Zaid Madamgha and Miguel Estrada, students in the Dual Degree in Economics + International Relations, chat about their experience in the recent National Budget 2022 simulation and what they learned throughout the process.

Students from the Dual Degree in Economics + International Relations program recently participated in the 2022 edition of the National Budget simulation. Just like in last year’s edition, the simulation aimed to give students a real-world example of fiscal policy in action. 

For participants, the objective was to prepare a budget for a fictional country while ensuring that all competing ministerial needs were met. By the end of this process, students gained valuable hands-on experience and insights into how economic and monetary policy can influence a nation’s development.

Zaid Madamgha and Miguel Estrada, two participants in the simulation, study the Dual Degree in Economics + International Relations, a dynamic program that equips students with a solid economic foundation combined with broad geopolitical and social knowledge. Here’s what the two had to say about their experience, what they learned, and how the dual degree helped them excel in the initiative.

How were the teams set up for the simulation?

Zaid: At the start of the process, our instructor organized us into two teams, each comprising six students. My teammates and I had great working chemistry and this allowed us to perform to our fullest potential. Furthermore, most of us took on challenging roles for the project but, with some teamwork and a lot of communication, we were able to get the job done.

Miguel: After being randomly assigned to our teams, each member then had to choose a faux ministry to work in. This method was a great way to ensure efficiency and cooperation throughout the process. 

What guided your decision-making process during the simulation?

Zaid: I’d say that this was one of the most challenging aspects of the process. It wasn’t easy because every decision made within my group ended up clashing with the choices fellow group members had made. There had to be constant collaboration in order to make a final decision, which took a lot of time and required stellar negotiation skills.

That said, I appreciated the challenge because it drove us to step out of the box. It allowed us to blend critical-thinking skills with our accumulated academic knowledge in order to make the best decisions possible.

Miguel: In addition to that, we also used a solid theoretical framework to guide our decision-making processes. Because of this, we were able to make smart and pondered choices from a very practical, realistic point of view. 

How would you describe your simulation experience?

Zaid: The simulation was a challenging but fantastic experience for me. It allowed me to grow both professionally—through gaining invaluable practical know-how—and personally. I was able to meet new people and develop useful soft skills such as negotiation. 

Collectively, it gave us an excellent opportunity to showcase our growing knowledge of economics and international affairs.

Miguel: I think that the simulation experience was an effective approach to help us understand how theoretical economic concepts can be applied to public policy. It was quite enlightening to see how each decision plays out for the national economy in the end. Discovering how to use models to predict the real-world implications of economic policy was an unforgettable learning exercise.

How did your program help you prepare for this simulation?

Zaid: Throughout the simulation, everything I was exposed to was quite familiar to me from the courses I have taken so far. The lectures we took this year were practical and involved solving real-life problems. So, with all this academic and hands-on knowledge at my fingertips, I felt suitably prepared to see the simulation through and face any obstacle head-on.

The Dual Degree in Economics + International Relations was my secret weapon. Not only did my studies expose me to real-life economic situations, but they also taught me how to handle them both efficiently and effectively.

Miguel: For me, the insights I acquired during the first two semesters of learning were more than enough to help me take on this challenge. I believe that this dual degree was perfect for the simulation. We had to take into account economic aspects and how they impacted dealings with other countries. These types of decisions are very often related to these two areas of study in particular.

What did you learn from this process?

Zaid: These types of extracurricular activities are the essence of practical learning. It has been immeasurably helpful to take the things I’ve learned over time and apply them to real-life situations. 

It also taught me much more than practical application. I discovered how to work with a team and handle conflict within that setting. Furthermore, I learned many valuable lessons and developed many valuable skills that I will need later on in my professional career.

Since I hadn’t participated in this kind of event before, it was extra special to gain such a fun, informative new experience. The National Budget 2022 simulation was truly unforgettable. 

Miguel: This was my first experience with a simulation, so I’m pretty proud of my performance. I believe that this exercise was fundamental for practical learning. It allowed us to literally learn by doing. 

I would also encourage other students to take part in the simulation and other such extracurricular activities. Not only will it help you expand your network, but it will help enrich your whole IE University experience.