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Is the graduate programme the right choice for everyone?

Category: Uncategorized | 15 comments

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 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!

Best regards,


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15 Comments to Is the graduate programme the right choice for everyone?

  1. Posted January 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
    diie says:

    thank you for share your experience in this 4 months of your programme …
    help me a lot to know that the graduate program is the best option for me .. and talking about the invest that novo do in the people who are part of the program .. im agree with you .. you have to return a 100% to novo
    is very hard in my case because not only i have to compete with all the prospects, but also being latin america maybe the total invest of novo if yo are a good candidate is more in comparation with another candidate that live en europe.
    anyway …not everyone can be part of this great program…. so with your testimony i can feel that im living that
    thanks again

  2. Posted January 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
    Arthur says:

    Great post. It is very important for whoever is applying, to be aware of how this program is actually held. The comfort zoning comparison was rich and it actually is what may attract some new applicants but as well as lead some other to make other choices.

  3. Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
    Lise says:

    Hi Diie,

    It is no problem that you are in Latin America, last year we had candidates from 30 countries and all continents at the Assessment Centre.

  4. Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink
    diie says:

    yes lise your right but … how many cadidates were not only latin american born.. because i read a lot of examples that are latin american, asian etc
    but the problem is a latin american that did everything in his country i mean bachelor, master etc … i think mots of the graduates are of any place of the world but study at leats his/her master in europe or us /canada …
    do you have an example of a latin american with his/her master in latin american that is or was part ov gradate program of novo?

  5. Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink
    Lise says:

    Hi Diie,

    All of our graduates have studied and worked abroad (many in four different countries), and it is a prerequisite that you have an international mindset and international experience if you want to join. We do not have any graduates who have only studied their Masters and Bachelor in their country of birth, because those are not your typical Novo Graduate types… The programme is very international with applicants and cultures from all over the world, and importantly it takes you abroad to affiliates and regional offices within the first year. Hence, you need to have demonstrated an international mindset during your previous studies or work, to be sure that you are up for this challenge, and as ready as possible to embrace that.

    Cheers, Lise

  6. Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink
    Adam says:

    Dear Arthur and Diie,

    Thank you for commenting my post. I believe that Lise is explaining very well what we are looking for in terms of international experience when we are screening candidates for the programme. Place of birth or country of origin is irrelevant in this context – the important thing is that you possess some kind of international experience, i.e. that you have been away from your home country for study or working purposes.

    Best, Adam

  7. Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
    Amy says:

    Hi, I am from Mumbai, India. Just out of curiosity I really want to know if we are selected for the 2nd round in the graduate program do we have to come all over to Denmark for the 2nd and further rounds, if any. Or will there be facility to attend the next rounds online or any feasible place, like suppose at a center in India.
    Please do reply.

  8. Posted January 26, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink
    Lise says:

    Hi Amy,

    The final rounds are held in Denmark at the Graduate Recruitment Centre on 20-21st March. Here you will have a series of face-to-face interviews, group work and other challenges to assess if you are right for the programme.
    You can read more about it on this blog, and as previous posts reveal, Novo Nordisk will make all the arrangements for you to get here.



  9. Posted January 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
    Anne says:


    Finally this year I could apply for the graduate programme. Are there any numbers of how many that have applied for the programme? Specially I am interested in the programme Global Management: Trial Management..

    When will you start sending out invitations for phone interviews?

    Kind regards Anne

  10. Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
    Krishna Prasad says:

    Hi Lise and Adam,
    I read adams’s blog and have been following the thread of comments posted above.I have been trying to know what exactly Novo Nordisk looks for in potential graduates.In this regard, it’s really interesting that Adam and Lise,both emphasized the importance of having an international experience while screening potential candidates. Thanks a lot for the post,Adam,for letting us know what it is like to work with Novo Nordisk.Looking forward to reading more blogs:)

    Best Regards,
    Krishna Prasad

  11. Posted January 27, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink
    Lise says:

    Hi Anne,

    Glad to hear you are applying! In total we had about 3500 applications last year. Statistics to date suggest that the numbers will be significantly higher this year. It is particulatly programmes like Global Marketing that most people apply to. Deadline is February 12th, and phone interview invitation will be sent out by the end of February.

    For more info on Trial Management, look here


  12. Posted February 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink
    fome says:


    I hope that this finds you well. I had interest in applying in the Global Development Program and Business Process Program. However, I do not see the link for the Global Development Program. I also saw statements saying that there is a limit of somewhat 2 years experience.

    As a result, would you let me know how I can get around the lack of an application button as well as if the 2 year (or perhaps 4 yr) limit is valid?


  13. Posted February 11, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink
    walid says:

    i already has a
    1-BSC in Science microbiology Dep.
    2- MBA in marketing
    already have an experience of 19 years between Egypt & Saudi Arabia)+ training in USA& UK
    my last work experience was in Pfizer Pharmaceutical as a senior sales manger
    do i have a chance to join that program.

  14. Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
    Lise says:

    To apply for the GD programme, you can select which area you are more interested in here, and apply directly to that track:

    It is still valid to apply with 4 years!


  15. Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
    Lise says:

    Hi Walid,

    19 years is probably too much, I suggest you apply for a permanent position in the company. Read Peters blog on the topic:

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