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Mornings at Kobenhavn Lufthavn (Copenhagen Airport)

Category: International Operations Business | 4 comments

Monday, it’s 4:30 AM and my alarm goes off. It’s one of those mornings when I needed to fly to one of the affiliates in Europe for a project meeting. I got out of bed quickly, did my morning routine, called the cab, and set off for the airport.

Transportation in Denmark is very convenient and dependable (compared to Philippine standards). I got to the airport precisely at 5:30 am and went directly to the security check. Right after the security screening, I got a cart and as I looked back, lo and behold, it was the 2-time Harvard Best Performing CEO of the World: Novo Nordisk’s very own Lars Rabien Sørensen. He was alone and without any assistants or bodyguards tailing him. Coming from a country which was proudly (and embarrassingly) awarded Selfie Capital of the World by the Time Magazine in 2014 (, it was an opportunity of a lifetime, burn to the ashes or rise like Pheonix!

I stopped and waited for him, thinking about what to say and contemplating if I should take a selfie with him or not. It was 5:45 AM and as he was approaching, I finally had the courage to say hello and I briefly introduced myself. We exchanged pleasantries, I asked him where he was going and he also asked me where I was going. As we parted ways and went to our respective gates, we wished each other a safe flight and said goodbye.

Certainly, it was one of the most memorable experiences I had while working in the Global Headquarters in Denmark because it demonstrated to me a working culture that has a flat structure in contrast to the Philippines’ working culture. In the Philippines, it was very rare to talk to bosses unless spoken to, especially western foreign bosses. It’s a sad reality coming from a culture with more than 450 years of being under foreign rule (400 years – Spain, 50 years – United States) although I must say that there has been a significant shift in the last couple of years. Also, local bosses in the Philippines tend to think too highly of themselves which is not very conducive for collaboration. That’s what I found interesting in Denmark, you can simply say hello to everyone, even the big bosses. I even rode the same public transportation with some Corporate Vice Presidents, Directors, and Senior Global Managers, and etc. The office layout is very open and you can get seated and learn beside these amazing people. If you don’t know anything and you have questions, you can simply ask and book a meeting room. Everyone is pretty much approachable and this trait is very important for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Indeed, working in Denmark is one of the best experiences I’ll ever have. It’s not my ambition to work there again any time soon as I know that I have a long way to go in terms of front-line experience and local and regional market execution. My ambition is to go up the ranks first locally and hopefully the International Operations Graduate Programme will have provided me with this opportunity for the future, by going back to the Philippines with a global experience after this rotation.

Now you may be wondering if I took a selfie with our then-CEO or not, the answer is no. Considering all factors; 5:45 AM, Monday, assumingly without breakfast and coffee, I didn’t want to be that annoying person. I took the higher ground and presented my professional-self to the biggest boss of the company. In that brief moment, I was very humbled.

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4 Comments to Mornings at Kobenhavn Lufthavn (Copenhagen Airport)

  1. Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
    Nicholas Kok says:

    Hi I am thinking of applying the International Operations (AAMEO) Business Graduate. I would like to know if the job has anything to do with science? Do you recommend a person with a science background, who has the interest to go into business to apply for this role? What is the next step after submitting the documents required? For example are there any assessment or presentation after the interview session?

  2. Posted January 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    To apply for this Business graduate programme, you must have:
    1. A master’s degree from 2016 or 2017 in a relevant subject, for example within economics, management, international business or marketing
    Please note: if you are graduating outside this timeframe then check out these opportunities: student jobs, internships and permanent jobs
    2. International experience from working, studying or voluntary work
    3. Relevant work experience or extracurricular activities
    4. Above average academic achievements
    5. Professional fluency in English

    Although a science background is not required, it would be a good addition to your application. Once you have submitted the documents, the next step would be to wait for HR to contact you for an interview if they see a possible fit in the position.


  3. Posted January 20, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink
    Frank says:

    Hello Paul,
    I’m thinking about applying to the International Operations Graduate Program in my country Colombia, I got my masters in 2016, but before that I worked for a few years.
    I read somewhere that there is a maximum of 2 years work experience to be accepted as a candidate in the process. Is this true?
    I would really appreciate your help on this question.

  4. Posted January 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
    Paul Paul says:

    Hola Frank,

    I just started myself here in Bogota, Colombia. It’s a very beautiful city I must say! To answer your question, I think it’s still possible for you to apply. I believe the requirement was that you don’t have more than 1 year work experience AFTER graduating from your masters. That was the case when I applied 2 years ago, I’m not quite sure if this has changed now. I myself have worked already for a couple of years prior to doing my masters.


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