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What makes the Graduate Programme special ?

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Finance Global Marketing International Operations Business | (1) comments

Dear readers,

As this blog has been created and developed for you to get an insight into what the graduate programme is and what you can experience during the programme, we asked the 2013 Management Graduates to tell us what  makes the Graduate Programme special for them.
Find below their answer and enjoy the tour!
For those graduates who are also blogging we linked their names to their profile, so that you can easily continue reading about their graduate experience.

Xi, Global Finance Graduate
Xi 1

Having tasks I like: From my university studies and internship experience, I knew that I am fond of Corporate Finance. It is important for me to do what I like, because that is where my motivation comes from.
Learn and become stronger: I am always excited about one thing – going outside my comfort zone and really testing myself what I can do. Taking calculated risk inspires me!
Feel like at home: I have always found managers and colleagues who respect and support me. It encourages me to step up to the plate in my role.”

Vicky, IO Graduate from Colombia


“In a short period of time, the different experiences that we have during the Graduate Programme allow us to see the company from different corners while expanding our professional network. We have the chance to have a steep learning curve within the business, which can be a challenge, but it really pushes the boundaries of our comfort zones and allows us to think outside the box. Altogether, I think being a graduate in Novo Nordisk is one of a kind opportunity to build an international, life-changing career!”

Tanya, Global Marketing Graduate
Tanya Blog

“Think of the graduate programme as getting a rare ticket for the best roller coaster out there. Prepare for a steep learning curve. Adapt to your new positions fast. Be ready for both ups and downs. Feel free to be vocal. Aim high, perform, but keep your balance. Hold on tight!”

Steph, Business Processes Graduate

Steph 2

“The programme can be adapted to each person; you have the flexibility to explore and involve yourself in different projects. Reaching out to people is easy and helps you navigate your way around the organisation.”

Sidsel, Global Marketing Graduate


“The graduate programme is special to me because it is a unique way of being exposed to a multicultural work place, work in different parts of the world, gain a great network and participating in multiple training and development courses.”

Shafak, Business Processes Graduate


“The graduate program is special to me because it embarks me on a journey of steep learning curves across 3 rotations cushioned with training programs and on-the-job learning. Hence, preparing me to take on a very responsible role within Novo Nordisk. We are all aware of how hard it is to land a decent job after graduation. It is a great privilege and a humbling experience to be selected amongst well-qualified applicants across the globe, and now, to be working with one of the best companies in the world. Finally, a sudden death of my grandfather was a wakeup call for me: diabetes claims people’s lives!!! The graduate program allows me to work and contribute towards a cause that is close to my heart.”

, Business Processes Graduate


“There is a sense of open-mindedness and being down to earth amongst all the graduates – everyone is friendly, easy to talk to, help, sociable, FUN – and more importantly willing to have fun. The support of the graduate network (current graduates across different programme tracks and former graduates), is very strong and it makes me feel…calm (for lack of a better word), to know that I can always reach out for advice, help, and guidance at any moment and about anything. Additionally  something that makes working for Novo Nordisk special and different from the rest, is you are making a difference in people’s and patient’s lives. This is a mentality the focus on patients is something that is reinforced every day.”

, IO Graduate from Algeria


“The graduate programme is for me a unique career path that I’m very glad to explore for many reasons:
Challenge: you are obliged to leave your comfort zone, and work in different business related areas (Marketing, Sales, Quality, Finance…) across the cultural barriers.
Solid experience: by taking up this challenge you will be awarded by a strong experience opening for you the doors of different opportunities.
Personal development: Besides the personal development plan and follow up, travelling and meeting colleagues and friends from the four corner of the world contribute on your personal development by improving your adaptation skills and your international knowledge.”

, Business Processes Graduate

Mia blog

“For me, the graduate programme is special because it’s international, challenging and dynamic. First of all, as a graduate you are surrounded by other graduates from all over the world and as part of the programme you have to go abroad –for me, the international scope is the main thing to widen my horizon and get smarter. Moreover, the programme is challenging – on my first rotation I am managing a global project and am challenged every day, especially having to manage many different stakeholders at once. The programme is also dynamic – in 2 years you go to three different departments, working with three completely different areas of the business. This means that the learning curve is very steep and you get a good overview of the overall business after a short period of time.”

Lisa, European Business Management Graduate
Lisa Blog

“The graduate programme is special for me because during a very short period of time you get exposure to so many parts of the organisation through three rotations in three different departments and countries and at three different business levels (global, regional, and local). In addition, you go on a two-year journey which is very well organised and managed. It is not just a ‘Trainee’ programme as I knew it from other companies (where you are often just a ‘cheap’ labour, not doing much more than during an internship), but a real programme including seminars, workshops, learning trips, language courses, etc. In particular, I like that this programme does not only focus on your professional development, but also your personal development!”

