Scoring that first job — at Cisco

Belonging & Inclusion Career Center Economics
January 13, 2021

Through hard work, networking, and working to gain the right skills, economics major Miles Davis ‘20 landed a great job with Cisco Systems at their San Jose headquarters. He shares insights into his success in the following Q & A.

It’s not always a straight course to your first job, how did you find your position?

I was fortunate enough to land an internship at Cisco Systems in San Jose the summer following my junior year at Denison. I knew a current employee and they assisted my application and interview process. That summer I worked cross-functionally within the Partner Sales Organization on five different projects. I was able to get my feet wet and learn about the business. The work I did opened up opportunities for me later on at Cisco as a full-time employee.

Did you have help from the Knowlton Center or other Denison connections?

I had lots of help from the Knowlton Center! During my sophomore and junior year I made several trips to the office and received lots of helpful feedback on resumé building, as well as how to prep for, (and eventually nail!) an interview. The staff there was very welcoming and we developed a great working relationship during my time at Denison.

The Knowlton Center was a highly valuable resource for me and I would strongly recommend all students make time for at least one visit a semester after your first year. Even if you aren’t sure what career you would like to pursue, there are plenty of career-building skills they can help you develop.

Tell us about a favorite class or professor.

I had several awesome classes at Denison, most of which were in the econ department. Professors Burczak, Kaboub, Duroy, and Boyd all taught super interesting courses, making what can at times be a theory-heavy topic like economics relevant and interesting.

One of my favorite courses though came from the global commerce department. Professor Mariana Saavedra Espinosa taught a course my junior year called Perspectives on Business Responsibility. She complicated my understanding of responsibility, forcing me to see new perspectives and eventually changing how I viewed not just business and ethics, but the world more broadly.

She emphasized how the context of an event is inseparable from the outcome, without understanding all the circumstances and how each involved party affects the situation and how they are affected by it, one cannot truly see the full picture. That lesson has guided me through several situations since and has definitely informed how I make decisions today.

Do you think being a liberal arts student gave you an edge in your search?

“Each course at Denison, whether it was in economics, computer science, or dance, taught me to see similar situations from different perspectives.”

Each course at Denison, whether it was in economics, computer science, or dance, taught me to see similar situations from different perspectives. I learned how different disciplines are related, and how to look for the connections between disparate ideas.

This played a huge part in my job search. As I mentioned before I interned at Cisco in the Partner Sales organization, but today I’m a data analyst in Supply Chain. A big part of what brought me here was the fact that I could see how my passions (solving problems, global (macro) economics, and analysis) could be more fully realized in a different position within the company. I could see the links between disparate places and make the connections. I definitely believe this gave me an edge in my job search.

Can you tell us about your internships?

Prior to my internship at Cisco, I worked at a small tech consultancy in Rochester, New York aptly named e-Logic. I learned a lot of foundational skills there, like how to manipulate and visualize data in programs like Microsoft Power BI, and improved my skills in Excel and Word. And they gave me the opportunity to do market research and I was able to publish a company white pages report on the future of IoT and manufacturing.

I’ve been able to take all those skills and apply them each day to my current role. Those experiences showed me that there were lots of opportunities available if I kept working hard. I’m very thankful to them for giving me the chance to succeed. I don’t know if I would be here today without them taking a chance on me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

As cliché as it sounds, I just want to tell all the current Denison students to enjoy their time on the Hill as much as possible. Life is full of moments, but if you aren’t present to enjoy them, they will pass you right by.

I loved my time in Granville and I am incredibly thankful to all the people who made the experience so wonderful. So yeah, stop and smell the flowers and you pass by Swasey, enjoy after-practice dinners at Huffman, be nice to the employees at Slayter and try not to skip too many of your 8 AMs — campus is beautiful in the morning.

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