Welcome from the Chair
Welcome to the Department of Economics and Finance!
I invite you to explore our website or to stop by our offices to discuss the opportunities within our department. Our major has three concentrations to choose from: economics, finance, and real estate. Economics is chiefly concerned with how individuals, firms, governments and nations, make choices on the production, allocation, and consumption of scarce goods and resources. Finance, a specialized area of economics, comprises three main areas: financial management, investments, and financial institutions. Financial management, also known as corporate finance, deals with business decisions made within the firm. Investments focuses on the behavior of financial markets and securities pricing, and financial institutions deals with banks and other specialized firms which bring together the suppliers and users of funds. Based on the finance electives selected, students can direct their focus to one of these areas. Regardless of where your interests lie, studying real estate exposes you to a wide-ranging skill set and prepares you for numerous career opportunities in myriad fields such as brokerage, leasing, development, appraisal, assessment, mortgage lending, property management, and construction.
At USA, our bachelors program is designed to prepare students for careers in analytical and managerial positions in banking, industry and government. It is an exciting time to major in our department! Our faculty understands the importance of excellence in the classroom, excellence in research, and the benefits of professional guidance and connections. Student clubs and the Jaguar Investment Fund (JIF) are just two of the reasons to consider us. Our student chapter of the Financial Management Association (FMA) has consistently earned Superior Chapter Award from FMA International. This highly coveted designation is awarded to less than five percent of FMA chapters. Guest speakers, field trips to local businesses, and the FMA Leaders’ Conference in New York City or Chicago are highlights of our activities. In this club you may find an internship before graduation (through the guest speakers), network with other finance students from across the nation, or have the chance to tour the New York Stock Exchange or Chicago Board of Trade. For those students with an interest in economics, The Economics Society of South Alabama student club is for you. This club meets regularly during the fall and spring with guest speakers, discussions, movies, etc. In the near future, there are plans to form a real estate club and through it, provide opportunities for real estate students to spend time shadowing area professionals. We also hope to establish a chapter of Alpha Sigma Gamma, a real estate honor society.
In addition, you may be able to participate in the JIF, a student managed investment fund, which is a unique opportunity for select students to gain real money management experience. In this fund, students will serve in a role as a financial analyst along with one other position such as economist, political analyst, accountant, or risk analyst. In our investments course, students will also get certified on Bloomberg Terminals, a necessity to work on Walk Street. Talk about experiential learning – this is it!
Although a good number of our graduates find professional positions in banks, wealth management firms, industry, and government, our concentrations are a wonderful foundation for those students who want to pursue higher education in graduate programs. Some of our graduates have gone on to Master’s of Science in Finance Programs, to Ph.D. programs in economics and finance, and to earn a J.D. degree in law school. These were all at various universities throughout the United States.
For those of you who are not planning to be a business major, we invite you to consider a minor in economics or a minor in finance. In the future, look for the possibility of a minor in real estate. Each of these would be an excellent addition to your studies in engineering, math, political science, or any other major. You can still participate in the clubs and have the chance to be a member of the Jaguar Investment Fund with the proper prerequisites.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by phone, email or in person.
Kenneth J. Hunsader
Professor and Chair, Department of Economics and Finance