Alumni Profiles is a series of posts featuring Haas alumni. It aims to provide the blog’s readers insight into work experiences in various industries and life after Haas.
Tyler Wishnoff graduated in May 2013. He transferred into the Haas School of Business in 2011 from Berkeley City College. He was very involved in Haas during his time on campus. He has served as the President for the Haas Business School Association, Program Director for the Haas Undergraduate Cohort Program, and Managing Editor for the Haas Undergraduate Blog. He also co-chaired both the Haas School and UC Berkeley’s Senior Gift Campaigns. Tyler has led the Haas Culture and participated in the Berkeley-Haas Path-bending Leaders video projects.
His accomplishments, leadership experience, and invaluable contributions to the prestigious business program and Cal has earned him the California Alumni Association Leadership Award (2012-2013), Haas Alumni Network – San Francisco Leadership Award (Spring 2012), Stanley J Thomson Memorial Award (2012-2013), Haas Community Fellow (2013)UC Berkeley Foundation – Young Bear Award (2013), and Haas Culture Cube Recipient. He joined Cisco post-graduation.
You have been with Cisco for a year now. What is so unique about the company?
Cisco’s long history in the tech industry and its ethics. Cisco is a fairly old company in relation to the rest of Silicon Valley. It helped lay the foundation for the internet we rely on today, it survived the dot com bust, and it has managed to transition and reinvent itself many times over when others have failed to adapt or anticipate change. There’s a certain type of wisdom the company has from having gone through so much that a lot of other places, especially in Silicon Valley, just don’t have. It allows Cisco and its employees to look inside and outside the business and tech world in a way that facilities more holistic and long-term decision making. This of course builds a strong ethical underpinning in how the company operates and how involved it is with the global community. This is important, since it’s great to be part of a company that creates amazing things used all over the world but it’s even better to be able to proudly claim you work there.
What is your job title at Cisco? What excites you most about your work?
My job title is Marketing Project Specialist, which is really just a catch-all title for new, non-specialized, and/or non-executive employees. While my primary job function deals with digital content the data analysis and theorycrafting around that data is really what I find exciting. It’s a relatively young area of the marketing industry so there’s a lot to learn and plenty of opportunities to experiment and get creative.
How was the interview process for Cisco?
The process was fairly straight forward, if not a little drawn out. It started with an on campus interview followed by three video/phone interviews and finally a series of on-site interviews. It’s great because you get to meet a lot of different people which helps you to gauge the work environment and corporate culture. Cisco is also a very large company and there are countless different job roles, they take the interview process seriously and make sure that they can find a position that is the best fit for you.
Have you found your degree to be very useful in your career so far?
At the surface level it’s extremely valuable to have a degree from a school with a great reputation when it comes to making connections and building your personal brand at the office. On a more technical level having a strong business background really helps contextualize a lot of the decisions the company makes which is absolutely essential when presenting to executives, leading teams, and navigating office politics. Getting more granular, what I learned in intro to marketing has been useful, but classes like power and politics as well as ethics have been much more important when it comes to differentiating myself in the workplace.
Do you have any advice you would give current students about life after Haas in general? Anything you wish you knew earlier when you were still a student?
Make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in. Treat everything as a learning opportunity, build experience, in work and life, and learn how to best apply it to where you want to be. Don’t think that you need a particular job or title to get somewhere, the vast majority of the time you just need the right experiences and you can find those in a lot of different and often unexpected places.
Also, really learn to leverage Haas’ unique culture. Beyond Yourself, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Question the Status Quo may seem like common sense values for success in business, and everyone does value them, but what will really set you apart is if you commit to living those principles which very few people do.
Which Haas Defining Principle do you identify most with? How did your identification with this principle(s) help you in your personal and professional development?
Students Always, hands down. I always try to approach every experience asking myself ‘what can I learn from this?’ This applies to projects and meetings as well as interacting with people. Knowledge is power and it’s something a surprising number of people actively avoid pursuing. I’ve found myself in plenty of scenarios where the work related courses I’ve completed outside of what was required and the professional tools I’ve trained myself in have made me a more valuable employee and allowed me to take advantage of opportunities others weren’t prepared for. On a more personal level the desire to never stop learning has helped me better understand the world around me, given me a better appreciation for others, and enriched my life in ways I never could have anticipated.
Class of 2014