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My Personal Mantra: Patience, Presence & Persistence

Category: Business Processes Global & European Market Access Global Marketing International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization US Rotational Development Program | (0) comments

Dear All,

You might be wondering why it has been silent on the blog for a while! Here’s the answer: all of the 2nd year graduates were busy moving on to their international rotations. So as Francesca has specified in her post a couple of months ago, we are pretty much spread out on the globe. Some of us stayed within Europe, others moved to Asia, South America or, like me, the US. You can find some pictures of my first weeks here below this post (scroll down).

I met a couple of you during the Graduate Recruitment Centre, which took place end of March in our HQ in Copenhagen. We are so excited to welcome our new graduates to the company in September! During the Recruitment Centre, a couple of you approached me and asked me about my career aspirations, how I define success and how I keep motivated. As I did not have an answer readily available from my back-pocket, you really made me think about these topics in more depth. It’s tough to put a name on each of these things and the points that I will mention in this post are probably not complying with any MECE rule that consultants use. But let’s get started!

1. Patience

A lot of recent graduates that just finished business school talk about fast-track careers, have a really high expectation about their starting salary and extremely narrowly defined set of responsibilities that they want to take on. And, quite honestly, I was one of them as well. Through my time at Novo Nordisk, I have really learned to appreciate patience when considering career aspirations. This is not to say that I am not ambitious, I sure am – this more means that patience and curiosity will most likely take me further than the perspective I had when I graduated from business school.

 2. Presence

There is a pretty good book about mindfulness called “Wherever you go, there you are”, written by Jon Kabat (who is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School teaching Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society). The concepts he describes are very applicable to a career as well. When you are present in your current job and dedicate all your resources to what you are doing in your current role, you will not only be able to reach your goals (e.g. change diabetes), but new career opportunities will most likely pop up as a result of that. That’s how I define success.

3. Persistence

The third and final point, persistence, is how I keep motivated. I am usually not someone who gives up after the first try, so if something doesn’t work, I try harder the second time. If things would always work the first time we do them, it would mean that we already know everything there is to know about a certain topic, and personally, that sounds very de-motivating to me. So being persistent, seeing things not working, but trying again, is what really motivates me in my job.

These three points have of course to be taken with a pinch of salt: the first two points on patience and presence, for example, require some degree of satisfaction with the role you are in. For the third point, persistence, I don’t mean that it isn’t frustrating to try things over again, but it for sure is motivating.

Anyways, I hope that this post gives you a perspective on your questions during the GRC. In my next post, I will cover what my new role here in the US is all about.

Feel free to post a comment should you have any reflections or questions!

All the best from Princeton,

Claudia

 

Welcome message of the new team

 

My desk – with lovely gifts from my team in DK :)

 

Graduates everywhere – dinner in Princeton with Graduates from Regulatory Affairs, Global Development and Business IT!

 

Day at Jersey Shore

 

Charming Princeton

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Calling all master’s students!

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement People & Organization Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (10) comments

As I wrote in one of my previous graduate blog posts, the graduate programme is not the only option for a life-changing career in Novo Nordisk! If you are studying for a master’s degree and are eager to get started with your career, I can highly recommend applying for one of Novo Nordisk’s more than 100 internships. An internship can be a great way to test your skills and knowledge, but also an opportunity to develop and challenge yourself.

I started my Novo Nordisk career as an intern in the Cities Changing Diabetes team last year, and found that it was a good chance to figure out whether working in Novo Nordisk was something for me. Novo Nordisk takes its interns seriously, and you will have the opportunity to contribute on equal terms, so be ready for a challenge. My six months as an intern was a true learning experience and I had the chance to both use the skills I had achieved from university, but to a large extent also develop new and different capabilities that I could never have gotten from studying. In my case, coming from a public health background, increasing my business understanding was a key learning. I can highly recommend spending six months on an internship at Novo Nordisk, if you want to get a feeling of how it is to work in one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

However, you only get something out of an internship if you put some effort in it. To get the most out of your stay, here four tips for maximising the benefit of your internship:

  1. Have a clear goal: Before you start your internship it is important that you consider what you actually want to get out of it. What would you like to learn and what are your expectations? It is also a good idea to think about where you can contribute to the company!
  2. Be curious: To learn as much as possible, you have to be motivated and curious of what is going on – ask questions, participate in as many different meetings as possible and reach out to people.
  3. It is okay to make mistakes: An internship is a learning journey and no one expects that you can deliver from day 1, which also means that you have to be open to and ask for feedback during your stay.
  4. Be social: Make sure that you talk to all the interesting people you meet and network as much as possible. Participate whenever there is a social event and see it as an opportunity to get to know people who might be able to help you later on in your career.