Kris, Business Processes Graduate


“By working for Novo Nordisk, I contribute to the fight against diabetes, one of the world’s most wide-spread epidemics. In doing so, I contribute to changing the life of millions of people diagnosed with the disease to the better – that is best motivation to go work every day.
By being enrolled in Novo Nordisk’s graduate programme, you are not only teamed up with the best people in the industry, you are also enrolled in one of the best graduate programmes there is. That keeps me on the toes and pushes me to continuously do better!
Novo Nordisk operates in 76 countries and markets its products in 180 countries around the world – the international opportunities with Novo are endless…”

Bruno, IO Graduate from Brazil

“The awesome thing about the graduate program in Novo Nordisk is that your manager will challenge you with important tasks, even though it might be your first professional experience. It is all about facing risks and putting yourself out there. And when I say ‘out there’ I mean really out there – perhaps overseas? This exposure and risky tasks will give you an incredible learning experience and lots of fun.”

Anne-Sophie, European Business Management Graduate
AnneSophie Blog

“Besides everything else that has been mentioned by the other graduates, the graduate programme is an incredible opportunity to get to fulfil yourself in so many ways it is difficult to keep track. You are your own master and every tool is given to you to reach your self-accomplishment, whether on a social, professional or values and ideals level. Dare take the risk and jump into it!”

Hence, jump and apply for Global BusinessesGlobal Marketing or International Operations!

The 2013 Business Graduate Team

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An insider perspective on the first rotation… Part II

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing International Operations Business | (2) comments

Hi again!
In this post, following Lisa’s one, I will tell you a bit more about what a first rotation in the EBM programme can look like… Challenges and learnings are the two pillars of the first four months… Enjoy the reading and please ask your questions if any!

: While reflecting on what I should share with you about being a graduate at Novo Nordisk, I realized that it had been all so fast it is actually difficult to keep track of everything! Now sitting down and having to actually think, I would like to share some of my own personal challenges in taking up the job, but also what I have learned so far…

You embark for a real journey…
This is it, here we are on the first of September, taking a group picture with the entire new graduate intake, thinking that the next two years is the achievement of your studies, of your parents investing in you, your friends throwing you a goodbye party and your own long-searched professional objective. So far so good!

But nothing had prepared me to the realization that, despite how much I had prepared myself, it was real! It is not university anymore, it is not another 2-year programme you enrol in before going back to your cosy life. Embarking for the Graduate Programme means a long-term commitment to yourself, to the people that believe in you, and to the cause defended by Novo Nordisk. The scope of the programme goes well beyond the first two years, and this pretty terrifying realization brings with it a whole new lot of self-questioning. For most of us, we are at the age where our friends start settling down, whether geographically, in a job or in a relationship… And we have chosen the complete opposite path, the adventure and the unknown, living in a new culture and leaving behind what was so comfortable… I think it is difficult to realize the extent of this dimension when getting in the programme!

…And you get to learn every day!
But then come your team and your projects, and you know why you’re there!

Since the first of September, I have joined a team directly relating to Novo Nordisk patients: to prove the clinical benefits of Novo Nordisk medicines, we support clinical teams in finding patients for clinical trials and keep these patients involved in the trial for its entire length. Hence we will obtain relevant clinical data that will support the commercialisation of the new drug and guarantee a new treatment option for diabetic patients.

This scientific communication is really fascinating and I got to see so many parts of the organization I had no clue about! I love being able to get an insight in all the pre-commercialisation phases of a drug, knowing how and why it has been developed, what are the needs of the diabetic population and how, us as a team, can have an influence on the kind of treatment that will reach those patients.
Besides the patients, I also get to work with physicians, specialists, psychologists, nurses, etc. It is so interesting to see how complex the healthcare system is, and to realize that a disease such as diabetes goes beyond being sick but has a very deep influence on the patients’ mental state, their family and friends, their job and everything surrounding them.
Knowing that my daily job aims at easing this burden really motivates me and I know why I get up in the morning.

No change comes as a huge single step but rather as a series of little steps. Hence, no day is similar to the previous one, but I see a trend: you learn and grow as an individual by taking the opportunity to slowly change the world. And I love it!

So if you also want to change the world one step at a time, join the Global Business Programmes!


To read about Lisa’s experience, click here!

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An insider perspective on the first rotation… Part I

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

Dear readers,

In our last blog post we gave a (long!) introduction about the EBM programme; today we would like to give you a little bit more insight into what we actually do as a graduate within Novo Nordisk, and show you that though in the same programme, we can actually have quite different tasks and experiences. So… what happened during those last four months?

Lisa’s experience:

As most of the other graduate programmes, the European Business Management Programme starts on the 1st of September. I have to admit that I did not really appreciate this date, because I had just finished my exams in July, was still writing my Master’s Thesis in August, and was therefore desperately looking for some holiday before starting my first job. Once I finished my Master’s Thesis (I had to finish earlier than required to be able to organise everything for Copenhagen), I only had two weeks left to go back to Germany, say hello (and goodbye) to my friends and family, pack my stuff for Copenhagen and organise my move to Denmark. I can tell you that once I arrived in Denmark on the day before I started the graduate programme, I felt more than ready for vacation!

