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Bretton Woods International Economics Competition - Should you Participate?

If you are a student interested in economics, chances are you’re looking for multiple activities to showcase your interest and passion for economics. One option is a competition, which can be used to showcase your knowledge, critical thinking skills, and analytical skills! 


In this blog, we review one such competition - the Bretton Woods International Economics Competition - a team-based competition in economics centered around the real-world application of economic principles. 


What is the Bretton Woods International Economics Competition? 

In the Bretton Woods International Economics Competition, you will compete in groups of 2-4 to test your knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and general economic understanding. 


The competition involved 2 rounds - an online selection round consisting of an online quiz and a final in-person round where you must present solutions to economic policy problems. 


Is it prestigious?

Admissions officers definitively value applicants with competitive experience - not only does this show them your problem-solving and analytical skills, but also demonstrates your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and take on advanced challenges in economics as a high schooler! The competition, albeit requiring a minimal participation fee, is definitely prestigious - the contest is open to students all over the world, and getting shortlisted for the final round (or winning the contest!) is definitely a matter of prestige. 


Additionally, the judging panel includes Nobel Laureates and imminent faculty from Harvard University, which adds further credibility to the competition. 


While the competition isn’t as prestigious as say, the National Economics Challenge or the International Economics Olympiad, it’s definitely selective, and will reflect well on your college application!


Who is eligible to participate?

This competition is open to all students who are currently enrolled in high school. Do note that you will have to register in teams of 2-4 individuals to compete! 


When registering for your team, you will have to allocate 1 team member as the captain (or team member #1), who will act as your team’s primary point of contact. You will also need an adult advisor who can be either a parent, teacher, or any adult who will be responsible for your team. 


What are some concepts that may be tested?

The competition will test your knowledge in the fields of microeconomics and macroeconomics, as well as current affairs in the subject, policy changes, and application-based questions! It is generally a good idea to refer to resources by the International Economics Olympiad, the National Economics Challenge, as well as other popular economics competitions for high school students to gain a better understanding of the topics that you will be tested upon in this contest. 


What is the timeline and structure?

This is the timeline for the 2024 edition of the competition: 



You can register for the competition here


There are 2 competition rounds - the selection round and the final round. The selection round involves an online quiz consisting of multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge in economics and short essay questions that test your ability to apply economic concepts in real-world situations. 


The top teams from the selection round qualify for the final round, where they will have to present solutions to problems on economic policy and participate in an economics quiz bowl where they’ll answer rapid-fire questions! 


What is the cost to attend?

The selection round will cost $39 per student, and the final round will cost $90 per student. 


We also came across this code that will grant you a 10% discount while paying your registration fee - BW2024!


Pros and cons of the contest 

We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons that you may want to consider while applying for the Bretton Woods International Economics Competition!


Pros

  1. It’s an opportunity to showcase your knowledge in economics. 

Doing well in a prestigious competition such as Bretton Woods can signal to admission officers that you have an in-depth understanding of economics and that your academic capability is higher than average! 


  1. It will demonstrate initiative for admission officers. 

Participating in extra-curricular competitions shows your drive and passion for economics as you go out of your way to explore the subjects in different forms. Since the competition revolves around real-world applications, it also shows your proactiveness to apply your theoretical knowledge in practical situations! 


  1. If you win, you stand a chance to publish your work in the Berkeley Economics Review. 

Apart from the benefit of winning a prestigious international competition, winning also gives you the added benefit of being able to publish your work in a reputed journal, which will set you apart from other students while applying to college! 


  1. You will get the chance to network with other talented individuals. 

Participating in a competition centered around economics will allow you to meet other talented students and mentors who you can connect with for future opportunities such as collaborations and publications! 


Cons 

  1. It is not a one-day/weekend challenge, and requires significant time commitment 

The competition has two rounds, and taking the application period into account, it goes on for a solid 3 months (from late December to March). You may want to consider this time commitment before applying - albeit this schedule matches that of global economics competitions such as Olympiads. 


  1. You cannot participate individually 

This may be a limitation if you are not able to form a team from your school, district, or city - the competition mandates participation in teams of 2-4, so not being able to find a team may be a disadvantage for some students. 


  1. The competition is not completely free of charge to participate in 

While most other competitions in economics require students to pay a small fee to participate, this competition too, has a registration fee of $30 per student for the prelims, and $90 for the finals - consider talking to your school, parents, or guardians in advance for this! 


Should you participate? 

While we think applying to Bretton Woods will be a significant value-add to your application, we encourage you to apply if you can dedicate the time and commit to attending the final in-person round. If you already have multiple or time-intensive extracurriculars during the academic year, we recommend you opt for programs and competitions in economics during the summer, or consider internships! 


If you’re also interested in one particular aspect of economics and wish to show that in your application, we suggest you select programs that give you the flexibility to delve into the topic rather than competitions that focus on testing your overall economic knowledge. 


One other option -  Lumiere Research Scholar Program.


If you’re eager to delve deeper into research in economics and add value to your college application, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program. This selective online high school program, co-founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford, offers a unique opportunity to explore research in economics, finance and beyond. Last year, the program received over 4000 applications for 500 available spots. To apply, you can find the application form here.


Manas is a publication strategy associate at Lumiere Education. He studied public policy and interactive media at NYU and has experience in education consulting.


Image Source: Bretton Woods International Economics Championship logo

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