I asked this question to my self recently and it made me think. I could easily write a long story of all the great things taking place at Novo Nordisk and why the graduate programme is “theee thing” for all students graduating from university this summer. However, even though the company is truly unique and great in all aspects, the graduate programme might not be the perfect fit for everybody. Being a graduate is not a regular job, it is a great training process. As you probably noticed when you enrolled at the university, it took a while to learn to be a good student – you had to adapt to the new environment and get familiar with the requirements of the university. The same learning process applies when you start your first professional job. Judging from my own experience, the transition from being a student to becoming a professional is far greater than the transition from high school to university. Even though most candidates have had student positions in large companies during their time of studies, the majority will still encounter challenges at first.
Personally, I think the rotational setup of the programme is one of the strongest arguments for choosing a graduate position. The setup provides you with the opportunity to boost your internal network as well as to obtain a great knowledge about the company within a short period of time. However, in order to recognise and appreciate this setup, you need to have a true motivation for continuous learning, new colleagues, different locations, and most importantly for leaving the comfort zone.
I joined the programme in September 2011, and I have thus been working in my first department for a little over four months now. I am starting to feel comfortable with the tasks and the colleagues and my contribution to the team is becoming more and more apparent. Due to the 4 x 6 months rotational setup in the corporate finance programme, I soon have to leave my current department, meaning that I have to start all over and become “the new guy” once again. Some days I think that it would be much easier to stay in the same department and progress there as a “regular” employee, however, I know that even though it seems attractive to stay in the comfort zone and enjoy the feeling of absorption, the outcome of changing environments, tasks etc. is too beneficial in the long run to refrain from. Naturally the recruiters of the programme spotted this appetite for change and new learning in my personality before they offered me the position, but it is a very relevant question to ask your self before applying – continuous change is definitely not a desire for everyone.
Besides the rapid changes there is also a higher degree of attention on the graduates. Corporate finance graduates are assigned a mentor from day one, and are further attending frequent personal development meetings as well as numerous internal and external courses during the two-year programme. I mention this to outline that Novo Nordisk is investing a lot in the graduates and they of course expect something in return. As a graduate you are expected to have a burning motivation for the job as well as to be willing to work hard and go the extra mile when it is needed – which I think is only fair and logically given the extra resources the company commits to the professional and personal development of you.
I guess the overall point of this post is that, regardless of my own believe that the graduate programme is the greatest start of my own career it might not be the right choice for everyone. Novo Nordisk employs a wide range of talented people in all kinds of positions every year, so I strongly encourage everybody who has a different desire than what I described above to visit our job bank at the career site at novonordisk.com. And for those of you who have some of the same preferences and motivational drivers as I do, I am looking very much forward to receiving your application for the graduate programme in the nearest future.
I wish you all the best of luck with choosing the best career path for you!