Fortunately, my arrival in Denmark was quite pleasant. The apartment was really great and my two flatmates for the first 8 months in Copenhagen seemed also very nice. I had already met Anne-Sophie during the Graduate Recruitment Centre (GRC) in March and although we had been supposed to compete for the same graduate programme, we got a long very well and were thus very happy to join the programme together and then also live together in Copenhagen. Our third flatmate is doing the Global Marketing Graduate Programme and it is a great pleasure to share the apartment with her. After this pleasant arrival in Copenhagen I was already a little bit more excited about my first day as a graduate which was expecting me the next morning. We had an interesting Introduction Day where we met most of the other graduates as well. The day after, we were already in our departments in which we would spend the following 8 months.

I was placed in Global Market Access for my first rotation. This department includes the functions Strategic Pricing, Health Economics, Value Communication and Market Access Managers. For my rotation I am part of the latter function. Broadly speaking, the Global Market Access Team is responsible for the market access strategies of our products all around the world. We therefore work very closely together with other departments and teams, for example the brand teams.

I think I was really lucky being sent to this team for my first rotation. You can get a great overview of all the different markets Novo Nordisk is operating in. You are also exposed to the many challenges that the company faces when entering markets with its products. Depending on the country/market, there are many restrictions and regulations that make it very difficult to meet the necessary entry requirements. The pricing of the products is often a very crucial part of a successful access strategy. Every day, I learn a lot in this team which fits the steep learning I was told about by other graduates before joining Novo Nordisk. On the other hand, I have to admit that it is also quite challenging for me. Given that I am new to the pharmaceutical industry I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the new information I receive and need to ‘digest’. Since everyone in the team is, however, very helpful with answering all my questions, I feel very well supported and not pressured at all to know everything immediately after I have heard about it for the first time. It is great, that although I do not have pharmaceutical experience, I get a lot of responsibility. I am already a project manager of a project which is linked to the strategy development process of the team. I came up with a process of how insights about payers can be generated, shared and used within the team (especially for the strategy development) and I will now implement this process in 2014. My project is very interesting and requires a lot of stakeholder management, something that is crucial for every project within Novo Nordisk.

It is fascinating, how quickly the last four months have passed by and I am already sad to leave Copenhagen in May. When I arrived in September, I did not only have to get used to the working life (compared to my student life), but also to the Danish culture, language, a new industry and new people. It has been really challenging past four months for me, but also a great experience and I can say that so far the graduate programme really lived up to my expectations!

…Read Anne-Sophie’s experience here and apply for the Global Business Programmes!

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The European Business Management Programme – Our perfect match! (Yours, too?)

Category: European Business Management | (6) comments

Hello everyone and welcome to our first blog post!

8 months ago we were in your shoes, wondering how and when to apply for one of the many graduate programmes Novo Nordisk is offering. By that time we found that the graduate blog was extremely helpful in the decision, application and selection process! We hope that through this graduate blog you will find as much inspiration as we did back then.

We decided that we – the 2013 European Business Management Graduates – will blog together. With this approach we wish to give you a more thorough idea of what the programme is about and show you that two very different persons can find their place in the same programme. Hence, you will find this blog post written in an interview style. We hope you will like it!

In this post we will go a bit deeper into where we come from; why we think that Novo Nordisk is worth applying for and why the European Business Programme is the way to go!

So let’s go back in time and see how we felt a few months ago…


Who are you and what is your background?

Lisa: My name is Lisa and I am 26 years old. I was born in Germany and grew up in a small village near Munich. I did my bachelor studies in International Business in Munich and given my studies’ international focus I learned English, Spanish and French, did one internship in France and spent one term in Canada. After finishing my bachelor studies, I took one year off and did several internships in Germany and abroad (in the financial services industry) in order to find out what I really wanted to do after a rather general bachelor degree. However, I soon realised that I actually liked this broad range of courses and went for a general master’s degree in Management at the LSE, and added a second degree in International Management through CEMS where I spent my year abroad in Rotterdam. As you can see I did not really have any experience or contact with the pharmaceutical industry before joining Novo Nordisk. So being in the graduate programme now is almost like going to school again :-).

Anne-Sophie: I am Anne-Sophie, recently turned 25, and joined the programme as Lisa on the 1st of September 2013. Before joining Novo Nordisk and deciding to leave France for the northern cold Denmark, I used to work in another pharmaceutical company in France. My background is in many ways similar to Lisa’s: Bachelor in International Business, Master in Management and studies both in France and Germany. However, after an awful summer job in a luxury boutique, I decided it was time to find a purpose for my professional life! Coming from a doctor’s family, I geared towards the pharmaceutical industry and had the chance to spend one year in a biotech pharmaceutical firm, where I realised that this was what I wanted to do: working in a highly technical market, and knowing that what I do improves the health of so many people around the world.


Why did you apply for Novo Nordisk?

