Chris Reining ’01

Chris Reining

July 13, 2018 12:07 PM

Millikin major: Management Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science 

Please describe some of your accomplishments after Millikin.  
I worked in the cybersecurity field for a number of years before taking a position in business and enterprise architecture. That’s just a fancy way to say consulting. Probably more interesting is that I gained a little fame for becoming a millionaire by 35 through investing. That landed me a profile in The New York Times, an appearance on the TODAY show, and features in Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, and more.

What aspects of your Millikin education have helped you in attaining professional/personal success?
One of the biggest aspects that helped me out of the gate was having a paid internship at Archer Daniels Midland my senior year. Millikin has such long, deep relationships with world-class companies like ADM and Caterpillar, and having that experience on my resume helped secure a full-time job before graduation.

Did any members of Millikin's faculty and staff especially influence your educational experience? Who and how?
First of all, Dr. Anthony Liberatore [associate professor in the Tabor School of Business and director of Millikin’s MBA program]. My first semester I got a 2.69 GPA, and I needed a 3.5 to keep my academic scholarship. I met with Dr. Liberatore and he told me to buy one of those little day planners and start "time blocking" my days to build structure around my time. This worked so well I made the Dean's List the remaining seven semesters.

Secondly, Dr. Paul Dorsey [former Tabor School of Business instructor] and Dr. Michael Rogers [former computer science instructor]. I spent hours in their offices, picking their brains, getting mentoring. Building these relationships led to opportunities like a self-study course in C++ programming with Dr. Dorsey, and a summer undergraduate research fellowship in the computer science department with Dr. Rogers.

What was your best Millikin experience – in or out of the classroom?
That’s easy ­­– being a member in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Living in a fraternity house for three years meant having fun, but it also meant taking leadership positions, and being exposed to so many different viewpoints. It didn’t matter your upbringing, color, sexuality, whatever, SAE had it. You can manufacture this by joining student organizations, but the fraternity had it built-in.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m lucky because I effectively retired early from corporate America, so right now all my time is free time. I tend to follow whatever interests me: writing at, reading books, working out, doing yoga and meditating.

Please offer words of advice for a high school student who is considering Millikin as a college choice.
I had a great experience at Millikin, but no matter where you go, what’s important is twofold: finding those key professors who help push you academically and personally, and being genuinely interested in the classes ­­– the subjects ­– you’re taking. If you’re sitting there asking, “Will this be on the test?” you’re missing the whole point.