Business Processes

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3 movies, one haiku, and the Global Business Processes Programme

Category: Business Processes Uncategorized | (4) comments

Novo Nordisk’s Favrholm Campus in Denmark
















Maple leaf, drifting

Through oceans n’ thousand isles,

Land in Viking ship

Haiku, 5 January 2015, Barcelona Airport


If you keep an open mind, there are endless possibilities in life. I have been very blessed to stumble across the Global Business Processes Graduate Programme. I cannot guarantee that this programme will fit your profile, but I can tell you that the recruiters are not only looking for candidates with top grades – so let your personality and personal values shine through the cover letter and résumé!

The names for the graduate programmes are confusing, even for me working in HR. The Global Business Processes Graduate Programme is internally referred to as the Business Processes Graduate Programme and sometimes informally called the Business Process Graduate Programme (because Business Processes is such as tongue twister).

Basically, Global Business Processes (official) = Business Processes (internal) = Business Process (lazy).

Also, Global Business Processes Graduate Programme and International Operations Business Graduate Programme are different.

  • Global Business Processes Graduate Programme = based in Denmark (Headquarters); two rotations in Denmark, one rotation outside of Denmark
  • International Operations Business Graduate Programme = based in a local affiliate (outside of Headquarters); one rotation in Denmark, two rotations outside of Denmark










It is not easy to define the tasks of a Business Processes graduate because it is the most diverse programme out of all the Novo Nordisk graduate programmes (in my opinion).  To give you a sneak preview of what you can be part of starting September, here is a list of where the six 2014 Business Processes graduates are currently assigned:

•   Global Medical Affairs
•   Corporate Development
•   Product Supply
•   Quality Development
•   Corporate Communication
•   Human Resources  <– that’s me


The sky is the limit with the Global Business Processes programme and it can be an epic trilogy of a life-changing career.


Volume 1: Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Release Date: September-April


starring 2014 Swedish business processes graduate – Matilda















Novo Nordisk’s philosophy for employees is: “Be yourself–more–with skill”. Authenticity is a core value of the company. The company hires you for who you are, develops you to become more aware of your capabilities, and will NOT change you into someone that you are not.

Although you do not have input in your first rotation, your profile, personality, and education are taken into consideration. There is a broad variation in tasks for all business processes graduates and the company will provide training and support. In your application, demonstrate that you are a generalist with high level of flexibility and adaptability to live and work overseas for an extended period of time.

Think SMART and give specific interesting life experiences in your application (e.g. Coordinated the 2014 Asian Business Student Forum that attracted 200+ participants and 30 business leaders from North Korea, China, and Laos).


Volume 2: The World is Our Playground
Country: Affiliates outside of Denmark
Language: English/Local Language
Release Date: May-December














You need to be adventurous and global-minded. Novo Nordisk does not own an isolated tropical island populated with cloned dinosaurs. Instead, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 41,500 employees in 70+ countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.

In your second rotation, you will have a chance to discuss with the graduate programme manager and have an input as to where and what line of business you would like to explore. However, the graduate programme is not a travel agency, so do not expect to handpick your destination. The second rotation is a unique opportunity to experience the local affiliate after eight months working in headquarters. Our corporate language is English and you are not required to speak the local language of the affiliate country.

The 2014 business processes graduates are dispersed throughout affiliates in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Where will the 2014 business processes graduates work starting this May? Answer:
• Switzerland
• Canada
• U.S.A.
• Japan
• Vietnam
• Egypt <–  that’s me


Volume 3: The Graduate Strikes Back
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Release Date: January-August














In the final rotation, graduates will return to the Death Star, I mean, headquarters in Denmark. Graduates will begin searching and applying for a permanent position within the organisation after 16 months of intense learning and networking. You also have the choice to pursue a different career path and not stay with Novo Nordisk.

What lies ahead in my journey, I do not know. The life-changing saga is to be continued…



(Warning: This is a spoiler to a life-changing career through three employees’ personal stories – including Pete, my manager today – and my 3 seconds of fame starting 1:25.)
















10 more days until the graduate programme application deadline (8 February 2015).

Comment below if you have any questions about the Global Business Processes Graduate Programme and/or general questions about the graduate programme.


May the Force be with you.




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A-Z (minus Y) of all your FAQs

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (17) comments

Apologies in advance, as this is a pretty long post that has completely abused the ‘recommended blog post length’ we were advised. However, I will throw it out there and say I think I have managed to find answers to all of your questions (I am using the word ‘all’ very loosely here, as I am sure you will come up with more I will happily answer). Also, I have tried to give some examples of what I did in my application to guide you.

Academic background: I studied *Insert cool science Masters or PhD* can I apply to the programme?