Lisa: One of my number one criteria for choosing Novo Nordisk was the company’s values which are completely aligned with the values I have – something that I had not felt with any other company before. On the website and by reading the graduate blog and talking to employees, I could learn a lot about the ‘Novo Nordisk Way’ and I especially appreciated the transparency and honesty Novo Nordisk promotes. I think one very good example for this is the graduate blog. All blog posts that you are currently reading have been written and posted by graduates without any final review by the company. For me, this shows how much Novo Nordisk trusts its employees and how much it values honesty and transparency.

Anne-Sophie: As Lisa said, Novo Nordisk values are extremely strong, and the one that appeals to me the most is its patient-centric approach. No matter which project is undertaken, it has one objective: improving patients’ lives. The projects are conducted with the idea that the patient is always the most important stakeholder, and this gives a real meaning to what you do. Which I think brings us to the strong impact of the company.

Lisa: Yes, you are right, Anne-Sophie. And this impact you have through your work at Novo Nordisk really motivated me to apply to the company. Although I had studied business and management, both of my study programmes very much promoted the importance of making a difference in other people’s life. I participated in several social projects and this work was so rewarding that I wanted to continue with having a positive impact. I feel that working for Novo Nordisk allows me to give meaning to my work and finally make a difference every day by contributing to the firm’s extraordinary work against diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Anne-Sophie: Besides those values, I strongly believe that since a job represents already almost 50% of your awake time, this should not infringe in any ways the other 50%! Whether the company culture or the Danish culture, Novo Nordisk has a very flexible approach to the job and allows you to combine as much as possible your personal interest with your professional obligations. I just love this freedom and this highly motivates me to give the best of myself!

Lisa: Yes, I would agree that Novo Nordisk allows a good work-life balance. However, I have to add that this does not look like a 9 to 4 job with a one hour lunch break everyday (at least this was what friends promised me about the Danish culture before coming to Copenhagen :-)). Since I am completely new to the industry, I can easily work up to 12 hours a day. But as I like my tasks very much, I see this as a great opportunity to learn and the social atmosphere at work makes it very enjoyable.

But I also wanted to add a final reason to why I chose to apply for a graduate programme at Novo Nordisk and this is that it is a truly global company with a strong foothold in all regions around the world. Already during my high school years and then later during my studies and internships I very much appreciated getting to know different cultures. I definitely wanted to have an international focus also for my first job and Novo Nordisk is offering this internationality.


Why did you choose the European Business Management programme?

Having a European focus…

Lisa: I would say one of the main criteria for me to apply for the European Business Management programme was its focus on Europe. I have lived in Germany for most of my life and have studied and worked in several other European countries. To focus on Europe for my professional career came therefore quite natural to me. So I would say that if you also have a great interest in Europe this is a good start for applying to the programme!

Anne-Sophie: I agree with this, and this was also a strong motivator for me. Besides this, my previous experience in the industry taught me how complex and sophisticated the European market is. The current industry trends in Europe are squeezing governments, health authorities and pharma firms into so many dilemmas. I think this is highly thrilling and exciting! I love the challenges that reside behind questions such as “which treatment should be prioritised?”, “how do we guarantee access to premium products with a decrease of healthcare expenditure?”, “how do we finance R&D and in which therapeutic area?” etc. You’ll soon find out what attracts you the most!

…with Marketing and Sales at the heart of the programme…

Lisa: As you can see from my academic background, I always went for rather generalist study programmes. I am interested in so many different things that I find it hard to specialise. In addition, from my internships in the financial services industry I realised that pure finance would not be for me and that I would rather combine it with marketing. The European Business Programme seemed like a perfect fit for me since it is a rather generalist graduate programme (compared to, for example, the Global Marketing programme), but still has a commercial focus, including marketing and sales. It offers the possibility to combine my interest in numbers and analytics with marketing. Hence, the European Business Programme allows you to not only have rotations in Marketing and Sales departments, but also in Market Access, Commercial Excellence, Sales Effectiveness, etc. Each one of these areas cast new light on the commercial aspect of the company’s business.

Anne-Sophie: As Lisa, I have never been a finance girl, and my previous experiences convinced me that I should go for something close to the market, to the physicians and to the patients. Working in the pharmaceutical industry with no scientific background is highly challenging, and this is what I like. When bringing treatments to physicians, you need to be able to explain them what it is, where it comes from, and what the scientific proofs are, backing up the safety and efficacy of the medicine. Translating pure scientific data into understandable facts is very fulfilling! Besides, being so close to the market really allows you to understand the patients’ needs; and the highly regulated environment forces you to think out of the box to try and find new solutions to answer these needs.

