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3-Rs: Steps I did before that 1st interview

Category: International Operations Business | 20 comments

In this post, I am going to share the steps I took to get to that first interview. Having zero background in the industry I wanted to learn more about the history of Novo Nordisk’s, and how the company operates around the world and in my country. Hence, I made it a point to understand what I was getting myself into, by maximizing the available resources and using the techniques that were taught to me by a good friend and mentor from my graduate school in Boston, Rose Keating. To keep it simple I would like to call these steps the “3-R Process” which means Research, Reach-out, and Review.  

  1. Research

One of the obvious sources for information would be the company’s website, I spent a considerable amount of time reading each hyperlink on the website trying to understand the company and its culture. In addition, I was also reading a lot of blogs like what you are probably doing now and watching videos that were available on Novo Nordisk’s YouTube account. I was fortunate that around January in 2015, the 2014 Annual Report came out and it was available online as a PDF. It contained the company’s performance review and overview of the company’s global financial information. Moreover, I also subscribed to the Graduate Programme’s Facebook page  and followed Novo Nordisk’s LinkedIn  account to keep myself updated. I did not limit myself to those sources; I also randomly searched “Novo Nordisk” to see news clippings and articles about the company, its challenges, and its responses to those challenges. Most importantly, I made sure to write down all the things that I didn’t understand so I could follow up on those to satisfy my curiosity.

  1. Reach-out

In relation to the things that I wanted to understand, I simply reached out to several individuals for clarification. The first person I contacted was the Graduate Programme’s FB page moderator.  As I had little knowledge of the position’s functions and everyday life, I sent a message asking if there was already an IO Business Graduate from the Philippines that I could consult. The moderator said that there was none, however, an IO Business Graduate from Malaysia was in his 3rd rotation and another Global Finance Graduate from Denmark were presently in the Philippines. I exchanged several emails with them while I was abroad and they agreed to meet me once I got home to the Philippines. Another person I reached out to was the Danish General Manager in the Philippines whom I found through LinkedIn. The reason why I wanted to talk to him was that I wanted to understand how the company was doing in the Philippines and its challenges in the local market. This was the most challenging part because in my culture, we rarely speak or hold conversations with people in such a position, especially foreigners. However, at the back of my mind, I was really determined to get the first interview and eventually get the position. I messaged him nervously saying that I wanted to talk to him about Novo Nordisk in the Philippines and surprisingly, he replied within less than 24 hours, agreeing to answer my questions.

I was very impressed and amazed by how open they were in answering my questions and concerns. I appreciated how they allowed me to do informational interviews with them. The fact that it was easy to reach out to them also spoke a lot about the company’s culture and the people. I realized that those simple gestures were glimpses of the learning and growth potential opportunities that I wanted to have as an applicant.

  1. Review

I kept a small journal detailing each and every important insight throughout my research and preparation. So as not to put my efforts in vain, I constantly reviewed all the information that I obtained and updated them as I got more familiarized with the company. This journal proved to be helpful throughout the process because it really calmed my nerves knowing that I knew my facts and figures. In addition, all the informational interviews gave me an idea on what I was getting myself into, and it helped me narrow down my priorities.

That sums up my 3-R Process!

Thank you very much for reading and I hope this post will be helpful as you go along in your journey. Research, reach out, and review!

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20 Comments to 3-Rs: Steps I did before that 1st interview

  1. Posted December 12, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink
    ibrahim says:

    yes this is much help full. Can I get your email address?

  2. Posted December 14, 2015 at 3:35 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Muhammed,

    Thank you very much! I’ve sent you an email already so please check your inbox.



  3. Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink
    MD. Aminul Islam says:


    It’s a pleasure to write you.

    I want a piece of information that “Is higher CGPA in the masters program mandatory to be selected or prioritized for this program?”

    Wishing you the best days of your life.

  4. Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Aminul Islam,

    I appreciate your wishes, thank you very much. To answer your question, the CGPA during your master’s program won’t be the sole determining factor for selecting candidates. It’s definitely commendable though!

