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An Executive Vice President, and his story

Category: Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (6) comments

Dear reader,

IMG_9848An important part (and perk) of being a Novo Nordisk employee is the strong focus on leadership as well as professional and personal development – particularly in the graduate programme, which has the purpose to develop future leaders of the company. Recently, all global graduates got the exiting opportunity to meet a leader who has gone through most of his professional development at Novo Nordisk: Executive Vice President, Jesper Hoiland.

We were told to be at building NN1 at 8am (sharp!) where Jesper Hoiland would take us through his journey from when he started his career at Novo Nordisk, 29 years ago, until today. It is definitely safe to say that Jesper Hoiland has had a remarkable career! He has worked in, and successfully led various different business functions across the entire globe, which ultimately has brought him to the position and responsibility he has today: Executive Vice President (EVP) of Novo Nordisk and President of the US affiliate – one of the most significant regions for the Novo Nordisk business.

Jesper Hoiland embarked his career at Novo Nordisk in 1987, and worked within marketing in Novo Nordisk Canada and Belgium, before becoming head of Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes Division in France. In 1998 he took up the position as managing director of Novo Nordisk Australia, and in 2000 he was appointed Senior Vice President of International Marketing at Novo Nordisk’s headquarters in Denmark. In 2004 Jesper Hoiland took over the responsibility of Novo Nordisk’s region International Operations as Senior Vice President, based in Switzerland, and in 2013 he was appointed Senior Vice President of Novo Nordisk North America. This career journey culminated in April 2015, where Jesper Hoiland was promoted Executive Vice President with responsibility for the US. I told you, remarkable, right?

Given the opportunity, any curious and ambitious mind would have to ask the question: what has he done to come to the point where he is today, and what is the story behind his success?

IMG_9879The answer is not simple, because it is not simple to become an EVP – at all.  Throughout his presentation, Jesper Hoiland shared some pivotal moments in his career, and gave deeper insights to what he has done to get where he is today. In his narration he navigated through business and management topics, and his take on balancing your professional and personal life. As you may imagine, since it is extremely demanding to be an EVP in a global leading pharmaceutical company, these are areas where you must be an exceptional performer. It was extremely insightful! Furthermore, he touched upon a topic which I personally enjoyed a lot: working your way up, and letting your work do the talk. Jesper Hoiland told us about how he got his hands dirty by working in the field with tight budgets, demanding sales targets and making essential decisions on a day-to-day basis. In other words, he worked – in its most literal meaning – his way to becoming a top-line manager. From my experience, a vast amount of young professionals embarking their career dream of working with CXO-level strategy from the day they exit the university halls. But, let me offer you this view: how can you become a top-line manager, without having sold, launched or managed anything? Success does not come from sitting in an ivory tower. Call me outdated or old-fashioned, but I really believe in paying your dues and experiencing rather than referencing. Experience is an opportunity – an opportunity Jesper Hoiland seized, and that Novo Nordisk Graduates are offered.

Finally, Jesper Hoiland gave 5 key take-away insights to keep top of mind in your daily work life and long-term career. I’m intentionally not going to elaborate on these bullets to give you an opportunity to build your own take-aways.

  • Long-term > Quick Win
  • Co-develop with your peers through delegation and empowerment
  • Promote mobility and diversity
  • Provide instant, direct feedback, and be open to the same
  • Celebrate success

I hope you have gained a further understanding of what a career in Novo Nordisk offers. Thank you for reading!


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Purpose is motivation – motivation is success!

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement Product Supply | (0) comments
noun – the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Dear reader,

I’m sharing this post with you to tell you a little story, which may give you a deeper insight to what it means to be a Graduate at Novo Nordisk, and why I believe we can achieve and maintain succeess in our future careers.

Despite that Novo Nordisk Graduates are a highly diverse group of individuals, I strongly believe we have one common denominator: purpose. We have chosen to work for a company that strives to improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases – such as diabetes and haemophilia. That is the vocation of being a Graduate, and the Raison D’être of the company. I must admit, to begin with, this purpose was only part of me on an aspirational, and somewhat intangible level, right until a very special experience I had recently.


