John Almeida, B.B.A.’07, MBA'08, used his entrepreneurial skills to create his own mobile application to help people discover and share local events.
Almeida is co-founder and product developer of NABR, a mobile app that helps individuals find interesting events in the community and gives people the chance to explore their own neighborhoods. Almeida put together a team of four people to lead the product development of NABR and oversee different aspects of the business. “I am constantly thinking of the user experience,” he says. “I think about our client and what they will want from the product, whether it is ease of use or reporting, I take the time to think it through in our development process.”
After graduating from WMU with a marketing and management major, Almeida worked as a business analyst at Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the world. He was promoted to a project manager position where he was tasked with managing software development within Express Scripts. It was the chance to learn the inner-workings of a Fortune 25 company. “During this process, I really learned to enjoy working with technology in addition to using all the managerial skills I learned at the college of business,” he says.
For Almeida, starting NABR has been the most interesting experience in his career thus far. He spent long hours working full-time and starting the company, and the responsibility of being in charge is both exhilarating and humbling for him. “Everyone always talks about starting a business, but until you do it and have everything depend on you, you cannot begin to realize how crazy and amazing it is at the same time.”
Almeida’s academic experience in the college of business helped him to confidently transition into the business world. Understanding the process, rules and structures behind a company is a key component in business for Almeida, and his academic experience helped him to understand the key components of running a business. “I have been able to apply analytical and leadership skills that I developed while in the classroom,” he says. Developing and maintaining relationships with colleagues is vital for Almeida, and he notes that his professors at WMU stressed people skills and team work, which continues to help him with his day-to-day responsibilities.
Almeida believes that it can be a challenge for business professionals to diversify their skills to be in a position to compete with others. He admits that the life of an entrepreneur is not easy, but it is fulfilling. He advises young entrepreneurs to try and see what happens. “The worst thing that can happen is you learn about what not to do for your next venture,” says Almeida.
Almeida believes that mentoring is a great way to support the college of business, finding it a rewarding way to give back to WMU. “I think about my position now and how much I’ve learned while starting a company, and I can’t help but think how much I could help someone in college by sharing my experiences.”