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6 Reasons Interning at Cisco is the Best Idea Ever


Recently after his experience as a Cisco Intern, Naman Bhatt shared with his LinkedIn audience what it was like to work for “one of the best companies in the world.”  We loved his story so much we thought our readers on the Life at Cisco Blog would too!  

Before my summer internship at Cisco, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my career. I went to the Engineering career fair at NC State University in my junior year where I met my internship program manager and was introduced to Cisco internship opportunities.

At first glance I was already excited as I read the description, “Now Hiring: World Changers!” I knew that I wanted to be a part of a company that made the Internet what it is today, and having an opportunity in front of me where I could contribute to the way the world works, lives, plays, and learns by connecting the unconnected was really thrilling.

After several video interviews, I was able to successfully land a Network Consulting Engineer internship at Cisco. Here are a few key take-aways I experienced in my time with Cisco:

  1. Cisco Values Its People: I knew I wanted to be involved with a company who had a great culture. Company culture attracts great talent which tends to create great success. This is one of the biggest reasons I find Cisco to be so successful as their “People Deal” defines the story of who Cisco is, what they do, and where they’re heading. From the internet of computers to the internet of people and now to the internet of everything, Cisco technologies change the world. But the edge doesn’t just come from technology, it comes from the people too!
  1. Giving Back is a Priority: I wanted to work at a place where people believe in giving back to the community, and I discovered that Cisco RTP employees volunteer on regular basis at the Durham Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Volunteering with other employees, managers, and even the director himself helped me to feel that Cisco really put an emphasis on giving back and was somewhere I was proud to invest my time in.
  1. Interns are Encouraged to Lead: Even though I was only an Intern, I was given responsibilities that had a direct impact on Cisco’s customers and business. This may sound scary, but it’s actually really exciting! This is where the real life work experience comes from, and having the opportunity to work in a fast paced, high impact environment where I could directly contribute to the success of Cisco’s customers was something I am very thankful for.
  1. New and Prospective Ideas are Always Welcome: During my internship, I was expected to continue learning new technologies, while studying and passing Cisco certification exams. With enough resources provided, everyone is there to help you out, but it depends on you and how you utilize those resources to gain the full experience out of your internship.
  1. You Can and Will Learn from the Best: I worked closely with Cisco’s brightest engineers to provide high quality service to customers and to solve network problems that cross a broad range of technologies. While working with these engineers, I received in-depth training that built my technical and soft skills. I had the opportunity to participate in global leadership discussions with various executives across the business, and even had the opportunity to present an end of year project to Cisco leaders.
  1. These are Exciting Times: During my internship I was present for some of Cisco’s historic events such as the Cisco RTP 20 Years Celebration, the new CEO announcement, and Cisco Rocks where we celebrated John Chamber’s 20 years of leadership and welcomed our new CEO Chuck Robbins. The interns also got a chance to talk to both John and Chuck where they welcomed us, discussed the company’s vision & strategy, and answered all the questions we had. Interns having access to Executive Leadership isn’t something most companies offer, but then again Cisco is not most companies.

Looking back on my internship, I knew I wanted to work for Cisco, but I didn’t know why. Initially, I was scared because I was the only one in my team with no networking background. I would encourage young talent to apply for a job or internship that you might not have previously considered – take risks and try new things! The only way to grow and learn is to step outside of your comfort zone.

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Reflections From Summer Cisco Interns


Cisco Interns aren’t your average interns! Whether they found us by way of LinkedIn or a university info session – no matter if we won them over with some sweet, sweet swag or two pretty little words: Silicon Valley – we’re glad they’re here, and we’re more excited than ever to have these energetic, creative minds helping us to tackle the future. As summer winds down and rolls into fall, we wanted to share the experiences of our summer 2015 HR Interns who offer insights, advice, and their two cents on what’s giving Cisco a bit of the “cool” factor.

When thinking of Cisco a few months ago, most of these interns could only identify the company by the logo being on telephones in offices or the knowledge that routers were involved. But now that they’ve had time to grow from within Cisco, they realize there is so much more to the company who fuels the Internet of Everything.

“Cisco provided a welcoming environment that was enjoyable, comfortable, and changing” Clark Anderson, an intern with Global Benefits: Family Services/Wellness said. These interns, after all, have been here through the CEO transition from John Chambers to Chuck Robbins and have gotten a unique, first-hand experience in how Cisco celebrates its future while honoring its past.

“Cisco says ‘Change the World’ but that never resonated with me because I didn’t even understand what Cisco even did. To hear how John and Chuck have sat down with these leaders to better their country’s circumstances – that left me wanting to know more. After researching, I thought this was something I could really get behind, and I hadn’t thought of that until that moment.”

Golden Gate“If people knew how frequently Cisco was involved in their daily lives and how many things Cisco is doing – we’d realize how cool this company really is!” says Kelly Andrews, an HR Services Intern.

Kayla Viola, an intern with the Talent Brand team, agreed.

“Yes, when you use FaceTime you’re using Apple, but you’re also using Cisco technology!” she realized. “The impact of this technology affects me more than just Cisco’s cool factor. It’s something that matters.”

Plus, Kayla learned first-hand that Cisco interns aren’t fetching coffee and running errands. They’re exposed to the company leaders and their ideas matter.

“How many interns get access to the CEO of a company?” said Kayla, “It’s rare to meet the CEO, yet at Cisco Chuck Robbins was interested in the #IChoseCisco campaign I was working on for Instagram, and even tweeted out a photo of me and him!”

