R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme

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Greetings from Beijing

Category: R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme | (0) comments

Ni Hao!

So, I thought I would tell you guys about my second rotation – the rotation abroad. I don’t think I told you before, but my second rotation is in Beijing, and so far life here is great!

When I applied for the graduate programme last year, the rotation abroad was one of the things I found really exciting. So cool to get the opportunity to spend time in a new country, get to know the culture and the work life there, meet new people and get a broader perspective on the Novo Nordisk business.
When you apply for the graduate programme you will not know where you are going. You probably will not get a say in it either, and you should know that before applying. You can end up going to the US, Europe, the Middle East, Brazil, Asia; the list goes on and on. To me, all places seemed cool, and I know that you will have great experiences wherever you go. All the graduates currently on abroad rotations have a lot of fun. You can check it out on Instagram; use the hashtag #keepingupwiththegraduates.

After learning that I was going to Beijing, I started looking into life and culture in China. Always good to be prepared, and I was so curious! People back in Denmark were quite sceptical about my move to China (‘isn’t it too crowded and polluted there?’), but I kept a positive attitude and was excited to go experience a new country. Still, I was so pleasantly surprised when I finally arrived. Beijing is so much greener, diverse, modern and exciting than I thought. The city is a true metropolis, and on your days off, there is so much to experience, eat and explore. To me this shows that no matter where you go, you can get a great experience and find amazing places. Just stay in the right mind-set and come with an open mind without prejudice.

Okay, about my rotation here in Beijing: I work at Novo Nordisk Research Centre China, a centre focused on E. coli research. Here, I’m part of a mini pilot department, where E. coli fermentation, recovery and protein purification is performed in large scale. My team is quite small, and everyone has been so welcoming to me. Currently, after spending 2 months in Beijing, all my expectations have been met and exceeded. I’m not going to lie; it is challenging in the beginning. Starting in a new department all over again. Moving to a new country. Finding new friends and getting to know a new culture. But it is also exciting, and you grow with the experience and challenges. Luckily you settle into the second rotation faster than the first one, after all, it is still Novo Nordisk, and a lot of the procedures and framework are the same. Your confidence is also higher, and you are ready to take on projects quicker. I am currently responsible for my own project in addition to learning procedures and production in my new department.

Here are some pictures of me and my new department having a good time in Beijing – both at the office and out for lunch :)


It is crazy how fast the first 2 months here in Beijing have passed by! The second rotation will end in a split second. For now, I just try to take it all in and enjoy it as much as I can, learn as much as I can, and experience as much of Beijing and China as I can.

If you have any questions about the rotation abroad or anything else, do not hesitate to contact me. Also, read more about the CMC Development programme, and the other graduate programmes right here.

Hope you have a great day!



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Time to apply – who are we looking for?

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (30) comments

The deadline for applying for one of the graduate programmes is closing in – you have to send in your application here no later than 12 February 2017. I can imagine that many of you who are considering applying for one of the graduate programmes have thoughts about what type of people Novo Nordisk is looking for. So to clarify this, I will briefly go through the formal qualifications needed to apply, but also the profile and characteristics we hope to find and how you can implement this in your application.

Formal qualifications needed to apply:

  • A Master’s degree from 2016 or 2017 in a relevant field (depending on which programme you apply for, but it could be economics, international business, public health, marketing or similar).
  • Above average academic achievements.
  • A minimum of 6 months of relevant work experience or extracurricular activities.
  • International experience from working, studying or volunteering.
  • Professional fluency in English.
  • The right mind-set with a can-do attitude, high ambitions and excellent interpersonal skills.

The graduate profile we are looking for is characterised by being:

  • Driven – You have to know why you want to work for Novo Nordisk and why you want to be part of the graduate programme.
  • A team player – You should be able to work well in teams and have a humble attitude. Great work is not done by one person alone, but in a team, so we expect you to have a team player mind-set.
  • Proactive – You have to be ready to take initiative and show enthusiasm. We need people who are proactive and not sitting around waiting for someone else to do something.
  • Ready for change – You will be put through three different rotations (read more about the rotations in European Market Access here), so we want someone who can adapt and enjoys change.
  • Result oriented – You have to be able to deliver results and be a high achiever. We are looking for talents who knows what they want and who can deliver great results.

