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Back from the east – back to blogging (the biostatistical way…)

Category: R&D Global Development | 34 comments

Wow, have the last 8 months been hectic… It seems like yesterday that I packed the content of my Copenhagen appartment into boxes, stored them at my mum’s place and took off to Bangalore to spend 8 months working with our Indian Novo colleagues. It’s been 8 really challenging months that have given me a lot of experience, professional as well as personal.

1476625_10202690611696052_1539745407_nBut lets start from the beginning with a little bit about who I am. I started in Novo Nordisk as a Global Development Graduate within the biostatistics skill area in the fall of 2012.
My educational background is a master’s degree in mathematics and economics from the University of Copenhagen, and before joining Novo Nordisk I worked a year in academia.
I have now been with the company for 16 months and have completed my first two rotations. I can surely understand if you sit back wondering what these graduate programs are really all about in terms of work tasks and responsibilities. It’s only retrospectively that I fully understand that myself. But that’s all part of the treat, and I can surely say that it’s been quite an adventure all the way and I have been giving a lot of responsibility and been involved in a variety of different tasks.

My first two rotations have both been within biostatistics. I have come to learn how crucial a role biostatistics plays in the development of new medicinal products within the therapeutic areas of Novo Nordisk. My 16 months within biostastics have seen me move from a (almost) fresh out of university, unexperienced and rather confused statistician that was trying to get a hold of all the new processes and procedures that are applied in the daily work to gradually gaining more and more reponsible and ending up as the responsible statistician on an extensive clinical trial where I got the opportunity to present the results at the first internal communication of the data from the trial. I can’t put into words how much balast this experience has given me. I am certain that I will take a lot with me going forwards from the interaction and collaboration with stakeholders from other areas involved in the work on a clinical trial. It’s been a steep learning curve all the way with a lot of thrilling days and great colleagues. One thing that has meant a lot to me is the change that you get within the company to learn from colleagues from other skill areas and understand their view on the various aspects of our work to change diabetes. Personally, I have enjoyed the close collaboration with a lot of colleagues with medical backgrounds as it has given be the opportunity to get to learn about the details of the disease we do our best to treat and the science of the drugs that we develop.

Starting January 6th I am now working in a quite different part of the organisation, namely global medical affairs. This is a department where our clinical results are taken a step further and turned into publications and abstracts for relevant conferences. I look forward to learning more about the work being done here and to contribute with my experience to the department. This is the great thing about the Novo Nordisk Graduate Programmes; that you get the change to gain working experience outside of you main area of competencies. This allows you to obtain a greater understanding of the company and not the least an extensive collegial network.

I imagine that you guys out there are all trying to find out what to do when you have finished your master’s degree. Or perhaps you have already spent a bit of time at one work place but are still looking into other opportunities as well. There are many exiciting things to do out there in the world. I know from myself that I have had my thoughts circling around many different possibilities. I have no regrets that I chose to apply for a graduate position at Novo Nordisk, and I am happy that I was hired. I’m certain that you won’t have any regrets either. I’m still in the process of getting to know the company and my potential here. It’s been an exiting journey so far and I am eager to continue it.

With the above words I have tried to give you a little taste of what life as a biostatistics graduate is life, and I hope that you have an appetite to continue to follow my posts. I will be back with more.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions to the Graduate Programmes. I am quite familiar with the ones within Global Development, specifically biostatistics,
but I will be happy to try and answer questions related to other branches of the programme as well.

The deadline for applying for the graduate programme is February 9 2014. Follow this link to read more about the different graduate programmes withing global development:

www.novonordisk.com/Global-Development-Graduate

Warm regards,

Oluf

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34 Comments to Back from the east – back to blogging (the biostatistical way…)

  1. Posted January 11, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink
    Francis says:

    Hi Oluf,

    I have read all your blogs and you have excited me too. I am in my 4th and final semester of Masters in Biostatistics and Epidemiology and doing my Internship in SAS and Biostatistics in GlaxoSmithkline, India for clinical trial. I will finish my intern and will get masters degree by July 2014, so will I be eligible to apply for the Novo – Graduate Biostatistics Program post?

