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DP students take on the Interest Rate Challenge

Diploma Programme students from Rossall School, England, Thanh Thao Truong and Thao Ha, competed in the 2014 Interest Rate Challenge. In the competition, students present their opinions on the policies that would help the UK economy reach the target inflation rate of 2%.

 Thanh Thao Truong (left) and Thao Ha

Q: What were the highlights and challenges of the competition?

Thanh Thao Truong: The Interest Rate Challenge was one of the most exciting experiences during my time as a sixth form student. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of our policies, the group discussion, and watching competitor presentations. These aspects enabled me to explore the diversity of economics and gain knowledge outside the classroom.

Thao ha: My main highlight was voicing our opinions to the officials from the Bank of England. It was nothing like I had imagined; we were grilled by the judges, under a lot of pressure to deliver prompt and accurate responses.

Q: how have your experiences as an IB student prepared you for this challenge?

Thao ha: My IB experience kept me relaxed during the preparations, despite being out of my comfort zone. When dealing with inflation reports, it was frustrating to realize that the data from different sources did not match up—I felt like we had reached a dead end. However, having been encouraged to nurture my skills in research and critical thinking since the start of the DP, I was able to tackle this new and challenging task.

Thanh Thao Truong: I have acquired skills over the last two years that helped me in the preparation stage. For example, when doing research for our presentation, the procedure was similar to the research conducted for my internal assessments—it was easier for me to find information from reliable sources.

Q: What did you learn by participating in the challenge?

Thanh Thao Truong: I learned many different things about economics and its integration into the real world. I had the privilege to watch professional economists debating and questioning policies raised by students. I learned that though policies and theories can be studied from textbooks, the overall assessment of the economy is influenced by personal opinion.

Thao ha: I gained practical insight into monetary policy and how macroeconomics works in the real world. Not only did this reinforce what I had learned in class, but also it taught me to appreciate the problems that policymakers face on a daily basis to accommodate changing market conditions.

Q: how has this experience impacted your outlook on economics as a subject?

Thao ha: The challenge reinforced my interest in economics. It is a popular topic in the news, and I am grateful for the chance to assess economic events from my own viewpoint. I highly recommend IB students to take the opportunity to stretch their knowledge outside of the classroom and grasp the chance to participate in an active learning dimension.

Thanh Thao Truong: The experience provided an opportunity to put my economic knowledge to the test, and it changed the way I see economics as a subject. I now realize that in order to understand an area of economics, I need to develop first a personal viewpoint on the matter. It also encouraged me to keep up with current economic events, a great contributor to what I wish to pursue at university.