As an Intern Experience Leader (a fancy way of saying I mentor interns at Cisco) I get asked a lot of questions.

At a recent intern event, I got asked this very specific question.

“Why Cisco? Why here over the other tech giants?”

It’s not the first time this question has come up. And my standard elaborate answer describes the diversity of products you get to work on, the competitive pay package, the amenities, volunteering opportunities, and of course, the inclusive and collaborative culture. Once I was finished, this intern nudged me with a simple follow up question, “You haven’t told me anything I haven’t heard from others already. Tell me again, why Cisco?”

That’s when I realized she wanted MY story. My personal reason for choosing Cisco.

So I started with the story of my uncle, a researcher, who had moved from India to the United States in the late 1960s. At that time, international telephone calls cost a fortune and the family came up with an innovative communication strategy. They recorded audio cassettes and sent them back and forth by snail mail.

Each tape would take a month to reach its recipient. It took about two months to hear back about the simplest of enquiries, and likely every response was outdated by the time it was heard.

When I listened to this story for the first time from my uncle himself, it left a profound impact on me. I realized how much networking has impacted people, relationships, and the world as it is today. We call, text, chat, email and videoconference with our loved ones across the globe with casual nonchalance.

To me, Cisco has not just made all this possible. It has allowed us to ‘take the network for granted’ and laid the foundation for so many newer business models to flourish. Cisco to me represents wondrous legacy, knowledge, and wisdom for those seeking it.

I started at Cisco as a software engineer fresh out of grad school and it was my first job in the corporate world. I’d moved from Chicago to the Bay Area and everything was new to me. Cisco took me in with open arms and amazed me with its amplitude of opportunities.

I volunteered to mentor interns, started an awesome jamming initiative, joined the early career network and even Cisco’s tennis team (we went on to defeat Apple, NetApp and other companies in the Bay Area!). Over time, my career goals emerged and I realized that Cisco’s leaders led by example and truly cared about their people. In an open forum discussion with now Executive Chairman John Chambers and CEO Chuck Robbins, I voiced my opinions and concerns about the business. Not only was this well received; it was also followed up with candid responses and measurable solutions.

CSG Intern Event
Some of our CSG Interns “engineering” a solution with drink cups.

Cisco supports people to follow their dreams and ambitions. Over the last 3 years, I was given the opportunity to lead several teams as the ScrumMaster and now more recently, I work as an operations manager and drive project strategy for some of our coolest engineering work.

The intern who asked me this question chose to join the Cisco family and now works here full time. I am and will always be grateful to Cisco for the opportunities it has provided me. Not only have I grown as a professional, but I’ve also grown as a person under the mentorship of its visionary leaders.

So, if you’re a passionate and driven individual interested in defining the future of the Internet, Cisco is the right place for you. You’ll have the opportunity to be responsible for nearly every phone call, text message, web click, TV and radio broadcast in the world. Now that’s something worth bragging about!


PS – We recently shot a video talking about why the team I’m a part of, is the coolest place for any entry-level engineer to consider. What do you think?

Interested in an engineering career at Cisco? Check out our open opportunities!


Shashank Gopal

Senior Product Manager

Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group (MIG)