From Analytical Chemistry to Zoology all Natural Science based Masters and PhD students are welcomed with open arms to apply for the programme. However, please note that you must be graduating with your Masters or PhD this year or have recently graduated – no more than 1 year since you have graduated.

Birthplace: I was born on Mars, do you have to be Danish to apply?

I too was born on Mars and made the programme, so fear not, being Danish is not a pre-requisite.

CV: My CV is x pages long, is that too long? Photo on CV – Yay or nay?

Regarding CV length you should really try and ensure it is no longer than 2 pages long. It’s great that a lot of you have amassed an impressive amount of lab based skills or have been first and/or co-author on several publications, but this is not a pre-requisite for the programme. A clear, concise CV will facilitate the reviewers matching your skills and experience to what they are looking for. In addition, a portrait picture is welcome if you like; I didn’t add one as I didn’t want to confuse the reviewers into thinking Whoopi Goldberg was applying.

Daily activities: What sort of exciting Regulatory Affairs (RA) activities will I be doing?

I want to take this opportunity to redirect you to the first blog post of the other RA graduate, Annika – here and that of a former RA graduate – here. Don’t forget to come back here though, as we are only at letter D :)

Expat life: I heard that Denmark was voted the happiest Country in the world, so will I be super happy all the time here?

You heard right, Denmark generally tops the happiest country polls. I mean, I am super happy here but I get super happy (not even just normal happy) eating my favourite chocolate bar (FYI it’s Milky Way), so I may not be the best person to ask. Sheng, a graduate on the International Chinese Graduate Programme is a more reliable source and covers it wonderfully here.

Family : Can I bring my partner?

Why of course

Grades: On a scale of Kim Kardashian to Einstein, how important are grades?

Grades are assessed as part of your application, yes, and we are looking for candidates with good grades but honestly don’t be put off by the ‘Top 5% in class’ part some of you may have read. If you fulfill the basic qualifications (scroll down to Qualifications) you are in with a shot. The take home message on this one is that grades play a factor, but what is more important is your motivation to work in RA and transferable skills/experiences you can bring to the table.

Housing: Is accommodation offered as part of the programme? Do I have to find it myself?

We have a fantastic relocation partner that will offer you accommodation with another graduate (you will have to pay rent) and usually graduates are all placed near each other. For example, in the block of apartments I live in there are 6 graduates. I nearly forgot to mention, if you prefer to live by yourself  the relocation team can arrange that too.

International rotation: I would love to live and work in the Maldives, do I get a say on where my international rotation will be?

No, we didn’t get a say, so bear in mind that you have to be flexible around this. Nonetheless, we’re off to pretty awesome places: myself to the States and Annika to Vietnam. Furthermore, previous RA graduates have been sent to Brazil, Japan, the UK (love that place) and India.

Job Prospects: Being a graduate sounds like a lot of fun, but what happens after the two-year programme?

Upon successful completion of the programme you will be offered a permanent position within one of the departments based in our Danish Headquarters

Keep positive: I applied all the way back in December, but I still haven’t heard anything. Have I been unsuccessful?

No, relax, as we won’t start contacting applicants until after deadline (8th Feb). Also, all applicants successful or not will hear back from us.

Language: I speak about as much Danish as I do Ancient Greek, will this be a problem?

You and me both, oh and no this won’t be a problem as English is the business language, so if you’ve mastered that it’s a piece of cake.

Motivational Letter: I have a gazillion questions about the motivational letter, such as word limit, format, structure etc etc.

This one is a hot topic amongst you and was the thing I stressed about too. I will now shut up on the matter as Annika has just written a fantastic blog post addressing all your motivational letter related questions; I would strongly advise you check it out here.

Numbers hired: I heard through the grapevine the ratio of applicants:positions is actually crazy, so how many people do you take on?

You heard right, the ratio is a little crazy and last year approx 720 people applied and only two of us got selected. Don’t be put off by this though, in submitting an application you have absolutely nothing to lose and absolutely lots to gain. In addition, you may be happy to hear that this year we will be hiring 4 of you.

Other Documentation: Apart from my CV, motivational letter and grade transcript what other documentation should/could I upload?

I would say anything of interest that helps us build an even greater more rounded picture of you, whether that be an amazing reference you received or a really good grade on a piece of coursework. I was really random with one of the documents I sent as it was a newspaper cutting of me talking about the dance classes I then attended, bearing in mind this newspaper cutting was dated around 2004!!!

Pharmaceutical Industry: Damn, I have no Pharmaceutical experience. Does this mean I will be at a disadvantage?

Certainly not, if you have experience within the Pharmaceutical industry that is great. If you don’t, that is fine as there are RA graduates hired that didn’t have any either. More importantly, just highlight in your application why you would want to work in the Pharmaceutical industry

Qualifications: What are the basic qualifications for the programme?

