Christopher J. Hankla is an enterprise account manager at AppDynamics in Dallas, TX. He introduces potential customers to the innovative services that AppDynamics provides. He did hands-on fixing of computers but it wasn’t fulfilling his passion in technology. He decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree to find the job of his dreams.

(Photo Courtesy of Christopher J. Hankla)

(Photo Courtesy of Christopher J. Hankla)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“Pursuing a master’s degree opened career paths that better aligned with my strengths and passions. I completed my bachelor’s in Management Information Systems (MIS) from Texas A&M University at College Station, which is both a business and technical degree. The first couple of jobs I had, out of college, involved front line IT support. I really enjoyed understanding the concepts of technology, but never really found myself an expert in resolving highly complex IT problems. Looking at my educational background and career experience, I started to gather a better understanding of where my true passions and strengths occurred. I realized I enjoyed understanding technology concepts on a high level, driving business level conversations and activities, helping people solve problems, and working with innovative technologies that were really changing the way companies approached challenges. I earned my master’s in Business Administration and Management from the University of Texas at Tyler.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree?

“A master’s degree, without a doubt, can be a valuable asset to your resume. In my opinion, a master’s degree can help you in multiple ways, such as standing out in the competitive job market, help you to change career directions (like myself), or help you become more of an expert in your field. I think where you’re really going to capitalize on the value you see from a master’s degree is if you can first understand where your strengths, weaknesses, and passions lie. For myself, it took a bachelor’s degree and a few jobs before I really was able to answer that question for myself. Once you can answer those questions, a master’s degree can be an excellent way to get you where you’re looking to go in your career.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master’s degree?

“Working a full-time job and going to school at the same time was a big challenge. My job at the time required me to work 8-5 and be on-call until 9 p.m., which could sometimes interfere with classes. I’d highly recommend working full-time and pursuing a master’s though (even if it takes a little longer) as coming out of a master’s program with a few extra years of experience under your belt really helps catapult yourself ahead.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“I met my wife while working on my master’s in statistics class.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com