Nicki Vereschagin just finished her second summer internship at Cisco on the Cloud Partner Marketing team. Before heading back to USC she wanted to leave some advice behind. What follows are tips on how others can learn to think on a global scale.
As an intern on the Cisco Cloud Marketing team for two summers (studying abroad in between) I’ve learned that in today’s technology world, you need to see things from a global perspective, and not just the way things work in your own backyard. Here are three things I learned from Cisco – and my travels – about how to do that.
- The best approach to learning is by doing. A first-hand experience with international business is the best way to understand how to think globally. My internship introduced me to some of Cisco’s global partners, and afterwards, I was able to put my knowledge into a practical environment through a six-month study-abroad program in Europe. It was the pairing of my exposure through this internship with Cisco and my direct contact with global business abroad that kick-started my own learning.
- Knowing your customer is invaluable. No two customers are the same. Businesses and their customers vary greatly in what they think of as a “good outcome.” By working with international partners, I’ve clearly seen their need for tailored messages that appeal to segmented customers. What resonates with, say, the French is likely different than the greater European market.
- Cultural-specific Communication is key. I realized that knowing whether the appropriate greeting for different business settings is a slight bow, handshake, or kiss on the cheek (and how many kisses!) is really important. I’ve observed a broad diversity of cross-cultural interactions, and these variations in were apparent through my social media projects and interactions with Cisco teams on global initiatives. It’s crucial to gain an understanding of the culture and business context and then build that perspective into whatever you’re delivering.
My internship at Cisco along with my time abroad has provided me immensely valuable opportunities to build my knowledge and passion for global business, and I am eager to carry these learnings with me into my last year at USC and my future career. Hopefully, they’ll resonate with you as well.