This Senior Has a Job at Cisco

Yousef Abbasi, a senior, has a great job lined up at Cisco.

Yousef Abbasi is one happy dude. He has a job at a company he adores: Cisco.

After he graduates in May, Yousef will begin working as an Associate Systems Engineer for Cisco’s office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. After a year of training and certification, he’ll be promoted to a Systems Engineer, he says. 

Yousef is a senior in the Albert Dorman Honors College who majors in Information Systems (IS). He also has a minor in Business. He’ll be based in North Carolina for two years.

In this interview, Yousef talks about his studies at NJIT and his job at Cisco. 


How did you get the Cisco job? Did NJIT help you?

Yes. I found out about Cisco through my cousin, Zakariya Abbassi, who works as a Systems Engineer at Cisco and is a graduate of the Albert Dorman Honors College.  He suggested I look into systems engineering after I told him about the management classes I found interesting. He referred me to Cisco and then I submitted my resume. NJIT was a colossal help not only in being a solid name in the field of engineering but also in allowing me to safely diversify aside from the normal "meat and potatoes" courses; I found myself in everything from Women's Studies courses to Project Management and Finance courses. 

Do you think NJIT prepared you well to work at Cisco?

Everyone I interviewed with at Cisco was from a technical background.  My major didn't make me stand out - the breadth of what I had seen had.  My management classes let me handle questions from Cisco about topics other candidates hadn't seen before, and NJIT's small class sizes meant I was very comfortable interacting with my interviewers as peers.

What were the highlights of your NJIT education and what will you miss about it?

I missed out on something in my time at NJIT - I get to graduate with a major and minor and can say I've never been in a traditional "lecture" class.  I never got to experience walking in a packed auditorium and struggling to hear a professor - my largest classes rarely topped two and a half dozen students.  The best classes I can remember were taught by professors from the enterprise and industry - I had the fortune of taking a management course with the current interim dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College.  I've had classes taught on Saturday mornings that I would take again in a heartbeat because the professors knew their fields and would bring years of experience into the classroom every week.

Why, as a senior in high school, did you come to NJIT and the Honors College?

As a New Jersey native, NJIT definitely had something I wanted - proximity to home and work.  I can honestly say I've been a full-time student and a full-time systems engineer at a local business for my entire tenure at NJIT. I work full-time as a Systems Sales Manager at a company called Micro Electronics, Inc.  The way NJIT offers classes meant that I could structure 16 and 18 credit semesters around a 45-hour work week every semester for four years, something my friends at other universities in NJ couldn't imagine. I owe a great amount of gratitude to the Albert Dorman Honors College in particular - the facilities they offer students range from quiet study labs, computer labs, and a lounge replete with a setup of billiards.  As a commuter, these facilities functioned as a "second home" at NJIT and enabled me to meet some of the best friends I could have imagined in my college years -- they also were a great way to get some sleep before a night class or print a last-minute paper.

Would you recommend NJIT to a high school student?

Going to NJIT is a decision I would make again in a heartbeat knowing what I know now about universities and the way the job market has changed.  NJIT offers you the opportunity to find a field you love and dive right in without feeling pigeon-holed.  Opportunities for electives are huge, and you can always find classes to take outside your major to broaden your horizons.  NJIT bears the name of a solid university for a lot of fields of study, not just engineering.  In the last four years even the campus has undergone a type of social renaissance with the completion of the Warren Street Village and associated housing, and it looks like it is only bound to improve every day.

You have a great job lined up: You happy?

I feel like I got to check all the boxes on life, man, I couldn't be happier. I found out about my job offer the morning I headed to Miami Beach for a winter vacation. I'm looking forward to living in N.C. for two years. The field I'm going into is a field I love and the broad strokes I learned at NJIT let me stretch my understanding. What I learned at NJIT is, in the end, allowing me to do what I really love to do.

By Robert Florida