When looking for roles after university, I didn’t give much importance to working culture. Although at that time, I felt pressured to cast a wide net when applying for graduate jobs, which meant that my standards weren’t as high as they should have been. Having never truly loved somewhere I worked before, I didn’t know how important it was!

My expectations for work were matched to the experiences of offices where I’d worked before and to what my friends had told me about their graduate roles. These places were admin-heavy and task-orientated. They were environments with regimented processes, where little consideration was given to create a working community to be proud of or opportunities to get involved beyond the job descriptions. Friends had said that the shine, appeal and excitement of many well-regarded, competitive “Graduate Schemes” just weren’t all they were cracked up to be once they were through the door.

It was worrying and sad to think of what could possibly lay ahead of me. My university experience had been the opposite of this. Like many others my age, my time at university was exciting, filled with freedom of choice, largely international and extremely enriched with extra-curricular activities – it was difficult to imagine that any job could ever match that!

Until I started at Cisco…

The Cisco culture was evident from the very beginning. On my first morning, I met two people who had both cleared their days to welcome me and make sure I had a comfortable induction. We’ve all been in that awkward situation, when you start a new job on a Monday morning and nobody’s ready for you or maybe even your manager didn’t know you were coming, but that first day at Cisco couldn’t have been more different! My badge and credentials were sorted, my shiny new MacBook was ready and waiting and a full schedule of training and resources was provided to me. It sounds simple, but so many places overlook the importance of that first day experience. Cisco know how to make your entrance.

Really, what had most appealed to me about Cisco when I was applying, was its claim to be a giant global enterprise. Yet, so had many other graduate employers. While hundreds of companies boast and sell themselves to potential talent as global organisations and worldwide players, it’s rare you actually feel this international presence and inclusion once you start.

I began at Cisco in February as part of the “Cisco Sales Associate Program” or CSAP.  Despite being based in the small office in Manchester, I immediately felt as if I was part of something bigger. I was joining eleven other individuals across the EMEAR region beginning the bespoke program. That first morning we all joined a video conference. I couldn’t believe my team was so spread out! London, Lisbon, Riyadh, Brussels, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Madrid, Prague, Frankfurt and me… in my local city Manchester.

But the international element didn’t end there…

We often regard travelling abroad with work as glamorous and exclusive. It is generally something only senior management have the luxury of doing, it comes after years of experience, not weeks…right? Well not at Cisco! After only 8 weeks in the CSAP, my team and I found ourselves travelling to Amsterdam for a week of world-class training with industry leaders!

Taking part in this international trip so early on was as if Cisco gave us an equal seat at the table, showing us how we were valued. It was such good fun to meet my group after spending time training with them virtually. Our managers organised a fantastic week – a private river cruise around the city and lovely restaurants. Plus, we the chance to network with CSAP colleagues based in the Amsterdam offices. If I’m honest, we laughed more than we learnt – and that is seriously saying something.

The best thing is that there’s even more to come.

Our next few months will see us gain exposure in our fields of expertise as well as an even bigger adventure to the Cisco campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we’ll meet and train with even more CSAP peers from all over the world.

Cisco has shown me a new world of work that I couldn’t have dreamed of.

After you graduate, you might think that all fun has passed and it’s going be a tough gig to fit into a working world after so much choice and freedom of studying how and when you want. Or, maybe you took a gap year and you just do not know how you’re going to cope being confined to one desk in one office for the next few years.

But I can promise you, that it doesn’t have to be like that. And at Cisco, it’s not.

If you’ve never loved where you’ve worked, you likely don’t believe it’s possible – but it is at Cisco.


Want to join us? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Milly Bradley

Cisco Spaces Specialist

Cisco Spaces