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We are not “Drug Lords”…WE ACTUALLY SAVE and CARE for LIVES!!!

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So… you have been invited to Denmark for the graduate assessment centre…And are in need of a fairy god mother to give you inside info on who Novo Nordisk is to assist you in your quest to dazzle the assessors… Well as I have said in numerous blogs (My blogs) and tweets (@LeboGabela) I am here to walk with you through the most memorable experience that you will encounter this year…

Hence this “KNOWING NOVO NORDISK for DUMMIES: 101” in a nutshell blog post.

Singing: “You are not alone…For I am here with you…Though we’re far apart….You’re always in my heart…But you are not alone” (Michael Jackson said it best)

Who we (Novo Nordisk) are in a nutshell:

1. We are no drug lords!

Why is it that people associate pharmaceutical companies with the term “Drug Lord”?? Well whatever the reason for such associations WE ARE NOT DRUG LORDS!!!  

We strive to see a world where everyone who has diabetes is diagnosed, everyone who is diagnosed gets treated and everyone who is treated can live their life to the full” (Novo Nordisk)

Now you tell me which drug lord would make such their life’s mission??? Which drug lord would spend most of their time in a lab playing with molecules and enzymes with the aim of changing the future of diabetes…Which drug lord would spend their days educating people on how to live with and manage this chronic condition called diabetes?

And besides, which drug lord looks like this?!?

IMG_3856 IMG_3904 IMG_4115  IMG_5303

2. We are not only driven by money

“Our business philosophy is one of balancing financial, social and environmental considerations” The Triple Bottom Line’

I don’t need to say more, read the links below of recent articles that highlight just how much we care about our environment and everyone else in it. PS: there is more of these on the Changing Diabetes website and Google, let your fingers guide you.


3. We have been at this life saving game for a while now: SO WE KINDA KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING (better than everyone else it seems #Leaders in our industry)

Novo Nordisk was founded in 1923 (last year we turned 90!)… So according to all that I’ve been taught by my parents and their elders and their elders: Elders are wise and have pearls of wisdom that we youngens can learn from.

Yerp! I can confidently say we know this molecule and enzyme game pretty well, 90 years of experience to be exact so rest assured you won’t be joining a losing team (should you make it through the assessment centre) Check out this link (Where we are from) for the background on how Novo Nordisk came to be. Knowledge is power and to know where one is currently and where they are going an enquiry of the past should be made.  

4. We are not perfect, but sure as hell are close to it

Yes we may have “received a warning Letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had a delay in the launch of one of our insulin’s in the US, had a safety scare around the class of one of our products and a major product recall” (Novo Nordisk Annual Report 2013 ). No buts, howevers, ums or becuases…We too are constantly learning and continuously adapting to this volatile business landscape of “Drug Lords” we find ourselves in. And besides if we did not adopt a continuous learning approach to everything we did, then I doubt we would have met the sales and profit targets set for 2013. Yes, our sales and operating profit grew by double digits…


5. We are driven by passion

Have I told you how much we care about fighting diabetes? Have I told you how much we care about people who are affected by diabetes on a daily? Have I? Well I will tell you one more time…WE CARE!

Care so much that we even established The World Diabetes Foundation in 2002. The World Diabetes Foundation is as an independent trust that aims to be a catalyst for change in developing countries. Novo Nordisk has donated around 1.1 billion Danish kroner to the Foundation since its inception in 2002. What exactly does The World Diabetes Foundation do? Well…it spends 37% of its funds on strengthening healthcare systems and building healthcare capacity. This is evidenced in the 7,138 clinics that have been established or strengthened, 4.6 million patients treated and 221,935 healthcare professionals trained. (Novo Nordisk Foundation, 2013) Read more about The Foundation here


The time has come for you to SHINE at the assessment centre. Drop one or two of these facts while interacting with the assessors and see how many brownie points you can score.


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7 Comments to We are not “Drug Lords”…WE ACTUALLY SAVE and CARE for LIVES!!!

  1. Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
    Ashvin says:

    Hi Lebogang,

    Are the phone interviews done for all the programs? If there was no call till now, would it be safe to assume that my application didn’t go through?

    Thank you,

  2. Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
    Manu says:

    Dear Lebo,

    Thanks for the tidbits! Your blog posts have been enlightening.

    Seldom do organizations or people that make up organizations remain humble, acknowledge things that went off plan and truly look at these challenges as stepping stones to rise further. So, here is one more reason why anyone would want to become a part of Novo Nordisk!

    Cheers to you and to all those who have made it so far!

  3. Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
    Lebo Lebogang Gabela says:

    Hi Manu

    Thank you for those kind words. I write exactly for that reason: enlightenment. *Shew…glad its working ;)

    I am truly grateful to be a part of Novo Nordisk :) and thank you for wishing everyone else well.

    I trust you too will have a super duper year ahead.


  4. Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
    Lebo Lebogang Gabela says:

    Hi Ashvin

    No! assumptions are not the way forward bean sprout…

    Novo Nordisk’s HR will never ever ever ever not get back to you. The selection and recruiment process is lengthy (going through over 7000 applications carefully is no childs play), so my advice would be to keep a look out for communication that will be sent to the email address that you provided. Even when one has not made it, HR will break it down to you gently…They are very professional and straight forward ;)

    Keep the Faith alive until you get communication.And please dont forget to BREATHE while you at it


  5. Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink
    Ashvin says:

    Thank you Lebo :) hopefully I get the good news soon

  6. Posted March 9, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink
    Danny Nguyen says:

    Dear Ashvin and Lebogang:

    Ashvin: I had the exact same thought when I read Lebogang’s first sentence in her post. I am too a bean sprout.

    Lebogang: Thank you for the continued encouragement and updates. It is great that Novo HR is both professional and considerate about the entire process. A rarity in today’s marketplace.

    I often hear about the vilified characterization about the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical companies. The medications and therapies that physicians, pharmacists, and entire medical team rely on to help patients are innovations funded by industry (bearers of risk). Unless a company’s practices or tactics are unethical or malicious, it’s not really an accurate description. Just thinking out loud…


    Danny Nguyen

  7. Posted March 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
    Lebo Lebogang Gabela says:

    Happy Sunday to you bean sprout (Danny)

    Let me tell you why I refer to all of us as bean sprouts: we are beautiful minds that are ready to blossom fully and Novo Nordisk is the soil that is giving us the opportunity to reach our full capabilities by investing their time and money in us :) hope this makes sense…

    @ Danny, thank you for thinking out loud :) I like where your thoughts are, they are aligned with mine.
    I really do wonder why risk bearers are vilified, when indeed everyone depends on them to save lives…Guess this why you and I need to keeping thinking out loud ;)