  • Recent Natural Science Masters degree/PhD
  • Good grades
  • International experience/mind-set
  • Relevant Work experience (scroll down to Work Experience for more on this)

Recruitment Process/Timeline: Okay, so I have applied, what happens next?

All applicants are assessed twice and following deadline roughly 25 applicants will be shortlisted for Skype interviews, which take place around mid February. Next, 10 successful applicants will be invited to the Graduate Recruitment Center (GRC) at the end of March, which is a two-day event held in Copenhagen, where applicants are assessed in a series of exercises. Furthermore, prior to the GRC the 10 selected candidates will be invited to complete some online tests in early March. Finally, following the GRC, 4 candidates will be offered graduate positions to start September 1st 2015.

Salary: I heard its crazy expensive to live in Denmark and I don’t want to be poor, so do we get paid?

Denmark can be an expensive place to live (my jaw hit the floor when I heard how much I would get taxed here -FYI its around 42%). In saying that, you will get paid a competitive salary that will ensure that poorness is not on the cards

Training: What sort of training would I receive as a graduate?

I will go into more detail about this in my next post, nevertheless,  most training is on-the-job, but we also offer a lot of internal courses and the opportunity to attend external courses.

University: Does the university I have attended matter?

No, so long as you haven’t attended ‘The University of Life’.

Visa: Will I have to sort out my Visa/Work Permit myself?

No, we have a fantastic mobility team that initiates this process, co-ordinates it with you and pays for it.

Work Experience: What and how much work experience is required?

Regarding ‘what’, we look at all your interesting work experience undertaken RA related or not. If it’s RA related, great tell us more. If it ‘s not RA related, that’s fine (I had no RA related experience before I joined), just try and tie it in somehow to why you want to apply for the RA programme. The key here is that you need some form of work experience to apply , as having none will unfortunately most likely mean you are unsuccessful. Regarding, ‘how much’  generally we want applicants with no more than one years work experience following completion of their Masters or PhD studies. This takes into consideration those of you who may have conducted work experience for a few months here or there during your studies. All in all, this is reviewed as a case-case basis but generally if you have lots of work experience following your bachelors degree and then complete your Masters or PhD studies or you have more than 4-5 years work experience it will almost certainly make you overqualified. The reason is that the programme is structured towards bringing fairly unskilled people up to speed really fast, and grouping very unskilled people with more experienced people makes it very hard to do a meaningful programme for everyone. With 4-5 years of experience and a strong CV you will most likely be eligible to apply for a normal job in Novo Nordisk, here.

Xtraordinary (I had to cheat on this one): What can I do to make my application extraordinary and stand out from the competition?

Sorry to disappoint, but there is no clear-cut answer for this one. I remember when I was applying I read an interesting bit of advice on the blog of another graduate (sorry I can’t remember the post), stating ‘think about what makes you unique and express that in your application’. As cheesy as it may sound I said helping people in my application, as I had done a lot of volunteer work. I then tied this in with the notion that I found helping people a quality that makes employment meaningful to me and to wanting to help people suffering with Diabetes. I’m not sure if this made me stand out as such, but it was something I tried to have in mind. So, get thinking, what makes you stand out? We would love to hear it!

Zzzzz  (It’s always a struggle to come up with a relevant word for Z): Will I work insanely long hours that will leave me chronically tired?

No, I very much doubt it as you are contracted to 37 working hours. Yes, you will sometimes have to log onto your laptop in the evening to prepare something for a meeting you have the following day, or write a blog post on a Sunday evening, when really you should be in bed watching new episodes of American Dad. However, I am a firm believer in work hard and play harder.

If you are reading this, it means you made it to the end of this post. Congratulations are in order, as it was a lengthy one (I did warn you in the beginning)

Still in two minds as to whether to apply? Well take this quick test here to put your mind at rest.



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Your Cover Letter: Make It or Break It

Category: Business IT Business Processes Chinese International Graduate Programme European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (39) comments

As the application process has now been open for some time, the reviewing process is in full swing and one of the main weaknesses of some applications are the cover letters (also called motivational letters to avoid any confusion).

So I thought I would share some pointers on what we look for in a cover letter. Please take these only as guidance and not requirements for being successful in the application process (apart from points 1 and 2 that are essential).

Key Points to consider when writing your cover letter:

1. Mention the company and SPELL it right.

Each programme gets hundreds if not thousands of applications and if Novo Nordisk does not even appear it screams not interested.

2. Mention the programme you are applying to.

As for the point above we want to see that you are interested in what the company offers and have taken the time to write a cover letter for the programme and are not sending the same one to all companies.

3. Talk about specific aspects of the programme you like.

An expansion on point number 2. Try to show tat you have read all the information available on the programme and have thought about what you think makes it special and a great match for you.

