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New adventures as an RA Graduate

Category: Business Processes European Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | 12 comments

Hello again! I am super excited to be blogging for the RA Graduate programme again this year!

Since I have already touched on the how to apply and what we are looking for in an application in my previous post and Mian one of the RA graduates that started in 2012 has also written about how to write an awesome cover letter, I have decided to tell you more about my life as an RA  Graduate.

In one of my previous posts ‘what does a regulatory affairs graduate do‘ I had mentioned that I was in my 2nd rotation as a Clinical Trial monitor in the UK and I was enjoying the new experience. However, within 2 months of my rotation, it was announced that the EU offices would undergo a huge restructuring, particularly in the UK and German offices. As a result of this announcement, my rotation manager understandably was busy dealing with the affect it would have on the department and there was less time to train me and set me up as an independent trial monitor.

The situation seemed dire until my graduate manager called me and asked if I would like to move to India for a few months since they needed help setting up a new process in the RA Global Service Centre in Bangalore. I jumped at the opportunity to embark on a new challenge!

Bangalore was a fantastic experience, professionally and personally. I was given the responsibility as a project manager to set up the process and the team that would do a technical check of all our regulatory files for future submissions. It was very different from the other tasks I have had and again it was a steep learning curve, this time on the publishing and compiling processes involved in a regulatory submission to the Health authorities. It was a life changing experience to get this large task as a graduate and it taught me a lot about LEANing a process, contingency planning and getting a team to work.

India was also a fascinating place. From the rickshaws and the temples, to the tea plantations and food it was a constant adventure. In the beginning there were as expected funny miscommunications but taking the time to understand the culture and interacting with my colleagues, made things easier. I even held a workshop to better the communication between India and Denmark, and the cultural and communication knowledge I have gained will be useful in any future career in a global workplace.

The experience also helped me decide what career to pursue after the RA Graduate programme, but that’s a story for another day :)

I am always open to questions about applying and the RA Graduate programme so please do not hesitate to contact me!

Good luck applying!


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12 Comments to New adventures as an RA Graduate

  1. Posted January 11, 2013 at 1:12 am | Permalink
    Tinu says:

    Hi Tamara,
    Thank you for your video and posts. They have been good pointers in my application process. Would you be kind enough to let me know how much weight is placed on transcript grades when shortlisting candidates? Do candidates who graduated with a merit in their MSC stand a chance in the screening process? Is there preferential treatment for distinction students?

  2. Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink
    HanYe says:

    Dear Tamara,

    I reviewed your past blogs recently. I am excited to see you update. I recently graduated from University of Leeds in MSc Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering on December of 2012. When I started to plan my career development in a healthcare industry, regulatory affairs most aroused my interest. I love to work in a dynamic and international environment with challenge and innovation.I was inspired to
    see that you enjoyed this programme so much.

    I am doing my cover letter now. I want to know how I can stand out from the application process. What experience can make the application unique for a regulatory affairs applicant? Do you have any advice for the CV? I am waiting for your response.

    Yours sincerely,


  3. Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
    Tamara says:

    Hi YeHan,

    Well you are off to a good start with your comment to the post since you have already indicated an interest in RA.:)
    In the cover letter you need to elaborate on why you are interested in RA, why you will be a good fit for the position while also highlighting your international experience.
    These are just the generic things that are needed,you also need to show why you will be the best choice for the programme, what you have that is special to bring to Novo Nordisk.

    For more details please check out the blog written by Mian about what to write in your cover letter : There are also many other blogs written by graduates in the other programmes that offer advice for the application process, so just keep on reading the posts!

    Good Luck with the application!

  4. Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
    Mark says:

    Wow, Tamara, that sounded like a hectic transition from the UK to India. While you mentioned that there were some communication issues to begin with, which did you find more challenging: developing the skills as an RA professional or overcoming the cultural gap of India. Is being an RA professional as much about communicating with a wide range of people as it is about compiling and publishing processes?

    Good luck with your current rotation,

  5. Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
    Tamara says:

    Hi Mark,
    Being able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people of different cultural and professional backgrounds is definetely a large part of being an RA Graduate.
    This is mainly because you change departments and to get the most out of each rotation you need a good relationship with the people in each department.

    In this case, actually learning the processes behind compilation and publishing was more of a challenge than the communication, since i needed to learn the process really really quickly before I communicated anything :)

    Thanks and good luck with the application!

  6. Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink
    Daniel says:

    Dear Tamara

    I’ve a strong interest in and passion for RA on par with the desire to work for Novo Nordisk. Your past and current blog, as well as the links you have provided, has really been a great help to me, thank you!

    I attained my master’s degree August 2012 from the University of Copenhagen but have not received my master’s certificate yet. Will this constitute a problem when applying?

    I’d also like to know if any project management methodologies are prevalent.

    Best regards,

  7. Posted January 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
    Farah Shah says:

    Hi Tamara!

    I heard of this program Novo Nordisk offers very recently and am really geared up about applying. I’m also about to graduate in May with a Master of Biotechnology degree. I just had a basic question. Is it enough to have a real passion for regulatory affairs and the willingness to face new and challenging situations as an individual, to apply to the program? I ask this as I haven’t really done any coursework or other work related to regulatory affairs. My coursework has been a fair mix of technology, math and some management. However, I do really care about RA and want to delve deeper into the world of global RA.

    Please let me know what you think :)



  8. Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink
    Tamara says:

    Hi Farah,

    Having a real passion and motivation is enough. I have a bachelors in Chemical Engineering and Masters in Biotechnology and I had absolutely no regulatory experience before applying to the program.
    We are looking for a person who has a real interest in RA, and if you do please elaborate on why or what about RA that interests you in your cover letter, so your passion shows :)

    Good luck with the application!

  9. Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
    Tamara says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks! Glad I have helped!
    It should not be a problem when applying, but you will need to have it by Sept 1st if you are hired.
    The project management opportunities are very dependent on the rotations you end up in, but you do get chances to hone project management skills while in the program through courses and planning of seminars.
    Most graduates end up running some sort of project while in the programme but size depends on the need of the area and how skilled the graduate is.


  10. Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
    Tamara says:

    Hi Tinu,

    We are looking for highly motivated people who are interested in Regulatory affairs and challenges.
    We get a lot of applications so while there is no preferential treatment for distinction students, if we get an applicant that fits our needs with bad grades, compared to another with the same profile but with good grades we will tend to lean towards the one with the better grades.
    We are looking for the whole package :)

    Hope this answered your question and please still apply if you feel you fit the profile.


  11. Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
    Ketan Patel says:

    reviewed your past blogs recently. I am excited to see you update. I recently graduated from Uka Tarsadia University of Gujarat, India in RA & GMP (Pharmaceutical Science )on December of 2013. When I started to plan my career development in a healthcare industry, regulatory affairs most aroused my interest. I love to work in a dynamic and international environment with challenge and innovation.I was inspired to see that you enjoyed this programme so much.

    Can I apply For the graduate RA programme and what qualifications are necessary.

    Yours sincerely,

  12. Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink
    Mark says:

    Hi Ketan,

    Please visit the website: for all of the information on necessary qualifications and how to apply.

    Thanks for your interest,