Novo Nordisk offers around 100 internship positions in all areas of the business, ranging from marketing, finance & economics, research & development, engineering and IT. The internships vary in length (from 4-6 months) and scope but are all designed to give master’s students a valuable learning experience. The application period for the majority of the fall internship positions is from now to 14 May 2017.

See all the internships positions right here and read more about internships in Novo Nordisk here.

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Target GRC – A Reflection on the Importance of Organisation Culture

Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization | (1) comments

Dear Friends,

Based on my recent experiences with potential graduates this year, I have been asked a lot of questions on how Novo Nordisk is as an organisation. Few also asked me about how the work environment is? It is a very broad question and something you need to feel in person. In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that I have realised as an insider that what makes Novo Nordisk an organisation with a truly “sustainable competitive advantage” is the Novo Nordisk culture! It is something that manifests itself in the form of an internal governance framework reflecting the ambition of the company, the direction of the company and the values and behaviours that the employees have to exhibit throughout the organisation. And we call it the Novo Nordisk Way.

NNWay Pic

Organisation culture has more often than not provoked vigorous debates around the world of management. While there is unanimity that it exists and that it plays a critical role in shaping our behaviour within the organisation, there is little consensus on how it impacts behaviour and whether the leadership can influence it in any way. Most of the time, the real problem is that we do not have a reasonable definition in the first place. Voltaire would say, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” While not necessarily easy to define, the overall fabric of the environment one spends large amounts of time in naturally influences one’s perception of the work experience.  According to a study by TINYpulse, “employees who give their work culture low marks are nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts.”  Beyond the more direct managerial factors, the study hints at how important the culture should be when you make a decision to join a company. Be it peer relationships or be it work ethics – they are indeed difference makers.  It’s only common sense to realize that positive working relationships can help make a tough job tolerable, and the data bears this out. That’s not to say compensation does not matter, but it has always been a hygiene factor only – less could lead to dissatisfaction but more need not lead to more satisfaction.

On that note, let me highlight a few things to the potential pool of graduates who will be participating in this year’s Graduate Recruitment Center in March. For someone willing to join Novo Nordisk, the recruitment centre in Denmark is one of the best places to get a feel of the Novo Nordisk culture in a nutshell. Your decision to join should not be only based on financial factors but also on the organisational culture that a firm has to offer you. When you participate, ensure you do so with an open mind and definitely not with a mindset of being examined or being assessed. Try to include everyone in your conversation and always be a good listener. Consider yourself already within the Novo Nordisk ecosystem while doing the activities. After all, organizational culture is a jointly shared description of an organization from within and with that perspective you will fare a lot better than a participant in an assessment centre would.

Wish you the very best!!!

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Déjà vu! Giving Your Application a Purpose and a Voice

Category: Business Processes Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs Uncategorized | (3) comments

Are you having that weird feeling between excitement and dread that accompanies an application process to that prestigious programme you have been eyeing for some time now? Are you incessantly searching for some quick tips to make your application standout from the rest? Will you be eagerly checking your e-mails from time to time for some communication from the programme post application process – yes, even the “automated system generated” responses? If all these are true to an extent, then I can draw two conclusions – (a) You are super excited about this job; (b) The emotions look all familiar to me in hindsight and I can help you here;

Back in early 2015, I have gone through this gamut of emotions, and I realise today that most of them stemmed from uncertainty and my apprehensions about the role and workplace that I am getting into. Through this post I will share with one of the key ingredients that you could be missing out while you are preparing and working on your CV, Cover Letter and the Video. This ingredient, or its lack thereof, may well impact the quality of all the three (i.e. your CV, Cover Letter and the Video). Remember that these three uploads, will essentially represent you and all that you stand for in the first round. Hence it is important to pay heed to the content of your application. In all these three, you should project what you stand for and why you want to join Novo Nordisk. So how do you bring this element of purpose and give your application a voice?

