Gabby Khoury is a May 2017 graduate of Appalachian’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing – Sales degree. She recently accepted an associate sales representative position with Cisco Systems Inc. She describes how her education at Appalachian has prepared her for the challenges of this new role.
What is your job title with Cisco, and what will you do in this position?
My official job title will be an associate sales representative in Cisco’s CSAP (Cisco Sales Associate Program). For the first four months of the program, I will learn about the latest technology advancements and the most effective ways to sell them to customers.
Over the following eight months, I will move into a quota-carrying sales role in the Global Virtual Sales organization, where I will receive direct mentoring from Cisco sales professionals.
Upon graduation, from the Cisco Sales Associate Program, I’ll be promoted into a virtual sales account manager role, where I will work within the Global Virtual Sales organization to ultimately accelerate my career to a field account manager and beyond.
What do you anticipate you will love best about the work you will do with Cisco? What do you find most exciting about this position and your role?
Many companies pride themselves on amazing culture within their organizations, and Cisco is one of the best. Cisco’s most popular saying — “love where you work” — is all over their website, social media and beyond. From the start of my application process, I could tell that people who work for Cisco genuinely love their company, their coworkers and their work within Cisco. I anticipate loving most the open-minded, people-oriented culture Cisco carries so well.
I am especially excited to be a part of Cisco’s Sales Associate Program because they invest so much time and training into their associate sales representatives. Cisco wants us to have as successful of a career as possible, and it shows through their training programs. Plus, I’ll be with a class of recent graduates, so it will be fun to learn alongside people with similar situations.
What aspects of your Appalachian education best prepared you for your upcoming career?
Appalachian does a great job of preparing its students for their careers in many different ways. Personally, my education at Appalachian was more than just the coursework. I was able to join clubs, volunteer through the campus and get to know my professors personally. Because I wasn’t just a number like students at many other large universities, I was able to utilize every part of my experience at Appalachian to the fullest.
Why did you choose Appalachian as a prospective student?
I chose Appalachian initially for its friendly feel, amazing atmosphere and reputable education. I loved Appalachian because of the relationships I made while attending.
Describe your experience in Appalachian’s Department of Marketing — what were the faculty like, how did they help you learn, mentor you, etc.?
Every professor I had at Appalachian impacted me positively in some way, but the professors in the marketing department truly prepared me for my upcoming career with Cisco.
After taking the Sales Management course with Dr. Jim Stoddard my junior year, he suggested I apply to be a team member for the 2016 International Collegiate Sales Competition, where my team and I placed 10th overall out of 70 competing universities. This sales competition solidified my goal to have a career in sales post-graduation.
I then took the course Professional Selling with Dr. Bonnie Guy, which, without a doubt, played a huge role in helping me succeed throughout my interview process with Cisco. I will carry her sales techniques and tips throughout my entire career moving forward.
In addition to sales help, adjunct lecturer Charles Ciaramita was an incredible mentor to me throughout my senior year; he spent hours to review my resume, my interview skills and career goals.
And lastly, Dr. Mike Dotson, an incredible professor and person, did everything he could to push me to succeed in his Marketing Research course. The difference that an Appalachian marketing education provided me was that each and every one of these professors not only helped me excel in the classroom, but long after I finished the program.
Were you a scholarship recipient, and if so, what opportunities did that create that you might not otherwise have had?
I received a small $500 scholarship through the Walker College of Business for my senior year. This allowed me to decrease my loan amount and save the money for other expenses.
Why should today’s students interested in your field choose Appalachian?
I would recommend Appalachian to anyone, especially if they are pursuing a marketing degree. The marketing department at Appalachian is sincerely full of exceptional professors and people. I have had the pleasure of working closely with many of the professors, and I can promise any student who is interested in the marketing field that if you invest yourself in what the department has to offer, for example the challenging courses, the clubs, the competitions, etc., you will have 10 times the return on your investment. That is exactly what happened to me.