1) Why did you join Cisco's graduate program?
I wanted to be part of a company that made the internet the way it is today. I wanted to be at the forefront of technology, and be a part of a company that changed businesses, education, health, agriculture, entertainment and so much more. I saw that Cisco was a leading company in innovation and leveraging data for the future of the internet. I saw that Cisco is a company formed by great minds that solve complex problems and this ultimately motivated me to join the program.
Having known several university peers who have joined Cisco as an intern, graduate or permanent employee, it was evident to me that Cisco is a great place to work. Prior to joining Cisco, I saw the company as one that promotes innovation, collaboration, health and well-being, flexible working opportunities and fun. It is all that but more.
2) What are the best opportunities you have had whilst at Cisco?
Within the first year of joining Cisco, I've presented in several technical services briefing to customers, I've presented to several teams in large meetings, I've attained my ITIL Foundation certification, attended a full day workshop on influencing and negotiation, attended a full day workshop of presentation skills, attended a sales offsite event, joined an internal team in Cisco called pulse, gave back to the community by participating in a charitable organization for one-day and attended several high schools across NSW as a guest speaker. In March, I will also be travelling interstate to our annual Cisco event, Cisco Live.
At Cisco, we have a culture that promotes inclusion and diversity. We also promote senior leadership transparency – which is one of the many reasons why I love Cisco! In the first few months, our graduate team joined the Vice President of CISCO Technical Services for morning tea. There are also monthly sessions where you can tune into our Cisco 'TV' and watch live a discussion with our CEO.
I also had the chance to rotate into an area of my choice, to develop myself and my role. I joined the Project Management Office team where I project managed a small project for 3 weeks. I was also fortunate enough to have joined the team at a time where the Project Management templates were being revised. This allowed me to use my knowledge in project management which I attained from university, and apply it to a real life situation, not a simulation.
I'd say the most meaningful opportunity at Cisco has been engaging directly with teams and our customers to advise and consult on our technical services. As an advisor, you are a subject matter expert in the area and it is fulfilling knowing your consultative engagement is a factor of success.
3) What are the highlights of your time at Cisco so far?
While there are many memorable moments it is difficult to choose one!
One that really stands out to me is my first meeting with someone from the sales team – this was a huge step for me. As it has been a steep learning curve, my first engagement as an advisor with a sales person was the next step in my role. Currently, I'm working with a team to organize an Australia wide roadshow for our Cisco partners. This is also a highlight for me as it has taken some time to plan and prepare for this event.
Apart from my everyday role as an advisor, I joined an internal team called Pulse. Since joining, I've been a part of the team that; organized some of our largest technical services events including our Cisco Star Wars premier event (we booked a full cinema room for Cisco technical services staff and their families). I have also joined a Sudoku competition competing with virtual team across Asia Pacific, Japan and China - we linked some telepresence systems together and shared some good laughs!
4) Describe a typical day at the office
In a typical day, I view our targets across each of our technical services offers. I focus on 2 things – identifying which service contracts are new opportunities and which service contracts can be renewed for which customer and when. I then engage with the sales teams on these contracts and identify accounts which have potential upsell and cross sell opportunities. Where there is an opportunity, I consult with the sales team on offers they could discuss with their customer while explaining the value for that customer.
5) How did the graduate program prepare you for the next stage in your career?
The graduate program was a stepping stone for me and widened my understanding in our business areas and technical services offers. As a graduate, it was very flexible for me to rotate in a team and learn. I've learned more about Cisco and what I need to do for my stage in my career as an advisor.
6) Why should today's graduates join the program?
The program is flexible and you can rotate into a team to learn more about the company any your role. Rotating means that you accelerate your understanding in business areas and which areas you are more interested to explore in. You are supported by a backbone of supportive teams, managers and colleagues who are always willing to assist. You are also provided many training opportunities and opportunities to attain certifications.
The graduate program at Cisco is not about doing coffee runs or doing administrative tasks. You are treated as a Cisco employee with real responsibilities and real tasks that anyone else would be doing in your team.
7) What can graduates expect from the recruitment process?
The first step of the recruitment process involved the resume screening. If successful, you will be contacted by our university hiring manager for a phone interview. The phone interview for me, was a teleconferencing interview between my first mentor and a manager in our Asia Pacific team. After approximately 2 weeks, you will then be contacted on whether you have been successful. When you are contacted you are also provided feedback on what areas you could improve on in an interview. If successful, you will then be invited to a telepresence meeting, where you enter a video conferencing room and you are interviewed 1-1 with your team manager.