  2. Posted January 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
    Jas says:

    Dear Oluf

    My name is Jas and I have my first degree in Pharmacy from India and master degree in molecular/experimental medicine from UK. Initially I thought I should apply for R&D global development program, though reading your profile and your qualification create confusion in my mind. As I have a good knowledge and understanding of statistics but not very good with maths. I would appreciate if you could advise me which program would be ideal for me R&D development or regulatory affairs. Also I would appreciate if you would provide little guidance related motivational letter as I hvnt write it before.

    many thanks
    jas

  3. Posted January 13, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Hi Francis,

    From the name of you master’s program it does indeed sound like you are gaining competencies that are suitable for the biostatistics graduate programme, and since your are finalizing your degree this July, you will be eligible for applying for the programme. We will be happy to welcome your application.

    Br. Oluf

  4. Posted January 13, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Dear Jas,

    The graduate programme in global development consists of three tracks: biostatistics, health economics and trial management. The way it works is, that you apply directly for one of these tracks, and your programme will then be taylor-made to develop you skills and competencies within that skill area. Working as a statistician in Novo Nordisk also include quite technical aspects where a strong knowledge of mathematics and “theoretical statistics” often proves very useful. To me it sounds like it would be more ideal for you to apply for the trial management track of the GD graduate programme. You can read about that specific programme here: http://www.novonordisk.com/careers/job_section/current_jobs.asp?jobid=17734BR&lCountry=

    Br. Oluf

  5. Posted January 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
    Galal Eliraqi says:

    Dear Oluf,

    Thank you so much for all your posts, I find them very useful.

    I study masters of public health at Lund University, and I plan to apply for the Global Development programme. In our masters, it is not possible to get any grades, the official transcript only has pass/fail. Is there another acceptable way to prove my academic performance? as I have noticed that the grades are kinda important here!

    Best,
    Galal

  6. Posted January 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Hi Galal,

    Even if no grades are given in your master’s program, you should still attach your official transcrip as documentation for your achieved degree. To document you academical level, you could in addition attach the transcript from your bachelor/undergraduate degree, if this one has grades on it.
    Hope this helps…?

    Br. Oluf

  7. Posted January 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
    Galal Eliraqi says:

    Dear Oluf,

    Thanks for your reply. Sure this helps a lot, I will attach my transcript anyway. I also wonder if letters from my teachers or the program director would be regrded as an indicator for my high academic level?

    Galal

  8. Posted January 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Dear Galal,

    It can’t do any harm to attach such letters.

    Br. Oluf

  9. Posted January 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
    David Opoku says:

    Happy New Year Oluf,

    Thank you for your wonderful post. It was such a great insight. Looking forward to more. I have a question about the biostatistics requirements.

    I just completed a master’s in computer science that focused on machine learning, data mining and bioinformatics. I also have a bachelor’s degree in biology. Will I be eligible for the biostatistics program even though I don’t have a master’s in statistics?

    Thank you for taking to time to share.

    David Selassie

  10. Posted January 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    Boris says:

    Dear Oluf,

    First of all, thank you for taking your time to share your experience with us. I am a MSc of Pharmacy from Serbia and I am considering applying for the GD graduate program. I can see that you discussed about the attachments within the application with Galal in previous comments. I have some further questions about this matter if you would be kind enough to answer them. Firstly, I have noticed that besides the attachments section, in the application site, there is another section named “additional information”. What kind of information would go there? Secondly, do the attached transcripts or any of the other attachments need to be in English? I ask this because my diploma, and of the supplements to it, including several recommendation letters that I have acquired during my studies are all in Serbian. Also, if English is mandatory, does it need to be an official translation (ieg. stamped by the legal authorities or an authorised translator) or I can translate them myself and provide the originals as a proof?

    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Best regards,

    Boris

  11. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Hi David,

    Many thanks for your question. I will strongly encourage you to apply. It sounds like you bring some good qualifications, and I would imagine that machine learning and bioinformatics also involve some courses in statistics…? Some knowledge of statistical methods and theory behind is necessary for the biostatistics graduate programme, but they don’t have to necessarily be obtained through a master’s in statistics.
    I hope this answers…?

    Br. Oluf

  12. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Dear Boris,

    Thank you for your question. The required documents to be provided are your CV, a cover letter and a diploma that documents your qualifications. Additional information could be eg. a transcript of grades obtained during your studies or recommendation letters. We do need dimplomas and transcripts to be provided in English, as it will otherwise be very difficult for us to assess the content. I think the best approach is to contact your university and ask for a copy of your diploma and transcript in English.

