Blen Bekuretsion Kassahun recently participated in IE University’s first International Trade and Monetary System Challenge for students of the Bachelor in Economics. This unique opportunity allows students studying in both Madrid and Segovia to compete in teams to offer the best economic proposal. Assessed on technical merit and their group presentation, the Challenge encourages students to put everything they’ve learned in their program into practice.

I’m Blen and I’m originally from Ethiopia. I’m a first-year Bachelor in Economics student so I spend a lot of my time at IE Tower. I decided to take part in the International Trade and Monetary System Challenge after hearing about it from my professor. I wanted to immerse myself in a practical real-life problem and apply the content from my classes. It was also a good way to interact and work with my classmates and of course, the competitive nature of the challenge adds an extra level of excitement. 

Tell us about your team’s challenge.

We got a case study about an agricultural product business in Spain, Agricultural S.A., that is looking to export to other countries. The company initially had a domestic market but expanded internationally after receiving a reputable award at a fair. They wanted to grow their expansion even further and that’s where we came in. We played the role of their advisors and were given four possible countries to export to (Mexico, the US, the UK and Brazil) and were provided with interest rates, inflation, prices of materials and exchange rates to analyze and decide which two countries should be chosen by the business to invest in.

I was on a team with three of my classmates. We each had to analyze the economic environment of the proposed countries to see if they were viable options and make a decision together based on our findings.

Could you describe your experience with the International Trade and Monetary System Challenge? What was challenging about it?

One thing I’ve learned from the Challenge is to identify where to apply the concepts we’ve covered in class, make use of them and further conceptualize them. 

I would say both the challenge and the reward of the experience was the chance to work in a group. We would often disagree on certain aspects and would then do our research, learn from each other and come to a conclusion. 

What are your main takeaways from the International Trade and Monetary System Challenge?

Communicating with your teammates is key. Delivering your presentation is as important as the content. It’s important to partake in these challenges like this to see what our future jobs might look like and work on learning to fill our gaps. 

How does the experience help you for the future? 

The Challenge helps us go beyond the Bachelor in Economics’ content, work with others and improve our presentation skills. It’s a way to mimic real life by taking your skills outside the classroom. 

What would you recommend for future students participating in the International Trade and Monetary System Challenge? 

I would tell future students considering the experience that they should take the initiative and volunteer for these kinds of challenges. Not only will they develop a new skill set and it’s good preparation for the future real-life challenges they might face.