Intervieweing with my colleague from our Mexican affiliate, Mariana

When sitting at global headquarters in Denmark as I do, one may feel detached from this overarching purpose – seeing the change and improvement that your daily work causes. Nevertheless, as part of a project that I have been working on recently, I got the amazing opportunity of going to Mexico City where I had the pleasure of acquainting 6 individuals with diabetes who are treated with Novo Nordisk products. And what an amazing experience that was! I can’t possibly be asked to recap all the great things that they shared with me in this short post. Instead, I will leave you with a quote that will be quintessential throughout my career in Novo Nordisk:

Imagine what it means that I now can do my things and my labours that I like to do. I can go for a walk peacefully. I can do all the things that I like to do. I couldn’t do that before, because I was getting tired, my sight was blurry, and most of all the tiredness –  a tremendous tiredness. (…) Imagine! That I can dance, that I can do my labours, my handcrafts, well that is… that is life! That is life because, I’m past saying “no, I can’t”.

Edilburga Rivera, 59 years old, Mexico city

And here we find the purpose. Meeting these individuals, who warmly shared their stories with me and invited me into their lives, highly altered my work aspiration, and I returned to Denmark with a reinforced motivation. I understood that we as a company actually make a difference, and have impact in people’s lives. In addition, I also realized that there are still a large ammount of unmet needs in the area of patient care, and there is still much to be done for people with such chronic diseases. Thereby I have come to share the purpose of the company I work for, so we are aligned in the impact and goals we seek.Purpose_flower

The trip to Mexico has motivated me to maintain my hunger to learn and develop my skills, as well as clarified the common direction I have with the colleagues I work with. As I have attempted to illustrate, these things really go hand-in-hand, all sprouting from our common purpose. On top of all this, I know that I am in an environment that fosters and promotes professional and personal development. An environment that nurtures our ability to become rigorous leaders, who strive to have a positive impact, and change the current paradigm of our field.

I hope this post has given you an understanding of what it means to be a graduate and a Novo Nordisk employee, and the great opportunities we have at hand. Thank you for reading!


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Packing the essentials for the Graduate Recruitment Center

Category: Business IT Business Processes 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 | (4) comments

The graduate recruitment center, also known as “GRC” in the Novo Nordisk language of abbreviations, is right around the corner! Congratulations to those of you who has made it so far.


I remember thinking last year, what should I prepare and what should I bring? Well let me give you a few tips on how to prepare and pack for the GRC!

The elements for success when packing your “bag” for the GRC:
1. Your Notes and preparation
While you are not asked to prepare anything in particular for the GRC, I would highly recommend that you do your research. By that I mean, do read up on Novo Nordisk, perhaps read the newly released annual report and get a feel for the pharmaceutical industry. Secondly, by preparation and notes I also mean your own “presentation” – you can expect to network and meet several people who will expect to hear who you are in a short 1 minute pitch. You will also have the opportunity to meet a lot of current graduates and employees, use this time to ask what it is like working at Novo Nordisk and prepare those questions you would like to know. This is not only your chance to pitch yourself, but also to get to know what it is like working at Novo Nordisk and see whether this could be something for you.

2. Time keeping – bring your watch!
The GRC is quite full of activities and each of you will get an individual schedule for you to keep with you and coordinate your various events throughout the GRC. Don’t worry, we even have a map for you prepared so you can find your way around and be on time. That said, you will participate in several events and tasks that require some timekeeping. Secondly, time goes fast and you will be very tired by the end of the first day – so do make sure to get a lot of rest the day before so you are ready and rested.

3. Your best shoes!
Now this does not mean you will do a lot of walking, and you should of course be comfortable, but I do advice to remember this is a job interview. Several ladies have already asked, should I wear heels? Well, wear what is comfortable to you, but I would if I was in your shoes :)

4. Talk, talk and contribute
When you reach the GRC, you will already to an extend have had the opportunity to present yourself and your personality, and while this is still very essential for succeeding – another very important aspect at the GRC is your teamwork and how you collaborate with others. Expect to work in teams and get to know the other applicants and possibly future colleagues.

All in all, the GRC is a very challenging, fun and exciting experience that either way will be a great learning experience. So when you roll in with your suitcase or bag, have fun and enjoy that you have made it this far! :)

See you there!

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My GRC adventure

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply Uncategorized | (4) comments

Dear Reader,

If you are reading this, it probably means that you are one of the selected candidates for this years Global Recruitment Center. If so, let me start by giving you my warmest congratulations. This is a fantastic achievement, and you should stop what you are doing for a second to condense what you have managed to reach. Well done!

In this blog post, I will share my experience of the GRC. Who knows, maybe you’ll find some information that can be useful for your upcoming experience.

My GRC experience started on March 24 last year at 7.00 am at Hotel Crown Plaza in the outskirts of Copenhagen. I remember being hopeful and exited, but mostly calm. This might be surprising, but I was able to remain calm, mainly because thats how I am as a person, but also because I had job security prior to the GRC. My mindset was: “I have nothing to loose, so I may as well go and enjoy myself, be myself, and show that to the assessors“. Hence, I was able to show exactly who they were hiring, apart from the professional competences. Because, lets be honest, you are competing against highly skilled and competent candidates from the entire world, so no matter what Novo Nordisk will get a highly skilled candidate to fill the position. Thus, the personal fit plays a huge role.11096542_10153218716717179_1136474961071704095_o

I have mentioned this before, but let me just stress again: there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. When I look at the people that got hired from previous years, I see far more diversity than uniformity. The question is not if you fit, but how you fit.

Anyways, I sat down at a table next to an American candidate, Paul, who today is a very dear friend and fellow graduate. We started chatting, and after a little while, a Dane sat in front of us. Interestingly, he (Filip) is now also a fellow graduate, and a close friend. But that is besides the point. With this I want to tell you, that the GRC is much more than you being put under a lens for two days. It’s about enjoying a unique opportunity to get challenged, learn, and getting to meet people from all over the world.

I got to met 10 of the 11 hired Business Management Graduates. That’s not to highlight my choice of people to engage in conversation with, but rather that I wanted to speak to as many candidates as possible, simply because it was so cool to meet skilled candidates from the entire globe. The GRC is about meeting great people from all over the world, and enjoying the rollercoaster ride – because, believe me, there will be a lot of ups and downs. Again, I believe I was able to do this, because I had the right mindset prior to the event.

7 thoughts and feelings you will experience throughout, which are completely normal

    • wow. every single person here is really sharp and skilled

Yes. Every single candidate who has made it to the GRC is chosen for a reason: they are among the best and most talented candidates. Some see that as bad news. On the other hand, you are there too, right? Also, you will be collaborating with these sharp minds, so, besides the possibility of learning from them, you are sure that whatever you may be producing or solving in gropus will be of high quality.

    • am I doing this right?

Throughout the GRC, you will be evaluated on various features. You will be asking yourself this question, because you are aware that you are being evaluated. This will happen through various exercises that require different skills and competences. In the movie  “The Last Samurai”, Tom Cruise is learning how to fight with a samurai sword against the most skilled samurai in a village. He lost to him, repeatedly, despite various months of intense training. At one point during a training, another samurai said: “No mind” to him. Of course, the advise worked. My advise to you will be similar. Stop thinking about whether what you are doing in the various tests is right or wrong. Just do it the way you would have done it with your study-partners or current colleagues. If you think too much, you risk missing out.

    • am I being assessed right now? and now? and what about now?

Because you are being tested through various different tasks, you can get a ‘Big Brother’ feeling, where you have the suspicion that you are being assessed all the time – even when you are just having a relaxed conversation. This is normal. And no, when you are in doubt of whether you are being evaluated or not, you are probably not. Again, stop thinking, or, rather, over-thinking every situation. Just be.

    • what do they want to hear?