… while having exposure to different parts of the business

Lisa: I liked the approach of the European Graduate Programme to have rotations in three different countries and departments at three different business levels. You start at the global level in Novo Nordisk’s headquarters in Copenhagen. After eight months, you will go to another European country to join a different department either at the regional level (in the European headquarters in Zurich) or local level (in one of Novo Nordisk’s European affiliates). Currently, I am working in Market Access in Copenhagen which among others is responsible for the global market access strategies for Novo Nordisk’s products. When going to an affiliate, for example, I will be able to see the more operational part of the business and will rather work on implementing the strategies developed in headquarters. After the two years of the programme I will thus have had exposure to many different parts of the organisation in a rather short period of time. This is an exciting journey I believe!

Anne-Sophie: Indeed, these rotations at three different levels of the company will allow you to have a very thorough idea of Novo Nordisk’s business, how and where it operates, what are the on-going projects, the challenges to overcome or the promising development areas. This broad knowledge will empower you in finding your own path for your rotations and gear you to your final objective which is to join Novo Nordisk as a permanent employee, in the area where you think you can best contribute.


Key take-aways from this blog post:

After giving you so much information we thought it would be helpful to summarise what we think are the most important aspects you should take away from this first blog post.

As you can see, the programme appeals to a broad variety of people (we both are rather different in our experience, background and personality). In particular, there is no need to have a pharmaceutical background (as you can see from Lisa’s profile), and the programme is not limited to solely European citizens either. There are, however, some criteria we feel are essential to really benefit from the European Business Management Programme (and these are things that we both actually share):

  • A keen interest in the European market
  • A rather generalist profile with broader interest in marketing and sales (if you know exactly that you want to specialise in finance for example, there might be other graduate programmes which are more suitable for you)
  • The strong desire to really make a difference and have a positive impact on other people’s life 
  • The will to see and learn a lot
  • The readiness to live up to the strong company values

We really hope this blog post gave you a good insight into who we are, why we applied at Novo Nordisk and especially why we chose the European Business Management Programme. Additional blog posts will follow soon, but if you already have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, either by commenting on this post or emailing us via our blogging profile.

Thank you very much for reading this post and have a Merry Christmas!

Anne-Sophie and Lisa

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What to expect in the assessment centre

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (5) comments

Congratulations to those who have made it to the next round in the recruitment process! To be one of the few chosen ones for the telephone interview among almost 7000 applicants is already a big achievement! Within the next couple of days you will receive an answer if you have made it to the assessment centre. Fingers crossed!

The assessment centre. There is a fascination about the recruitment centre that makes applicants curious about it, already before they have even started writing their motivational letter. I remember very well fearing  and at the same time wondering about what will happen in those two days. Only the fact that it lasts for two days terrified me to the extent that I locked myself up in the library in order to learn Novo Nordisk’s financial statement by heart. In retrospect, this was pretty ridiculous. But I did not want to leave room for taking chances. I am not saying you should not prepare the details, do whatever makes you feel confident. However, in order to shed light into the dark, I will give you in the following an overview of what to expect in those notorious two days (based on last years recruitment centre).

The first day starts off in our headquarter in Bagsvaerd, close to Copenhagen. You will meet around 120 other applicants from all over the world. Everyone is incredibly nice and thus new acquaintances are easily made. What follows is an impressive introduction to the company. At the latest at this point you will realize how exciting it must be to work for Novo Nordisk and how valued graduates are within the company.
After the introduction and some mingling with the other applicants, you will go to the conference centre, where the assessment for the following two days takes place.

What follows are numerous different activities to assess your:
1. personal fit to Novo Nordisk
2. people skills
3. presentation skills
4. team player skills
5. your motivation for Novo Nordisk and the program you applied to
6. analytical and critical thinking

Group exercises: You will be doing couple of group exercises in which you have to solve non real life problems within your group, either under time pressure or solution oriented, or both. I remember the group exercises as very challenging but at the same time as a lot of fun. Personally, this was my favourite part of the assessment centre.

Interview: You will have interviews with the recruiters. The interviews are very program specific and accordingly focus areas might differ. You can expect however that no matter to which program you applied your personality is focal point.

Presentation: You might be asked to prepare a presentation on a specific topic which will be presented to one or more of the recruiters.

Case Study: Last year we received a case based on a real life challenge of a pharmaceutical company. In a group of applicants from the same program you have to come up with tangible solutions to the case which will be presented to all other groups and recruiters.

Throughout the assessment centre current graduates will be present to answer all your questions and to get to know you better. At the end of the first day you can look forward to a very nice dinner in one of Copenhagen’s fantastic restaurants. Don’t stay up too long though, the second day is by no means more relaxed than the first.

All in all, the assessment centre is extremely intense but at the same time a lot of fun. You get to know many like minded, interesting people.  But what is more, you also get to know yourself better which makes the graduate assessment centre a truly rewarding experience.

For tips on how to succeed in the recruitment centre, please read these posts by Elin and Antti.

I hope to have clarified some concerns about the assessment centre. And I very much look forward to meet you there!