    Br. Oluf

  13. Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
    Gireshbabu Yemparala says:

    Hi Oluf,

    This post is definitely helpful for those who are awaiting to Join in the Graduate – Program I applied to the Graduate Program – Bio-Statistics,

    Well I have a doubt, I normally save all my projects (mostly SAS programs) which I have done in my school in my GitHub, would it be advisable to mention my GitHub link to interviewer at the telephonic interview to have a look at the quality of my code and reports as well as analysis or does it throw a question on my integrity ?

  14. Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Hi Gireshbabu,

    I can’t say if it will throw a question of your integrity to share SAS programs. I think it depends on who else have been involved in those projects and what their take on it is.
    At the same time, I don’t think the telephone interview will focus on programming details, but of course you can and should mention that you have experience with SAS programming, and if needed, it’s great that you have some examples of code ready to provide as examples of your previous work.

    Warm regards,

    Oluf

  15. Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:38 am | Permalink
    Gireshbabu Yemparala says:

    Hi Oluf,

    Thanks to the reply, Recently I changed my phone number, due to personal reasons, I wonder if there is any channel to notify the Hiring team.

    Thanks
    Oluf

  16. Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:38 am | Permalink
    Gireshbabu Yemparala says:

    Hi Oluf,

    Thanks to the reply, Recently I changed my phone number, due to personal reasons, I wonder if there is any channel to notify the Hiring team.

    Thanks
    Giresh

  17. Posted February 21, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Giresh,

    You can send me your new phone number by email to okhh@novonordisk.com and I will forward it to the relevant people.

    Thanks and regards,

    Oluf

  18. Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
    Jordan Smith says:

    Hello Oluf,

    I was recently selected for a phone interview for the Biostatistics program, and I was wondering what your experience was with the interview process? As well as what some of the activities and “tests” they prepared for the biostatistics candidates contained?

    Thank you for providing so much information through your blogging, it’s been very helpful to everyone!

    Thanks,
    Jordan

  19. Posted February 25, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink
    Shikha Malik says:

    Hi,

    I am aware of the fact that the deadline has already closed for the application and everyone is keeping their finger cross this time. I would appreciate if you would let us know that will the qualify candidate be intimated first by mail for the telephonic round of interview or not?
    Secondly, I would like to ask till when the candidate can expect a response from your end.

    Regards,
    Shikha Malik

  20. Posted February 25, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf says:

    Dear Jordan,

    Congratulations on your selection! I remember that I had to do a personality test as well as a proficiency test just around the time of the telephone interview. These were used later on in the recruitment process. After the telephone interview I was invited to the recruitment center, where we were asked to solve various tasks that all evolved around collaboration, one of them being a business case that related to a practical problem faced by the company, where we got the change to contribute with our academic compentencies.
    Hope this helps!

    Br. Oluf

  21. Posted February 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Shikha.
    First of all thank you for applying for the Novo Nordisk Graduate Programme. We are currently reading and evaluating the applications and will after this get back to you by e-mail:

    …If you are selected for the next step in the recruiting process:
    From end of February until the beginning of March, we will by e-mail contact 400 selected candidates and conduct phone interviews in order to determine who will proceed in the selection process. While some have already reached the phone interviews, others are still screening the applications. If you are one of the chosen candidates, you will be invited, by e-mail, to attend Novo Nordisk’s Graduate Recruitment Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 1st and 2nd April 2014.

    …If you are not selected for the next step:
    We have received a lot of applications from very qualified candidates. If you are not selected for the next step in the recruitment process we will e-mail you mid-March 2014. Keep up the spirit by having in mind that the graduate jobs are only 60 out of up to 5,000 jobs we offer each year. Sign up for the e-mail job agent: http://www.novonordisk.com/jobagent.

    Please note that due to the amount of applications we do not offer individual feedback on why someone was not selected.

    Warm regards,

    Oluf

  22. Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
    Bakul says:

    Dear Oluf,

    Thanks for your answers to all the questions. I have one more question. I understand that there are a total of 60 candidates that are selected finally. But can you provide us with the break up of how many candidates will be selected for each function?

    Thanks,
    Bakul.