At one point, we had to present ourselves. Me and an old friend sat together to complete this task. He asked me: “should I say I am ambitious and a team player, or should I say that I am a go-getter and hard working?“. I told him to listen to what he had just asked me. He wanted to advise him to pick “the right” adjectives to describe himself, so that he would impress and differentiate. In other words, what he thought the assessors wanted to hear. Not what he actually was. Before you go to the GRC, take some time to reflect about what you are. Bring that to the GRC and to the task in front of you, and nothing else.

    • I am so tired of speaking about myself.

Part of the GRC is introducing yourself, whether it is to current graduates, assessors, or other candidates. Another part is convincing the assessors about how you fit to the position, and what value you can bring to the company. I don’t know about you, but when I speak about myself too long, I get sick and tired of it. Nevertheless, when I think back, it was completely worth the investment, and it actually can help you learn a lot about yourself. Don’t loose hope and energy – this is your unique chance to get to know a lot of cool people, and to get an even more unique opportunity.

    • I am so tired!

After each day, you will be extremely tired, as you will have been performing for many consecutive hours. So be sure to come prepared and well-rested. Do whatever charges you with energy prior to the GRC, so you bring your A-game. I like to exercise and read prior to a day where I have to preform my best, which I did. We are all different, so find what works for you.

    • phew. I made it.

After several days of high performance and new impressions you will without doubt be exhausted. It is a great feeling, trust me, because you will hopefully leave Bella Sky thinking: “I gave everything I had”. At least, I believe that should be your aim. But, be sure to enjoy the ride along the way.

I hope this blog has provided you with some useful insights. I wish you the best of luck!

/ Nicolas

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10 things to pack with you for the graduate recruitment center!

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 | (0) comments

“How can I best prepare for the GRC?” This is the question that all of you who reached out to me asked. Fair question, as I asked the exact same to a graduate last year a few days before going to the GRC!

Well… I may disappoint you, but actually there is not much you can do in terms of preparation for the GRC. Of course, this is taking for granted that you already know yourself and your CV very well as well as what we do at Novo Nordisk.

Nevertheless, I’d advise you to bring along with you:

  1. Full batteries (energy)
  2. Strong motivation and great enthusiasm
  3. Open-mindedness
  4. Humility
  5. TEAM spirit
  6. Enjoyment and positive attitude
  7. Professional behaviour
  8. Strong awareness for business ethics
  9. Your ambitions and your dreams (everyone has a dream!)
  10. Your TRUE self!

As you read the above list, you may think that it sounds very obvious to pack these things in your suitcase. However, we will be happy to see that you did not forget them at the GRC!

4 additional tips:

  • “How should I dress up?” You have been told that the dress code is “smart casual” meaning that you should dress up appropriately and professionally, yet not too formally. My advice is to dress up in the clothes you feel most comfortable and self-confident with.
  • Enjoy the GRC! Be relaxed (it is very important!) and enjoy every moment that the GRC has to offer you. Although it is going to be intense, be in a positive mood. I have no doubt that you will greatly enjoy your time there anyway. Take it as a unique opportunity to meet amazing people from all over the world and expand your network. I have stayed in touch with quite a lot of people that I met at the GRC last year!
  • For non-Danes – Consider the GRC as an opportunity for you to learn more about Novo Nordisk’s identity and to get some insights on the Danish/Scandinavian culture and work environment.
  • NO STRESS! – I must admit that, even though I was very attracted by Novo Nordisk before applying for the graduate programme, the GRC was the actual revelation for me. On the first day, I realised that I had a big crush on the company (yeah, I’m also romantic when it comes to jobs!) and I left Copenhagen thinking that I really wanted to work for Novo Nordisk one day… However, it was impossible to assess whether I had a chance to get the job or not, as all the candidates I had met there were amazing. Therefore, on the first night in my hotel room, trying to fall asleep after an intense day, I decided not to put any pressure on myself to get this graduate job. I would just be relaxed, cool, and happy to be there with smart and nice people surrounding me. Why? Because I realised that I would like to work for Novo Nordisk one day. One day could be the following September (by starting the graduate programme) or in a few years, coming back with some experience via another job. Nothing is set in stone in life! So if it doesn’t work now, it could work later. NO STRESS! :)

Congratulations again for making it that far and all the best for the GRC! I am looking forward to meeting you all on Wednesday night at the dinner!

