success, as we clearly represent the underdogs. When I moved from Wisconsin to Boston in 1982 I stayed a Green Bay Packer fan—how can you not favor the small working class town?  No matter how many Super Bowls the Packers win they’ll never be seen in the same light as the Yankees/Cowboys/Lakers.  For sports fans, there’s nothing better than being able to enjoy total domination and not having to feel guilty about it.

This year Bentley’s team defended NGDP targeting.  I’m told by someone who attended the competition that judges seemed to challenge Bentley’s proposal more aggressively than Harvard’s (price level) proposal.  Hmmm, I wonder what that might mean?  In fairness, I was also told that Harvard’s team was very good this year.

I just taught my last class of the semester, and had the best group of students that I have ever taught.  (I teach monetary economics to several sections of Eco-Finance majors.)  Bentley has upgraded quite a bit over the past 20 years, as evidenced by much higher incoming SAT scores.  Local employers already know that Bentley students are an underrated asset.  Since Bentley is not (yet) as well known nationally as the Ivy League schools, I want to alert potential employers in other regions not to overlook our grads.  Not only are they excellent students, but they also tend to have very good attitudes.  Most don’t come from wealthy families, and they don’t have that “prima donna” attitude that one sometimes finds at other schools.  What other schools?  Let’s just say my students have never walked out on my class (except perhaps for a bathroom break.)

So employers should look for Bentley students, especially those from the “hard” majors (which I’d better not identify, in case any profs from the non-hard majors read this post.)

PS.  News of my blog’s success has finally reached the upper levels of Bentley, and my face was put on the home page (I don’t know for how long, it may be down by the time you read this.)

PPS.  I’m way behind on comments, but do plan to attack them soon.



24 Responses to “Bentley vs. Harvard”

  1. Gravatar of Mike Sandifer Mike Sandifer
    9. December 2011 at 17:55

    I’m glad you’re finally getting some recognition for making Bentley look good.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. December 2011 at 18:36

    Thanks Mike.

  3. Gravatar of Wadolowski Wadolowski
    10. December 2011 at 01:22

    Congratulation professor!

    NGDP targeting framework is simply worth it. In the statement after ECB meeting, you can read that everything is all right because inflation is close to the target, I think even the non-pro can feel that something is wrong.

  4. Gravatar of RebelEconomist RebelEconomist
    10. December 2011 at 01:53

    I am a bit sceptical about NGDP targeting, but it is good to hear that your teaching is raising the reputation of a relatively small university – well done!

  5. Gravatar of Wadolowski Wadolowski
    10. December 2011 at 01:56

    And this interview to Kelly Evans:

    Great!!! I love it! Thank You!

  6. Gravatar of dwb dwb
    10. December 2011 at 06:01

    your students are doing better than some actual FOMC members. i don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that.

  7. Gravatar of dwb dwb
    10. December 2011 at 06:07

    your students are doing better than some actual FOMC members. i don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that.


    I have had the “priviledge” of interviewing many primma donnas over the years, who did not get hired because the one could tell from a mile away they were going to be a pain in the a$$ (yes, you will work on projects that are “beneath” your status because it all needs to be done). These days my advice is that the job market is tough so be prepared to keep your head down and work hard.

  8. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. December 2011 at 06:20


    Also, this should allow your school to raise tuition for that Fed subsidy largess!

  9. Gravatar of anon anon
    10. December 2011 at 06:24

    That Harvard won the competition by defending PLT seems to be very good news in itself. It shows that PLT might gain traction as an actual policy proposal in the near future.

    Seconding the congrats for getting recognition at Bentley for your outreach work. You’ve clearly put a lot of effort into this, and it’s only fair that Bentley U should share in the credit.

  10. Gravatar of Andy Andy
    10. December 2011 at 06:33

    I second (or third) the congratulations on the recognition. Maybe more professors will have an incentive to actually write something useful.

  11. Gravatar of Becky Hargrove Becky Hargrove
    10. December 2011 at 06:51

    Congrats to your students. It seems the competition itself may have felt even more important to all the participants this year. And now for another typical remark from the feminine gender: I continue to be startled by your resemblence of family members on my mother’s side.

  12. Gravatar of Bob Murphy Bob Murphy
    10. December 2011 at 08:45

    Local employers already know that Bentley students are an underrated asset.

    Scott, I hope you quickly disabused them of such silliness with a quick lecture on the EMH.

  13. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. December 2011 at 09:38

    Thanks Wadolowski and Rebeleconomist and Morgan.

    dwb, Yes, any of them would be an improvement over Fisher.

    Thanks anon and Andy.

    Becky. Hmmm. I’m not sure whether I should hope she’s “pretty,” or “manly” looking.

    Bob, Touche. BTW, I do have some comments on your post over at my 1920s post.

  14. Gravatar of Brett Kirkland Brett Kirkland
    10. December 2011 at 10:20

    Thanks Professor for the kind words,

    to all those economists reading The Money Illusion…. I am still unemployed.

    Yes, Professor Sumner, if I get a job through your website you will get a piece.

  15. Gravatar of Brett Kirkland Brett Kirkland
    10. December 2011 at 11:14


    there is no criteria on the judge’s sheet for “Feasibility of enacting policy”, just how well you researched the information and can present an argument. If there was the aforementioned criteria there’s no way PLT would have won.

  16. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. December 2011 at 12:54

    can you write code?

  17. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    10. December 2011 at 13:35

    A hearty congratulations of the Bentley team!

  18. Gravatar of Brett Kirkland Brett Kirkland
    10. December 2011 at 16:49

    No Morgan, unfortunately I cannot.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. December 2011 at 17:02

    Morgan, Brett has off-the-charts interpersonal skills (he makes you seem shy by comparison.) Writing code is not the right job for him.

    Thanks Ben.

    Brett, No, it’s fortunate you cannot.

  20. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    10. December 2011 at 18:16

    I’m becoming a firm believer that writing code is a job for EVERYBODY who goes to college under 30. It’s like grammar.

    My best friend is 45 and has spent the last 9 months teaching himself Ruby Rails – it has been an inspiration.

    At 40, I’m just putting myself into 3D game scripting, with no background at all – daunting but I think necessary, and I’ve been around coders daily for most of my life – without needing it.

  21. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    11. December 2011 at 18:26

    Non-hard majors? Grow up.

  22. Gravatar of Simonas Simonas
    12. December 2011 at 05:55

    Congrats professor

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2011 at 09:08

    Anonymous, Lighten up, it’s a joke.

    Thanks Simonas.

  24. Gravatar of Edith Joachimpillai Edith Joachimpillai
    16. April 2018 at 12:44

    Googled myself today and this blog post was among the hits. Just thought I would leave my two cents here. First, I still feel honored to have attended your class and cannot believe we were (at least at that time) the best students you ever taught. Thank YOU Professor Sumner! Hope you’re doing well.

    Of course I read through ALL the comments. Morgan, I doubt you’ll read this but I thought I would respond to your comment. I am happy to report that writing code is NOT a job for EVERYBODY – and this coming from a <30 (age) girl who did economic research (which is often but not always consumed more by abstract concepts + models than policy topics + applied math). Code, like any skill, takes work to pick up and has some kind of payoff. The payoff for code is (currently) financially high because there aren't enough coders. But coders can't just type "Hello World". Therefore, the art of creating an innovative idea is where the value-add truly lies (at least in my humble opinion).

    Also happy to report Brett is actually flourishing in the real world…I'm guessing (and sincerely hoping) without coding a single letter.

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