I was born and raised in a beautiful city in Northeast China called Dalian. It’s a small town – with about 7 million people. One of the reasons I love my hometown is because this where my career started. I was selected as the second intern in 2008 to work at the first wafer fab in Dalian. I soon joined on full time, and it was here that I realized my passion for technology and people, and how technology changes people’s lives.

Later, while working in Shanghai, I happened to be on a business trip to the United States in the bustling city of San Francisco. I fell in love, and knew I needed to be even closer to the tech industry – and more specifically, Silicon Valley. Additionally, I developed a passion for people, culture, and community and wanted to become a well-rounded, strategic HR professional. In 2014 I started my MBA at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business in hopes of making this dream come true.

While I was introduced to many opportunities during this time and loved Southern California – I was determined to end up in Silicon Valley. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Cisco would be recruiting at USC for their Cisco HR Leadership Program (HRLP). This program was exactly what I had dreamed of!

The HRLP is a program designed for MBA students who have 3-5 previous work experiences, and a passion for HR and technology. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this award winning, well-structured program that was known both internally and externally at Cisco.

From my first meeting at the Cisco Glendale office, to going through the interview process – I realized how genuinely nice everyone was. They were welcoming and approachable, and my desire to join Cisco grew with every person I spoke with. Finally, during my second interview, I was offered the role and I nearly jumped out of my chair!

My dream had come true!

That summer at Cisco was incredible as I formed meaningful relationships, went on team outings with my co-workers, and at the end of our rotation we were prepared to give our final Suitcase Presentations to the HR leadership, included Chief People Officer Fran Katsoudas!

I was impressed with Cisco’s culture (the sense of community employees have here is undeniable) and, after the summer had ended, I was thrilled to receive an offer from the HRLP on my first day back to campus. While many of my MBA classmates were waiting anxiously for an offer before graduation, I accepted an offer almost immediately and enjoyed a pressure–free second year during my MBA where I worked on all kinds of fun projects and traveled around the world!

Currently, I’m in my second rotation in Engineering Groups, and living my dream as an HR partner where I get to help business leaders and executives solve challenges within the organization. Every day is different with new problems and new opportunities.

Are you about to graduate from school? Thinking about joining a rotational program, or interested in the HR or tech industry? Here is some advice I’d like to share with you:

1.Find a Clear Purpose – My purpose from day 1 was to help people and enable others while building a community. I was very clear on coming to the Bay Area, having an MBA, and pursuing a career in HR to pursue my passion in the tech industry. I feel very lucky that I’m doing what I love every day and I think my clear purpose was very powerful in helping me understand who I am, and where I wanted to go in life.

So before an interview or finding a job, ask yourself – what are your hopes, dreams, and ambitions? What motivates you? What is the one purpose for you in your life? Then go chase those dreams!

2.Have a Growth Mindset – Learn something new every day and always challenge yourself. From my experience, I learned that intelligence is malleable and can be developed with people who are willing to learn. If you have a choice between something that is safe vs. a new challenge – choose the challenge!

The HRLP at Cisco is a place that I can always challenge myself and when I feel like I’m almost comfortable in my current role – the next rotation is right around the corner filled with new challenges and experiences! Having a growth mindset will help you embrace what is “new” in your life – from people and ideas to tasks and goals.

3.Build your Social Network – When I came to the U.S.  I knew nobody here. In my 20s I moved frequently, so I had to quickly make new friends wherever I went, which helped me to form new friendships here too.

To build your network, you have to practice give and take. Be a giver and help others when you can. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for help too! You’ll be surprised of the connections formed here.

It’s been a long journey from my hometown in China to Silicon Valley, but I am so excited to embrace the future and be a part of how Cisco changes the way we live, work, learn, and play.

Here’s to making your dreams come true, too!

Are you ready to join us at Cisco? We’re hiring! Apply now.

To find out more about Cisco HR Leadership Program, click here.




Tina Yang

HR Consultant

HR Partner - HRLP Program