Jack Hooper is the founder/CEO of Take Command Health. Hooper graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in mechanical engineering and went on to work for the White House, CIA and FBI. He also worked as a consultant developing an improvement data strategy for early childhood education initiatives for 300 Dallas County elementary schools. He earned his Master of Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurial management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Hooper)

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Hooper)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“I pursued a master’s degree, and particularly an MBA, to enable a career change. I was thankful for my opportunity to serve in the CIA and FBI, but was interested in pursuing opportunities in the private sector. Although my government experience really helped me develop critical thinking and analysis skills, applying them to a business context was completely new to me. An MBA has opened a lot of doors for me both as a consultant and an entrepreneur.”

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

“Take advantage of opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. For me, this was getting involved with Wharton’s Venture Initiation Program and investing in professional relationships with thought leaders to start my business. Most MBA topics (accounting, finance, etc.) you could probably learn from a book or online. What really made the experience worth it was the outside learning experiences and connecting with like-minded people.”

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

“My biggest challenge was balancing personal and professional commitments. My wife and I found out we were expecting twins. Needless to say, our plans changed drastically. Instead of figuring out which professional treks and travel opportunities we wanted to participate in, we were trying to figure out where to live and how we were going to afford diapers and bottles on a student’s budget. This challenge is what ultimately led to the creation of Take Command Health. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how much twins would cost, and we realized there was an opportunity to help others figure out how much their health needs would cost too. That gave way to two years of research and a first-of-its-kind algorithm that is the heart of TakeCommandHealth.com. The most exciting thing for me was realizing balancing professional and personal life doesn’t mean they have to be two separate things, but instead, by solving my own problems, I could find a way to help others and start a successful business.”

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

“I started my master’s degree with some cool experiences and a wonderful wife, but no real plan or idea what I wanted to do next. I completed my degree as a family of four with an awesome consulting opportunity and a working startup. I’d say that was pretty awesome and definitely rewarding.”

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