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National Economics Challenge Winners 2024

Think fast! 

What are two actions that the Federal Reserve might take to combat inflation? 

If the average cost of producing four cars is $20,000 and the average cost of producing five cars is $22,000, what is the marginal cost of producing the fifth car? 

Racing to answer more than 20 rapid-fire questions like those in just 20 seconds per question, high school students from around the country competed near the heart of Wall Street to earn honors as best in America in the Council for Economic Education’s 2024 National Economics Challenge (NEC). 

And they made it look easy. 

High school students prepare for the Critical Thinking Round of the 2024 National Economics Challenge in New York City.

Capping a school year during which nearly 8,000 students competed across the USA, teams from Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, swept the final competition in New York with first-place finishes in both of the NEC’s divisions for advanced and for first-time competitors. It’s the seventh straight NEC competition in which the Howard County public school emerged as a national champion or finalist. 

Students in the Critical Thinking Round of the 2024 National Economics Challenge share their analysis of a current economic problem and present their solutions to a panel of judges.

Students from Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, New Hampshire), BASIS Mesa (Mesa, Arizona) and Novi High School (Novi, Michigan) finished second, third and fourth in the Adam Smith advanced division. Teams from Hunter College High School (New York, NY), Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) and Lambert High School (Suwanee, Georgia) were runners-up in the David Ricardo division. 

Members of each team were allowed to confer for only seconds before jotting down responses for expert judges to instantly review. The serious but fun competition is designed to encourage a deep understanding of economics through both a case study round and the final quiz round. 

High school students competing in the Quiz Bowl round of the 2024 National Economics Challenge in New York City.

“The analytic and problem-solving skills built by studying economics can be applied to issues of our day that are relevant to our students, today and in their futures,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEE president and chief executive officer. 

But only half the states require a course in economics, according to CEE’s 2024 Survey of the States

“Requiring economics and personal finance courses in all high schools gives every student the real-world skills they need to create fulfilling lives on their own terms,” Morrison added. 

“We congratulate and thank the students, teachers and our CEE affiliates around the country for making economics education available and exciting through the National Economics Challenge and each and every classroom,” she said. 

Winners of the Adam Smith Division and the David Ricardo Division of the 2024 National Economics Challenge.

The winners of the 2024 NEC Adam Smith Division: 

First place: Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland

  • Praneeth Idamakanti, Nandhu Manoj Pillai, Mehin Pandya, Diego Salamanca Murphy 
  • Coach: Vann Prime 

Second place: Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire

  • Steven Chen, Dhruv Nagarajan, Tanay Nandan, Eli Orbach 
  • Coach: Aykut Kilinc 

Third place: BASIS Mesa in Mesa, Arizona

  • Elias Chang, Vinesh Kothari, Ximo Liu, Daniel Yang 
  • Coach: Greg Thorson 

Fourth place: Novi High School in Novi, Michigan

  • Harsh Ahire, Lalitaditya Akkaraju Arvind Salem, Ishaan Sid 
  • Coach: Darcie Moss 

The top teams in this year’s NEC David Ricardo Division: 

First place: Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland

  • Joseph Jeong, Aarush Kejriwal, Vishva Rao, Nick Venginickal 
  • Coach: Vann Prime 

Second place: Hunter College High School in New York, NY

  • Xiayang Huang, Winnie Mok, Joseph Ponda, Alexie Varah 
  • Coach: Ellen Fox 

Third place: Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

  • Toluwani Adebayo, Pingkang Qian, Junho Seo, Alexander Wang 
  • Coach: Christopher Schotten 

Fourth place: Lambert High School in Suwanee, Georgia

  • Arhan Barve, Shlok Bhatt, Shivam Gupta. Balaskanda Sivanandame 
  • Coach: Rupal Gupta 

In subsequent international rounds, the Mt. Hebron teams also outscored China’s championship Shanghai Pinghe School team in their David Ricardo division and Shanghai Starriver Bilingual School in their Adam Smith division. 

All members of the winning teams are awarded cash prizes. CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman asked the questions and moderated the final rounds for both divisions which were televised live and online on CNBC. 

About the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education’s (CEE’s) mission is to equip K–12 students with the tools and knowledge of personal finance and economics so that they can make better decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities, and learn to successfully navigate in our ever-changing economy. We carry out our mission in three ways.  We advocate to require financial and economic education in every state. We provide training, tools and resources – online and live through over 180 affiliates nationwide – to more than 40,000 teachers annually who in turn bring the highest quality economics and personal finance instruction to over 4 million students. We deepen knowledge and introduce high school students to critical career capabilities through our national competitions and Invest in Girls program.

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