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The phone interview survival guide!

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 | (16) comments

Congratulations to all of you for taking the decision to apply to the graduate programme! I will take a wild guess assuming that you may have more doubts about what is to come in the screening process now that you have filled up your application.

Right now the recruitment team is reading through thousands of applications looking for those candidates who may fit the graduate programme. After this stage they will contact you to let you know about the outcome of this process. I know that waiting sometimes is not precisely the most pleasant thing in the world; therefore I’ll do my best to give you some hints to be ready for the next big step you’ll be facing… The phone interview!

Biologically speaking it is proven that with unexpected news or events, your body uses high amounts of blood in almost every part of your body … except for the brain. Sometimes it is good because it can help you to fight for your life against a raging bear; but when you receive a phone call for an interview, the organ you may want to be working at its fullest is exactly the one with less blood: your brain!

Based on this fact, I recommend you to prepare your own survival guide for the phone interview based on the following points:

1)    Data

I won’t elaborate too much in this topic because I’m sure that you have already done some research about Novo Nordisk in the corporate website and already read the Novo Nordisk Way. Also I’m confident with the idea of you having the chance to download the Annual Report 2014 and gather some nice information to show off (a little bit) about the last year performance.

Just remember to have all those valuable facts available for you when your phone starts ringing.

2)    You

Be not afraid to give open and honest answers. The interviewers are eager to hear the rationale behind the decisions that brought you were you are right now. Also they would like to know why you think Novo Nordisk is the best place to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Ask and answer to yourself the kind of questions that maybe you will hear from the other side of the line, such as: Why the graduate program? Why are you interested in pharmaceutical industry? What is appealing for you within Novo? How can you contribute to the success of Novo Nordisk?

Finally be prepared to talk about what did you achieve, which challenges you faced, and what did you learn from them. I recommend you to take some time to elaborate, prepare, and learn by heart every point of your CV that may be worth to share during the interview. The interviewers like people who are high performers and at the same time humble enough to recognize that always are challenges and learnings to share ;)

Remember, your brain will not receive as much blood as you wish … so maybe writing down all of the above in your tablet or a simple sheet of paper can make a huge difference.

3)    Low-hanging fruits

Everyone loves the low-hanging fruits, therefore I prepare a list with some… feel free to use them when you receive THAT phone call from the recruitment team.

a)    Keep Calm. It is really happening, you have been chosen, you have one shot… make it count.

b)    Breathe deeply and smile. Ok, it may sound corny, but it is proven that your voice tone improves by doing this two simple things.

c)    Lock and sit down. Avoid at all background noises or to walk during the interview because it will make your voice tremble

d)    USE YOUR SURVIVAL GUIDE ;)

e)    Listen, understand and answer. There are no traps in the interview, so try to listen carefully what the interviewer is asking, then find the reason why he/she is making that specific question, finally and most important: give your answer.

f)    Be yourself. In Novo Nordisk we like diversity, stand out and show yourself as you are.

I hope this short blog can help you in your path to become a graduate; finally I would like to invite you to post any doubt or comment you may have regarding the phone interview or any other topic, so you and many others can have a better survival guide

May the phone ring with you…

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2-years as a RA graduate and then what?

Category: R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (3) comments

I believe that the graduate blog is very successful in providing an insight into how the programs work, the experience one has during the program and how one can manage to get accepted into the program; however there is less information on what happens after the program.

So you sign up for two years of rotations and new impressions; being pushed outside your comfort zone every 6 or 8 months (depending on the program) and then what happens?

Let me start by saying that you sign a two-year contract meaning your are not bound to the company after the program ends but also they are not required to keep you (this does not apply for the IO programs). Having said that, the company invests a great amount of resources into its graduates and thus you should be offered a position after the two years if you manage to meet their expectation.

The retention rates of graduates differ between the programs and I believe RA has the highest rate with 100% of former graduates still working for Novo Nordisk. In general Novo Nordisk is very successful in keeping its employees and creating a working environment one just does not want to leave again.

So what happens to RA graduates after they finish the program?

In most cases the next step will have already been finalized months before the 2-years come to an end and you will transition smoothly from your ‘graduate position‘ into your ‘permanent position‘. Often this involves a change in department; however some graduates have chosen to stay within the department they selected for their third rotation.

How easy it is to find a department after the program depends on how well your interests meet the current business needs. Nonetheless the fact that all RA graduates are still within the company shows that they try to give you the possibility to work exactly where you want.

As an RA graduate you become an RA professional after the program and then there are three main development paths which are shown in the figure below.

blog pic 4

The specialist role features in-depth analysis and investigation into a specific area of RA, involving solution-seeking and method/process-optimization. On the other hand the line manager role is defined by setting targets and directions; it involves a great extent of people management and development to achieve results. The project-management track is the most-cross functional as teams are built with key players from diverse disciplines to manage and see through a product from early development stages to life-cycle management.

Therefore one has many opportunities to find a role matching one’s interest. In general Novo Nordisk puts a lot of emphasis on personal development also outside the graduate program and managers are very responsive towards employees’ wishes.

Lastly let me end by saying that the program does not guarantee that everyone will end up as CVP but it provides one with a fast track opportunity to explore different fields and roles aiding your future development.

If you do not want to miss the opportunity to become part of the program send in your application now and use these blog posts to help you in structuring your application (FAQ, Cover Letter, Application 1 + 2, Last Minute Tips).