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My top 3 tips for the phone interview & assessment center

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing | (6) comments

Dear all applicants,

I would like to share my best tips and tricks for the phone interview and the recruitment center to ensure that you have a successful recruiting process. My main three tips are:

  1. Be yourself 

Be yourself – this sounds very cliché and might be something that everyone thinks they are doing. However, it is very common to act according to some set norm, for instance in relation to how to respond to questions or how to act among the other candidates in the recruiting process. What I noticed during my time in the phone interview and in the assessment center was that the assessers only wanted to get to know me as a person and nothing fancier than that. So please be yourself and do not try to be more or less. It will only work in your disadvantage. I think it is important to note that everyone is unique and we all have something special to bring to the table. So please show it and think about concrete examples were you show your uniqueness.

  1. Know yourself

Assess yourself before going into the phone interview and the assessment center. This is also something you probably have heard before, but many people think they know themselves however when the question about your weaknesses come, you do not know how to answer it with clear and concrete examples. You need to know your pitfalls and your strengths. You need to know what you would do to overcome your pitfalls and how this can be applied in a work setting. Think about the things that make you stressed and why it makes you stressed. Also, consider how you would solve the situation. Think about what type of people you prefer to work with and people that you prefer not to work with. Thereafter, dig deeper into why you like/dislike to work with these type of people. By going through this thought process you will get insights into your personality, work traits and core qualities as well as your pitfalls.

  1. Identify the meaning of this job to you

For me it was really important finding a job that I can relate to on a more personal level and where I feel that I am working towards something useful. My motivation started with my grandfather, who has type 2 diabetes, this is something I have seen him struggling with for many years. Thus, I had a strong urge to help him and people like him to simplify their diabetes treatment. Another strong motivation for me was the connection to the developing countries, Africa especially. I knew that Novo Nordisk is making a difference for these people by giving them access to treatment. For me, these two aspects make the everyday work day challenging, interesting and truly motivating. I advise you to find your true motivation as to why you would like to start your career in Novo Nordisk. It can be one motivation or many, but make sure that you have them clear in your mind and show them through examples.

These were my top three tips for successfully going through the recruiting process. I hope you find it useful and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

All the best,


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

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing | (31) comments

Dear reader,

Thank you for your application! This year we received an all-time record of applications, with close to 7.000 eager candidates. As we are committed to read every single application, we are already busy getting more acquainted with you.

Many of you are curiously pondering the next steps of the application process. Therefore, keep your eyes and ears open, useful tips will follow as I will introduce you to the next steps in the process!

Phone interview (-end of February)

After the application screening, we will invite a selected number of candidates for a phone interview, lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. We are targeting to complete all telephone interviews with selected candidates before the end of February.

Personally I found these five points the most important when preparing for a telephone interview:

  • Ensure proper facilities. Make sure to have a calm place for your interview, a place where you won’t be disturbed and where you feel comfortable at. Also, it’s very important that you have a good telephone connection, so communicating with the interviewer can be done smoothly and you can focus on what’s important.
  • Make time. Book an extra 20 minutes of your time for the interview in case of any delay. Some of us (such as myself) are a bit more elaborate over the phone, and therefore the interview might turn out to be a little bit longer than expected.
  • Be prepared to explain why. Read your CV and your cover letter, and go through your key points. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your CV and elaborate further on your own motivation towards the industry, the company and the programme. Think of different examples you could share in order to expand on your past challenges, success stories and learning points.
  • A little desk research never hurts. Your knowledge of Novo Nordisk’s business is certainly not the key focus at this stage, but getting an idea for yourself might prove very useful. Knowing the very basics of Novo Nordisk would be likely to crystallize your own direction as well.
  • Relax. I cannot emphasize this enough: there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of about the telephone interview. As long as you make sure not to dive into it without some preparation, you will do great. Have a good breath of fresh air and put on your best smile, it sounds crazy but even over the telephone it sets the right mood.

Graduate Recruitment Centre (Copenhagen, Denmark 19 – 20 March)

After the completion of the phone interviews, 150 candidates will receive an invitation to the Graduate Recruitment Centre in Copenhagen. The purpose of the GRC is to evaluate applicants’ skills and capabilities on an individual and group level, using different exercises, interviews and a business case.

Five key tips for preparing for the GRC:

  • Present yourself as the person you are. Yes, it sounds like the ultimate cliché, but being yourself is probably the most important thing for you to be successful. As you will be evaluated by recruiting professionals, you do best by being genuine and sincere. Any other tactic will not take you far.
  • Reflect your motivation. Go back to your CV and your motivation letter and reflect upon yourself as an applicant. Why do I want this job? Why do I find this industry so fascinating? Why do I want to become a part of Novo Nordisk as a graduate? How do I want to develop as a young professional? What do I want from the programme?
  • Where would I fit best? Take a moment to consider your professional ambitions behind becoming a graduate. Be completely honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and try to picture yourself working within the pharmaceutical industry as a graduate. What do I wish to experience? Where would I wish to go? What do I wish to achieve? At this point, reading a little more about the business and Novo Nordisk would be likely to help clarifying your initial vision.
  • Have a good rest. Take it easy on the day before, maybe get some exercise and then invest in a full night’s sleep. The GRC is an exciting and intensive two-day event, and therefore the energy will be needed.
  • Relax and enjoy every bit of it. The GRC is always a unique and fun experience for the participants. Most of all, it’s a social event by nature, and a fantastic opportunity to get together with great people from all over the world. So remember a big smile, it will take you places! =)

Questions are warmly welcome. Good luck and keep on shining!


