As the summer of 2015 comes to an end, I began to reflect upon all that I have done. Not only was I able to intern for one of the top Fortune 500 technology companies, but I was also able to meet the company CEOs during a time where one was retiring and the other was transitioning in. Where was I exactly? At the global headquarters of Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA!
While transitioning from my first full year at the Rady School in San Diego to the Silicon Valley lifestyle was very nerve-racking at first, I was able to bring a lot of my Rady School experiences with me on this adventure.
Officially, I was a Data Analyst Intern in the Data Architecture & Visualization group of the Experience Intelligence & Insights team, under the Corporate Partner Assurance division of Cisco Services. Fancy title aside, the majority of my time there was spent answering two questions: “How can we make the customer experience better?” and “Given the data we have, how can we visualize it in a way that actions can be derived from it?” Within these umbrella topics, my focuses were primarily looking at products that require software licensing and helping my team better understand what the customers’ experiences were based upon data from the self-service portal, customer support, and feedback provided to us.
Outside of this primary project, I was also able to collaborate with a division of Cisco’s marketing team, specifically the Global Marketing Go-to-Market Strategy team that focuses on Cisco’s service provider customers. For this team, my focus was to help visualize the marketing data they collect from various sources to better understand how effective various marketing campaigns are. I was able to work with the team to see where our data insufficiencies were and helped lay the foundation for a visual dashboard that would provide actionable insights to many different stakeholders.
The Cisco Experience
In a nutshell, the Cisco experience is something I was extremely impressed with. Not only was I greeted with open arms from my team, but everyone I connected with (both within and outside of the scope of my project) genuinely cared about my success and did everything in their power to ensure I was provided everything I needed to make the most out of my time there. Not once did I get the impression that I was just an intern. I couldn’t have asked for a better work environment that fit my workstyle and provided me skills that I will use in the future.
A Touch of Rady…
If it wasn’t for my first year at the Rady School, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was introduced to my manager last winter by a good friend and recent alumnus of Rady at a time when my manager needed an intern and I needed an internship. Combine that with the recommendation that the Rady School’s Careers department gave me – that’s how I got the interview.
I also had a chance to connect with Rady School colleagues at Cisco. Within the first week of starting, another alumnus that currently works at Cisco reached out and took me out to lunch. Additionally, the other intern in my group is from my full-time cohort at the Rady School! The comradery that binds the Rady family is extremely strong and that was very apparent all throughout my summer.
Beyond the connections, a lot of what I learned at Rady also reappeared in my day-to-day activities. Since a majority of my internship focused on big data analytics and business intelligence, there was a heavy amount of quantitative analysis involved that I was thankfully prepared for because of the class I had with Professor Terry August my first quarter here. Additionally, a lot of my marketing-related work was prefaced in Professor Ken Wilbur’s marketing class and every so often there was operations terminology thrown around that I understood because it was covered in Professor Hyoduk Shin’s class.
All in all, this summer is one that I will never forget. Whether it be the connections I made within the organization, the friends I made with fellow interns, or the fact that I got to shake hands with our current and former CEOs, these memories transcend my personal investments in them as they are a reflection of the community that stands behind me. A community built upon the support of my family, friends, and the Rady School of Management.
Gary Sahota (MBA ’16) is a full-time MBA candidate at the Rady School of Management. He is currently interning as a Data Analyst Intern on the Experience Intelligence and Insights team at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA.