European Business Management

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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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Why Do We Take Rotations?

Category: European Business Management | (0) comments

One of the most rewarding things of being a graduate at Novo Nordisk is the possibility to take rotations, meaning to live in different countries and work in different areas of the organization. Depending on which programme you are enrolled in, as a graduate you will take three or four rotations of 8 or 6 months respectively, which will enable you to grow professionally as a Novo Nordisk employee as well as personally as a traveller. On your rotations you will be required to pack your bags often, move abroad, meet new colleagues and develop diverse professional skills.

In particular, as a European Business Management graduate you will be taking three 8-month rotations that will enable you to gain insights into how to drive business and sales in the European pharmaceutical markets through well-founded marketing, business and pricing strategies. These three rotations will take place in three different countries in Europe, which currently represents one of the most challenging markets in the industry due to the difficult economic situation that forces governments to cut on healthcare budgets, while at the same time more and more people need health treatments as a result of the constant growth of average age and unhealthy life habits.

The first rotation will be in the global headquarters in Copenhagen, while the second and third rotations will typically take place in the European regional office (Zurich, Switzerland) and/or in one of our European affiliate offices. In headquarters the overall strategy of the company and its products is set and communicated to regions and affiliates, with a focus on both short and long-term. According to these guidelines, regions coordinate the different affiliates on a more tactical level. Finally, affiliates implement the strategy in their markets, with a higher focus on operations and short-term goals.

So, why do we take different rotations? What are the benefits of changing home, job and colleagues three times in two years? What is the difference between working in global  headquarters/region Europe/affiliate? To understand a little bit more about these issues I decided to interview my colleagues Lisa and Anne-Sophie, current European Business Management graduates who just finished their second rotation (Lisa in region Europe and Anne-Sophie in the UK affiliate). Here is what they told me:


Where did you use to work in your first rotation and what did you do?

Lisa: “In my first rotation I worked within Global Market Access in global headquarters, more precisely in the team of Market Access Management. Broadly speaking, Global Market Access is responsible for the market access strategies of the products, enabling the company to make its products available to as many people with diabetes as possible around the world. With this job I got quite some responsibility right from the start, as I managed my own project on gathering, sharing and leveraging payer insights for the annual market access strategy development. This included also the development of a department shared drive to enable the storage of and access to insights. In my last month of the rotation I also got the opportunity to work in the Strategic Pricing Team of the department, where I got to see another facet of Global Market Access.”

Anne-Sophie: “During my first rotation I worked with the Scientific Communication team dealing with clinical trials. This team supports clinical teams in finding patients for clinical trials and keeping these patients involved in the trial for its entire length. Trials are important to demonstrate the clinical benefits of Novo Nordisk medicines in order to receive commercialisation and treatment approvals from authorities. Scientific communication is really fascinating and by working with it I got to see many parts of the organisation that I had no clue about! I have been able to get an insight in all the pre-commercialisation phases, knowing how and why a drug is developed, the needs of the diabetic population and how we, as a team, can have an influence on the kind of treatment that will reach those patients. Besides the patients, I also got to work with physicians, specialists, psychologists, nurses, etc. If you want to read more about what Lisa and I experienced during our first rotation, check out these two blog posts: post 1, post 2”.


And how about your second rotation?

Lisa: “For my second rotation I worked within the Commercial Excellence department in the European regional office in Zurich, Switzerland. Within the department, I was part of the Field Force & Marketing Effectiveness team. One of the main tasks of this team is to conduct Commercial Excellence assessments. During each assessment, we visited a European affiliate to analyse its field-force and marketing effectiveness. In the end, we presented to the affiliate´s management team our findings and recommendations that should help the affiliate increase its market performance. Based on these recommendations the affiliate came up with an action plan on which we followed up regularly. Besides being responsible for the organisation of these assessments, I was also part of the team conducting them.”

Anne-Sophie: “My second rotation took place in the UK affiliate office, where I had two different roles. Firstly, I worked as a Project Manager. As part of the newly created Project Management Office, I have been able to work on streamlining many back-office processes and ensuring value creation at every step of the business, but I also contributed to the execution of the affiliate and European mid-term strategy. This included very hands-on experience as well as more operational tasks. Sitting in this department allowed me to work with different cross-functional teams, a wide variety of stakeholders, and gain insight as well as exposure from top management. In the second part of my rotation I worked instead as a Product Manager, focusing on a more marketing-oriented role, as I was in charge of supporting local teams for the launch of a new insulin product on the UK market. This gave me both strategic and operational marketing insights, but I also had the chance to support Business Information and Medical teams.”


According to your experience, what are the biggest differences between working in global headquarters and working in a regional/affiliate office?

Lisa: “One of the main differences between my first and second rotation was that in region Europe I was much closer to the European markets. In global headquarters my projects were very strategic and “high-level”, whereas in Zurich  – even though my work still involved strategy and process work – I felt it was much more operational.  Also, thanks to the Commercial Excellence assessment that I have been involved in, I could go and visit five of our European affiliates. This was an amazing experience! I did not only meet many colleagues face-to-face, but I could also learn about better practices, strengths and areas of improvement  of our affiliates. Being a European Business Management Graduate gives you an incredible opportunity to get a good understanding of the differences between the European markets in terms of culture, market access restrictions, legal and regulatory requirements, market performance, etc.”

Anne-Sophie: “Affiliates have less resources compared to global headquarters, hence more work per person is required. This means that the work and the exposure in an affiliate is much broader than in HQ, but it is also more fun (in my opinion!). I like the versatility and the ability to change jobs/roles/responsibilities on a very short notice that characterises working in an affiliate office. I have never learned so much than during the past eight months, and I have the feeling that I just arrived in my team! But also regarding market perspectives, affiliates are much closer to the market, the key opinion-leaders, the prescribers (i.e. doctors), the payers (i.e. governments,…) and patients.”


What new skills did your second rotation give you compared to the first one?

Lisa: “First of all, my second rotation gave me a much better understanding of the European market as a whole, including differences and similarities among the countries. Being able to adapt is thus a crucial skill that one learns. Moreover, in the regional office you are somehow “in-between” the global headquarters and the local affiliates. This is not an easy role since you need to learn how to cascade decisions from headquarters down to the affiliates, but also how to feed-back to headquarters. Suddenly there are a lot more stakeholders involved in every project that you are running. Furthermore, I would say that I strengthened my business mind-set much more. In region Europe you feel more “pressure” for performance than in headquarters. And it is up to regional offices to support the local affiliates as much as possible to increase their commercial effectiveness and thus their market performance so that even more people with diabetes get access to our products. Finally, I personally learned to be even more proactive and also to ask for more visibility within the company, by e.g. presenting in front of the management team during the assessments.”

Anne-Sophie: “During the second rotation, I gained more confidence in my capabilities and skills. This is the result of several things. First of all I got to know better the company and its processes. Additionally, I also had a different perspective on it. By working in an affiliate, you understand a little more about what is happening in the headquarters, and why certain decisions are made. Second of all, I gained skills as a project manager. Even though this seems to come quite naturally, I enjoyed learning about how to structure your way of working by setting objectives and milestones, and about how to lead a project team to success. This felt a bit closer to people management as well, which I enjoyed very much. Finally, I learned a lot about myself as a professional: what I value, what drives me, how I like to work and how I interact with other people, etc. Even if I knew all of that before, this now seems much clearer and straightforward and gives me a direction for the future.”


What are your hopes in regard to your third rotation?

Lisa: “For my third and last rotation, I hope to be able to have a local experience in an affiliate office. This would nicely round up my graduate programme with experiences in global headquarters, regional office and a local affiliate. Furthermore, I wish to work a bit more in the field of marketing and hopefully support a product launch. I am sure that such a rotation would also allow me to work even more operationally and get a more in-depth understanding of our products. More importantly, however, I would be much closer to people with diabetes.“

Anne-Sophie: “My hopes? Have fun and learn a lot! Curiosity, knowledge and discovering the unknown is what is driving me. I think that the third rotation is essential to our permanent position, but I also learned that as graduates we are very versatile and able to settle in pretty much all kind of environments. Hence I take the third rotation as another great experience, where I definitely know that I will learn (stakeholders management and further project management among others), and these learnings will serve me wherever I will end up in the organisation in the future.”


Have you found this post inspiring and would you like to know more about the European Business Management graduate programme? Here is all you want to know. Applications are open until February 8, 2015.

\Lisa, Anne-Sophie, Mirko

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On Graduates´ Personal And Professional Development

Category: European Business Management | (2) comments

Hei everyone. I am Mirko and I will be posting here on the blog this year as a representative of the European Business Management graduate programme. At the moment I am taking my first rotation in the Copenhagen global headquarter, within Global Marketing. I currently sit in a launch team, where my colleagues and I take care of building and executing the global launch strategy of some of our products, along with producing analyses that help monitoring launch performances and trends on the market.

Considering that a very nice introduction post on the European Business Management graduate programme was published here last year by my colleagues Lisa and Anne-Sophie, for my first post I thought about something else. I am going to give you a little overview of the events and activities that our programme managers have organized for us over these first three months to foster our professional and personal development. These are off-site activities that we periodically take part in, together with the other graduates and in addition to our everyday work tasks:

1)  First Off-Site Meeting: To get to know the other Business graduates who just started their Novo Nordisk adventure, our programme manager gave us the chance to spend 4 days together in early September in a summer house in Funen (big island in central Denmark) where no work/only fun activities were involved. During our stay we had the chance to strengthen our bonds born during the Graduate Recruitment Centre, and we basically became good friends even before to become good colleagues.

Vivian and Matilda (Global Business Processes graduates) enjoy a nice walk in the Danish sun, on their way back to our house.

Vivian and Matilda (Global Business Processes graduates) enjoy the Danish sun on their way back to our house in Funen.

2)  First Touch-Base Meeting: Once a month we Business graduates (Global Business Processes, European Business Management, Global Marketing) attend a so-called “Touch-Base Meeting”, where we update each other on what we have been doing in our own teams, we do some knowledge-sharing enabling the others to understand what goes on in other areas of the company, and we attend some workshops and presentations. For our first Touch-Base Meeting in October our programme manager gathered us in the headquarter in Bagsværd, where speakers from around the organization gave us insights on the pharmaceutical industry, on the corporate strategy and on career development.

A snap of our headquarter taken at the meeting, during a coffee break.

A snap of our headquarter taken during the meeting.

3)  First Professional-Development Meeting: For our first Professional-Development Meeting, we (all the graduates from all the programmes) were invited in early November to attend a three-day Project Management workshop outside Copenhagen, where we had the chance to learn about how to deal with project goals and milestones, stakeholder management, risk management, etc., and to apply the learnings via practical group-activities and presentations given to the rest of the group. The workshop enabled us to learn from experts of the subject what it takes to become a reliable project-manager, which is a figure that many work teams within Novo Nordisk are composed of.

Some of us chatting during a break.

Some of us chatting during a break.

4)  Intro Day: In November all the newly-hired employees (not only graduates) where invited in Hillerød (40km north of Copenhagen) to attend a one-day seminar on the company and its areas of focus. Besides seeing again our colleagues and getting to know some new ones, during the event we had the possibility to know more about Novo Nordisk projects and listen the personal stories of some patients, which were very inspiring and gave us an understanding of how we daily contribute to change people´s lives. These insights are really useful for someone like us who just joined the company, because they provide an understanding of the processes and objectives that exist behind the tasks that we perform in the office every day.

The facility in Hillerød that hosted us for the event.

