The moment I was offered a Worldwide Sales Internship at Cisco was bittersweet. Yes, I had to let go of my 2018 summer travel plans that would’ve taken me through Spain, Italy, and Greece. But this was the program I had been dreaming of – an internship that was a perfect cocktail of business and technology, crafted to deliver global impact. No, this would not be backpacking through Europe – but it would be the voyage to kick start my career in sales engineering.
I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
The internship program was an eye-opener, and through the experience I learned what the most important aspects of a career were to me:
- The people and the culture at the workplace.
- Doing meaningful work.
- Being myself and creating impact in the areas I was most passionate.
At Cisco, I found my Sweet Spot.
Your first job usually leaves a lasting impression. As a recent student, I knew the internal struggle and dilemmas that one experiences in choosing their first workplace – the biggest one being, “Will I fit in?” Nobody wants to work at a company where they feel they don’t belong, even worse doing work that doesn’t mean something or have impact. It’s the worst nightmare for almost every final year university student while hunting for jobs. It didn’t take me long to know that I wanted my first job to be at Cisco.
Fast forward a few months, to October 2018 – I was offered a full-time role as part of the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) and I enthusiastically accepted, “A thousand times YES!”
Six months after I began my CSAP journey in July 2019, I was invited to talk to a bunch of excited (but obviously nervous) final year students from Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia about my journey from a Cisco intern to a CSAP-er. It was the perfect way for me to give back to society and to help clear the storm of confusion and uncertainty in the minds of potential future interns and co-workers who all wanted to know, “Is Cisco a good place to start your career?”
To me that question is almost rhetorical – of course it is! But as a student, the paranoia is real. Yes, a hundred recruiters could tell them how awesome Cisco is, but there is a unique strength in hearing from a recent student who could speak to them directly about their personal experience and what a career path might look like. And that’s just what I did.
I shared how, in less than a year’s time, I was able to achieve everything I had dreamed of as part of the industry-leading early-in-career development program for top graduates interested in technical sales and pre-sales.
Some of my highlights were:
- Making friends and connections with an amazing group of colleagues.
- Doing meaningful work by helping our customers achieve their goals.
- Creating impact and giving back by helping to fund nearly $10,000 for a dog shelter.
I never thought that as an employee with just one month of experience I would be flown to Las Vegas, Nevada for our Annual Sales Convention in 2019 . Or that as a young professional who had only been with the company for four months, I would be asked to host the annual Christmas party. I never dreamed that someone with such “little experience” could create such a big impact so quickly.
But that’s just how Cisco operates. You’re not just an intern or early career employee. Interns are not merely given “busy work” or low priority projects but are tasked with meaningful work that enables the team to grow and succeed.
Remember, it is not just about an employer choosing you, but YOU get to choose your employer as well. I am so glad to have chosen Cisco twice.
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