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?
Alice’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.”