Final of the Generation €uro Students’ Award ©Nils Thies

School student competition: jury selects winning German team

Things were very different at this year’s Generation €uro Students’ Award (G€SA), which marked its tenth anniversary. The constraints of the pandemic meant that the teams had to participate via video link, instead of visiting the Money Museum and meeting Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in person.

The team representing Internatsschule Schloss Hansenberg in Geisenheim put in a stellar performance. The school’s team, competing under the name “Château Chapeau”, took the top spot. Impressed by the clear structure and well-founded content of the team’s presentation, the jury of Bundesbank staff awarded them first prize. However, the runners-up, “Jacobs Investment Group” from Jacob-Grimm-Schule in Kassel (second place) and “Ernst Macht Wirtschaft” from Ernst-Mach-Gymnasium in Haar near Munich, also performed extremely well. This left the jury with a tough choice, and discussions about who should take the top prize and who should come second were, they said, more contentious than ever before.

Teams showed impressive command of the subject

To qualify for the National Final in Frankfurt, participating teams this year had to submit a video discussing the pros and cons of cash and cashless means of payment, under the heading “Bargeldlos oder Bargeld und los?” (“Cashless or grab your cash and go?”). In the final round, the three top-performing teams then had to give a presentation arguing for the Eurosystem to either maintain, expand or scale back its expansionary monetary policy measures. The jury was impressed by the high standard of all three presentations. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, joining the virtual award ceremony from his office, also praised the performance of the students, who received a certificate and a sizeable sum of money for their efforts (€1,000 for first place, €750 for second place and €500 for third place). One of the participants even saw a positive side to the difficulties the pandemic had posed for the competition, remarking that “It made the decision we had to make for the ECB Governing Council all the more gripping”.

In winning first prize at Germany’s National Final, “Château Chapeau” have also clinched their ticket to the European award ceremony at the ECB. It is not yet clear when and in what form that ceremony will take place. One thing is for certain, though, it will mark a first: As last year’s award ceremony had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, this year will be the first time that ECB President Christine Lagarde awards the winning teams their certificates, at least in virtual form.