Published: July 23, 2018 By

Cisco Interns

Cisco MBA Interns (Nicole second from right)
visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in
San Francisco, CA

In an interview with the prominent Indian publication YourStory, Cisco CMO Karen Walker said, “In work and life, learn how to delegate… And if someone offers help, sure as heck I’m going to take that help.”

The themes of Walker’s quote — leadership and collaboration — align with the behaviors and skills that are encouraged and learned during Cisco’s MBA Marketing Management Internship. As an MBA student focused in marketing and finance, I’ve enjoyed practicing these skills this summer, along with skills learned in the Leeds School of Business MBA classroom, including: strategic thinking, product branding, competitive positioning, market research, and market analysis.

Internship Project Structure

Cisco’s MBA Marketing internships are focused around several projects that are completed during the summer, culminating in a final read-out presentation for managers, directors, and VP’s. Marketing Interns complete 6 weeks in RTP, NC, spend a week in San Jose, CA, then finish the final 5 weeks back in RTP.

Throughout the course of the summer, I have created and presented a competitive analysis to determine how Cisco can stay relevant and competitive in its positioning towards consumers — from large enterprises to small businesses.

Cisco Interns at HQ

Cisco Marketing Interns enjoying the summer at HQ

My internship is specific to data center product and solution marketing, and I have studied market research reports to determine how Cisco customers view the company and its solutions. Many Cisco customers and potential customers see Cisco as expensive and complex. I am tasked with reducing the “noise” on the Cisco external Data Center webpage and help reconstruct the site in order to streamline and simplify the message.

Another project revolves around providing a strategy for the sales team to better utilize the materials that the data center marketing team produces. At a large business-to-business corporation like Cisco, the sales team is the direct user of much of the marketing collateral, since they make the ultimate decision about what materials to show potential clients.


Cisco promotes employee satisfaction and superior work-life balance. In addition to being an education trip and opportunity to meet with managers, the San Jose trip at the halfway point of the internship was filled with recreational activities like baseball games, dinners, and a tour of downtown San Francisco. Throughout the summer, I attended company-funded Durham Bulls games, an escape room, and volunteered at events. In RTP, the campus houses a gym, doctor’s/wellness office (with massages!), three gourmet cafeterias, and miles of running and mountain bike trails in the surrounding area. Health insurance is included during the internship, and it’s impossible to go hungry: the marketing floor hosts catered breakfast, lunch, or snack breaks at least twice per week. Needless to say, the benefits and perks of employee life at Cisco were very welcomed after a year of grad school dues and very little compensation in the form of outside employment!

Nicole volunteering at a food bank

Cisco volunteering at a food bank in North Carolina (Nicole pictured at bottom left)

Office culture is very collaborative, with open-floor seating that allows conversation to flow, and designated quiet and audio privacy rooms for concentration and private phone calls. I am currently interning with four other MBA interns who are working on different projects, and the office environment has allowed us to turn towards each other with questions and recommendations concerning our projects. Working closely with other interns has also provided the opportunity to compare core curriculum classes and create connections that will last throughout the next school year and beyond.