This post was authored by Cisco Employee/Employer Brand Intern, Matthew Mckelvy, from Boston College.

Matthew walks away from the camera with a Cisco branded backpack

2020 may not be the year many of us had planned, but there are still bright spots to be found. Cisco has impressed me in how they’ve shown up and responded – and that started with the very existence of this summer’s internship program. 

Back in December I applied for Cisco’s Human Resources University Program (HRUP) internship, which would provide a 27-month rotational opportunity between three HR disciplines. At the time, I was operating under the assumption that I would also be taking on the daily commute to Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose.  

I received my offer, and soon thereafter – the world changed. With much of our globe frozen, and many industries deeply affected. Internships were up-in-the-air for many college students.  

Cisco stayed in close contact with me, assuring me that their intentions were to continue with internships, to which I am incredibly thankful. In the following weeks, I received phone call from my manager, letting me know he and the team were excited for my virtual arrival and I was subsequently sent a new computer in the mail. 

I officially began working with the HRUP intern cohort in early May. The virtual onboarding process, while different, was incredibly smooth and while I wish I could be in the office, I find respite in the fact that Cisco finds ways to keep us all connected. My coworkers are advocates and friends that truly inspire me to do my best work. My intern cohort has evolved into a tight-knit community where open dialogue is both welcomed and encouraged. And the onboarding team was very helpful in making us feel connected during a time where we all found ourselves geographically separated. 

Matthew and his French Bulldog, Winston, sitting at his desk at home with his laptop open and signing a thumbs up.

Whether we are talking about team building projects that require virtual collaboration or trivia nights to wind down at the end of the week, it is obvious that the onboarding team worked hard to establish a sense of community through a virtual medium – and that they continue to keep this momentum going throughout our internship experience. 

I’m excited to have joined Cisco’s Talent Brand team and a couple of the projects I am currently working on include the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork campaign and an analysis of media metrics on a variety of social channels. I will also be co-hosting the We Are Cisco podcast for National Intern Day in July which I’m really looking forward to.

I’m still new to Cisco and still learning, but for those who might pursue a Cisco internship – whether in office (when we can safely return) or remote (Cisco IS the tech behind working from anywhere in the world! Thanks, Webex) – here are some tips to enhance your experience:

Matthew shares a bit of his personality by working in a chair outside next to a putting green.

1) Ask questions and ask for help when needed. You will quickly learn that at Cisco, there are no stupid questions. Your managers want you to succeed, and they are always happy to answer the questions you need answered to get there. 

2) Network, network, network. I can’t emphasize this enough. People are happy to talk to interns, so don’t be shy. Schedule a 1:1 with employees you want to learn more about. Although, maybe hold off on trying to get on Chuck’s calendar during your first week. ? 

3) Be yourself. We all fall victim to imposter syndrome, but you’ll learn soon enough that Cisco has a place for you no matter who you are.

I’m proud to work for a company that consistently does the right thing. Whether that is in continuing with their internship programs during a difficult time around the globe, or in standing for the rights of all individuals and leading their workforce in weekly check-ins. These powerful check-ins help to calm our nerves in unprecedented times, have difficult conversations around social justice, and have experts come to share their stories and knowledge with us. I have been impressed with the professionalism and commitment our Executive Leadership has shown, and I can’t wait to see what’s next during my time as a Cisco intern.


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