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March Economic Madness

March Economic Madness is the first interscholastic student team competition to address problems of small or remote communities. It gives university students an opportunity to form teams and compete across universities in a hackathon style to come up with solutions for real communities seeking both sustainable growth and good quality of life for their citizens. Challenge participants will address problems related to the need for small or remote communities to grow and thrive, while maintaining unique community identities and good quality of life for their citizens. A cash prize of $25,000 is awarded to the winning team.


Universities

Have your students join in the competition!

Work with your student teams to enter the second round of the program.

Students

Be part of the solution!

Find creative ways to resolve inequities plaguing communities while working as a team.

How The Competition Works

Student Team Criteria

Any currently enrolled student at a Participating University is eligible to join a team. However, each team must include representation from at least two colleges/schools. Additionally, no team may include more than two graduate students or more than two first-year undergraduate students. Teams must have 4 or 5 members. No changes in team membership may occur after the teams have registered and been confirmed on February 3.

For 2022, we will announce participating universities soon.

Presentations will be delivered online with no need for travel.

Awards

The top teams from each university will be designated as finalists and qualified to compete in the final round. The team selected as winner of the final round will be awarded $25,000. The winning team will also “bring home” the March Economic Madness trophy to the team’s university to be displayed for one year.

Communities for Study

Registered teams will be randomly assigned to communities. Each team will study a different community.  Communities will be cities, outside of major urban corridors, with populations numbering between 15,000 and 90,000. Although Round 2 will involve a different question from Round 1, teams who qualify for Round 2 will continue to study the community to which they were originally assigned.

Timeline for 2022

All Round 1 competitions should be concluded by March 5th with the top team(s) identified from each participating university for the interscholastic Round 2.

March 6-21:  Teams qualified for Round 2 are again allowed and encouraged to research their communities as thoroughly as possible. Students are encouraged to use primary sources as well as secondary sources for research.

March 21, 4pm:  Round 2 prompt revealed. Click here to view an example Round 2 prompt. Participants prepare responses and document responses in PowerPoint files with notes, according to a prescribed 12-slide format.  Participants are prohibited during this time from contacting their communities or from consulting with any individuals outside their team. Participants may continue to use secondary sources for research.

March 25, 8 AM: Team PowerPoint files to be submitted.

March 26, 12 PM: Round 2 held via Zoom: live online team presentations before an external judging panel. Each presentation is 10 minutes or less in duration. Ten minutes are allowed for Q&A with the judging panel at the end of each presentation. The judging panel selects the winning team, and final announcements are made online.

How to Apply

University Participation Criteria
  1. Identify a POC at your institution, sign up with IC² and begin advertising the program to students in Fall 2021.
  2. Identify student teams in February for your selection process.
  3. Round 1 starts in early March.
  4. Finalist teams move to Round 2 with new prompt and city assignment.

For more information on having your university join March Economic Madness contact info@ic2.utexas.edu.

Students at The University of Texas at Austin ONLY
UT Austin links to team application and form to express interest in finding teammates
  • Attend an info session. Details coming in October 2021.
  • Sign up to find a teammate.

Complete the team application once you collect all team members’ contact information and EIDs (one application per team).

Expanded Timeline for 2022

Note: Yellow colored events are exclusive to UT Austin Students.

December 13 2021: Forms for the team application and for help matching to teammates will be available online.

February 4 2022, 4pm: UT Austin Team applications due for Round 1. 

February 9 2022: Team registrations confirmed; teams notified of community assignments via March Economic Madness website

February 9-25: Participants are allowed and encouraged to research their communities as thoroughly as possible. Students are encouraged to use primary sources (e.g. interviews or surveys engaging community residents and leaders) as well as secondary sources for research.

February 25, 4pm: Round 1 prompt revealed. Click here to view an EXAMPLE Round 1 prompt.

February 25-March 5: Participants prepare responses and document responses in PowerPoint files with notes, according to a prescribed 12-slide format. Participants are prohibited during this time from contacting their communities or from consulting with any individuals outside their team. Participants may continue to use secondary sources for research.

For each round, the student team presentations should be deliverable in 10 minutes or less. The number of slides will be limited to 12. Officials from each of the participating universities will agree on the required topics to be covered in the slides (e.g. timeline, finances, etc.) as appropriate to the particular prompt chosen.

March 2, 4pm: Electronic PowerPoint files from all UT Austin teams are due to IC².

March 3: Top 10 UT Austin teams—qualified to present on March 6—are announced by IC².

March 4: Zoom connection/practice checks for UT Austin top 10 teams.

March 5: Round 1 at each university: live online team presentations for qualified teams. Each presentation is 10 minutes or less in duration. Ten minutes are allowed for Q&A with the judging panel at the end of each presentation. The top three teams at each university are selected for the interscholastic Round 2. 

All Round 1 competitions should be concluded by March 5th with the top team(s) identified for the interscholastic Round 2.

March 6-21: Teams qualified for Round 2 are again allowed and encouraged to research their communities as thoroughly as possible. Students are encouraged to use primary sources as well as secondary sources for research.

March 21, 4pm: Round 2 prompt revealed. Click here to view an EXAMPLE Round 2 prompt. Participants prepare responses and document responses in PowerPoint files with notes, according to a prescribed 12-slide format. Participants are prohibited during this time from contacting their communities or from consulting with any individuals outside their team. Participants may continue to use secondary sources for research.

March 25, 8 AM: Team PowerPoint files to be submitted.

March 26, noon:  Round 2 held via Zoom: live online team presentations before an external judging panel.  Each presentation is 10 minutes or less in duration.  Ten minutes are allowed for Q&A with the judging panel at the end of each presentation.  The judging panel selects the winning team, and final announcements are made online.

Past Judges

The March Economic Madness program was honored to have the following judges form the panel in 2021.

Marilu Hastings

Marilu Hastings
Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer
Austin, TX
cgmf.org


Mike Mauldin
Texas Tech University, Director, Excellence in Banking
Lubbock, TX
ttu.edu


Britta Klucznik
Truist Financial Corporation, Senior Vice President, Middle Market Banking
Austin, TX
truist.com


March Economic Madness (2021)

2021 Student Finalist Presentations

  • Big Spring Team (First Place) suggested two initiatives:  creating a city-wide alert system and building a micro-grid to connect to the nearby Panther Creek Wind Farm and allow use of local energy generation in times of crisis.
  • Lufkin Team proposal included steps toward weatherization, education of community members and the use of community centers as resource hubs and shelters.
  • San Juan Team noted that residents of San Juan’s colonias were impacted disproportionately by adverse weather conditions and proposed a revolving micro-loan fund, allowing recipients to use loans for home improvement and construction projects.
  • Weatherford Team created an A.P.E. plan—awareness, protect, and energize—with implementation of solar power as a secondary source of energy and a solar backup generator for the city.
Click here to see other news regarding the March Economic Madness Challenge in 2021.