4. Do not just repeat your CV.

Your cover letter and your CV will both be read so there is no point in providing us with the same information in both. Use your cover letter to showcase your interest, motivation and fit to the programme.

5. Do not dwell on scientific techniques.

In RA the majority of applicants have a scientific background (which is great and what we are looking for) but you will not use the lab techniques in RA. They provide you with a great understanding of the process; however we will see this from your CV so try to focus more on transferable skills. How have the previous work experiences provided you with skills that can you can use in another setting?

6. Read the Novo Nordisk Way and the Triple Bottom Line.

You want to show as much as possible that you have researched the company and identify with its core values. If you feel it fits mention it in your cover letter but most importantly you should be able to portray the key characteristics Novo Nordisk stands for.

7. Showcase any international experience.

All programmes involve some form of international rotation and so candidates ought to have an international mind-set and be ready to be flexible and leave their comfort zone. If you have done this in the past, it’s the proof that you are ready for what the programme holds.

8. Keep it short.

Preferably your cover letter should be to the point and not exceed more than 1 -1.5 pages. Remember that each reviewer needs to read hundreds of applications; the last thing you want is for him to get bored while reading yours.

9. Link previous work experience.

We are not looking for people with great amount of work experience however if you are able to link previous internships, projects or courses to the programme it will help you in showing your true interest and motivation.

10. Read the graduate blog.

You have already fulfilled one of the ten points by reading this. during the preparation of my application the graduate blog became my bible and it is the best source for first-hand knowledge that will allow you to understand the programme and its requirements.


I know I am not reinventing the wheel here but maybe some of you will find it useful and as an extra tip for reading till then end: Make sure to upload your cover letter as a document and not use the field provided in the application process as it will look much nicer.

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I don’t know anything about the industry… Can I apply? Should I apply?

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing | (0) comments

Let me turn back time one year: Welcome to January 2014. I had just started my master’s thesis, and I was aware that I had to find out what my life should look like after studies. I was already convinced that a graduate programme would be a good option for me. But nowadays many companies offer graduate programmes, and so I could opt for various industries.

To narrow down my options I assessed various programmes on their ability to satisfy three wishes:

  1. I wanted to work for a company where I’d being doing something meaningful
  2. I wanted to work for a company that would care about my professional and personal development
  3. I wanted to work for a company that could offer me international opportunities

Three companies stood out to me, one of them, however, in an industry that I had absolutely no knowledge about; Novo Nordisk and diabetes care.

Although Novo Nordisk’s graduate programme appeared to satisfy my three wishes, I was left with two concerns. Can I at all get accepted into such a competitive programme with no prior experience with the industry? And if yes, would I actually want to apply?


Can I apply? (Can I get in?)
Short answer: yes (all you need is two large free-range eggs, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a knob of butter and some cheddar cheese – no wait, that’s an omelet, but this may be a tasty companion for your application writing).  My point is, you do not need to have experience with pharma to get into the programme.

My master’s in marketing and communications had been focusing on developing small geniuses primarily for the FMCG industry or advertising/communication agencies, and pharmaceutical companies did not figure in the cases we worked on throughout the degree.

That meant, one year ago I knew as much about the pharmaceutical industry as about navigating a burning spaceship through a meteor storm – which is rather sparse.

Now, despite my non-existing experience with the industry, I managed to get in. Of course, I prepared as much as possible throughout the application process, but it will be fair to say that my knowledge about diabetes and pharma was still at a very basic level when I flew in for the graduate recruitment centre in April.

My advice for other pharma-novices interested in applying is to learn the basics about the company and industry in advance of the telephone interview and recruitment centre. Use the corporate website, the graduate blog and use various news sites to immerse yourself into what is currently happening in the industry.

Most important, however, is your motivation and attitude – why do you want to work in Novo Nordisk? As one of the programme managers (Ove) puts it: we hire for attitude and develop for skills – and not the other way around. In-depth knowledge on the products and the industry can be developed – the right attitude rather not.


Should I apply?
Short answer: there is no short answer. It will depend on what you want from your job, and I think my best help for this question will be to list a few additional questions that you can ask yourself to reach an answer.

(1) How do you feel about starting from scratch?

It is no secret that especially the first months can be hard and frustrating when you participate in meetings where every second word or abbreviation is new to you. One must be willing to see this as a learning opportunity, and understand that it takes a bit extra from you to get up to speed. That being said, you do not need to be an expert on the industry or products to contribute to your team already in the first rotation – analytical qualities and a curious mind can be useful from day one.

(2) How do you feel about working in a relatively slow-moving industry?

The pace of developing, launching and getting new medicines to the market is certainly slower than that for consumer electronics, toys, beauty products, etc., and you should ask yourself if this matters to you. However, be aware that whereas new product launches may not be happening on a monthly basis in this industry, other areas – such as lifecycle management – present highly interesting work tasks.

