UMES upperclassman Daevon Greene nailed down his 2018 summer job plans on Halloween, thanks to a fledgling partnership between the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Cisco Systems Inc., a computer networking conglomerate.
Greene landed a nine-week sales internship with the California-based technology giant after winning a competition during the fall semester with five other UMES students seeking the coveted offer.
“This is my dream job,” said the computer science major whose focus is on business practices.
Greene, who is on schedule to graduate in December 2018. is UMES' third undergraduate to be offered a Cisco summer internship, part of the company's strategy to identify potential employees early on, and the university's commitment to forging job networking opportunities with high-profile companies.
In Fortune magazine's Top 500 companies list, Cisco ranked 60th in 2017 and also was listed as the nation's 67th best place to work. Greene said he was told he'll be one of 20 college students from across the country participating in the summer internship program.
Cisco was a brand familiar to Greene as a student at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md., where as a sophomore he qualified to take an honors class utilizing a curriculum the company created.
“That made me realize I didn't want to be on the technology side but the sales said,” said Greene, who is from Clinton, Md.
Which made for interesting discussions around the dinner table at home. Greene's father works as a computer information systems technician.
After enrolling at UMES, Greene found part-time work during summer and holiday breaks selling men's and women's shoes at a Nordstrom. It was at the luxury department store that he discovered a knack for salesmanship and enjoyed engaging customers.
“I'm a people person,” he said. “I like the feeling I get when I take care of customers, and seeing that they are happy with the purchases they made.”
During his 2018 summer internship, Greene will shadow a Cisco sales representative to learn how the company markets its vast array of products and services. He'll be based at the San Jose headquarters of the company, which also arranged for his housing and transportation as perks.
“It's going to be an interesting experience, but I think I'm up for it,” Greene said. “I'll definitely be getting out of my comfort zone.”
UMES' Career and Professional Development Center and its Department of Business, Management and Accounting work together to make the connection with Cisco personnel leaders who constantly are looking to keep the pipeline of new employees flowing. The company employs more than 73,000 people.
"This was a dynamic sales competition that challenged top university students to engage in a mock sales conversation with a potential customer,” said Dr. Theresa Queenan, director of UMES' Career and Professional Development Center. “The process tested each student's ability to ask effective questions, build rapport with the client and identify the customers' business initiatives.”
Greene, a dean's list student, credits Dr. Bryant Mitchell, a UMES business professor, with helping him be prepared for the competition, which required two rounds of interviews that included a mock sales presentation.
“Without him,” Greene said. “I wouldn't have won the competition. He took the extra time to make sure all the competitors were prepared.”
The topic UMES students were given was developing a plan for selling computer software to a school district with outdated technology and “convincing them to go digital using Cisco products,” Greene said.
He estimates he spent six weeks doing research to prepare for the competition. He also sought advice from Waunye Seawell, UMES' previous Cisco summer intern.
“Being confident takes you a long way,” Greene said. “My Nordstrom experience helped me a lot.”
What makes a good salesman?
“I'm always smiling,” he said.
Winning the competition, Greene said, “means a lot to me. I've never won anything before.”
“It shows anything is possible,” he said.