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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Abhinav Kumar

Abhinav Kumar

An intern’s experience at Cisco Systems

What projects did you work on?

During my time as a Cisco legal and compliance intern, I worked on many different projects. The two major projects were related to analysis for the investigations team under legal and compliance, and the other project was to create an employee scorecard. The scorecard provides insights towards an employee’s ethical level. The information for the scorecard is gathered from financial, ethics, risk, remediation, investigation, gift, travel, and entertainment data.

How did the work connect back to your courses?

The tasks at my internship include working on Analysis, Tableau, SQL, and requirement gathering, which connected back to the courses I pursued in my MS program such as Database Management Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, and Big Data Systems. These courses helped me with the analytics of the compliance team; however, Ethics and Public Policy helped me in understanding the legal and ethics-related issues in any organization. The extensive course work assisted me during the interview process as well.

What did you learn about how a large organization manages ethics?

When I was part of different large organizations prior to Cisco, I always used to wonder what and how much compliance and policies can help an organization grow. By being part of this function, I have realized that success lies in being proactive, by understanding your customer as well as employees and making sure that the corrective measures are taken to train the employees depending on their geographical location. Managing compliance is a challenging task because you have to understand and update the policies by country and make sure to take extra precautionary measures in identified high-risk countries.

What surprised you about the work experience?

My expectation before joining was that I would be doing the repetitive work such as updating the policies, creating documentations, and training employees.  But honestly, compliance is far more than what we think it is. I have to be creative every single day of my job to bring more value to the company such as by doing some analytics, giving ideas on how to provide the training and whom to provide it with. Another surprising element was if your creative idea is valuable enough, be prepared to see that getting implemented right in front of you, which motivates you to bring more meaning to the job.

Highlight from the internship?

The culture and flexibility at Cisco along with the faith my manager put in me to get the job done. My manager made me the lead for a project right after three weeks of my internship. She provided me with all the resources I required to understand and execute the project in a timely manner.

Biggest lesson learned?

The biggest lesson I learned was to take advantage of the resources and facilities provided to you by Santa Clara University. When I applied for this internship, I had the theoretical knowledge of compliance, but the Markkula Center and Cisco put faith in my skills and helped boost my career. It’s never too late to act upon especially if you have confidence in yourself. Taking advantage of this internship, I met with new people, learned from their experience, and convinced myself to work for the same company in future as well.

What's next for you?

This internship helped me realize that Cisco is the type of company I could see myself at long-term. I’m excited to announce that I will be starting full time as a data analyst at Cisco after graduation in June.

Jun 1, 2017