(3) How do you feel about working in a highly regulated industry?

In this industry, regulations establish certain structures and procedures to be followed. This is necessary and understandable. Looking back at my first four months, I still feel that there has been plenty of room for creative work, and developing competitive solutions “inside the box” may actually be even more challenging than to do so “outside the box”. However, if you get claustrophobic in a structured environment, this industry may not be your first choice.


I hope this post has been helpful to those of you with limited knowledge on the industry, and for those interested in applying, find your preferred programme and send us your application.

If you have other topics you would like addressed here on the blog, let me know, and I will give it a shot!


Take care,

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To apply or not to apply, that is the question.

Category: Business Processes | (2) comments

Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Kronborg Castle in Denmark.
Photo: Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties.












To those that follow the Gregorian calendar, Happy New Year, Bonne Année, 明けましておめでとうございます, and 新年快樂.

One year ago, I did not know anything about Novo Nordisk. In fact, I didn’t even think I would work for a pharmaceutical company.

I learned about Novo Nordisk while studying in Denmark. The company’s corporate philosophy – The Novo Nordisk Way – caught my attention and I was intrigued by how Novo Nordisk strives to conduct its business in a financially, environmentally, and socially responsible way. I specialised in business, Japanese language and culture at school, and applied for the graduate programme because of its international and development opportunities. Here’s a timeline of how Novo Nordisk came into my life.












Novo Nordisk will take care of you. All non-Danish graduates will receive support with their work visa. If you do not have a Danish CPR number, you can also get tax advice and housing support, so you do not have to look for a place to stay when you move to Denmark. Housing support is optional and you are responsible for your monthly rent in Denmark, which is not deducted from your salary.

To apply or not to apply, that is the question. Do apply for the graduate programme if:
• Your academic background is relevant to the graduate programme
• You are in your final year of master’s studies or have graduated in the past year
• You are interested in traveling and working in new environments
• You are comfortable working in English


The graduate programme is competitive, but you have nothing to lose by submitting an application. You can always modify your C.V. for other job applications and learn more about yourself in the process. Here are some questions that I could not have answered a year ago, but now I can share with you.

Do I need to know about diabetes?
• Not for most graduate programmes, including Business Processes. You will receive training once you’re in the programme.
• Nonetheless, you should read about the company before you apply. For example, Novo Nordisk has committed to diabetes for more than 90 years and came in second place in the 2014 Science Careers Top Employers Survey.

Do I need to speak Danish?
• No, not for work. I have lived in Denmark for the past year and still cannot carry a conversation in Danish.
• By the way, Danes are ranked as the best non-native English speakers in the world.

Do I have too much work experience?
• I had three years of work experience before I started my master’s studies and joined the graduate programme right after I finished my master’s courses. You should not have more than one year of work experience after you finish your master’s.
• It is common for European students to go directly from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree, so European graduates are generally younger than the non-Europeans. Experienced professionals seeking a global career are welcome to explore our career site and sign up for the Novo Nordisk email job agent.

How should I write my application and C.V. (résumé)? 
• Use a format that you will want to read if you were the interviewer
• Keep your C.V. between 1-2 pages and you can include a portrait/photo of yourself
• Write in English, proofread, and do NOT send a generic application because it will not be read
• Get a friend or your university’s career centre to look over your application

Should I apply for multiple programmes?
• If you qualify for more than one programme, it doesn’t hurt to apply for more than one. My suggestion is quality of one good application beats quantity of multiple mediocre applications.

Which programme fits me?

• Check out the Graduate Programmes Overview to help you visualise what programme best fits your professional and personal interests.
• Apply for the Global Business Processes programme if you have a general business management degree and are open to working in different business areas within the organisation.

Comment below if you have any questions about the Business Processes programme and/or general questions about the graduate programme.


“This above all: to thine own self be true.” – Hamlet (Act I, Scene III)













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The life of a Business Process graduate in Malaysia…

Category: Business Processes | (6) comments

Dear reader,

Almost a year has passed since I last wrote about my experiences as a Business Process Graduate in Novo Nordisk.

Over the past year, a lot has happened. I have moved to Kuala Lumpur, and almost finalised my second rotation working with Commercial Effectiveness and Marketing. It has been a true adventure, and looking back on the past months, my learning curve has been nothing but extremely steep.

Our regional office for South East Asia and Oceania is located in Kuala Lumpur, and during my rotation I have worked with a large variety of projects across the Asian countries. I have been so lucky to have visited all 8 affiliates in the region, and worked with colleagues from all types of functions. Last week I was in Bangladesh and had the opportunity to ride along with one of the Sales Reps for a day, where I talked to local doctors about the rising challenge of diabetes. It was unique experiencing the truly global presence of Novo Nordisk, and meeting colleagues who despite many differences, all seem to share the same values and overall ambition of changing diabetes®.

