Scripps Career Pathways: Ron Minto, ITS ’98, Director of System Engineering for Cisco Systems Inc.
Ron graduated in 1998 as an Information and Telecommunication Systems major. After Ron graduated, he worked for Accenture as an analyst before he started working for Cisco Systems.
What do you do?
I lead the technology and training strategy for a $4 billion-dollar division of Cisco Systems.
How do you feel your Scripps College of Communication degree has helped you in your career thus far?
I was ahead of a major technology transition when I was at OU and that was the birth of the Internet in the ’90s… It was only used occasionally. The Internet has changed the world, and the education I received in the ITS school got my foot in the door because I got to be right there when it changed the world. There is no question that my degree has been remarkable.
How did your extra-curricular activities or internship(s) help you with your career?
I was involved in Student Senate, and that was where I spent most of my time. It taught me how to work with people that are different than you, different backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities. Companies run better when they have diversity, and working in Student Senate taught me so much more about how to work with different types of people, which is so valuable to your career. You are going to run into that no matter where you take your career. I was very lucky with my internship. It gave me a really good understanding of how businesses work.
What is the most important thing you believe has helped you secure your current position?
The willingness to take some risks. I work in the high-tech industry but I live in Ohio. Ohio is a great state and a great economy, but it is not the high-tech sector. I took some risks by taking the job no one else wanted, and it has worked out pretty well. From that point of view, I think people play a little too conservatively; I think risks are what have worked out best for me.
What is a typical day like for you in this position?
My day typically day starts in telepresence, advanced videoconferencing with Europe. I start my day working with business counterparts in Europe on budget planning, technology planning and discussing where we want to take our business. I am working with people throughout the U.S. during the day. I either work from home or travel a lot of my time. I rarely go to a regular office. At the end of the day, I spend it with people in Asia. I will be talking to people in Australia, Singapore, Japan or any Asian countries from day-to-day.
What is the single most important piece of advice you’d like to give to Scripps students?
I would say be relentlessly focused on real-world opportunities. They can either be internships or immersive opportunities where companies will solicit the individual schools for individual projects. Those are so valuable because when you are looking for that first opportunity, where you are traditionally getting hired, if your résumé is only classroom work, you don’t stand out. Having done real-world type work with professionals in your field really helps you stand out.
- Katie Quinn, social media intern