This post was authored by Cisco Sales Intern Peter Kou.
Cisco’s Wikipedia page describes the company as a “multinational technology conglomerate.” By definition alone, you might think that Cisco is just another corporation where you punch in and punch out. Before I interned here, this is even what I thought.
Now as my three-month internship comes to a close, I really understand what it means to work at Cisco – and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In fact, while “multinational technology conglomerate” isn’t wrong – I think Cisco’s Wikipedia page should read a little more like this:
The culture Cisco has built stands out to me almost more than any of our networking products. It’s a company that focuses on the human elements first, technology – close second. It’s why many aren’t surprised to learn that Cisco is the #1 World’s Best Workplace, too!
With a mission statement that reads, “To shape the future of the internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.” – you know Cisco is on to something big. But I was a bit doubtful of these perks – it just seems too good to be true!
The truth is that Cisco’s culture surpassed my own personal expectations (as well as those of my peers) throughout my intern experience. Because of this, I feel that it’s a great company that will help me to grow.
But it doesn’t just stop there. At Cisco, when you’re an intern and you’re given a project – it is NOT a low-risk project! The projects I was assigned weren’t just busy work. For example, I was asked to help on an important Sales Audit of collateral needed for both sales and enablement. The work I was doing was directly impacting training and playbooks for our partners, and I was trusted in making sure they were ready for publishing.
And, finally, one of the things I learned quickly at Cisco is that everything is team based. I collaborate with my team lead every day, and while he mentors me, he also treats me as an employee, not just an intern. I have been encouraged to think of my work not just as an individual task – but to see how my contributions will affect our team’s overarching goals.
The strongest team is only as strong as the weakest link and everyone at Cisco is here to help you succeed and gain a meaningful intern experience.
Ready to start your Cisco internship? Great! Here’s a few tips that will help you to succeed:
1. Don’t narrow your scope! Keep your sights open! Sure, your team and assignments are usually one and the same; however, if you would like to learn more outside of your assigned project, you can! Don’t be afraid to ask if you can join other meetings or even ask your fellow peers what they are working on. This can give you a leg up since your work is a small piece of the bigger initiative puzzle. So, ask to understand the bigger picture of your project! This can give you a view of the cake and not just a slice.
2. Be Hungry! Okay, I mentioned cake – now what? 😊 Everyone here at Cisco wants you to have the best internship experience possible. So, give it your all while you are here. The more time and effort you spend in networking and educating yourself further – the more you will learn. Bonus, you will also show that you are taking your professional career seriously.
3. Ask Questions! When you first join Cisco, there is a lot of information that comes at you fast. It’s okay though, everyone here has been through that, so ask questions! You will have a mentor and discover that many others are there for you too. But if you don’t ask questions, you won’t learn. Asking questions also demonstrates that you are paying attention, that you care, and that you want to do well. In fact, as a general rule from my experience, it is better to have a question ready.
Many people take away different things from their internship. For me, being a part of Cisco’s culture and experiencing such a welcoming, forward-thinking and driven team made it an incredible opportunity. I am proud to have contributed to a company that has such a positive result on the world around us, and I will take that with me in my future endeavors.
Wikipedia doesn’t have it wrong, but for me – Cisco is a global technology company with heart.
Ready to shape the future of the internet? We’re hiring. Apply now.