Another project I recently worked on was the International Diabetes Federation’s regional meeting in Singapore. I was responsible for our Novo Nordisk booth, where we interacted with health care professionals from across the entire region. Below you will see a photo where I am discussing the day’s successes and learnings with my host manager Theo, my direct manager Trine (and former Global Marketing graduate), and Jørgen – a product manager working in Zürich (and former Business Process graduate).

IDF booth BP8Q0532
From left to right: Trine, Jørgen, Theo and myself.

The second rotation of the graduate programme will provide you with a unique opportunity to work in a completely different cultural context and get a solid understanding of our business, working out in the frontline!

Are you ready to take on the challenge and have a Global career? Then remember to apply for the Graduate programme now and no later than 8 Feb 2015 by clicking here.

All the best,

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You won’t get extra (or minus) points for being an Asian…

Category: Business Processes | (1) comments

The graduate programme seeks only qualified talents and YOU are selected because of your academic achievement, international experience, and personality.

My name is Eric and I am blogging for the 2014 business processes graduate programme. This is a photo of my new Novo Nordisk family (6 Business Processes graduates, 2 Global Marketing graduates, and 2 European Business Management graduates). I’m the guy in the bottom left wearing flip-flops. The ten of us are so well-travelled that we never run out of stories to tell. We actively support each other’s learning by meeting up for lunch or over the weekend to share our diverse knowledge from the different areas of the organization we are assigned to.

My new graduate family from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Latvia, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Novo Nordisk values diversity, but there is no quota or formula for getting into the graduate programme. I am happy to know that I was recruited to the graduate programme because of me, and not simply because of my ethnicity or other attributes that I cannot control.

Since I am posted in the human resources department for my first rotation, I have access to some employee data and created two diversity visuals for the Novo Nordisk graduates worldwide as of November 2014. Remember, the definition of diversity is beyond gender and nationality, and having a different perspective or academic background is diversity too.


It doesn’t matter which gender you identify yourself with, all applicants are evaluated equally and fairly.

Click on the map to see the 37 nationalities.

Click on the map to see the 37 nationalities.

In addition, your nationality (or ethnicity) is not a factor in the assessment process. We have currently hired more than 100 graduates representing 37 nationalities, but there is no “nationality target” for the graduate recruitment. There are more graduates representing some nationalities than others, but that’s because we have a stronger presence and more graduate positions in certain regions.

Novo Nordisk is a growing company with 40,000+ employees in more than 75 countries.
I strongly encourage and challenge all qualified talents to apply for the graduate programme, no matter where you are from in the world.


Do I qualify for the graduate programme? Check out the Graduate FAQ for answers.

Comment below if you have any questions about the Business Processes programme and/or general questions about the graduate programme.




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Rocking the Graduate Recruitment Centre (GRC): key tips and all the blog posts published so far!

Category: Business IT Business Processes Chinese International Graduate Programme European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs Uncategorized | (0) comments

As the deadline for the GRC draws nearer with every day, we can remember how we felt a year ago: a mixture of stress, curiosity, fear but above all excitement! We wondered how to best prepare for these two exciting days, and though we had browsed Novo Nordisk’s website, graduate blog and the entire Internet in search for more information, it somehow never felt enough.

In this blog post, we would like to ease your task of preparation a bit and assure you once more that you do not need to be afraid :-). As many posts about the GRC have already been published and you might find it difficult to find all of these, we have listed them all in our post below, and each of us has picked ONE of our top recommendations that we have for you. Enjoy reading and good luck!


Anne-Sophie’s tip: 4 letters: T.E.A.M.

At this advanced stage of the recruiting process, what does differentiate THE candidate from the other candidates? I do not have the exact answer to give you but I can tell you what I felt at the GRC: teamwork and collaboration! I know what you think: you have read it everywhere, on the website of every company you have applied to, and probably already experienced it along other Assessment Centres. And this is again the case here!

Bear in mind that we are looking for skilled candidates – which we know you are – but also for colleagues and people we can see ourselves working with. Your strengths might be the weakness of others. But instead of using these strengths solely to your own advantage, rely on them to help and drive your other teammates. As a leader and manager, you are expected to empower people and help them grow in their role. Knowing yourself and using your best skills for the benefit of the group and for achieving a common goal will be key to your success at the GRC. I can only give you my example: having had some prior experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I chose to share this knowledge with my teammates for them to better understand the tasks that were given to us and for the group to be faster and more insightful to solve our business case. Of course I felt exposed and sometimes wanted to keep this knowledge only for myself as I thought that this could be a huge personal advantage. But choosing the other way and deciding to use this for the benefit of the group only encouraged us to aim higher. Hence don’t be shy and dare exposing your best self for others!


