One year ago, a vision came to fruition.
Brandeis International Business School (IBS) and the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) collaborated to put forth the first-ever “Crisis Game.”
Five teams from Brandeis IBS and Boston University put their economics, finance, and analytical skills to the test, competing to propose the most innovative solution to a simulated global crisis in the imaginary developing country of Emerguinea.
One year later, Anna Gramer MA ’14 and Alok Mistry MA ’14, presidents of the Brandeis NABE chapter, have sought to take the Game to a whole new level.
Gramer guaranteed that, after an extensive yearlong planning process, the event will draw students, faculty, and other audience members from throughout the Boston area.
“I think it’s going to be amazing… I am expecting a large audience, especially in terms of all of the different schools and the amount of school pride this game is creating,” she said.
The second annual Crisis Game is set to take place Friday, February 7. This year, the Games will feature a revamped panel of judges, all of whom are prominent figures in the international business world. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Sara Johnson of IHS Economics, David Katsnelson MBA ’09 of RISI, Stuart P.M. Mackintosh of Group of Thirty and Olaf Unteroberdoester MS ’98, PhD ’98 of the International Monetary Fund will all hold the keys to the competition, making the final determination of which team’s creative but practical solution is the ultimate winner.
“We were looking for professionals from various industries who use macro analysis in their professional field, and who do what the teams are pretending to do, because they have the best point of view in judging,” said Gramer.
For the 2014 Games, teams from Brandeis IBS, Fordham and Bentley will all be in the running. All of the schools that wished to compete had to participate in an extensive application process, including submitting a resume and statement of purpose.
“We were looking for teams that were in it for the correct reasons,” said Gramer. “In our view the game is about people who are passionate about economics and economic policy.” Gramer and Mistry selected only the top teams from the pool of applications.
On Friday, the teams will race to solve a drastic crisis in the fictional country of Brandesia, an aspect of the Games that assures any team will not have an ‘insider’s edge.’
“It’s all about their statistical analysis,” said Gramer. “They are judged on presentation skills, how creative they are, their economic knowledge and the feasibility of their plan.”
The Games have only improved with age.
NABE officials ironed out the kinks and problematic twists from last year’s competition. “It’s an evolving process,” said Mistry. This year, the event will feature a career fair for participants and audience members, cash prizes for the winning team, and increased support from external sources.
“We have overall support from the administration, NABE members, and professionals in the Boston area,” said Mistry. “We have a great support network both within our own committees and the administration. Even if we get a curveball we will be able to catch it.”
While Gramer and Mistry have spent the last year amid extensive preparations, and look forward to the much-anticipated rollout of the event, they both acknowledged that surprises could still arise—even on game day.
“We’ve tried to control every single detail about what could go wrong and what could happen,” said Gramer. “But I know there will be surprises in terms of team presentations, and that is what will make the Game great.”
There are other surprises in store as well—such as what the exact nature of the crisis will be this year. Gramer only offered this small hint: “It will be something that you hear about pretty often but never recognize impacts you on a daily basis.”
Brandeis IBS, and the rest of the teams assembled for Friday’s marquee event, will now just have to wait until Friday to learn the rest.