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A (very) steep learning curve

Category: Global Marketing | (2) comments

Dear reader,

Today, I want to share the journey I have been on throughout my first 5 months as a Global Marketing Graduate at Novo Nordisk. It’s funny, every time I write my title I feel a small, proud energy floating in my body. What a privilege it has been so far!

There is no way I can fit all the great experiences and learnings I’ve had into this humble blog post. Instead, I offer you three examples from my everyday life at Novo Nordisk, that has developed me – both professionally and personally.

  • The global, multi-competence room

My first rotation is in the brand team of one of our newest insulins. Really exiting stuff! It is our task to create12669359_10153467263621733_1833691680_o marketing strategies, tactics and materials to bring the insulin to the patient globally in the best possible way. This is not an easy task in the pharma industry, especially within the area of diabetes, where each patient has his/her own unique profile and therefore need individualized treatment. We first need to consider the market: e.g. the type of health system governing the particular country, how doctors prefer to treat diabetes, the competitive landscape and legal requirements, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, this requires a skilled team with specialists within all these areas. I found myself in a room with such team last week, in the preparations of a launch in a new market.

Despite the wide diversity in professional backgrounds (and nationalities – 7 different out of 8 people), we managed to co-formulate a solid and exhaustive roll-out plan for the product with the country affiliate. I especially enjoyed how everyone either built or challenged each others arguments in an efficient and constructive manner. I took with me so much from that room apart from business strategy and execution!

  • The diversity of tasks

My first rotation has been a mixture of day-to-day tasks and long-term projects. On a day-to-day basis, I support 4 global product managers and 1 global marketing director. Each of these have different areas of responsibilities, which has given me a great overview of all activities in a global brand team. Among others these include: creation of marketing material, sales training, strategy creation and product development. On top of these tasks, I have my own on-going projects. Most of these were planned and given to me before I even started the programme. It felt great that I had a purpose, and felt part of the team from the beginning. In addition, my manager has also given me freedom to suggest and drive my own projects, if they can bring value to the brand. Consequently, I truly feel I am getting some really diverse and strong competences in the field of marketing.

  • The personal development

12669376_10153463735936733_2126526983_oA large part of the graduate program (and career in Novo Nordisk in general) is the focus on personal development. I have quickly recognized that knowing yourself as a person and a professional
is very important in business. By this I mean truly knowing your strengths and weaknesses, both in and individual and collaborative setting. By discovering this, you can capitalize on your capabilities, and detect areas of growth. It may sound easily-perceived, but trust me, when you find yourself with so many different people in so many different business settings as you do in Novo Nordisk, you start discovering new things about yourself. That is why the graduate program places great emphasis on your learning journey. In the end, Novo Nordisk wants the best resource possible, i.e. the best possible version of you. I like that thought, and feel secure that the eagerness to learn, work and collaborate, combined with the nurturing environment of the graduate program, will take me there.

I hope this blog post has motivated you to seek an opportunity to embark a carreer in Novo Nordisk!

All the best,

Next Blogpost: My Global Recruitment Centre Adventure, March 1st

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How I prepared for, and passed the interview

Category: Global Marketing | (27) comments

Dear reader,

If you are reading this, it probably means that you have been chosen among thousands of applicants, and invited to interview for one of the Global Graduate Programs at Novo Nordisk. Well done, and congratulations! This is truly a great achievement. It also means that , within a few days, you will be interviewed by a Novo Nordisk assessor. This will be your ticket to proceed to the next and final round: The Global Recruitment Centre. So you need to be on point for this to happen, because you are competing against some really talented applicants.

We all have different feelings upon interviews. Some get super nervous, others don’t even realize they are under evaluation. In my opinion, its not advantageous to be one type over the other. If you are nervous, it means that  subconsciously have realized that you have something in range, which you do not wish to loose – a passion that will ultimately show during the interview in one way or the other. On the other hand, if you are calm, you are able to maintain focus throughout the interview and optimize your performance.

