Cris Houlihan is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He became a member of Mu Kappa Tau in the fall of 2011, winning the G.M. Naidu Scholarship in 2012. After graduation, Cris found employment at an insurance brokerage firm, Cottingham & Butler, based out of Dubuque, Iowa, where he sells insurance to businesses. First, he completed two summer internships and a part time internship his final semester of college at this firm, so he definitely was able to hit the ground running. Cris's personal life is very full as well. He and his beautiful wife, Kaylee, share their home with their dog, Lyla. In November, their first child will join the family!
Mu Kappa Tau's six "values" are accomplishment, community, excellence, inspiration, integrity and scholarship. When asked which one he believes is the most important for students to display and/or develop, Cris commented, "At this time in my life, I would say the most important value is accomplishment. When you are younger, succeeding and finding accomplishment is critical to your personal development because it instills confidence in you and creates an unstoppable momentum. At my firm, it is my goal to be the youngest sales executive to write the most new business every year." During his first year, he broke the "Rookie of the Year" record for the most new business! This record was previously held by his mentor for 11 years. His mentor believed in him and had confidence that he could accomplish his goal. In addition, Cris finished 3rd overall in a company of more than 100 sales executives. He concludes by saying, "While accomplishment is so vital, it is also important to stay humble and stay true to yourself, which is why I also believe integrity goes hand in hand with accomplishment."
The best piece of advice Cris has for MKT members in school is to get involved in organizations such as MKT and PSE. These organizations opened up so many doors for him and has ultimately led to his success. In his opinion, most employers really don't care about your grades, or at least it is not the most important factor to them. They care about the skills and experience one can bring to their company and the positive impact one can make. He says, "Whatever you desire to pursue after college, I encourage you to surround yourself with activities and individuals that are congruent to your goals." His last piece of advice is that young people should act with a sense of urgency. Cris concludes, "There are too many young people who think that they have all the time in the world and that they will get to it someday. Next thing they know, they are 50 years old and still don't have the success they desire. Then they say they are too old to truly 'go for it'. The time is now! So I say to each of you, 'seize the day'. If you take care of your days, your days will take care of your weeks, your weeks will take care of your months, your months will take care of years."