Julia Cheek is the CEO of Everly Wellness Inc., a new diagnostic testing startup company in Dallas. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. Cheek shares her educational path with us, as well as advises others who may be considering a master’s degree.

(Photo Courtesy of Julia Cheek)

(Photo Courtesy of Julia Cheek)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“I pursued my MBA to learn about new career paths, as well as gain valuable business experience. I had a few years of management consulting under my belt, but ultimately wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. Getting an MBA was the best path to explore new careers, broaden my network and expand my skill set.”

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

“A master’s degree is not right for everyone. I advise setting goals for what you want to achieve from a master’s program and ensuring that you select the right program that will get you there. Many people underestimate how challenging it can be to go back full-time or while earning a limited income, so be sure to plan ahead financially. You won’t want the added stressor of financial burden that could have been avoided. Lastly, be sure to get the support of your family and close friends. Getting a master’s degree is a major lifestyle change, so you’ll want a strong support network around you.”

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

“The time goes by so fast, and I wish I had taken advantage of everything that my program offered. Explore new career paths, network with alumni and build relationships with your professors while you can.”

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

“The biggest reward for me was expanding my thinking of what’s possible. I had only explored traditional career paths, and I was exposed to so many new ideas at Harvard. It was a transformative experience for me that ultimately set me on the path to become an entrepreneur.”

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