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Graduate School of Technology Alum Lands Managerial Role at Cisco

High Touch Operations Manager at Global Tech Company Shares How Touro Helped Prepare Him for Success

After relocating to the U.S. from India to follow his dream of working at a major tech company, Rehan Khan enrolled in Touro’s Graduate School of Technology (GST) as a first step to advance his career. Since receiving an MS degree in Information Systems in 2017, this alum has been working hard to climb the tech career ladder. Now working at Cisco, a global tech conglomerate based in Canada, Khan highlights what a day in the life of an operations manager is like and offers advice for other students interested in entering this rapidly growing field.

How did you become interested in technology? Did you always know this would be your career path?

I’ve always prided myself on being tech-savvy and knew from a young age that I wanted to work in information technology (IT). While pursuing my bachelor’s degree in commerce in India, I took a few tech-related classes. After learning more about the ever-evolving space, I was further intrigued by it and knew this was the industry for me. After moving to the U.S., a friend suggested that I consider enrolling in Touro’s IT Project Management course. I immediately knew this class and the others required to complete this advanced degree would be the perfect way for me to jumpstart my career in the IT world.

What was your career journey like and how did you advance to where you are today?

After graduating from GST, I applied for my work permit and enrolled in a few online network and information security classes. I got a job working at a company called SoftNice Inc., that has multiple brand name clients, such as Carters and Pfizer, seeking to implement innovative tech solutions. I then applied for my Canadian permanent residency, which was approved in late 2019. When I moved to Canada, I initially worked as a Major Incident Management Specialist for Becton Dickinson, a Fortune 500 company supplying critical medical devices and inventory management software for large health networks. After a few years in this role, I decided to apply for a High Touch Operations Manager role at Cisco and have been working there since April 2022.

Can you walk through a day in your life on the job as High Touch Operations Manager at Cisco?

As a High Touch Operations Manager focusing on major incident management, I’m part of a specialized team overseeing technical engineers who are assisting customers experiencing a variety of issues with their Cisco products. These devices are a key part of our customer's IT infrastructure, supporting their data centers, hospitals, banks, and even federal government offices. Daily, I work on an array of high severity incidents. I create and join incident conference calls and provide updates both internally at Cisco and externally to our customers. I also work on reports detailing the steps taken to resolve these high severity incidents and meet with customers regularly to provide status updates. As we all know that time is money, it’s important that I remain proactive to reduce organizations’ potential downtime caused by these incidents, which could negatively impact both their reputation and bottom line.

I've been working remotely in this role for over two years now and there are very clear advantages to it that have improved my work/life balance! Since I’m saving so much time and energy by not having to travel, I can focus more on work, which boosts my productivity. Working from my own customized space also enables me to avoid any potential office-related distractions. I believe remote work is the future as more and more organizations are finding it very effective.

What are your favorite aspects of your current position and what are some of the most challenging?

One of my favorite aspects of my job would be leading the charge for our team to resolve an array of IT-related incidents quickly and efficiently. This role requires that I fully understand the complexities to resolve the issue at hand as well as clearly communicate the key steps being taken to different audiences including senior leadership. I also enjoy that higher management relies on me and trusts my knowledge base to resolve varied issues and that no day is ever the same. The most challenging part of my role is that every second counts. If these incidents are not properly managed and resolved with as little downtime as possible, customers can suffer greatly.

How did the Touro Graduate School of Technology help prepare you for your career?

The curriculum at GST teaches its students vital foundational concepts related to IT combined with specific technical classes on a myriad of topics, enabling everyone to graduate with the skills required to be successful in both technical and managerial settings. One of the major milestones that I reached in my life is receiving my Canadian permanent residence in 2019 and this wouldn’t have been possible without GST. I was able to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, a points-based system for immigrating to Canada as a permanent resident, due to the hours spent studying for my master’s degree as a Touro student.

What advice do you have for other students interested in a career in information systems?

I would say go for it! This field is full of daily innovations, and you get to learn new skills constantly. There are tons of opportunities to advance your career and there are many high paying jobs in IT. For someone like me who didn’t have an educational background in IT prior to getting my MS degree, I would tell other students that Touro is the perfect place to enhance their vital skillset to enter the tech space in a short period of time.