  23. Posted February 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Dear Bhakul,

    Within global development, the aim is to hire a total of 7 graduates: 3 in biostatistics, 2 in trial management and 2 in health economics.

    Warm regards,

    Oluf

  24. Posted February 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
    Harsha Kocherla says:

    Dear Oluf,

    I am one of the candidates who had applied for the Novo Nordisk graduate program and looking forward for the interview keeping fingers crossed. I observed that the experience one must have should not be more than one year. Actually, I have 14 months experience but still interested to join the program. Will it affect my application in some way?

    Thank you in advance

    Best regards
    Harsha

  25. Posted February 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Dear Harsha,

    Yes, we are looking for candidates with preferably less than oen year of working experience after graduation from their master’s program. I am, however, not involved in the final selection of candidates, and I can’t say whether it will have an effect that you have 14 months of working experience.
    I wish you all the best of luck! And remember that even if you are not selected for a graduate position, Novo Nordisk offers many other jobs each year, and you can find a list of available position from the company home page.

    Warm regards,

    Oluf

  26. Posted February 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
    Abhi says:

    Hey Oluf

    Was just wondering if you guys have many Australians working in the global development department? Only asking because I find the careers fairs for global companies to be fairly limited in Australia being so isolated and all haha!!

    Cheers,
    Abhishek

  27. Posted February 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Abhishek,

    I must admit that I don’t know the count of Australian colleagues working in global development. There are definitely people from many different countries in all parts of the organisation, but I don’t recall having met anyone from Australia who works in global development yet.

    Cheers,

    Oluf

  28. Posted February 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
    Gianni says:

    Hi Oluf,

    thanks for all you posts.

    As far as I understand, the work environment is pretty dynamic and international. And it is barely surprising for the HQ of a global company.
    My only question is: I do assume most of people are Danes but wondering how many foreigners are there? Could this be a problem from a integration stand point?
    Thanks a lot!

    Gianni

  29. Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Gianni,

    Yes, it’s a very international office. In my current team 1/3 are foreigners. This may be somewhat more than in other teams, but in general there are people from all over the world working here.
    I’ve been living abroad three times in my life and there’s always some challenge to getting to know people and become integrated in the culture. I think it’s impossible to avoid that. In my case I have always spoken the native language of the country that I have moved to, and that of course makes the transfer somewhat easier. I think it all depends very much on the team you start in and your own attitude, and I really understand that it’s something you have in mind. I expect a lot of the new graduates to be from other countries than Denmark – that’s the way it’s been in other years – so there will be a bunch of others in the same boat starting up new lives in Denmark, and Novo Nordisk will do what it can to help with all the practicalies associated with moving to Denmark, such as housing.

    I hope this provides some kind of useful answer. Feel free to get back to me for more.

    Thanks and warm regards,

    Oluf

  30. Posted March 1, 2014 at 4:45 am | Permalink
    Goon says:

    hi oluf,

    I applied for biostats program till now i didn’t get any email. i believe they already done with telephonic selection right?

  31. Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink
    Gianni says:

    Thanks Oluf, very helpful!

    I also read somewhere that you will receive a salary throughout the program. May I ask you to have an idea about this, and if it is okay to live in copenhagen ( which seems to be a very expensive city)?

    Thank you again!

    Gianni

  32. Posted March 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Francis,

    The telephone interviews are being conducted until around mid-March. I am not myself involved in that so I cannot give you details on the exact status.
    All applicants will receive a written response once the telephone interviews have been conducted, so you can expect that to happen in a couple of weeks from now.

    Thanks and warm regards,

    Oluf

  33. Posted March 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink
    Oluf Højbjerg Oluf Højbjerg says:

    Hi Gianni,

    Yes, the graduate programme is a real job and the salary reflects this – it is enough to make a living, even in Copenhagen :)

    Cheers,

    Oluf

  34. Posted March 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
    Jordan Smith says:

    Hi Oluf,

    Thank you for your help! I received an email today saying they have created an account for me to take the online proficiency tests. Does this mean I’ve been selected for the GRC? Or do they use this in combination with the phone interview to determine who they invite to the GRC?

    I haven’t received any further email from them, but I’m obviously hoping that this is an indicator that I’ve been selected for the recruitment center.

    Best Regards,
    Jordan

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