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Congratulations to Simpsonville native Justin Coker, 22, a business major with a concentration in economics and finance, for being named Student of the Month at the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics.

Coker is in his last semester at USC Upstate, on track to graduate in May 2013. His four years at Upstate have been packed. In addition to a full course load, Coker works as an assistant manager at America’s Mattress, logging 30 hours a week during the school year and full time during summers. He also tutors at the Academic Support Center, helping struggling students with statistics and finance courses.

When Coker began his collegiate career, he had it in his mind that he wanted to teach. He enrolled in School of Education courses, but it was a business course that he took his sophomore year – the first year that the Johnson College opened in its new location downtown – that piqued his interest and he switched majors.

As part of his concentration in Econ/Finance, he took principles of macro and micro economics, statistics, international business courses, and managerial economics courses.

“Managerial economics,” he says, “explains how society and business intertwine.” He enjoys the mathematical side of business, and by using functions and equations, he can study and explain why prices are what they are, examine supply and demand, and describe how prices can affect production levels.

“My courses explain the world in ways you don’t normally think, like why people buy what they buy, and how a store makes a decision to price an item like they do.”

Typically, Econ/Finance graduates go on to careers in banking, investing and investment planning, according to Coker. Instead, he plans to return to his original goal of teaching, by enrolling at Clemson for his master’s degree in economics, followed afterwards by a PhD.

“We chose Justin Coker as the Econ/Finance Student of the Month because he is one of the best and brightest in the Johnson College and he excels academically!” said Sarah Rook, professor of economics. “He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma which is the international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by AACSB International,” she added.

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