Brian A. Thompson graduated DePaul University in June with a second master’s degree he earned while teaching and running his training consultancy.

His latest degreean MBA in business strategy and finance from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Businesscomplements his other degrees: a Master of Science in finance from Illinois Institute of Technology; a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Governors State University; and an associate degree from Joliet Junior College.

After 10 years of running a martial arts school with multiple locations and taking over his family’s apartment rental business, the Joliet native and resident decided to pursue his MBA while still working full time, citing a desire to keep his skills sharp in an ever- changing world. Thompson is wholly dedicated to self-improvement but he is concerned with much more than his own.

In addition to trading his own account and running a consulting business on matters such as staff training, Thompson also makes time for one of his favorite activities: teaching. Having taught economics and finance courses at Prairie State College and other institutions, his goal is to help people grow as individuals and make a difference in their lives by reaching them through education.

“Trading my own account doesn’t help anyone,” he said. “It doesn’t make someone better than when they walked in the door. I know I can’t reach everyone, but if one person walks out the door thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll minor in economics,’ that makes a difference. It inspires me.”

Thompson wants to continue running and growing his own businesses, including the consulting firm he founded, Black & Essington Solutions. He also wants to explore opportunities that people may not have considered and educate others about them. With multiple degrees and entrepreneurial success, Thompson generously shares his skills with others.

After being contacted by DePaul’s Kellstadt CareerManagement Center, he became involved in facilitating mock interviews for first-year MBA students. He used his life experiences to give students practice with interviewing. Thompson participated because bettering people is his mission, and it does not feel like work. “Every group I’ve ever been part of has been a winning team,” Thompson said. “I know how to make people win. I want to help people win.”

One of his economic professors agrees. Rafael Tenorio, taught the entrepreneur in three classesand Thompson excelled in every one. Tenorio has recommended that Thompson teach a course at DePaul next year. “Brian is a phenomenal student, probably the best I have ever had in my 23 years of teaching at the graduate level,” Tenorio said. “His real-world experiences combined with his drive to improve his analytical skills make him the complete package in a graduate business program.”

When it comes to advice for other students, Thompson said, “Looking for a job begins the first day you walk on campus.” He recommends that students always build and maintain their networks. “Finally, students should manage the time in their busy schedules well. “When you do something that’s bigger than yourself, things will get hard,” he said, “but you’ll pass.”

This is one in a series of profiles of 2013 DePaul graduates.  Read the whole series  poatsed on DePaul's Newsroom.