2018 MBAs To Watch: Marissa Almeida, University of Florida (Hough)

Marissa Almeida

University of Florida (Hough)

“Ambitious, honest, kind and resilient; these are traits I draw strength from in all situations.”

Age: 25

Hometown: East Providence, RI

Fun fact about yourself: I was an extra in the most recent Ghostbusters movie. I got to watch some of the scenes with the lead actresses filmed live.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Babson College, B.S. in Business Management

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I worked at Vistaprint as a Pricing and Promotions Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? I am in the 1-year full time program, so I did not participate in an internship

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at Dell as a Product Marketing Advisor

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am a Career Mentor in the Business Career Services Center. I help students in the other master’s programs with resumes, interviews and various career related activities.

I am also President of the Black Business Student Association, which is a UF MBA organization dedicated to working together to create a more diverse, inclusive and aware community particularly focused within business.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I won first place in UF’s 24-hour internal case competition. I worked in a group with students I had not previously worked with and we were able to quickly build on each other’s strengths to create a winning strategy. This was my first case competition, so the time crunch and lack of sleep made me nervous. However, my team and I created a strategy we genuinely believed in and we helped motivate each other over the finish line.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I am proudest of occurred in my most recent role as a pricing and promotions specialist. Our promotional strategy was largely driven by outdated decisions. I took the initiative to analyze what was working and what wasn’t based on our internal goals. I also assessed competitor strategies and put forth a new strategy. I am most proud of this accomplishment because I successfully drove the strategy from inception to roll out. I defined the problem, completed the analysis, and created the implementation plan. I was also responsible for collaborating with other teams to drive buy in. This project allowed me to build my confidence, not only in my analytical ability, but also in my ability to drive change.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor was Gwendolyn Lee.  Her insight into strategy is astounding. She is extremely intelligent and able to communicate concepts in a very digestible manner. She is the type of professor you want to grab coffee with to hear her impressive accomplishments, and she shows genuine interest in her students.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA Course was Managerial Quantitative Analysis. I loved this class because it expanded my Excel and analytical skills, which is invaluable for business in general. We did modeling around different problems with missing data and I found this highly applicable to real world business scenarios, as we frequently find we don’t always have all the answers. However, a reliable model can help us fill in the gaps and allow us to still make data driven decisions.

Why did you choose this business school? UF takes a personalized approach to the MBA program, which I value. Getting that one-on-one interaction from faculty and staff truly allowed me to grow and see beyond my horizons in the short amount of time I have been here. From the application process all the way through to my acceptance, I felt like they were trying to get to know me personally and were invested in my success.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Talk to someone in the program and really understand if you buy into the process that UF takes to building individuals into successful MBA grads. Through those conversations, prepare yourself for the interview: where do you see yourself after getting your MBA and how does UF align you with achieving that goal? Bring your passion and be yourself!

What is the biggest myth about your school? This is going to seem silly, but I was under the impression that there were gators that just roamed across campus. I researched gator defense practices and felt confident I could outrun a gator if faced with that situation. Gainesville definitely has gators, but you have to actively seek them out. Gators are not just wandering down the street. When I have seen gators, they are inactive and seem to have little interest in attacking me. It seems if you respect nature here, it will respect you.

What was your biggest regret in business school? We are separated into cohorts, so there is a natural tendency to stay close to those within your cohort. I wish I took the chance sooner to build relationships with those in other cohorts. The faculty here are amazing and I wish I took more time to get to know more of my professors on a more personal level before the classes ended.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kamia Morris. She gave me my tour last year and has made it her duty to check in on me and be a positive, supportive friend. She somehow knows when it’s a stressful time and we should get dinner to de-stress. Caring about others is important to me, and it has been valuable to have someone that I know is genuinely interested to hear how my day was, particularly given how far from home I am. She also has a great job lined up, so she not only is a great friend but also successful in her career and academic endeavors.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? In high school, interestingly enough, I took three years of accounting with Mr. Svedsen. I did not pursue accounting, as I did not love the topic itself, but that teacher opened my eyes to the broader business world. He showed me that business is more than just finance and accounting and that I could leverage the skills I learned in that class in other parts of business. He nominated me for the RI Treasurers Award in high school and wrote college recommendation letters for me. He gave me the confidence that I could be successful in business. In the event he reads this – Thank You!

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a teacher. I love kids and I love giving back to the community. Teachers are so important in the development of children and ultimately children are the future. A full school day is huge level of commitment so for now I will stick to coaching sports for a few hours a week.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would encourage MBA students to interact with the other graduate schools through socials, seminars or some other interactive event. There are so many brilliant people at UF that I wish I had the chance to interact with, but I did not have the established network to do so. Business is often driven by the brilliant work of those outside of the industry, so those connections could also prove valuable in the future.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I would really like to swim with dolphins and go to Cape Verde with my family to explore my heritage.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A knowledgeable and reliable peer who encourages others to be their best.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happyness. Sometimes, it isn’t the person in the room with the fanciest education or nicest suit you want working for you, it’s the person with the most drive and dedication. If you keep pushing and proving yourself, you can make it – just don’t give up. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) taught himself what he needed to be successful in his role and I think that extends for everyone. We can’t know everything, but we can strive to constantly learn new things

What would your theme song be? Beyoncé – “Run the World (Girls).” I find this song very empowering, especially as a woman in business: we can be bosses too.

Favorite vacation spot: Dominican Republic: There is nothing quite like the hot sun beating down on a beautiful beach and amazing food to go with it.

Hobbies? I enjoy spending time with family and friends whether it be over dinner, watching the New England Patriots, or just relaxing on the couch making fun of each other. I play intramural soccer and football and coached children’s soccer. I love cooking and listening to music

What made Marissa such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Our accelerated One Year MBA program does not leave a lot of time to ease into the experience. Marissa joined us from Boston and hit the ground running. She tackled the course work and career search head on in the fall all the while learning a new city, new campus, and becoming an active student leader. As part of our Diversity and Inclusion committee, she has built out programming for our Black Business Student Association, developed partnerships with the Graduate Minority Programs Office, coached and played intramural sports and most recently garnered First Place in our Internal Case Competition. I have seen immense growth in the quality of the speakers and opportunities she has sought out and hosted here at UF MBA. Marissa’s motivation to offer these events is linked to her desire to challenge and help transform the experience of her classmates. The college has benefited from her leg work and look forward to the continued success of the clubs she has been involved with this year.  What is so unique about Marissa through all of this is her spirit; always upbeat, always engaged and crafting solid questions to garner more information and knowledge from the faculty and her classmates. She is genuine in all she does and champions those around her to be their best and strive for more. Marissa has been an amazing leader and the entire MBA Team has enjoyed getting to know her and we are glad she chose to pursue her MBA with us at The University of Florida.”

Sarah Carlson

Director of Student Affairs, Full Time MBA Programs





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