    In order to qualify in the graduate program, you need the following;

    1. A recent master’s degree (graduating in 2015 or 2016)
    2. International experience
    3. No more than one year of work experience after graduation (The Global Development Programme takes graduate with up to 2 years of work experience). If you have more experience apply for one of our many open positions.
    4. Study background within Business, Marketing, IT, Finance, Procurement, Bioscience, Natural Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering and Production
    5. Above average grades

    You may also refer to this link for more information; I hope this information helps and I wish you well!

    Best regards,


  5. Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
    ighome says:

    Hi Paul,
    Can I get your email or linked in address? so I can ask some more questions concerning the IO business programme

  6. Posted December 18, 2015 at 12:49 am | Permalink
    Tee says:

    Am applying for the IO program and will be finishing my MBA in 2016. What do you think are the determining factors that could contribute to getting called for the first interview? In other words, what captivates the hiring and program managers or what endears them to a certain candidate?

  7. Posted December 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Ighome!

    Surely, you may contact me through my profile directly, Just fill-out the contact form and your message will directly go to my inbox.


    feel free to add me in LinkedIn; It would be nice to also network with you.



  8. Posted December 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hi Tee,

    Good to know! Your question is very interesting as I had the same question several months ago when I was still applying. Actually, the answer is quite simple; be proactive. That was the same answer I got when I was doing my informational interviews before I got my first call. Set yourself apart by doing this as there are thousands of other post-graduates out there who also qualify on the basic requirements.

    I hope this helps and good luck on your MBA! Exciting times ahead!



  9. Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
    Ikram says:

    hello paul,
    I am considering applying for the IO program. on the site they are demanding a cv and a motivational letter along with a short answer video. Can you please explain to me how to do the video

  10. Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink
    Amin says:

    Hi Paul,

    I really like reading your posts, many thanks for the clarifications, I am really interested in Novo Nordisk, and I have a question, my latest records are in French, must I transcript them in English or can I let them in French (in original form) ?

    Best regards,

  11. Posted December 22, 2015 at 3:04 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Good day Amin,

    Thank you very much for your message. It would be best to have your latest records translated in English and just attach the original form. I wish you all the best!

    Best regards,


  12. Posted December 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
    Amin says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your answer, i have an other one, do you think that i have a chance even if i don’t have an international experience, but i have made my final study project within a pharmaceutical multinational ?

    Best Regards,

  13. Posted December 23, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Amin,

    You’re welcome. To answer your question, my philosophy would be the same as Wayne Gretzky’s quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I highly suggest that you take the chance and leverage on your final study project. I hope this helps!

    Best regards,


  14. Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Ikram,

    May I know your name? Well, there’s no silver bullet to answer your quesiton on how to do the video since everyone has his or her different strengths. My suggestion is just be yourself. Show enthusiasm towards the graduate programme and displayed your openness towards learning new things. Best of luck!

    Kind regards,


  15. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink
    Ikram says:

    hello Paul,
    my full name is my email address.
    What I would like to know about the video is actually the question. Is there a particular one, or I cant find out the question untill I start applying
    best wishes!

  16. Posted January 20, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
    Blog post by former graduate Sofie says:

    Dear Ikram,

    Apologies for the slow response, hopefully you should have seen that the question is asked as you go through the application flow. The question is asked in a video by the program manager.


  17. Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
    Claudia says:

    Hi Paul,
    I just came across your blog post and I’m glad to find out I’ve been doing the same steps you did before the interview. I’ll be attending the 2016 GRC and it’s very reassuring to know that there’s no such a thing as over prepared. I’m very interested in the Novo Nordisk especially the Graduate Program and looking forward to the GRC. Keep up the blogs, they’re very helpful.


  18. Posted February 24, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hello Claudia,

    That’s good to know and thank you for the kind words. Congratulations on being selected to the GRC. Just be yourself and most importantly, have fun and network well with your fellow candidates! Good luck!



  19. Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
    Frank says:

    Hello again Paul,
    This is my 2nd message to you. I hope you are enjoying Bogota to the fullest. I just sent my application yesterday. My question now is: how much time did it pass from the application deadline until you got contacted for the first time? And also for the rest of the stages of the recruitment process?
    Thanks again for your help

  20. Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Dear Frank,

    I apologize as I can’t answer that question precisely. From what I have discussed with fellow IO Business graduates, the length of the application process varies per country. In my case, I think it took around 3 months.


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