Your step by step guide to researching a company throughout your application process

Step 1: Know the company and what they are looking for in you?

NN LogosThe best way to convince yourself that you know the company well is to be able to articulate what makes it special compared to its competitors. And yes, a little bit of its history. The good news? Companies will often tell you the answer to this question right on their websites. Do figure out the vision of the company and try answering how your experience could contribute to that effect or where you could possibly fit in the scheme of things. The “About Us” section is good place to start this research. Based on the programme you are applying, you should have a clear train of thought as to how this programme will essentially help you develop and enable you to contribute to the company’s success. And the best place to showcase this understanding of yours is in your cover letter and of course in your short video.

Step 2: Know the company’s sustainability

The new generation workforce is fast starting to realise that a company’s financial performance is not the only thing that will make them attractive but whether a company is viable and sustainable over a longer time frame. And how to know thTBLis? Social consciousness is becoming a critical aspect of today’s organisations, driven by an expectation of environmental responsibility in addition to the financial one. Think triple bottom line; people, planet, profit. For example, Novo Nordisk seeks to broaden the focus on the financial bottom line by its business to include social and environmental responsibilities. What do you think of this? Be prepared.

Step 3: Observe and participate in Community Interactions

In this era of social media, community interaction is an essential source of knowledge. Blog sites as these, Company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profiles – are just few prominent ones to follow the updates on. This will give you a lot of confidence when you are applying and even during the post application – pre-interview phase.

Step 4: Learn about the Company Culture

Understanding the corporate culture you are getting into will go a long way in identifying yourself with the organisation. As a student we often look at how strong a company’s financials are and how big a brand it has. There can be absolutely no doubt as to how strong the brand of Novo Nordisk is and its strong financials are a testimony to the positive market sentiments around it. But there is one more thing I have realized as an insider that makes Novo Nordisk an organisation with a truly “sustainable competitive advantage”: The Novo Nordisk culture! It mainly manifests itself in the form of an internal governance framework that reflects the ambition of the company, the direction of the company and the values and behaviours that the employees have to exhibit throughout the organisation. We call it the Novo Nordisk Way. It is good to know a little bit about it while you are applying. Graduate blogs and stories are another great way to feel this culture.

Step 5: Read Up on the Field and Competitors

Last but not the least; don’t forget to understand the business the company is in. For example, Novo Nordisk is the world leader in Diabetes Care. When it comes to the competitors, look up competitors by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. There should be a few competitors there. Do the same thing with the competitors you find until you have a pretty good sense of who the big players in the field are. These are very simple ways to prepare and feel confident about your preparation.

After all this research, you’ll probably be deliberating, “So, what do I do with all this information?” Remember that your objective is to convince that you truly want to be a part of this company. Merely expressing enthusiasm will not be enough and you need to corroborate the same with your knowledge. Once you are aware of these, you will be better poised to give the final touches to your application and your sense of purpose will be stronger than many in the same race.

If you would like to know more about the graduate programmes on offer, please visit the link below: More on the Graduate Programmes

Wish you the very best!

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Hello from Business Area South East Asia!

Category: People & Organization Uncategorized | (0) comments

Dear Friends,

Hope you all are doing great. I am in the middle of my second rotation here in the Business Area South East Asia (BASEA) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The experience so far has been enriching in a number of ways and more so because of the environment in the office. The BA office seems to be a manifestation of so many different cultures “melting together” into a harmonious whole but with a common company culture – the NN Way. I was fortunate to be joined by four other brilliant graduates from different parts of the world. The cultural milieu allowed me to recognise, appreciate and learn about many of them so as to enrich my overall learning experience.

