So sorry it took me quite a while to upload my second blog post. Thanks for your comments on my first post and questions so far. I’ve been receiving some similar questions and thought that writing a blog compiling the ‘top’ questions I’ve been asked would be a good idea. With that in mind, and my experience at various Novo Nordisk career events both as a participant and a corporate representative, I will share some of the relevant and key learnings and questions that will hopefully be helpful for you.
There are so many applications, what are my chances? (i.e. I’ve heard that the graduate programme at Novo Nordisk is very competitive…?)
Yes, the graduate programme at Novo Nordisk is competitive and we do have an increasing amount of applications during the past recent years. However to be fair, and in my opinion, all graduate programmes are competitive since it offers candidates to experience different parts of organization during a short time period and thereby gain insight into the overall business of the company. One thing I would like to emphasize is, if you are interested and motivated, you are encouraged to apply and the fact that the programme is competitive should not prevent you from doing so. Let me provide you with a concrete example:
I first applied for the graduate programme for the 2012 intake. At that time I was not really aware of Novo Nordisk and my application was quite generic. In the end, I was not invited to the phone interviews (the first round). Since then, through my internships (not at Novo Nordisk) and interaction with 2012 graduates as well as Novo Nordisk representatives, I became really motivated to work for Novo Nordisk and specifically under the graduate programme scheme. I applied again in 2013, with a better and more tailored application, and was selected as one of the Business Processes graduates starting in September 2013. So, if you are motivated and really want to be part of the graduate programme – nothing is impossible :)
Any suggestions about applications and how to make it stand out?
For me this is the most difficult part of the application process. It is where the most cuts are made, and you have to convey your motivation and ‘uniqueness’ under a predefined format (CV, cover letter, and transcripts). This is also where I think my application made the most difference (see point above), which is why you should spend some time and consideration on it!
Lilla, a 2012 Global Marketing graduate has written a great blog post about tips for your application here: http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2013/01/29/the-10-things-you-need-to-get-right-when-preparing-your-application/
Some points I’d like to add to and highlight in Lilla’s post are:
- Tailored application is essential. Be sure to communicate your motivation clearly. Make sure that this application can only be for Novo Nordisk (and the graduate programme), rather than a generic application that can be for any company (just by changing the company name).
- ABSOLUTELY NO TYPOS!!! Check check check your spelling, capitalization, ‘false friends’ (direct translations from another language), and that you are actually writing the word that you mean and not something that sounds similar or the same – for example there vs. their, and your vs. you’re.
- Keep CV to 2 pages, and highlight any experience with Novo Nordisk (seminars, company visits, projects). An optional, but potentially good idea, is to put your cumulative grades in your CV, and what it is out of so that evaluators of your application get clear information from the start (e.g. Danish scale 10.1/12.00, or U.S. scale 3.39/4.00).
- Don’t forget your transcript. This should be in English, and with information about what it is equivalent to (or how to interpret it). This is important as you don’t know who will be reading your application and what experience they have with certain grading scales that are specific to certain countries.
Does the ‘work experience’ requirement apply to relevant work experience, work experience after the Masters, or…??
I have received a lot of questions about this, and have reached out to our programme director for clarification. The feedback I received was that we consider all work experience after the Master’s degree. This also depends how much work experience you have prior to your graduate studies. If you exceed the ‘less than one year work experience’ requirement, please consider applying for the full time positions at Novo Nordisk: http://www.novonordisk-jobs.com/
What should I consider before applying to Novo? What is the culture like at Novo?
From my experience, people at Novo Nordisk are very open-minded and friendly. International orientation, and focus on patients are themes that are consistently strong throughout the organization. Throughout the organization and amongst the graduates we are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and working towards a purpose (check out Mark’s blog about how passion is key: http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2014/01/02/passion-is-key/)
When applying to the graduate programme, flexibility is important. As part of the programme, you are required to move at least 3 times in 2 years. So ask yourself: are you ready for that? Does this make you excited?
Can I apply to more than 1 graduate programme track?
Yes, you are allowed to apply to more than one graduate track. However, make sure that each of your application is tailored and different from each other (see my point on suggestions about applications). You should have a strong reason for applying for different tracks and thus your applications should be unique and reflect this.
Do you chose your (second) rotation(s)? How flexible is this?
For the first rotation, you are more or less assigned where you will be working for 8 months. This makes sense since you will just be starting your experience at Novo Nordisk and perhaps would not have enough knowledge to make a decision about where you would like to work in the organization. From that point on, as you get more settled working at Novo Nordisk and more acquainted with the company, it is more of a discussion with our programme manager about work preferences and rotations. It is still important to be flexible and open to opportunities that may come up, which is also an exciting part!
Wow, this turned out to be quite a long post. Thanks a lot for your patience in reading it, and if you have any additional questions – you know what to do (comment or email)!