This post was authored by Pranav Athrangadan, a Business Analyst Intern on the Material Planning Team under Manufacturing Operations within the Silicon One Operation Team.

Person sitting on a bench with a laptop.

When I first joined Cisco, switching from electrical engineering to business analysis felt overwhelming. I’ll be honest; it was a bit scary to change gears from engineering to a non-technical direction. But Cisco had my back from day one. They hooked me up with learning resources and even covered my course fees. It’s like they saw potential in me that I hadn’t seen in myself yet. And, thanks to Cisco’s welcoming culture, my supportive team, manager, and directors, and awesome mentorship, I didn’t just cross this bridge — I started building my own.

As I settled into my new role, I discovered that the Cisco campuses themselves were a source of inspiration and motivation. They’re not just buildings but a source of energy for me. Whenever I feel low or can’t solve a task, I know I can find a cozy spot to recharge and get inspired. One day, when I was too drained to solve part of a problem assigned to me, I stumbled upon a little garden tucked away between offices. At first, it was just a quiet place to catch my breath. But soon, I realized it was much more — a bridge to new ideas. Surrounded by nature, my mind opened, and creativity flowed. This garden became my go-to spot for thinking outside the box. The Cisco campus is like a second home, open 24/7, offering me the freedom to explore and find my own creative spaces, though I can’t spill all the secrets of these mind-blowing zones just yet!

My days have been a whirlwind of discovery, not just professionally but personally, too. On my first week, I ventured into the gym, thinking I would try boxing, but Cisco had a much broader journey in store for me. Before I knew it, I attended group classes I’d never imagined myself in — dance, Zumba, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength and conditioning, primal movement, and abs workouts. Each class opened a new chapter of self-discovery, pushing my boundaries and showing me the strength I never knew I had. Among these, boxing caught my heart. It began as just another class to try, but soon, it became my passion, and now, once my workday wraps up, I’m off to the boxing practices. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that my workplace supports my well-being and hobbies.

Large group of people standing together at the beach.

But Cisco’s support for my well-being doesn’t stop at physical fitness. Through Webex meetings, I’ve dived into sessions about life and financial planning. These aren’t just talks. They’re lifelines, teaching me how to invest, plan, and navigate life’s financial aspects. It’s during work hours, yet it feels like the company is investing in my life outside work as much as within.

Then there’s the heart of Cisco — commitment to diversity and inclusion and Inclusive Communities like Connected Disability Action Network (CDAN) and Emerging Talent at Cisco. These groups mean a lot to me and make me feel part of a larger purpose. They remind me of my goals and what I have been doing since college. I have always wanted to help others, so I got involved in social service. At Cisco, the desire and potential to make a difference feels right at home. These groups show how we can do it, no matter our backgrounds or abilities.

Being part of Emerging Talent has been incredibly beneficial for me. It’s helped me see that I can do more, even though I am usually shy. I always wanted to speak in front of people and share my ideas, but it was hard to overcome my nervousness. The support and friendship I have found in this community helped me to overcome my fear. It opened my eyes to how we can support each other. That approachable, supportive atmosphere makes Cisco more than just a workplace.

Person wearing boxing gloves.

Even reaching out to leaders and directors is easy here. I remember being so nervous to talk to my director during the very first week, but once I did, it was like chatting with an old friend. That openness is a bridge to learning from the best and breaking down barriers. That encouragement and constructive feedback I received was a turning point, illuminating the path from being an observer to an active participant in Cisco’s culture of innovation.

Outside of my assigned project, apart from my team, I also participated in an intern case study competition that was not just a task but a blast! It was a unique opportunity to talk with others and learn what they do, helping me understand cross-functional activities and be highlighted as part of the larger team and company, showcasing us interns to the world.

I’m just getting started, and I already feel different. More open, more ready to jump in and be seen. Cisco is more than just where I’m doing my internship. It’s where I’m growing and discovering I can be the person I always wanted to be. I’m building a bridge towards something new and exciting — learning, achieving, and belonging. Cisco’s not just where I work; it’s where I grow, connect, and am empowered to be my best.

Powering an inclusive future for all is what we do at Cisco. Discover the power of our purpose.

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