A good way of demonstrating that you possess these characteristics is by giving concrete examples! This applies to both your cover letter, but also in interviews. Examples are great because your previous behaviour in job situations is the best indicator of your future behaviour. The examples shouldn’t be too long, so don’t explain all the details. Instead you should emphasize your role, who was involved and what the results were. And most importantly – what did you learn from it? Remember that the best example may not necessarily be one where you achieved the best result, but where you played a major role and your great competencies were expressed clearly. If you are lucky, it might be the same example.

So, use examples in your online application (including the 1-minute video) to show who you are and why Novo Nordisk should hire you for a graduate position. Read other good tips and tricks for the application process here and here. I wish you the best of luck with your application and feel free to leave a comment or a question below!

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The video.

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (0) comments

Creating a video to accompany your traditional CV would be a great way to stand out from the crowd. So, do not fear the video, the video is your friend!

The video was actually my favourite part of the application. It really gives you a chance to put a human touch on your application package and provide more insights into what you can offer. Yes, the video can be challenging. Depending on the person, one minute can seem like either way too little or way too much time. Here are a few tips to nail your video:

Look good, feel good, play good. The quality of the video isn’t tied to just that one minute in front of the camera – it also matters how you prepare. Clean up and rest up so that you feel at your best! Like I said, your video can show things about yourself that can’t be captured on a cover letter and CV!

Don’t repeat yourself. This helps us make sure you’re not a robot. Try not to repeat exactly what can be read from your cover letter and CV for the whole minute. Sure you can refer to a couple of relevant aspects, but make sure to tie them to yourself as a person. For example, I spoke more about my experience moving from Canada to the US and how it sparked my interest in the way the relationship between the public and private sectors impact patient access to treatment (personal), ultimately pushing me to study Public Policy & Global Health (on CV).

The most repetitive advice of the day – be YOU. It really doesn’t get simpler than this. Make sure to reflect on who you are as a person – what makes you a unique fit for Novo Nordisk, specifically – and show it in your video. A sense of authenticity can definitely be captured over a video, so make sure to show that.

These tips should set you well on your way to making a video that George Lucas would be proud of! If you are still on the stage of your cover letter, check out some advice from Albert here.

The deadline is Feb 12th for most programmes, so get applying!

All the best,


"Don't make the same mistake that I did, Luke."

“Don’t make the same mistake I did, Luke” said the robot.









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Is a graduate position a real job?

Category: R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme | (0) comments

I often get this or similar questions accompanied by confused looking eyes when I tell people about my graduate job at Novo Nordisk. But you already graduated? Aren’t you qualified for a real job, they might ask.
To all of you, to stop all confusion, I can tell you that YES, the graduate positions are real jobs. Real jobs which are paid as every other job, and where you are part of departments on equal terms as full time employees.
As every employee you make an Individual Development Plan with your managers, you set goals for your rotations and you get lots of challenging and highly important tasks and projects on equal terms as permanent employees.
Furthermore it is acknowledged that this is probably your first real job after graduating. You get an experienced mentor to guide you through all your rotations. This is great, because you can discuss future career goals, ask questions that you might not want to ask your manager and first of all you get a buddy within Novo Nordisk from day 1.

More than a full time job
So, since you have the same responsibilities as a permanent employee, you might ask: ‘Why don’t just apply for a permanent position from the beginning, instead of wasting two years shopping around different departments before settling down?
Well, depending on who you are, some reasons will speak more to you than others. I have made a list of all the good reasons why a graduate program is so awesome (and highlighted my own favourite reasons):

  • By working in 3 departments you get a diverse work life with ever changing tasks. As your first job, this is a great way to get a feeling of where you can see yourself working permanently one day.
  • You get a broad understanding of the company and the way the different departments are connected. This will help you get a birds perspective of the company and is a big plus in future jobs.
  • Network – because you get to work in 3 different places and on top of that have a big network of graduates from all over the company you get a bigger network than you can imagine. This is very valuable in the future, and hanging out with the graduates is great fun, I might add :)
  • You get specialist knowledge of 3 areas within Novo Nordisk in only 2 years. This will make you a very attractive candidate in your future career. Graduates are compared to candidates with much longer resumes and experience because they have experience from a broad variety of tasks.
  • Being a graduate at Novo Nordisk you also get special development offers, such as Project management and presentation skill courses, and a steep learning curve within all areas of your professional life is always in focus.

I hope that this post has showed you that a graduate position is for sure a real job – and that it will be a great starting point if you want to pursue an exciting, challenging and life changing career. To apply for positions (deadline 12th of February!) or read more on the different graduate programs, check out the graduate pages here, or this blog on requirments for a great candidate.

Do not hesitate to ask questions,


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PhD or graduate programme?

Category: R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme | (2) comments

Hello everyone

Most of you out there are probably in the same position as I was in last year around this time. You are deciding how you want to start your professional career after finishing university. I studied biochemistry, and there we were directed towards a future in academic research. The ‘right’ thing to do upon finishing your master was to start a PhD. With this background it was hard to imagine what you could do besides academia. Of cause I knew about the industry, but what exactly where the jobs you could get there? How did you get in? And did you limit yourself in your future career if you chose not to do a PhD? Today I will share my own considerations before applying for the CMC Graduate programme.

Career considerations
Upon finishing my studies last December, I knew that I did not want to pursuit a career within academia. I wanted to work in the medical industry, closer to the end product of biomedical research; medicine helping patients every day. Still I was considering whether I should do a PhD or not. I had been told that a PhD was a necessity for almost all research related jobs in the medical industry. That is at least how it is in Denmark. I knew that I wanted to stay within research to a certain degree, so completely abandoning the science and starting to apply for jobs within e.g. quality assurance was not really an option.

I considered if an industrial PhD could be a possibility. I soon realised that the process of establishing a PhD project, finding collaborators in the industry and applying for funding is long – and that you almost certainly need connections within the industry. If you can get your foot in when you are still studying, for example by applying for a Novo Nordisk internship or collaborating with a company during your master project, you will have good cards on your hand. If you are still studying and have these opportunities, I highly recommend these options, connections to the industry and getting a hang of what actually is going on out there is never a bad thing :)

Making lists
At this point in my career considerations the CMC Development Graduate programme suddenly became available. It was a brand new programme, and from first sight it caught my interest. I had previously had a mentor from Global Research at Novo Nordisk, and he had explained the structure of Novo Nordisk to me. Immediately, I knew that CMC Development would be the place for me. If you are curious on what CMC Development is, read my old posts here. In order to make sure that this programme would give me as many opportunities as a PhD, I asked my professor, a connection within Novo Nordisk CMC Development and a current Regulatory Affairs Graduate for advice (if you are interested in the RA graduate programme, read more on Mathilde’s awesome blog here). They all agreed that the graduate programme would be the right choice if I wanted to make a career within Novo Nordisk or anywhere else in the industry. It would, on the other hand, maybe close the door to the academic world. After discussing whit them I came up with a list of competencies/career catalysts you gain from a PhD/graduate programme:

  • PhD: Specialist, contemplation in a scientific subject, understanding of the academic world, PhD diploma, collaboration, (maybe) international outlook, responsibility for your own project
  • Graduate: Generalist in broad area (CMC), collaborations, team-work, international perspective, understanding of the industrial business and mind-set, broad professional network, quick adaptation, constantly new challenges and projects

You can probably add more labels to the lists, and also make ‘negative’ lists, but seeing it spelled out black on white, there was no doubt in my mind. I applied for the Graduate programme and I haven’t regretted my decision ever since. Especially the team-work, rotations and international outlook attracted me, compared to a PhD, where you mainly work independently on one project.

My advice to you is to make similar lists between your choices, or maybe continue my lists, if your choice is between a PhD and a Novo Nordisk Graduate programme. Ask around to figure out what opportunities and limitations the different options give you – and if you have questions regarding the graduate programme, feel free to reach out to me and start browsing the Graduate homepage. And remember, if you want to apply for one of the programmes hiring in 2017, the application opens on Friday the 20th of January.

After my research I know that if you want to pursuit a career within the medical industry, having completed a Novo Nordisk graduate program will always be a plus :)


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Is a graduate position the only option?

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (14) comments

The answer to that question, is of course no! There are many ways to kick-start your career in Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk is a global leader within diabetes care, and to continue our business success we need to attract young, qualified people, including students and recently graduated talents. In this blog post, I will take you through some of the many opportunities within Novo Nordisk. Below you will find three sections, based on your graduation timeframe, which will make it easier for you to find the most relevant information. As I imagine that a lot of you reading this blog are students, I will focus a little extra on the student opportunities in Novo Nordisk and base it on my own experience back when I was a Public Health student.


Graduated in 2016 or 2017? Apply for a graduate position!