Regardless which of these types you resemble the most, here are a few things I did, that may become handy:

Accept and present what you are. Use your ‘type’ as a strength and make sure that the assessor knows exactly what drives you; what you dream of; why you have applied for the Graduate Program; and why you want a future at Novo Nordisk.

Be honest. Although you are talking to a stranger, the assessor has many years of experience in finding the best candidates, so he or she will know if you are trying too hard, or over-selling yourself. Sincerely, most applicants have few years of full or part-time professional experience, so they are not looking for someone that can turn the company around. We have plenty people that can do that, and there is no urgent need for it at the moment. We want someone, that can be part of shaping the future of the company!

Be a Boullion Cube. All applicants invited to interview are denoted as A+ candidates. You need to make sure that, once your interview is done, the assessor has captured the essence of you. In other words, carefully condense yourself down to a boullion cube.  Think about three words that best capture what you are. If the assessors use those three words, when I ask them to describe you after your interview, you have succeeded. Leave behind cues that will lead to positive associations to you, so you are remembered.

Lastly, be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong. Remember, the question is not IF you fit to Novo Nordisk, but HOW you fit.

I hope this blog has brought you some inspiration to handle your interview. I wish you the best of luck!

/ Nicolas

Next blogpost: A (very) steep learning curve – February 1st 

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Global Marketing Graduate: What could the first rotation look like? Vol. 3

Category: Global Marketing | (6) comments

One of the very first steps of the graduate application process is to understand the 18 different programs offered by Novo Nordisk  and decide which program(s) would best suit you – Yes, you are allowed to apply for more than one program!

Selecting the right program for you not only contributes to your work satisfaction as a graduate later on, a good fit between the program and your background also increases your applications’ success rate.

A year ago, in addition to studying the job descriptions on the Graduate Program overview Website, I also sought inspiration from the blog posts written by the two Global Marketing graduates Jess and Arnar, in which they have each described how their first rotation as a marketing graduate in the Novo Nordisk HQ looked like.

It was only after I have read these post, was I able to really picture becoming a Global Marketing graduate myself.

Therefore, in this post, following the footstep of my predecessors, I want to give you more ideas of the potential role you could be playing as a new Global Marketing graduate


It all started from an Email arrived in my mailbox in June, Announcing: ‘Your first rotation in Novo Nordisk´s Marketing Graduate Programme!’

Your first rotation is assigned to you by your program manager based on the personal background and preference you have provided and expressed throughout the application and assessment process.

The Eamil reads:  Launch Strategy and Planning (LS&P) team under the Global Marketing department

The role of the LS&P team mainly focuses on the facilitation of product launches of the above brands in the key  markets world-wide by providing financial support, market reports and provide the framework named Degludec Launch Planning,and go through all necessary steps of preparation that would lead to a world class product launch with each country launching the products.

The LS&P team works cross-functionally with the band teams, global medical affairs, global market access and the affiliates around the world.

My daily tasks included:

  • Supporting the budgeting and financial management of product launch funding
  • Composing the monthly management report
  • Coordinating the target setting and performance tracking of pre-launch KPIs among the focused countries
  • Updating the monthly market share and uptake report
  • Coordinating the launch status update

The role I took up is very process focused and cross-functional, which gave me great overview of the company’s overall structure and provided insights into the product launch practice – the most essential step of commercialisation of the pharmaceutical industry. Since joining the team, we have witnessed the historical moment of the FDA approval of two of the new generation insulin brands.

The role has also allowed me to go out of my comfort zone to get hands-on experience in financial management that I have never had before, all whilst being guided by my team buddy through every step.

Even better, it did not stop there.

Merely a month later, we were informed of an organisational change, where my team will merge with the other launch teams within the company to form theGlobal Launch Office‘.

New manager, new colleagues, new brands to work on and a new office added a lot more excitement to my first rotation and my list of responsibilities grew to include optimising and integrating the existing processes across different portfolios within Novo Nordisk.