Lisa’s tip: Never stop believing in yourself and your skills!

My advice to you is: Believe in yourself and show this confidence until the end! Compared to other assessment centres the GRC is quite long. It will be two very intensive days with many different exercises as you already know. You will feel exhausted at some point and there will also be moments where you might not feel happy with your performance. But this should never discourage you. Stay motivated throughout the two days and if there is a moment where you are not pleased with your performance, forget about it quickly and focus all your energy and enthusiasm towards the next task. I am saying this because of a personal experience from last year: Somehow, the business case was not ‘my friend’ right from the start, but when it came to the actual presentation in front of the assessors it seemed that it actually achieved to ‘break my neck’. During the preparation for the business case there were several things that made it difficult for me to properly prepare, so I held the worst presentation that I had ever prepared. And I am not just saying that because I felt like this, but also because I could clearly see from the assessors’ faces and their questions that they were not at all happy with it. I had terrible slides and the content was not really insightful. I felt very bad after this and since it was one of the last exercises, I was sure that I had lost my chance for a graduate position. After some time of feeling miserable I realised that there is still a chance to at least improve the final impression of myself. So I tried to forget about the presentation and focused on the next exercise. Although I did not feel that this actually compensated for my bad performance earlier, I still felt better and more pleased with myself after it went quite well.

In the end, I actually got the graduate position! For me, this shows that one unsuccessful exercise does not mean that you have lost all your chances. When I got the feedback for the GRC, I was honestly told that everyone was negatively surprised by my presentation of the business case at first, but then they admired how confident I presented these ‘lousy’ slides and how honest I answered their questions. They also appreciated that I did not give up after this, but put all my rest energy and motivation in the last exercises.

Hence, I want to show you that the way you deal with an unpleasant experience at the GRC can be key to your success and self-satisfaction. With confidence in your skills you will be able to better deal with such an experience!  


Now that we have given you our two best recommendations for the GRC, please browse the graduate blog and visit the insightful following posts below:

GRC video from 2013

Graduate Recruitment Centre: Last Minute Practicalities

Survival guide to reduce jetlag in the GRC (& something important)

Next Stop: GRC 1-2 of April

GRC: What to expect?

Next steps in the graduate recruitment process, key tips for success

Final words of advice, the Graduate Recruitment Centre

BP Graduate shares experience from last years’ recruitment centre

Ove Munch Ovesen: what is an assessment centre, the expert shares his tips

A job is a 2-way match

Applying for Novo Nordisk and the Graduate Programme – Part 3- Graduate Recruitment Centre

Enjoy the recruitment centre


Good luck and we – together with all the other graduates – will see you on April 1st and 2nd!

 Graduates 2013_Group Picture during Intro Day

All the best,

Lisa and Anne-Sophie


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The phone interview?! Tips and tricks to get ready

Category: Business IT Business Processes Chinese International Graduate Programme European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (32) comments

Congratulations to those of you who have submitted their application to one of the graduate programmes! You have taken the first hurdle in becoming a graduate within Novo Nordisk :-). At the moment, all of your applications are being read through. This is probably the toughest round of the selection process since we receive so many great applications and we can only choose ca. 400 for the phone interview! At the end of February/ beginning of March you will be informed vie E-mail about the outcome of this process. In case you get selected for the next round, we can only say that being selected for the phone interview out of several thousand applications is really a great achievement and the main feeling you should have at that moment is being proud of yourself!

But, of course, you may also be a little bit nervous about what comes next. Therefore, we would like to share with you some tips for how to best prepare for the phone interview. Since there will not be a lot of time between the invitation for the interview and the actual interivew, it might be wise to already start preparing now:

First of all, be assured that there are no traps or mean questions in the phone interview: If you have reached this stage of the process, it means that we already think that you are a great fit with Novo Nordisk and the graduate programme. Interviewers will take the opportunity to get to know you better and get a more thorough understanding of what you previously did and why this made you want to join Novo Nordisk.

So be prepared to talk about the following:

What is your story?

Basically: why did you do what you did (academic and professional experience, extracurricular activities, etc.)?

We like open and honest answers: only a few of us have a straight arrow for a personal and professional path. What your interviewers are interested in is why you made those choices, and why, in regards to your experiences, you have decided that Novo Nordisk would be the best place to achieve your personal and professional development. For example, with regards to my (Lisa) professional experience, my CV was mainly filled with internships in the financial services industry (and mainly at one company). So of course during my phone interview the question came up: Why are you interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry and at Novo Nordisk? Why do you not want to work in the financial services industry and with the company you interned with? Although I had clear answers to these questions in my head, the challenging part was to share them in a logical and convincing way with the interviewer on the phone. Some preparation beforehand definitely helped me with that!