If you graduated in 2016 or will graduate this year, you can apply for a graduate position. As you probably already know, the Novo Nordisk graduate programme is a talent programme for recently graduated master students. In 2017 we offer 30 global graduate positions within Research & Development, Finance & Procurement, and Marketing, Business & HR. Within these three categories, you can choose between 11 different programmes, including both a Global and a European market access track. As I wrote in my last blog post, I am part of the European Market Access programme, which is a new programme covering an extremely exciting area of the business. The market access environment is becoming increasingly challenging and therefore it will become more and more important.

You can read a lot more about the graduate programmes in the posts on this blog or find more information on the website here. Apply from 20 January 2017 until 12 February 2017 by completing the online application and by providing a 1-minute video of yourself explaining why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Keep an eye out for blog posts in the near future touching upon the application process or read some of the older posts, like this one or this one.


Graduated in 2015 or earlier? Apply for a full-time position!

A graduate position is a unique and amazing opportunity, but it is not the only way to get your life-changing career going. Novo Nordisk is a big and successful company with more than 40,000 employees in over 75 countries. So, naturally a lot of interesting positions are available within various areas. Novo Nordisk believes in making a difference to both patients and society, but we also believe that it is crucial to grow and develop employees in order to make such a difference. Therefore, by joining Novo Nordisk – in any full-time position – you will experience a strong focus on personal and professional development. For example, you might encounter the talent and leadership development programme, and you will definitely come across the individual development plan, which includes both short-term and long-term goals for your career. So, if you don’t see a track in the graduate programmes that speaks to your professional interest or if you are graduating outside of the timeframe, there are still plenty of exciting job opportunities! You can see all available positions here and sign up for the email job agent here.


Don’t have a master degree yet? Apply for one the many student opportunities!

If you are a student and will graduate in 2018 or later, you still have the possibility to get to know Novo Nordisk better. Novo Nordisk is very interested in getting to know the talents of tomorrow, including students taking the first step on their career path. For that reason, Novo Nordisk offers internships, student assistant jobs and even has a yearly case competition called Innovation in Action. While I was a Public Health student, I participated in the case competition and I had an Internship for six months working full-time.

Innovation in Action is a unique opportunity to show your talent, test your problem solving skills, and network with other students and employees from Novo Nordisk, including people from top management. The case competition is an intense one-day event where students are challenged to work together and present their solution to a real and highly relevant case. The case competition is relevant for master students from all academic backgrounds, nationalities and universities. In order to be selected, you must demonstrate that you are a team-player and that you have a creative and innovative mind-set.

I participated in Innovation in Action in the fall of 2015, where the case asked us to come up with an innovative approach to how Novo Nordisk can contribute to improving the education of healthcare professionals on obesity and on its treatment options. Participating in Innovation in Action was my first encounter with Novo Nordisk, and I was happy to confirm my positive view of the company. I had a great experience and my fantastic team even ended up winning the case competition!


Innovation in Action 2015


Novo Nordisk offers a lot of different internships and they are a great way for master students to get valuable, hands-on work experience. It is an opportunity for a unique learning experience and a chance to turn theory into practice. To work as a Novo Nordisk intern, you are expected to be ambitious and willing to learn. So, if you are eager to start a life-changing career in Novo Nordisk, like I was, read more about internships here and find the available positions here.

I started an internship in Cities Changing Diabetes and became even more excited about working for Novo Nordisk. The Cities Changing Diabetes programme is Novo Nordisk’s response to the urgent challenge caused by the dramatic rise of urban diabetes. This was the perfect match for a Public Health enthusiast like me, especially because I got to work with research and evidence generation both quantitatively and qualitatively. I learned a lot and took so many positive experiences with me into the graduate programme – I can highly recommend spending six months on an internship, if you want to get a feeling of how it is to work in one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.


To tie a bow on my student experiences with Novo Nordisk, I had the opportunity to come up with the case for Innovation in Action 2016, where the challenges with urban diabetes in Shanghai (part of the Cities Changing Diabetes programme) became the topic. Furthermore, I facilitated a Danish group and the winning group from the US, who was invited to Denmark to present to Novo Nordisk’s top management together with the winning group from Denmark. This was a great experience, having been in the students’ shoes just one year before.


I hope you found this overview of the many possibilities in Novo Nordisk valuable and please reach out by writing a comment if you have any questions or comments.

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The daily life as a CMC Development Graduate

Category: R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme | (2) comments

So, if you have checked out either the CMC Development graduate page or maybe my last blog post, I bet you are thinking ‘well all this info is very nice, but what do you actually do if you become a CMC Development graduate??’ At least, that was what I was thinking a year ago, when I was browsing around the Graduate web pages and planning to apply.

