Computer Technology Major Lands a Job at CISCO
This July, soon-to-be NJIT graduate Michael Bouzaglo will be happily settled in Raleigh, N.C., as an associate systems engineer (SE) for CISCO, a leader in the information technology (IT) and networking industry. He will receive training through the CISCO Sales Associate Program (CSAP) for his new role — a hard-earned dream position for the computer technology major, who calls himself “a geek at heart.”
“You don’t see CISCO products in your average Best Buy or Radio Shack or what have you…all of their products are sold from person to person [by CISCO representatives],” explained Bouzaglo. “That was part of what excited me about the job of an SE [at CISCO], that I’m the face of an entire company, not just any company, this huge company.”
Like many NJIT students, Bouzaglo segued to a full-time staff position at a business after interning there. In his case, he spent the summer of 2017 at CISCO’s 1 Penn Plaza location in Manhattan working as a technical sales engineer — this after spotting CISCO at a Career Development Services career fair, speaking with the recruiters and then being referred to an assistant engineer at the company to learn about an SE job.
His internship began at CISCO’s headquarters in San Jose, Ca., where Bouzaglo joined upward of 700 other summer interns from throughout the country to learn about the company and its campus of nearly 40 buildings. He was in the 12-week Early in University (EIU) program, designed for students interested in gaining technical and/or sales experience. He says the main goal of his internship was for him to shadow field teams and learn from other SEs.
“My manager was a fantastic gentleman. He really believed in me and he told me from the get-go, ‘I see what you’re about. I want you to figure out what you need to do.’ And so I did,” said Bouzaglo, recalling how almost every day he was with a different team attending meetings at different companies. “I was soaking up as much information as I could.”
His turn toward becoming a permanent employee started with an extensive, five-part interview for CSAP that took place during his internship. CSAP is a one-year curriculum that melds classes with hands-on experience and self-paced training to launch participants’ sales or engineering careers at CISCO. With thousands of applications and a limited number of spots, the competition is stiff, but Bouzaglo was accepted. He received word this past October from the CSAP coordinator, who also oversaw the EIU program.
“She absolutely flipped me on my head and surprised me when she said, ‘We’d like to extend an offer to you in the CSAP program,’” he remembered. “I started jumping up and down and calling everybody I knew. The first person I called was my mom. The second person was my sister, the person I really dedicate a lot of this to.”
Army to Academia
His sister, in fact, convinced him to go to college after he served three years in the Israel Defense Forces’ 94th Brigade. “After I finished high school, that was my dream to go over there. There’s a big chunk, around 80 percent, of my family that still lives in Israel,” he said. “I felt that I needed to go protect [them].”
Bouzaglo’s parents emigrated from Israel to the U.S. in the mid-’80s, ultimately settling their growing family in Ventnor, N.J., near Atlantic City (Bouzaglo also has a younger brother). His father had a side home-based business refurbishing electronics, “so I was exposed to soldering, circuit boards, repairing all that kind of stuff… It just kind of stuck with me all through my childhood.” At 14, he pieced together his first computer and came to realize his passion for technology.
As an NJIT student, Bouzaglo has honed his skill set in computers and IT, not only through his computer technology studies but a variety of projects and activities as well. He worked for the university’s telecommunications department, helping to swap out the old analog desk phones used by staff and faculty with CISCO’s full-feature business phones. He also served as a project assistant for New Jersey Innovation Institute (a wholly owned subsidiary of NJIT), facilitating its HealthCare Delivery Systems iLab in integrating patient-portal information for area medical practices. Additionally, with David Lubliner, senior university lecturer and coordinator of NJIT’s computer technology program, he conducted research in geriatric engineering, which examines how technology such as smartphones can help seniors stay healthy and self-sufficient.
“We did a lot of exciting research,” he remarked. “That was really the first thing that blew me away about NJIT is that I could really dig my hands into this kind of research as an undergrad student.”
Now that he is preparing to graduate from NJIT and officially begin his professional life, what are his long-term career aspirations? “I was asked this once actually during a mentoring workshop at CISCO and I jokingly said, ‘CEO of CISCO.’ And the guy kind of looked at me like I was crazy and I said, ‘No, it’s just a joke, and he said, ‘Why is it a joke…why not?’ And I got to thinking about it further…it got me thinking why not shoot for the stars?”