What did you achieve, which challenges did you face and what did you learn?

Take a look at your resume as well as your cover letter: you have to know them BY HEART and be prepared to answer questions regarding them! You will be questioned about both your positive and negative experiences. What you achieved and what you learned. Don’t be fluffy in your answers: of course you have learnt something and of course you had some challenges. What you did to overcome them is what we would like to hear. Also, be ready to elaborate on your achievements. However, no matter how great these might be, try and stay humble :-).

Why Novo Nordisk and why your programme?

We are looking for people who want to contribute to Novo Nordisk’s success. The graduate programme IS challenging, for real. Also you have to be convinced of why you wish to join the programme and what this means to you: What is important for you within Novo Nordisk, what programmes, actions, initiatives appeal to you and why you think they are relevant to Novo Nordisk’s patients, are some of the questions you should ask yourself.

Identify and know your motivation for Novo Nordisk and for the specific programme you will be interviewed for: This is your only chance as you will get interviewed for only one of the programmes you have applied for. Browse Novo Nordisk’s website as well as the graduate blog, podcasts, videos, FB page, etc., there is plenty of information there to help you :-) 

Our last advice: Be yourself because then you will be at your best! The interviewer wants to get to know YOU and since it is the story of your life you are the one who knows it best!

Also remember: everyone is nervous during phone interviews and the interviewer knows this as well and will not hold this against you. It is just natural. But if you smile while talking (Yes, you can definitely hear if someone is smiling on the phone!) and if you even manage to laugh this will not only leave a positive impression to the interviewer, but also make you more relaxed.

To read more about interview tips and tricks, read the following blog posts:

–      My top 3 tips for the phone interview

–      Phone interview and the Graduate Recruitment Centre – key tips for success

–      OH BOY!!! Interviews scare me…

Now enjoy the rest of this weekend and stay tuned for more blog posts to come!

Anne-Sophie and Lisa

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Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing Uncategorized | (28) comments

As I have talked with many people who are interested in applying to the programme and in general they all seem to have similar doubts regarding the screening process of the applications, I thought I would unveil the mystery to you so you know exactly what is happening and what to expect.

1.    We receive applications

We receive applications until the 9th of February but we already start reading them in January. Therefore we do encourage you to submit your application rather sooner than later, to avoid being part of the last-minute rush that tends to happen every year.

 2.    We screen applications

A group of HR partners and programme managers supported by current graduates screen applications for the different programs, usually within their own tracks. To assure transparency every “screener” gets assigned certain letters of the alphabet corresponding to applicants’ names, to screen these resumes.

 3.    We discuss with our “screening partners”

After having received and screened all the applications, everyone selects about 10-15 people from their stack. These applications are presented in a meeting with the screening partners (2-3 people within the respective program screening group) and for each screener we narrow down the candidates to 7 profiles. 

 4.    We meet with the programme managers and HR

Once 7 profiles have been selected by each screener we have a meeting in HQ with the respective programme managers and HR partners for each graduate programme track. Here everyone presents their best candidates. We look at all the profiles and have an iterative discussion, which is why the final selection is the result of a very long day.

 5.    The selected candidates are invited to a phone interview

The ones selected during the screening day are being contacted for a phone interview by either HR or the programme manager. If you get to this point you should be aware that indeed you are very close, and by this time at least about 10 people have discussed and approved of your profile, so take a deep breath and lay back just a little bit.

 6.    Online tests, just to be on the safe side

The candidates who “passed” the phone interview (I put that in quotation marks, because it is really about chemistry rather than an examination) will be invited to the Graduate Recruitment Centre. Before the GRC you will receive an online numerical and personality test to assess some of your skills. If your score is not the absolute best one on the maths test this is not going to be a deal breaker and you are not going to get un-invited to the GRC.

 7.    The grand finale: the GRC

The Graduate Recruitment Centre, which is the assessment centre for the program, will take place in April during 2 days and here you will have the opportunity to show yourself in person by taking part in team and individual activities. There will be no particular and detalied previous knowledge required on the industry or the company to ensure successful participation.



3 key take-aways for you:

  • We do closely examine all applications. All profiles go through the hands of experienced recruiters. This is why it is so important for you to submit some “quality material” both regarding content and layout. You can find endless number of posts about this on our blog.
  • The process is more about fit than skills. The emphasis is on personality and what you could develop into, so don’t start to practice calculating square roots of five digit numbers in your head, it will be moderately useful.
  • This is a marathon not a sprint. During the process your profile will go through the hands of many people so your aim should not be to impress but to build a good image through being true to yourself, humble but confident and to gain the recruiters trust.



We have some busy months ahead…stay tuned.



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