Check out a video from the Graduate Recruitment Centre 2012:

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What is the World Diabetes Day and how is it celebrated in South Africa, China, United Arab Emirates and Brazil?

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

Over the course of each year several of the ~34.000 Novo Nordisk employees around the world takes part in activities to create awareness about diabetes and support the people living with the disease. One of the major activities takes place on the 14. November each year, namely the World Diabetes Day.

Each year on this date, Novo Nordisk partners with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in support of the United Nations Resolution on Diabetes. On this day employees, partners, people with diabetes and the general public are united to change diabetes. The date, 14. November, was chosen as it is the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1921. Since the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Resolution on diabetes in December 2006, World Diabetes Day has become an official United Nations World Health Day.

This special day is usually celebrated with various activities in countries all over the world. To give you an impression, here follows testimonials from me and my fellow Corporate Finance graduates around the world.

Name: Adam Bo Petersen

Country: Johannesburg, South Africa

Current rotation: Finance, South Africa Affiliate, Business Area Africa Gulf and India (BAAGI)

Past rotations: Corporate Controlling and Strategic Finance (HQ DK), Insights and Forecasting (HQ DK)

How did you/your area celebrate world diabetes day: The affiliate celebrated the world diabetes day by having all employees dressed up in the same Novo Nordisk t-shirt. We had a great presentation by an internal speaker with interesting perspectives and videos from the world diabetes foundation. The national cycle team sponsored by Novo Nordisk South Africa also visited the office and after the visit we enjoyed a nice South African lunch together.


Name: Jeannine Hethey

Country: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Current rotation: Finance, Legal and IT, BAAGI Dubai Office

Past rotations: Management Support, Business Assurance (HQ DK), Business Assurance India (GSC Bangalore, India)

How did you/your area celebrate world diabetes day:

They organized different awareness events – including:

–      A Diabetes Day at a school where we (most of my colleagues from the office and I) also went to participate on the 14 Nov. This included some games about Diabetes and healthy lifestyle for the students as well as some educational session for the parents and a group picture after a short walk with all the students.

–      A diabetes awareness quiz running all week – with a presentation of in-depth answers by the end

–      A step-counting competition running for about two weeks

–      A session with a local diabetes doctor

Name: Jan Iser

Country: Tianjin, China

Current rotation: Finance & Business Strategy,

Past rotations: Product Supply Financial Planning (HQ DK), Corporate Tax (HQ DK)

How did you/your area celebrate world diabetes day: We had a “Diabetes walk” around both production plants. Parents received a game “Healthy beast and Moody monster” for their kids, that should help them distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food. We could also take a diabetes themed photo at some stalls and sign up for “Take Action” (Novo Nordisk internal initiatives allowing employees to volunteer in activities such as diabetes awareness campaigns, fundraisings, diabetes youth camps, collections, walkathons, local community activities and much more), where we have a partnership with an orphanage.


Name: Thomas Flemming Thorsen

Country: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Current rotation: BALAT Finance, Business Area Latin America Regional Office

Past rotations: Risk Office (HQ DK), Finance Projects (HQ DK)

How did you/your area celebrate world diabetes day: On the 14th of November, the entire office was decorated with awareness posters and balloons, and all employees were wearing the same t-shirt to help create awareness. During the week, there were several activities taking place around the office. I participated in a voluntary activity together with my girlfriend, helping out a local Diabetes organization handing out brochures and guiding people to professional nurses where they could get their bloodsucar tested and receive guidance on what to be aware of. 

If you are interested and want to know more, you can read more about the World Diabetes Day here: Link

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The 10 things you need to get right when preparing your application

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing | (41) comments

Dear all,

I have received numerous emails / PMs regarding the application and as much as I would like to get back to everyone in time I thought it might be easier if I write a blog post. There might be many points that you know already; in any case I tried to list what I think are the most important things to pay attention to when filing your application:

  1. Prepare a clean cut CV

Don´t forget that we have to screen many applications, so the easier you make the job for the people reading your CV, the better your chances are. How?

  • List different sections (education, professional experience etc.) separately with clear headers
  • Show dates prominently next to activity (don´t make it a hassle to find out whether you have graduated one months or five years ago)
  • Follow chronologic order (preferably from today backwards in time for each section respectively)
  • Make important details stand out (font, underline, italics)
  • List your tasks in internships and specialization during your studies in bullet points
  1. Keep it concise

As we have to screen many applications, CVs of several pages (meaning more than two or max. three pages) might be hard to read thoroughly. As for the cover letter, I would suggest one page as the limit.