As it turned out, I didn’t really get the answer until I started my first rotation in September. So, in the hope that this will enlighten some of you out there, I will try to answer this question by giving you a schedule for an average work day as a CMC Development Graduate.

First, let me give you a quick introduction to my current rotation. I work in the Mammalian Cultivation Development department which is part of protein production under the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) production area in CMC. We work with mammalian cells, which are used to produce protein. My department receives cell clones and a rough cultivation process from Global Research (GR) and then our main job is to develop cell cultivation processes in small scale that can be transferred to and succeed in pilot plants and production scale. We do a lot of process optimisation work in the lab, and at the same time refer to a lot of stakeholders in both ends (see figure). This makes the job varied and exciting, often with short deadlines and many stakeholder opinions to take into account.

Okay, are you with me so far? Then let’s look at one of my average work days (this is an accumulation of the last 4 months, of course every day is different):


So, that’s my average work day. A good mix of varying tasks, lab work, meetings and desk work spiced up with lots of collaborations and discussions with colleagues – and always something new to learn. Of course the tasks and days will vary depending on which department you are in, but generally you can expect to spend time in the lab, on data analysis and in collaborations with a variety of stakeholders.

I hope that this has given you a clearer picture of what you actually do as a CMC Development Graduate. Please do not hesitate to ask questions or comment :)



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The new kid on the CMC Development Blog!

Category: R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme | (0) comments

Hello guys!

I’m Sofie, and I joined the brand new CMC Development graduate program 3 months ago.

So right now everything is new: my collegues, the graduate program, the workplace, the work, this blog – and me. In this first blog post I want to introduce you to two of these new things; the R&D CMC Development Graduate Program and me. In later blog posts, I promise to cover some of the other new things.

Me and Louise Jepsen, one of my coworkers, in the laboratory.

The R&D CMC Development Graduate Program

So, right now many of you are probably wondering, what is CMC actually and what do you do when you work in CMC? That at least, is what I was wondering when I first heard about the CMC graduate program. CMC is short for Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control. Simplified, CMC is the place in Novo Nordisk where new promising findings from our Global Research area are developed into drugs ready for production.

Since production procedures are developed in CMC, the employees working in this area of Novo Nordisk are not only working in the office analysing data, developing production plans and the like, but also spend time in the lab. As a CMC Development Graduate you get to try it all – being in the lab and working with data analysis, experiment set-up and optimization. This secures that you get a full understanding of the processes you work with and if you are into science like me, it is awesome. The lab work is unique for the CMC graduate program, and this was important to me when I chose which program to apply to.

The rotations follow the same schedule as other Novo Nordisk graduate programs, 3 rotations of 8 months, two in Denmark and one at an international CMC site. Check out the CMC Development Graduate page to explore the program further. In each rotation you will get hands on experience on the processes that are developed in the department you are in. You will be a natural part of a team, and participate in current development projects both inside and outside the laboratory. The specific departments you will rotate in will depend on your scientific profile and organizational needs. Throughout the 2 years you will learn brand new techniques, analysis and methods, and gain experience with teamwork, multitasking and project management. I can guarantee that the learning curve will be steep and that you will be wiser when you finish each rotation.

I know that the description can seem a bit fluffy, but if this has caught your interest and you keep following this blog, you will get more concrete descriptions and info on what exactly a CMC Development graduate can be doing in a specific rotation or on an average working day.

OBS: The R&D CMC Development Graduate program employs new graduates every 2nd year, next time being in September 2018. This means that if you graduate in 2017 or 2018, you can apply in 2018. But starting to consider or planning to apply already will only be an advantage next year.


Me – Sofie

Luckily life is not only work, and even though I’m very happy with my job I also like doing other stuff. I have lived in Copenhagen for many years (so if you are a foreigner considering applying you can also ask tips about life in CPH) and love the city. I explore the city’s restaurant and theatre scene with my friends and run around its beautiful parks and lakes. I play the violin in a youth symphony orchestra. I travel as often as I can, I can’t get enough of exploring new cultures and places, and one of the things that in the beginning attracted me to the graduate program was the rotation abroad which I still look very much forward to.

With this introduction I hope that I have given you a picture of who I am and what the R&D CMC Development Graduate program is, and that it is a bit less ‘new’ now that you’ve read the post. If you have any questions or topics you would like to know more about, do not hesitate to contact me :)



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