Daniel Wright, a Global Benefits Intern Daniel even said “Our inexperience in the industry seemed to be attractive for those here at Cisco as many went to the interns for new ideas, which is encouraging.”

Megan Astarita, a Talent Management intern, summed it up nicely.

“The connections through our internship, with co-workers and even the interns in other locations, we all clicked even through distance. This reflects the type of people Cisco is bringing on – they’re all just really great people.”


Want to spark your future as a Cisco Intern? Apply Now!


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A Year Abroad – An Intern’s Transition


How does a culture-shocked, jet-lagged intern from England transform in a year’s time? Just by arriving in Silicon Valley Digital Marketing Intern Alice Mo was able to check off a bucket list item. But starting at Cisco earned another check.

Her first day, she was filled with nerves. Wanting to make a good impression, she donned her suit and came in extra early, but noticed right away that the casual atmosphere at Cisco – jeans and t-shirts – put her right at ease.

One of Alice’s biggest realizations was that the culture at Cisco was a staple in what made us so different as she noted that the workplace in England is much more formal and requires employees to address their superiors as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” – a bit different from the first name basis here at Cisco!  She loved the openness throughout her internship and was inspired by the consistent efforts made in innovation and attempting new processes.

The other thing that Alice noticed is that Cisco employees love a good celebration, “My team had a launch recently that needed to be rolled back, so we had a Roll Back Party,” she explained.  “This isn’t something you’d typically find in the UK as a roll back would be viewed as a reason to be upset, but here it was seen in a positive light and something we could continue to work towards and improve upon. I will definitely carry this positive outlook with me in to the future, and it made my entire experience with Cisco that much more enjoyable.”

Another celebration that Alice enjoyed was the Superhero Friday parties that were held on the first Friday of every month.  This is where everyone would show up to work in their favorite superhero t-shirts – what’s not to love about a company that knows how to have fun and save the day at the same time?

soloAlice’s yearlong internship also provided a more solid direction for her career, “On my first day at Cisco I had no idea what direction I wanted to go in.  I knew I wanted to be in tech, but beyond that I wasn’t quite sure. About six months ago, I joined a big data project that I really enjoyed and have since informed my professors back in the UK that I’d like to take more data science master courses.”

Amidst everything she was learning throughout her internship, Alice also loves that this opportunity allowed her to grow personally.  From learning how to drive in the U.S. to learning more about herself as an individual she is so thankful for her time at Cisco.  The advice she would pass along to future interns is to not fear taking initiative and to take the time to be proactive and always think one step ahead.

“Earlier in my time here at Cisco, I asked my manager what I could help with that may have a more technical aspect to it.  I wound up finding things that I could assist with and enrolled in some of the free Cisco courses that opened me up to even further opportunities here.  It enabled me to participate more, with more confidence,” expanding upon her second piece of advice, Alice offers, “Listen and tune into what others are saying, especially your superiors.  I had a manager who mentioned on a whim that he would like to learn more about the Asian Mobile at Market.  I happened to know quite a bit about this, so I took some time in my day to compile some notes for him.  When I mentioned that I had this documentation, he said, ‘Fantastic!’ and the next day I was presenting the information to his team!”

Alice continued, “The connections I have made here at Cisco have been invaluable; absolutely breathtaking. I never would’ve thought that I would’ve made so many connections from all walks of life – from Software Engineers and Hardware Engineers to Marketing, Sales, and Administration.  I wouldn’t hesitate at all to send these connections a message when I need advice in the future.”

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The Intern’s Perspective

“Am I just a very small fish in a big pond?” – That is what I originally thought when I first joined Cisco as a Public Relations Collaboration Intern. Turns out no one bites here, which definitely has helped the process while I have been attempting to get settled in. In fact, it has been quite the opposite. Instead of “Hey intern, do this for me,” I am asked, “Corinne, can I help you with anything or do you have any questions?” It is reassuring to know that I am around genuinely good people beginning my, as I like to call it, “adventure” here at Cisco.

After getting settled in with all the gizmos and applications on my one of a kind ThinkPad, I finally have a routine when I come into work. My mornings consist of reading, lots and lots of reading. From press releases, to news articles, to tweets … anything related to technology or social media I will most likely know about it. I’ve noticed most conversations don’t involve people’s input on the Kardashians or how the next Twilight is going to play out, so Cisco’s Newsroom has become one of my new best friends here.

Once my brain has reached overload, I usually have meetings or my kind colleagues will invite me to meetings to sit in on. I’ll catch myself looking like a “deer in headlights”  at times because all I think about is, “Hmm…what did that acronym stand for, I better write that down” or “I wonder why Telepresence originally had an upper case ‘P’ but is now changed to a lower case ‘p’”. To be honest, during the first PR meeting I ever sat in on I thought they were talking about the show “Futurama” on Comedy Central for a half second until I realized they were referring to something else. Thankfully, I haven’t asked too many dumb questions because they keep inviting me, which has been a great learning experience in order to become more familiar with how the Cisco Public Relations team works.

After lunch, I’ll work on the projects I have been given. I am no Greg Justice, but I try to be as creative as possible when deciding how to execute these assignments without looking stupid. I’ve never made so many to-do lists in my life, but hey, it works! Stay tuned on what I’ll be working on throughout the summer. This includes more external and some internal blogs, strategic analysis presentations on our company and the dark side AKA our competitors, as well as some fun and informative videos.

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