Today, I would like to share with you a few nuggets from the rotation so far that I felt developed me into a better professional. As a People & Organisation graduate I must say I was very excited to have a rotation in Organisation Development, as anyone in HR would tell you, that this is indeed a very interesting domain to work in. Being in a business area that is undoubtedly one of the most happening ones in the region International Operations meant that this stint promised to be an exciting one. And yes what a stint it is turning out to be! In the very first month I was given the opportunity to attend and witness a Business Area Leadership Meet (christened LEAD BASEA) that was essentially a forum for knowledge exchange within the affiliates in South East Asia. Bringing together all the management teams of the countries under one roof and mixing them together in teams to solve pressing business critical issues was a great sight. I realised that there is so much to learn just by observing how leaders think in teams and how they approach a problem. Donning the mantle of a vox populi journalist during the LEAD BASEA event was a great opportunity for me to learn on the job. I interacted with almost all the management team members across different affiliates and got brilliant insights into some of the pressing issues in their countries and how they are planning for it. The solutions that came out from the meet regarding the competition, the regulatory hurdles and overall business development were just fascinating. In a nutshell this event opened my eyes to the fact that so much can be achieved in a matter of 2-3 days if we collaborate across functions and across affiliates. Indeed I was a witness to the phenomenon “Getting more done in less time.”

Equipped with the understanding of the business area and the challenges facing it, I started working on an interesting project on needs analysis in an effort to cater to the present gaps and to help prepare the organisation for the future in terms of people capabilities. I have been working on this analysis for a couple of weeks then and been starting to wonder if I could get an opportunity to see an affiliate up close and interact with the people there. And just a few days later I was asked by my manager to travel to support him for a New Managers’ induction programme in Indonesia. I could not have asked for more. I learnt a lot while preparing for the sessions and the exercises therein. Even during our travel I discussed a lot of topics with my manager. A brilliant speaker, with tons of experience behind him and with sound business acumen, my manager has been always such a pleasure to talk to and all the debates I have with him are such a productive activity. When I returned from the trip I felt very confident about the projects I was asked to handle. And even then at every step of decision making within the team I felt very inclusive although I was just a graduate and that instilled in me a lot of respect for the team in particular and the company in general.

As I am writing this I am even more excited and cannot wait to see the next four-five months in the rotation unfold in front of me. As a graduate, I also appreciate the fact that there is a lot of trust and responsibility on us to make the most of our rotation and become not only good organisational citizens but also a great brand ambassador for Novo Nordisk in the future. I hope I was able to give you some taste of the first half of my rotation in BASEA. Thank you for reading my post. Wish you the very best!

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The Graduate Recruitment Center – What you need to know?

Category: Business Processes International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization | (0) comments

Hello everybody,

I am back with my follow-up post. The response to my first post has inspired me to come up with a post in quick succession. Hope you have been doing your research on Novo Nordisk in general and the graduate programme in particular. Last time, when I was in a similar situation, I wanted to have a macro view of the graduate recruitment center through the eyes of a graduate who has experienced the same in its entirety. From that standpoint I have decided to dedicate one full post on it. What will ensue here is a brief description of the Graduate Recruitment Center (hereafter, referred to as GRC) in Copenhagen, Denmark. So brace up!

Imagine that you’ve just succeeded in making it to the final round in Copenhagen. There you’ve been invited to attend an assessment center (GRC), where you’ll be tested on your communication, problem solving and team working skills. Maybe you’ve never attended an assessment center before, and it sounds quite intimidating to you. What are all things you could expect in a two-day recruitment center? How do you prepare for these challenges and scenarios to ensure that you project our knowledge, experience, and skills in the best light?

Let me give you a little background to the idea of an assessment center. Assessment centers were developed during World War II, when there was a desperate need to find people capable of certain types of leadership. Companies then began adopting this process for recruitment. Their popularity increased, and now there’s global interest in their use. The term “assessment center” can be often misleading, as they are not centers per se. In fact they are a series of tests, activities, and simulation exercises that organizations use to select the right person for the right role. Usually, several assessors monitor your performance throughout the course of the assessment, which can last anything from a few hours to a few days.

The question now boils down to, “can we” or “do we need to” prepare extensively for a recruitment center. The answer is short and sweet – No. Just know yourself well and be yourself. The activities are no rocket science and are very simple. You really do not need to prepare extensively for this. The graduate recruitment center, in particular, will provide you with an experience that will offer challenges embedded in various contexts. Often these challenges will manifest itself through group exercises and discussions, case study and presentation, and the final interview. But do not worry, you will have guaranteed fun, frequent breaks and an amazing opportunity to network with people from around the globe.

