Dear blog readers,
Those of you who have been following the graduate blog and Novo Nordisk in general, might think that graduates must feel at work like children in a candy store. They get all they have been looking for in a company: great colleagues, interesting tasks, development opportunities, international exposure… etc etc. Yes, this is true, but let’s take the rose-colored glasses off for a moment and take a realistic look at what also belongs to being a graduate: A bad day at work.
Back in the office after a 3 day business trip to London. This was my first business trip ever. I was send to facilitate negotiations between the two vendors involved in the project that I am currently working on (for more information on the project read my previous blog : Life Changing Career Vol. 1). By myself. No one else from the team. Best example of how much trust is put in the graduates at Novo Nordisk. If I can give you one advice before applying, think about if you like to take on responsibility and challenges. If you are scared to do so, do not apply.
I open my outlook, 46 emails to catch up with. Scanning over them I estimate that 30 of those have to be answered by the end of the day. But no time for this now, I have meetings to attend. Actually, today is one of those back-to-back meeting days. On the agenda: preparing for the meetings while running from one meeting room to the next.
On the run between meetings, I have to say goodbye to my favourite colleague today. The project manager who I have been supporting for the past 4 months and with whom I had a natural connection by being from the same city in Germany, is moving back home and therefore leaving Novo Nordisk. I am aware that working on the project without him will not be the same anymore. My mood is constantly worsening….
But I have to pull myself together. In the next meeting I have to present the results of the meetings in London and my suggestions for the further development of the project. During the meeting in London many areas of improvement became apparent to me and I have a long list of great suggestions of how to direct the project towards success. I am excited to propose my recommendations to the team as I am confident about their validity and value. After presenting my glossy slides that I have been working on for hours, one suggestion after the other is being turned down. What I did not know is that all my great findings are issues that have already been heavily discussed. However, before my time as a graduate. Decisions have been made and locked long before I have joined the project, and there is no possibility to change them at this stage of the project. It strikes me that this is graduate reality. You are in a team only for 8 months at a time. Of course this means that decisions have been made before your time. These decisions can’t be changed anymore but you have to work with their consequences now. Like it or not. It also means that I will leave this project without seeing the result of my work, since the roll-out is in September, long after I have left to my second rotation. Be aware of these drawbacks when applying to the graduate program. You are only a temporary part of projects and teams.
Most of my colleagues have already gone home. I am getting back to my desk after a TC with one of the vendors who just informed me that the deliverable due tomorrow will not be ready on time. Earliest next week. Project deadlines have to be postponed. That means that the interdependencies in the project have to be managed accordingly and stakeholders have to be informed. I am not amused to say the least. And the 46 emails from this morning accumulated during the day to 62…it’s going to be one long evening in the office.
The learnings from this post are that the advantages of being a graduate come along with disadvantages that you should be aware of before applying. However, if you have the right mindset, days and insights like those described above will not demotivate you. Before you press the send button for your application, ask yourself “Do I have the right mindset to be a graduate at Novo Nordisk?” Also see this video: Will this scare you away?