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“life-changing career” – What it Means For Me

Category: International Operations Business | 0 comments

 

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June has finally arrived and in 3 months, the graduate programme for the 2015 batch will be wrapping up. In football terms, we’re in the last 15 minutes of the game with everything there is to win. Indeed, the programme has been true to its tag-line: “life-changing career”. I have learned so much about Novo Nordisk and its business but most importantly, I have learned a lot about myself. I have experienced and done things that never in my wildest dreams could’ve imagined. I have learned from most the ambitious, amazing, and inspiring people throughout the programme spanning 3 different continents.

When I was doing my master’s degree, I wanted to do something that would change the world and have a positive impact on people. (Yeah, that typical millennial mindset trying to conceal the fact that I didn’t know what to do with my life). However, I really didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted to change but I did want to make a difference somewhere, somehow. Fair enough, I had ideas yet they remained ideas with no actual plans of realizing them. Or, I was too idealistic that the changes or impact that I wanted in this world were just not feasible. It was frustrating, and most importantly, getting expensive as I was living in Boston after graduation with dwindling funds and no actual income. Everything changed when I got into the graduate programme.

For my first rotation, I went back to the Philippines. As it was my first time in the pharmaceutical industry, I had some catching up to do. The first few months were certainly an information overload. I learned more about diabetes and how the disease affects people, along with terminology such as pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and different kinds of proteins (I have a business background and in no way would I have encountered those words before).  As for my main project there, I was assigned to do a medical education event that would benefit HCPs and patients. It was exciting and I felt really great as I was finally doing something impactful. However, being a newbie in the industry, it definitely had its challenges as I had to deal with internal and external stakeholders who were far more experienced and definitely demanding. Yet, as a graduate, I got a bit of leniency and understanding from all of them.  After all, it was the beginning of a learning process. My key takeaways from that first rotation was to learn and absorb as quickly as possible, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t think that you are the messiah sent from the heavens that can immediately turn things around. (But it would also be great if you can!)

As for my second rotation, I worked in the global headquarters in Denmark. As Rihanna would sing, “shine bright like a diamond, shine bright like a diamond,” which was also my approach and it was definitely a rotation where I can have a global impact; just like how I wished it to be. As my pharmaceutical experience was limited to the Philippine affiliate operations, I imagined myself as a diamond in the rough. This was certainly an opportunity to learn about global operations and be involved in projects with a global reach. In Denmark, they were more familiar with handling graduates and the expectations were more clear and actionable. In my role, it was certainly fulfilling as the projects involved more countries and with that, came a bigger impact. Being assigned there in global headquarters provided me with the opportunity to reach out and learn from global managers with different functions and from different countries. I was able to interact with various kinds of people coming from different backgrounds who have given me a wider perspective of the business and, cheesy as it may sound, life. My key takeaways from that experience was that it has set some things into perspective and most importantly, it gave me a perfect example on what work-life balance is, in addition to a concrete example of what should be prioritized in life.

Finally, for my 3rd rotation, I got assigned to Colombia. I have been living here for the last 5 months and my role has also changed to a new therapy area, which means a new set of patients and a new set of products. Compared to my 1st and 2nd rotations, I came here with a lot of confidence as I was more familiar with the operations and where to get the available resources. I feel so at home here because it’s like Philippines except that people speak in Spanish. The hospitality of the people has been amazing, not just my co-workers but people in general. Everyone has been so helpful and warm, and frankly, I couldn’t ask for more. In terms of personal goals, I have finally figured out what exactly I want to do after having learned about haemophilia and how it affects the lives of people who have the condition. Being a new parent myself, I can relate to how challenging it is to take care of a child and can imagine how much more so for the parents of children with haemophilia and of course, the patient himself. It’s a rare disease affecting approximately 1 in every 5,000 males born worldwide. It’s a disease where access to adequate care is very challenging in the developing world. Given these conditions, it’s a specific opportunity where changes can be done.

I still have 3 more months in this beautiful country but I think I already know what my key takeaway is and it has to be a combination of these; be ambitious, stay focused, be patient, say “no” at times and trust the process. Over the last 21 months, the graduate programme for me has not only been a professional growth process, but it’s also a personal development process where I learned to figure out what I can do with my life and how I can contribute to this world.

 

 

What is haemophilia? Click here to learn more.

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