First of all: welcome to this blog. Over the next months I will write blog entries with insights and experiences from my work-life as a graduate at Novo Nordisk in the Biostatistics skill area.
I started working at Global Development in Novo Nordisk September 1st 2012, so it’s already been more that three months since I had my first day here. This blog should hopefully give you an understanding of what those three months have been like, but before I go into more details about that, I will tell you about how I ended up applying for this job. Since you are reading this post you are probably considering applying for a graduate position as well, so perhaps my story can be of some relevance to you.
My academic background is a master’s degree in mathematics-economics from the University of Copenhagen. It’s a five year program with a strong focus on mathematics, statistics and also some economics. Economics was never my favorite discipline so I took some electives within probability theory and statistics and found those disciplines more exciting. In my third year of studying I began working as a statistical programmer at the Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, and after a little detour I ended up full time in this department after graduating. I was planning to stay in there, pursuing a phd-scholarship in the department, but through my old institute I got information about the graduate positions in biostatistics at Novo Nordisk and applied.
What I like about statistics is its philosophical aspects. The foundations of statistics are difficult to grasp. They necessitate the existence of such things as random events, and in my opinion its a question of believe whether you find that meaningful or not. I guess my view on that is that many events are random – or unexplainable – to us, but on an abstract level there are no such thing as a random event. I enjoy thinking about things like that and to try and make a meaning of it. Probability theory and statistics provide one way of coming across my affinity for explanations or proofs. Having said that, such thoughts and considerations do not play a big part of my daily work at Novo Nordisk, but nonetheless it’s what feed my fascination of statistics and I cling to that fascination when I get bored of fitting statistical models.
So back to my story. As I explained I got information on the position from people at my old institute at the university. From first glance it stroke me as the perfect thing. The last year in my master’s program had been a rough ride with several long periods of disillusion and despair and I had difficulties picturing me what life after university would be like. I didn’t see myself fitting into usual job descriptions for people graduating from the mathematics-economics program. Close to the deadline of my master’s thesis I was about to abandon the work and go into medical school instead. It seemed at the moment (and sometimes it still does) to be the only meaningful thing to do. But in the end I continued on the math-econ path, defended my thesis, worked 4 months at the department of finance, Copenhagen Business School, before leaving that department for the department of biostatistics at the University of Copenhagen and after two months there hearing about the graduate position at Novo Nordisk.
What appealed to me right from the beginning was the prospect to work to years within three different areas, spending eight months abroad, getting to know a lot of new people and experiencing myself what it is like to work in a private company with a global focus. It seemed to me like the perfect opportunity to try something totally different from what I had done until then and at the same time making use of what I had learned while studying. I didn’t hesitate to write the application (I think the deadline was sometime in February last winter) and I recall that it sort of wrote itself. I have written many applications in my life, sometimes for things I probably didn’t really want, but this time there was not a doubt in my mind, and that made it really easy to write.
The application lead to a telephone interview, then two online tests and finally a two day graduate recruitment center at a hotel (which I for some reason always refer to as “the boot camp”. I guess it in a way resembled the boot camps in the talent show “X-Faktor”). I really enjoyed the boot camp. It was a very intense experience with different tasks and challenges and even though people were competing for the same positions, the environment and spirit was only friendly and productive. I remembered feeling like part of a group of extremely talented young people that all had the possibility to make something great of themselves.
Soon after the boot camp I was offered the position and I accepted right away.
I have now put down quite a lot a words and have not even touched upon what it’s then really like working at Novo Nordisk. I promise to tell you about that in the next posts. I just felt like giving you some background information and I hope you found it somewhat interesting. I guess I wanted to say that my way to the Novo Nordisk graduate program was not one that I had planned on way ahead. It was an opportunity that offered itself at the right time, and I think that the main reason that I got the position was that I really felt it was right for me. I didn’t know about the program until two weeks before the deadline for the application. I remember finding the homepage for the program rather confusing so I didn’t really read blog posts from other graduates (I guess you have – on the contrary – found your way around the webpage, since you have reached this post), I applied spontaneously – but highly motivated – and the boot camp really gave me the feeling, that this is a place where things can happen. I liked that feeling, and I like being here.
Well, keep reading and don’t hesitate to post questions or comments. I will be happy to give you all the advice in order for you to find out whether to apply for a position in the Novo Nordisk graduate program. I realize that there are no positions within Global Development offered this year, but I will be happy to help the best I can nonetheless.