  1. Pay attention to detail

Remember that this is the first impression you make, so show your dedication by taking some extra time on reviewing your application.

  • Avoid typos: Typos suggest that you have not read through your application and you probably don´t care too much. If necessary ask your mom to read it for youJ
  • Don´t try to make documents become one single PDF file by scanning them in together. There are many PDF editor websites where you can integrate your files.
  • Separate CV from cover letter. They are different documents so don´t put them consecutively on the same page.
  • Bonus: Get the company name and the GP track name right and upload it to the right place. Also, uploading the right file is a plus ;) 
  1. Keep it classy

It is your decision whether you want to have a photo on your CV or not but if you do, make sure to do it the right way. It might seem exaggerated that I point this out, however a not appropriate photo could give the wrong impression about anyone despite the best of intentions.

A CV photo should be:

  • With an appropriate dress on (no hoodies or bikinis)
  • Aimed at the face and shoulders (not full body)
  • With a clear background (could be inside or outside but no bathroom tiles in the back)
  • Decent quality
  1. Name document clearly when uploading

Example try to have file names like “Cover_letter_John_Smith.pdf” instead of “Sharkymike_v342_randomcompany_january_whateverblabla.pdf”

  1. Put effort into your cover letter

When writing your cover letter I strongly encourage you to take your time and:

  • Read about the company and the industry and maybe just think about it for a couple of days
  • Write about personal motivation and skills, but most importantly show where you could add value to the company. What you put down should answer two questions: Why would you like this job? and How could you contribute?
  • If you have too many sentences starting with “I did …”, “I am…”, “I would…” you might want to reconsider the point above
  1. Don´t pressure yourself

Trying to include everything and handing in your application in two hours won´t do you any good. Try focus on what is relevant, e.g. highlight having taken a course in pharmaceutical marketing while leaving out having won third place at a poetry reciting competition in elementary school.

  1. Leave some time to reflect

Writing the cover letter and reading it a couple of days later, then changing something and reading it again will help you get the end result right. Which seems good today, might look completely different in a couple of days, so make sure you give yourself the possibility to revise your letter.

  1. Do an extra check-up

Do I have my personal details right? Did I read over all the documents? Are they all typo-less, informative and neat? Are they the right ones? Did I upload everything including transcripts and reference letters? Is it all clearly structured for the person screening it?

  1. Upload & Relax

At this point there is nothing left to change, so lay back and enjoy a job well-done. Don´t torment yourself over the details during the days to follow as it is pointless. In severe cases maybe eat some chocolate to decrease the stress factorJ

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Don´t know which graduate programme track to apply to?

Category: European Business Management Global Marketing | (7) comments

When I applied to the graduate programme I wasn`t entirely sure about which track I should choose. During my university studies I started liking marketing as this is the area where everything comes together from what consumers aspire for and how the economy is developing to what the abilities of the company are, however I have always been in between a commercial and a more analytical interest and I was not sure whether Global Marketing was the right choice for me, therefore I also applied to European Business Management.


At some previous job interviews I have been questioned sort of suspiciously about my background as in many cases they doubted that I would fit for marketing as I have “too much interest in macroeconomics and finance for a marketer”. I have been struggling to find a program where I could find both my interests. Now I know it is not impossible, so if you recognize yourself in this situation don´t give up.


After having signed my contract with Novo, I received the details of my first rotation in the beginning of July. When I first read that I would be in Market Access and Commercial Excellence to be honest with you I wasn´t really sure what that would mean. So as any person nowadays seeking the truth, I googled it (in a crappy hostel in Thailand with really bad internet connection) and came across a job offer from my department with the description of the tasks. This was the point when I got really quite excited as I realized that my job would be very much focused on analytics and marketing strategy.


Coming to Insights and Forecasting (my department), I found out that the department consisted of two different units, namely Customer Insights and Strategic Analytics. I have been involved with both teams and had the opportunity to work on market research projects and consult different brand teams based on our findings but also to work on analytics projects across the portfolio in line with our long-term forecasts and collaborating with other departments to e.g. facilitate investment decisions.


In my case I think they managed to find a very good place in the company and I am glad I insisted on my original interests, but of course it is hard to see in advance from the outside what one programme might offer over another one. In my opinion, try to limit your applications to a reasonable number and hand in (different!) cover letters for the tracks you would be interested in and then let your reviewers see which track you would be better suited for.


If there is any learning from my story, I would say that you should always be honest about what you would really like to work in as if you try to fit into expectations instead you might end up not being chosen or even worse doing something you don´t really enjoy. At the same time I would like to point out that the marketing organization in the company is really extensive so I believe there is much space to find your specific area of interest from brand management and launch planning to value communication, event management or strategic analytics like myself, therefore if you are interested in the field in general I would encourage you to take your chances.


As a closing note, sorry for the late blog post, I will make myself more active and available from now onJ Also, don’t hesitate to comment on the post so I can answer any questions that you might have!


Take care,




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