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Year 13 student talks about experience on Cisco's 'Pathway to your Future Work' placement.

Current Year 13 student Emma M had the opportunity to take part in the Cisco pathway to Future Work. We spoke to her about her experience with the company over the February academic break:

During the four days at Cisco, we spent two days with our specific placement (mine was with Marketing, however, there were also Virtual Sales, Accounting and other specific IT opportunities) and two days with the rest of the group doing teamwork style games.  

On Monday, we did an IT project, where our group of 5 girls had to create an intruder preventing device that would alert the user on their phone. This day was very fun and engaging as there were many roles in our group suited to the different interests and skills of the members (some were programming the raspberry pi, some were creating advertising websites, coming up with logos etc.) 

On Thursday, we played a business game throughout the day which challenged our budgeting, marketing, leadership and time management skills. Each member was designated a role and had to work around the challenges around that area. We were instructed to create a prototype of a paper item, market it to the buyers and then make and sell the most products to make the greatest profit by the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed this day as our team was very efficient and achieved third place out of the ten groups. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were my favourite days due to their specificity in what I want to do as a future career. Me and 5 other girls had a packed schedule and got to listen to talks from global and senior members of Cisco, either through a video call abroad or in the offices. I learnt about the different types of marketing, the challenges each member of staff comes across and how they combat these issues. It was very fascinating and has helped me to build up a network of connections with different staff.  

On the placement, I learnt lots about how Cisco brand themself to their audience, how business to business marketing differs to business to consumer and how social media and an online presence can be used to guarantee a sale. I have really practised the skills of communication and leadership throughout the group challenges and learnt to be much more confident around employers. 

This work experience has really focused my attention on a different aspect of Marketing that I didn’t know much about. This has greatly influenced my university decision as I am now leaning towards a more creative, psychology based degree course in Marketing, rather than a data driven one. 

The work experience surprised me in many ways by how welcoming and modern Cisco is as a company. It is a great experience for those interested in IT or Business and opens up many more opportunities, such as the Degree Apprenticeship. It also broke the barrier of IT being just for males and made it a far more approachable.

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