The facility in Hillerød that hosted us for the event.

Hoping that this overview gave you a little taste of what learning possibilities being a European Business Management graduate at Novo Nordisk gives you, I invite you to check out this link in case you are interested in applying to the programme. Applications are now open and will run until February 8, 2015. Take care and see you hopefully at the Graduate Recruitment Center in March!


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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 | (31) 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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Global Marketing Programme

Category: European Business Management Global Marketing International Operations Business | (6) comments

You have gone through the website with all the Graduate Programme descriptions and yet feel indecisive about whether to consider the Global Marketing, Business Processes, European Business Management or the IO Business program?

You liked the marketing courses at university but you are unsure whether to devote your soul to the dark art of marketing straight at the beginning of your professional career?

You think marketing is the field for you but you have doubts whether you would end up discussing about promotional material designs the whole day while you would prefer hard-core number crunching or vice versa?

You should not worry and I tell you why.

Global Marketing is a program devoted to develop young professionals in the field of marketing (obviously), however if you think that this can be a limitation in any sense, allow me to prove you wrong and give a sneak-peak into the various opportunities you could have during the program.

You would start you first rotation in HQ in Copenhagen where the Global Marketing organization of Novo is located. Global Marketing is big. When I say that I mean that aside from “the classic roles” associated with marketing like product and brand management for our entire portfolio, you could also be working in areas such as Market Access or Commercial Planning as an example.

This means that you could be involved in anything from communications around a brand to conducting health economics analysis, developing pricing policies, assessing opportunities in new product development, or contributing to long-term strategic planning. Or to put it in a simplified way whether you belong to the crowd that loves the more fluffy & creative or the more hardcore & strategic side of marketing, you will definitely be able to find the place that is right for you.

The second part of the Global Marketing Programme is the affiliate or business area rotation. This is to provide you with a more hands-on experience and to get a feel for the market. This rotation also is within marketing; however the scope and scale of projects and the working style will give you very different insights than in HQ. Not to mention the initial cultural shock in some cases and all related learnings.

The third and last part of the program is the sales rotation (in yet another country), which is what makes the program significantly different from the other ones. I know that many of you might be a little bit skeptical about being in pure sales as this is very far from the standard office work. In the beginning I was myself, but believe me that by the time you get to this part of the program you will want to see what is out there, how it is to “really do business” and to gain some experience also outside the walls of the office. This will probably be something that you will remember for a lifetime as you will soon realize that during your professional career you might not often get the opportunity to do something that is really different.

Finally, after the program you are still free to decide what fitted you the best.

This is the Global Marketing Program in a bigger nutshell (sales people tend to talk a lot right?). It is a package of experience and two years of a learning journey so intense that you will probably tell your grandkids about it. Although this could be said also about other programs as well, I believe Global Marketing might even be a hint more special in my own of course absolutely unbiased opinion. So let me be an advocate for my home base and encourage you to apply to the Global Marketing Programme. I am pretty sure you will not regret it;)



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Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing Uncategorized | (27) 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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’So many applications…why should I apply?’ plus YOUR questions – a compilation!

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing International Operations Business | (25) comments

Hi again!

So sorry it took me quite a while to upload my second blog post. Thanks for your comments on my first post and questions so far. I’ve been receiving some similar questions and thought that writing a blog compiling the ‘top’ questions I’ve been asked would be a good idea. With that in mind, and my experience at various Novo Nordisk career events both as a participant and a corporate representative, I will share some of the relevant and key learnings and questions that will hopefully be helpful for you.

There are so many applications, what are my chances? (i.e. I’ve heard that the graduate programme at Novo Nordisk is very competitive…?)