GRC

Group exercises will cover a large portion of the recruitment center and will test you on your ability to perform in the context of a team, your ability to negotiate and put your point across to the members, your ability to structure your thoughts quickly and help the group in regards to planning for an important activity etc. While ensuring all these, one should not forget that listening to others is also a huge part of effective communication. It is imperative for the candidate to share ideas with the group members and not impose his or her ideas on the group without actively engaging the group in the discussion.

Case study and presentation is that part of the GRC which is going to intellectually stimulate you. As students, working on real life business cases and scenarios can be really fulfilling for many. This is because an activity like this is actually going to give you an opportunity to put your learning into practice. It is important to point out that business cases are not a test of your knowledge of financial ratios and for that matter any technical skills. It is more to do with your logical reasoning, organising of thoughts under time pressure and coming up with a plan of action. Just relax. You are at your best when you relax.

The last round of the GRC will be an interview and this interview is an opportunity for you. An opportunity to find out whether the organisation and you are a good fit for each other. The only preparation required for this round is to have clarity on the reasons why you have applied for the role and clarity on your career goals and interests. Do read about Novo Nordisk in general before you come to the GRC. It does make a lot of difference to your preparation. Knowing about the programme and company will give you a lot of confidence to face the tasks at hand. You may also have a few good questions ready for the interviewers at the end. Asking good questions often reveals how interested and passionate you are about the role and the company you have applied to.

That was all about the process. But trust me there is more to GRC than just these activities. There cannot be a better gathering to network with graduating students from across the world. Last year there was also a candlelit dinner with ones peer group in the evening. You will never feel like you are being monitored and assessed all the time. The idea is never to stress you out, but to see the person you are and how you can contribute to the organisation.

Hope you enjoyed the snapshot. Also let me share with you a link where you will be able to see some videos before applying. Check Here!

Feel free to ask questions to any of the graduates on the blog and we will be happy to help you.

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The Start of a Journey

Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization | (13) comments

Every time I turned a corner in my life, I had always found myself imagining what the new road would be like. Setting up a few expectations and comparing with the life thus far is a subconscious exercise we often resort to without even realizing that we are doing it. The decision to join Novo Nordisk was one such corner. Amidst the rigors of business school, these are often decisions that set definite precedents for an evolving career. The good thing is that I have taken it! But even greater is the realisation that it was right. Through the posts that will follow, I will try to give you a sneak peek into my first days with Novo Nordisk and how the graduate programme is an exciting launch pad to build a career.

A unique experience awaits you at Novo Nordisk!.

I am Sreedipto Bhattacharyya from India and I am a part of the International Operations Graduate fraternity of 2015. It did not take me long to find out that I am also the first International Operations People & Organisation graduate in Novo Nordisk. Having completed my post-graduation (MBA) from XLRI in India, I understand the dilemmas that a graduating student faces in the final year while taking a decision on their careers. The graduate blog is a good place to complement your research with graduate experiences. During my application to this prestigious programme around the same time, I found a lot of inspiring and insightful posts from the previous graduates, and it is time for me to return the favour. As a student we often look at how strong a company’s financials are and how big a brand it has. There can be absolutely no doubt as to how strong the brand of Novo Nordisk is and its strong financials are a testimony to the positive market sentiments around it. But there is one more thing I have realized as an insider that makes Novo Nordisk an organisation with a truly “sustainable competitive advantage”: The Novo Nordisk culture! It mainly manifests itself in the form of an internal governance framework that reflects the ambition of the company, the direction of the company and the values and behaviours that the employees have to exhibit throughout the organisation. We call it the Novo Nordisk Way.

I have been with this organisation for about seven months as I am writing this post and the journey so far has been nothing short of an experience. The most important thing I felt after getting associated with the Novo Nordisk Graduate Programme is the culture of inclusiveness. You will feel that you belong to the organisation, your ideas are being valued and this is a company where “you” can contribute. And this is a great feeling to have. Add to that, the great opportunity to interact with graduates from different parts of the world, develop 3 different perspectives of the organisation – local, regional and global, and collaborate on projects that have strategic ramifications. I believe, the graduate programme is a microcosm of a truly global career that Novo Nordisk has to offer as a multinational organisation. Sometime back around the same time, I had made the decision to apply for the graduate programme and it was a conscious one.

If you would like to know more about the graduate programmes on offer, please visit the link below:

http://www.novonordisk.com/careers/graduates-students-and-trainees/graduates.html

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