The Cisco Experience: A Student’s Perspective

The all-too familiar feeling of change is in the air as the last week of Cisco’s Canadian Intern experience comes to a close. I’ve only begun to notice how often change presents itself since starting University last September, and although new experiences are pleasant, there are changes not so readily welcomed – such as returning my badge and 30-pound laptop in exchange for a student ID card and a stack of textbooks.

Keeping with the theme of change, I’ve made a list of three key takeaways which will change the way I work, live and play – all of which I learned from working at Cisco this summer. 

  1. Asking the right questions will expose you to information beyond what you were originally seeking.

 Asking questions is a great way to express interest in a subject, which communicates to your mentors that you care about improving yourself. At first I would ask very basic questions and, as one would expect, I received basic answers. However, I became very engaged after getting my bearings and I was suddenly hungry to learn as much as possible. My questions gained much more depth as the summer progressed, which was reflected by the additional depth in the answers I received.

I consistently got more valuable information from my mentors simply by asking better questions. Not only did their answers help me with day-to-day activities, they also taught me many important skills which I would never have been exposed to in a classroom.

  1. The first step is the most important one.

 Your starting point doesn’t matter nearly as much as your initial velocity. As an Engineering student, I entered this internship with no prior knowledge of sales or how a corporate giant such as Cisco operates. My starting point was behind that of my colleagues who study Commerce given the fact that first-year introductory economics was the extent of my business knowledge.

On my first day at Cisco I was armed with nothing but a handful of business terms from first-year economics and, as previously mentioned, a very heavy laptop. I knew I was at a disadvantage, so I made sure to push myself to learn as much as I could about how the business world works. Although I still have a long journey ahead, I tried my absolute hardest to learn as much as possible and I couldn’t be happier with my progress.

  1. Enjoy yourself.

 I implement this idea every day; my fellow members of the Cisco family make it very easy to enjoy coming to work five days a week. I am beyond grateful to have been part of Cisco’s intern program and to have met so many fantastic hard-working individuals.

I have exchanged stories with friends from school about each of our summer work experiences, and I am proud to say that Cisco has provided me a top-of-the-line experience overall. This is especially true from a balance perspective – naturally, work piles up no matter where you work or what your role is. Cisco differentiates itself by providing a balanced environment where everyone works hard and everyone plays hard.

I plan to carry on these three principles with me back to school and on to my future ventures. Thank you Cisco, it’s been a fantastic summer. I hope to be back in May – for now, it’s time to hit the books.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.09.33 AMMatt Schembri is currently a sophomore Engineering Physics student at McMaster University. His role at Cisco over the summer has been focused on Data Center and Collaboration architectures, as well as sales-related skills such as account research and pitching solutions. Matt attests that he had a challenging yet rewarding experience being part of the Cisco family for his 2015 Summer term.

About Cisco Canada Guest

Cisco Canada's guest blog series has been designed to provide insights and perspectives from our partners and customers on transformative technologies and practices that impact their organizations. With each new post we encourage our community to engage in conversation and discussion in the comments section below and share on their social networks. Opinions expressed here, and in any corresponding comments, are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of Cisco. La série des blogues des invités de Cisco Canada a été conçue pour faire connaître les connaissances et les points de vue de nos partenaires et clients à propos des technologies et des méthodes transformatrices qui font avancer leur entreprise. À chaque édition, nous invitons notre communauté à amorcer le dialogue et la discussion dans la section des commentaires au bas de la page du blogue et de partager l'information sur leurs réseaux sociaux. Les opinions qui y sont exprimées de même que les commentaires associés sont les opinions personnelles des auteurs d'origine et non celles de Cisco.
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