My teammates told me that working at Novo Nordisk means a lot of mobility. Organisational change occurs to contently optimise the company structure and people often move onto other positions when they feel that their professional developments have peaked at the current one.

So, if you are drawn to constant challenges, friendly colleagues and the endless opportunities to stepping outside your comfort zone, apply today! We are looking forwards to welcoming you on board.





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An interview with your hiring managers — What are they really looking for?!

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing | (9) comments

Time is ticking down as the 10 January deadline to apply for a graduate position gets closer and closer. As all of you endeavor to get your applications in before the deadline I’m sure some of the questions you constantly keep asking yourselves is what do they really want? How can I most effectively tailor my application to what these hiring managers are looking for?

In an effort to shed some light on these questions and the hiring process on the whole, I’ve gone directly to the source and asked your hiring managers, Ove and Caroline, just what they expect from each stage of the application process. Everyone here is very much looking forward to receiving and reviewing your applications and we are excited to see what all of you come up with!

Here are the questions I asked them and their responses:

Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give someone applying for one of the business programs?

A: First and foremost, be yourself. Have the courage to be you—we do not have a stereotype of what a graduate should be so don’t put yourself in a box that isn’t yours. We get so many applications every year so we need to see what sets you apart, but you shouldn’t be unique for the sake of being unique—it should fit you. If you try to be someone you’re not we will see through it.

More specifically, many people think that when applying for a job it is important to consider your fit within the company, but for us it is equally important that you show that you’ve also considered Novo Nordisk’s fit with you, as well as why you think the pharmaceutical industry is the right place for you. What is it about our industry that attracts you? What is it about our company within the pharmaceutical industry that interests you, excites you, and makes you want to work with us? In addition, why have you chosen to apply for a graduate position as opposed to a permanent position here at Novo Nordisk?

Your Managers!

Q: A lot of people would like you know what you look for in the video beyond simply wanting to know why they should be picked. Is there anything in particular you’d look to see in the video?

A: Don’t read from a script and please do not read us your CV. We already have your CV we do not need you to summarize what is on there for us in the video. You can redo your video as many times as you like before you submit it so don’t be afraid to try different things before you arrive at a final product that you’re satisfied with.

Instead a great way to think about this video is what would be your elevator pitch? Say you meet our CEO Lars in the elevator and he asks you why you want to be a part of the graduate program and why you should have the job. What would you say to him in the minute or so that you have in the elevator? You could, for instance, reference a real life experience that you had that underlines why you think you’re a good candidate. Ultimately it should be something that shows your true colors. See the video as your opportunity for your personality to shine and a chance to say something that isn’t in your CV or cover letter. At the end of the day this video is your chance to say something that we don’t know about you.


Q: After I make it past the first round we have a phone/skype/facetime interview. What are you looking to find out from applicants during this round? How does this round differ from the first round?

A: During this round we look to dig a bit deeper into who you are as a person. We could do this in a number of ways. For example, we could zoom into something you listed on your CV—looking to understand what your role was, what worked well, what might not have worked well, any challenges or successes you had, etc. In this case we may ask you to elaborate on any deliverables that arose from the project as well. Keep in mind though that we could ask you to do this for something in a professional context as well as a personal context.

Throughout this interview we are looking to connect the dots on our end. Is how you’re coming across on the phone in line with how you came across in the video, on your CV, and in your cover letter? See this interview as another chance to give us an even better idea of who you are. We want you to be as comfortable as possible so that you can be yourself.

Finally this interview is also your chance to address any questions you might have for us regarding the program. We want to see that you’ve thought critically about why this opportunity is a good fit for you. Do you have any questions or concerns regarding the graduate program, Novo Nordisk, working in Denmark?


Q: So I’ve made it to the Graduate Recruitment Center. What are you looking to see at this stage in the process? Is there any preparation that I can do? Do you recommend I simply come as I am?

