Company culture wasn’t something I initially considered when looking for my first “real” job after leaving the safe haven that is life as a university student.  I had just accepted a graduate sales role at Cisco, and with nothing to compare this new career experience to I had limited expectations and understanding of what Cisco was all about.

Cisco Interns pose with our CEO Chuck Robbins during an event.

When I first joined the company, I was told time and time again by several colleagues how fortunate I was to have started my career at a company like Cisco.  At first, I was determined not to “drink the Kool-Aid” and fall prey to what I thought were my colleagues’ attempts to “sell” me my new role.  But over time I came to realise how truly accurate they were – and now, I couldn’t be prouder to say I work for Cisco!

What are some of the benefits I’ve come to know and love? Here are just a few of my favourites:

1. We never stop learning: In the graduate program, we started off with four months of almost full-time training that provided us with a solid foundation for our transition into sales roles.  The program was a good balance of technical knowledge to help us understand the seemingly never-ending portfolio of Cisco solutions, as well as sales training to help us learn what makes a good salesperson.

We were placed into a digital classroom and had the opportunity to experience learning with fellow colleagues in the graduate program all over Asia through Webex, Cisco’s videoconferencing platform.  Talk about receiving a modern digital education!

As part of the program we were also sent to Singapore to participate in a more hands-on presentation skills workshop and even since the end of the official training have had ample opportunities to learn.  These include everything from webinars on using Cisco tools, to technology presentations and updates on bigger trends in the industry.

2. We’re flexible, and we own it: Another key benefit of working at Cisco which I have enjoyed is the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere thanks to our incredible technology and culture.  Although many companies boast this perk, I imagine that very few implement this policy as genuinely as Cisco.

Even as a graduate I am encouraged to work my schedule around personal well-being and family interests – meaning I’ve been able to spend time working remotely when needed and don’t need to stress when I have a doctor’s appointment booked during a work day.

Where this benefit has particularly been proven to me is with my move to the Brisbane office.  I started my journey at Cisco’s Melbourne office and loved my new home, both the office itself and the fact that Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for several years in a row!  However, when I had a family situation arise I decided I wanted to move back to my hometown of Brisbane. I knew having only just started in my new role, it would be an ask from the company to allow me to relocate so soon – but my managers and colleagues couldn’t have provided greater support for my decision and made the transition as easy as it could be.

Emily and her team are all smiles at a give back event.

3. We’re giving, always: The perks I’ve mentioned so far have been of great benefit personally, but one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the impact that Cisco also has on the wider community.  For example, our Time2Give Program allows employees five days a year of paid time to volunteer – this is even separate from our PTO days!

Through this program I was able to donate my time to Orange Sky, a Brisbane-based organisation which aims to positively connect people experiencing homelessness, and at Girls Power Tech Day, where we helped high school girls understand the opportunities available to them in the IT industry.

Our partnerships and commitment to innovation are also second to none, with Cisco recently donating $61 million into digital transformation projects through Australia’s Country Digital Acceleration Program.  At our annual customer event Cisco Live I was able to spend time with one of our Directors showing Members of Parliament our larger contribution to the community – including our support for autonomous vehicles, partnerships with multiple charitable causes and use of infrastructure and expertise which allows Cisco to respond in emergency situations.

This list seemingly never ends!

Previously, as a fresh graduate, I ignored company culture as a criterion when assessing different roles and potential employers.  Now, I cannot emphasise enough to students looking to enter the job market for the first time the importance of being in a company that looks after its employees and am so grateful that I am working at one that does.

Cisco was ranked #6 in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2019, and from my perspective, it’s not hard to see why!

Want to join us? You can! We’re hiring.


Emily Shaw

Associate Sales Representative

APJC Sales - Australia