QUEST Alumnus Finds Success with Campus Maps App
For many freshmen here at UMD, navigating through the intimidating terrain that is UMD’s campus on the first day of school may not be possible without a few resources. Besides the stands that are set up around campus during those first few days, many (including myself last year) heavily rely on the Campus Maps app, an app that provides all of the key locations and buildings around UMD. In fact, the founder of that app is a QUEST alumnus. Vikram Bhandari of Cohort 18 developed the app during the summer between his sophomore and junior years, seeking a solution to a problem many new students face during the first weeks of school.
He says that at the start, the app was shared amongst his friends, and after they suggested he market it to the app store, he then saw the potential for it to become something bigger. “Growth [was not] immediate”, Vikram states. “Year 1 [had] about 2,000 users. It wasn’t until a few years in, that adoption really started to skyrocket.” In the past couple of years, the app has even become popular amongst campuses outside UMD. At this time last year, there were around 20 schools using it, but Vikram projects it to be around 500 by the end of this year. However, this all wouldn’t have happened without his overcoming of obstacles along the way. “I had never made a product prior to Campus Maps, so there was a lot of learning to do. Rather than viewing my inexperience or inability to do something as a blocker, I saw each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and add another tool to my skill set.”
Today, Vikram runs the app full time, and he has eyes set to expand the app rapidly. He says that as an undergraduate student at UMD, “being part of QUEST [was] one of [his] highest rated college memories.” The education he received both inside and outside of the classroom made his experience as a QUEST student.
“Success is not always immediately obvious. It’s important to pursue a passion that you are willing to invest in. Making decisions for the long haul is where you start to really pull ahead of the competition,” Vikram adds.
If you’re interested in seeing the app Vikram developed and trying it out, click here.