A: The most important thing for us at this stage of the process is that we create an environment where you are comfortable enough to be yourself. We already have an idea of who you are individually so this is our chance to see how you interact with other candidates and behave in teams. That being said we don’t expect you to know every detail of every market in which Novo Nordisk has a presence. We do, however, hope that you will have done a certain amount of homework before you come. Ideally you will have familiarized yourselves with our company’s history, mission, current situation on a broad level, and challenges we currently face.

On another level this is also your opportunity to assess your fit with Novo Nordisk, not only from a corporate point of view but a personal one as well. What do you think of the people you’re interacting with? What do you think about this process on the whole? Answering these questions will allow you to get an idea of whether or not you even see yourself working with Novo Nordisk as a graduate or in general.


I hope these answers have given all of you looking to apply for a graduate position a better idea of how to navigate your way through each stage of the application process. I can personally attest to the truth in every one of the answers that Ove and Caroline gave above. Having been through the whole process and gotten to the other side of it I can say that these really are the things they look for from candidates. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.


Best of luck to all of you!


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The bright and exciting future ahead

Category: Global Marketing | (4) comments

Dear reader,

In case you are wondering what it is like to be a Global Marketing Graduate, and what we do on a daily basis, then this is a blog post you will enjoy. I will provide a snapshot of my first 4 months as a Global Marketing Graduate at Novo Nordisk.

Briefly about the Global Marketing Program
The Global Marketing program is unique in its own way compared to other graduate programs. As Global Marketing Graduate you will go through 3 rotations of 8 months of duration: 1 in global marketing, 1 in regional/local marketing, and 1 in sales. The first rotation will take place in HQ in Denmark, where I am currently situated. The following 2 rotations each take place in one of our 107 offices (!) around the globe.

This way, you will get a holistic perspective on the entire marketing chain in Novo Nordisk. How cool is that? You will get a unique set of skills, that very few others possess – skills that will be extremely valuable for the rest of your career.

Wanna know more? Here’s what I’ve experienced as Global Marketing Graduate so far:

Me and the fam in Nørre Aaby

Me and the fam in Nørre Aaby

– The family
As Graduate at Novo Nordisk, you will be part of a group of extremely talented people. This year’s business management and marketing badge (see picture) consists of people from all over the world. The best part is, that these people are also my closest friends in Novo Nordisk. In fact, we have branded ourselves as a family, because we also spend a lot of time together outside work.

These are relationships that are important, both for each one of us, but also for the company. As graduate, you will grow a large network of current and former graduates, that will help you navigate around the organization and create high-quality, cross-functional results. Also, you will get a group of friends with whom you have shared something very unique with. That, to me, is a great gift.

– Work-life, professional and personal development
Gratuates at Novo Nordisk are considered valuable resources for the future of the company. Hence, the company invests in developing Graduates to become highly skilled individuals. Makes sense, right? I have really felt this on my own, as I have been through extensive training in the area of pharma, marketing, project management, and personal development. There is a well formulated plan and a purpose with graduates. I can say that I have learned something new almost everyday in the office – both as an individual and professional.


Brand Team celebrating launch in Japan

But training is not all. Much of my development is a result of the projects I am given. My first rotation is in the Brand team. I am working with one of the newest insulin innovations in Novo Nordisk, and it is our job to bring it to the market in the best possible way. This includes formulating our global strategy; positioning, communication and branding; collaborating with country affiliates in making a roll-out plan; internal communication; portfolio optimization – and so I could go on.. I have been surprised how complex these exercises are, as we must collaborate with various stakeholders e.g. doctors, governments, lawyers and patients, to create the best possible platform for the product in each market. You must be able to juggle with many variables, and you must be a team player to succeed here.

The main projects I have been included in within my first 4 months have been: Creating an internal communications strategy for 2016; supporting a launch in Japan; creating a sales training workshop to be implemented in affiliates; and supporting an upcoming launch in South Africa in 2016. Great stuff!

If this sounds appealing to you, and have persuaded you to apply, read my previous post where I have provided with my insights on how to create a great application. Thank you for reading!

All the best,

Next blog post: The Interviews – January 11th

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