Yes, the graduate programme at Novo Nordisk is competitive and we do have an increasing amount of applications during the past recent years. However to be fair, and in my opinion, all graduate programmes are competitive since it offers candidates to experience different parts of organization during a short time period and thereby gain insight into the overall business of the company. One thing I would like to emphasize is, if you are interested and motivated, you are encouraged to apply and the fact that the programme is competitive should not prevent you from doing so. Let me provide you with a concrete example:

I first applied for the graduate programme for the 2012 intake. At that time I was not really aware of Novo Nordisk and my application was quite generic. In the end, I was not invited to the phone interviews (the first round). Since then, through my internships (not at Novo Nordisk) and interaction with 2012 graduates as well as Novo Nordisk representatives, I became really motivated to work for Novo Nordisk and specifically under the graduate programme scheme. I applied again in 2013, with a better and more tailored application, and was selected as one of the Business Processes graduates starting in September 2013. So, if you are motivated and really want to be part of the graduate programme – nothing is impossible :)

Any suggestions about applications and how to make it stand out?

For me this is the most difficult part of the application process. It is where the most cuts are made, and you have to convey your motivation and ‘uniqueness’ under a predefined format (CV, cover letter, and transcripts). This is also where I think my application made the most difference (see point above), which is why you should spend some time and consideration on it!

Lilla, a 2012 Global Marketing graduate has written a great blog post about tips for your application here:

Some points I’d like to add to and highlight in Lilla’s post are:

  • Tailored application is essential. Be sure to communicate your motivation clearly. Make sure that this application can only be for Novo Nordisk (and the graduate programme), rather than a generic application that can be for any company (just by changing the company name).
  • ABSOLUTELY NO TYPOS!!! Check check check your spelling, capitalization, ‘false friends’ (direct translations from another language), and that you are actually writing the word that you mean and not something that sounds similar or the same – for example there vs. their, and your vs. you’re.
  • Keep CV to 2 pages, and highlight any experience with Novo Nordisk (seminars, company visits, projects). An optional, but potentially good idea, is to put your cumulative grades in your CV, and what it is out of so that evaluators of your application get clear information from the start (e.g. Danish scale 10.1/12.00, or U.S. scale 3.39/4.00).
  • Don’t forget your transcript. This should be in English, and with information about what it is equivalent to (or how to interpret it). This is important as you don’t know who will be reading your application and what experience they have with certain grading scales that are specific to certain countries.

Does the ‘work experience’ requirement apply to relevant work experience, work experience after the Masters, or…??

I have received a lot of questions about this, and have reached out to our programme director for clarification. The feedback I received was that we consider all work experience after the Master’s degree. This also depends how much work experience you have prior to your graduate studies. If you exceed the ‘less than one year work experience’ requirement, please consider applying for the full time positions at Novo Nordisk:

What should I consider before applying to Novo? What is the culture like at Novo?

From my experience, people at Novo Nordisk are very open-minded and friendly. International orientation, and focus on patients are themes that are consistently strong throughout the organization. Throughout the organization and amongst the graduates we are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and working towards a purpose (check out Mark’s blog about how passion is key:  

When applying to the graduate programme, flexibility is important. As part of the programme, you are required to move at least 3 times in 2 years. So ask yourself: are you ready for that? Does this make you excited?

Can I apply to more than 1 graduate programme track?

Yes, you are allowed to apply to more than one graduate track. However, make sure that each of your application is tailored and different from each other (see my point on suggestions about applications). You should have a strong reason for applying for different tracks and thus your applications should be unique and reflect this.

Do you chose your (second) rotation(s)? How flexible is this?

For the first rotation, you are more or less assigned where you will be working for 8 months. This makes sense since you will just be starting your experience at Novo Nordisk and perhaps would not have enough knowledge to make a decision about where you would like to work in the organization. From that point on, as you get more settled working at Novo Nordisk and more acquainted with the company, it is more of a discussion with our programme manager about work preferences and rotations. It is still important to be flexible and open to opportunities that may come up, which is also an exciting part!

Wow, this turned out to be quite a long post. Thanks a lot for your patience in reading it, and if you have any additional questions – you know what to do (comment or email)!

Good luck!


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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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