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TEDxDePaulUniversity 2017 speaker Brian A. Thompson is an entrepreneur and adjunct faculty member at DePaul University. As a young college student he faced academic challenges and fought to find his direction until an internship on the floor of Chicago Board Options Exchange changed everything. His experience there launched into a finance career in conjunction with his entrepreneurial pursuits. Prior to founding Black & Essington Solutions and Black & Essington Capital, he managed a family real estate business and co-founded a multi-location martial arts instruction and promotions company. Today, he bridges the gap between consulting and managing a long-and-short investment strategy where he is building a forward-thinking platform to jumpstart careers in financial services through internships and mentoring. Thompson received his Master of Science in Finance from the Illinois Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from DePaul University, where he is also a doctoral student. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)