 

 

 

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The Ups and Downs of the Rotation Abroad

Category: R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (9) comments

At the beginning of the month I took the chance to sit down with the two RA graduates Mark and Sascha that have just returned from their rotation abroad. Throughout our one hour ‘coffee’ meeting that involved a lot of cake (my favorite type of meeting) I questioned them about their high and low moments of the past eight months and any useful tips or experiences I could use in the time leading up to my move abroad and during the eight months at the affiliate.

When I was applying to the program the rotation system and in particular the eight months spent at an affiliate were among the main reasons I really wanted to be successful in obtaining one of the positions. Therefore I thought it might be useful to share some of the stories and insights Mark and Sascha told me; also because I know for some people being sent to a random country (and it is really any country as you have no influence over where you will be sent in the RA program) can be daunting.

Let me start by providing you with the basics about Sascha’s and Mark’s rotation. Sascha went to NNi, the affiliate in Princeton in the US also coined small headquarter in Novo Nordisk, and Mark to the production facility in Brazil. Mark had never been to Brazil before whereas Sascha had visited the US twice and even lived there for a short period of time. Thus they had very different rotations with diverging tasks, impressions and cultural experiences.

For Sascha his rotation at NNi was hist first exposure to RA work as he had spent the first rotation outside RA in the medical writing department. He focused on the future insulins and got to work on many different projects in numerous departments. The flexibility and wide exposure to different products were the features Sascha enjoyed the most and he ended up working with most of the diabetes portfolio in just one rotation. This is an experience many graduates make when spending time at an affiliate. The smaller workforce and the less rigid structures means your role will be far less defined and constrained.

In Mark’s case it was the opposite, after having spent 8 months in an RA department in Headquarters he joined the Quality Management Systems team in Brazil working with the implementation of such systems at the local site as well as with customer complaints and RA site approvals among other tasks.

Now let me get down to the nitty-gritty questions I posed them:

blog post 3-1

First Reaction?

I was able to emphasize greatly with Mark in this case as he had never even considered the possibility of going to Brazil. I had the same sensation when I was told that my rotation was in Vietnam. Sascha on the other hand stated that he was neutral about it and grew more and more excited as working in headquarters showed him the importance of NNi.

Biggest Fear?

Whereas Sascha worried mainly about his previously mentioned lack of RA experience and was not sure if he would be able to contribute anything of value; Mark’s main concern was focused on the ability to communicate. At least he believes it should have been his main fear but he might have been a bit naive about such issues before actually experiencing it first-hand.

blog post 3-2

Other Graduates at the same Affiliate?

Very surprisingly Sascha was the only graduate going to NNi at the time, very unusual as NNi is one of the prime destinations for graduates, and was joined later by finance graduates. Mark was accompanied by two Product Supply graduates for whom Brazil is one of few possible locations.

Social Life?

From a graduate perspective Mark was lucky as graduates have a special bond among them so going somewhere with other graduates immediately means you have a set of friends that have the same fears and ‘dreams’  as you. That does not mean that Mark only interacted with two people or that Sascha spent his rotation being lonely. Both found it easy to join in the social life with Mark participating in numerous sport teams and Sascha being surrounded by a group of very kind colleagues who took him in immediately.

blog post 3-3

Biggest Learning?

Both state the ‘affiliate view‘ as one of the main learnings that they are taking back to headquarters. It is very valuable to obtain an understanding of the differences between the local and the global needs. For Sascha his 8 months at NNi also provided him with an immense knowledge about the FDA which will be extremely useful in his further work in headquarter.

Moment of Struggle?

For Mark the lack of Portuguese skills did pose a problem at times and it can be frustrating when you feel unable to contribute as you are not able to grasp the whole problem due to communication issues. Nonetheless the graduate program is a lot about adaptation and pushing you outside your comfort zones; so be aware of such issues but do not let them demotivate you. On the other hand, Sascha did not even have one negative word to say about his 8 months in the US.

Now that I have completely exceeded our character limit and still feel I have so much more to say, I will leave you with a map of past destinations of RA graduates to give you a feeling of where one might end up. Please feel free to ask me questions in the comments.

blog pic 3

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A-Z (minus Y) of all your FAQs

Category: Business IT Business Processes European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (17) comments

Apologies in advance, as this is a pretty long post that has completely abused the ‘recommended blog post length’ we were advised. However, I will throw it out there and say I think I have managed to find answers to all of your questions (I am using the word ‘all’ very loosely here, as I am sure you will come up with more I will happily answer). Also, I have tried to give some examples of what I did in my application to guide you.

Academic background: I studied *Insert cool science Masters or PhD* can I apply to the programme?

From Analytical Chemistry to Zoology all Natural Science based Masters and PhD students are welcomed with open arms to apply for the programme. However, please note that you must be graduating with your Masters or PhD this year or have recently graduated – no more than 1 year since you have graduated.

Birthplace: I was born on Mars, do you have to be Danish to apply?

I too was born on Mars and made the programme, so fear not, being Danish is not a pre-requisite.

CV: My CV is x pages long, is that too long? Photo on CV – Yay or nay?

Regarding CV length you should really try and ensure it is no longer than 2 pages long. It’s great that a lot of you have amassed an impressive amount of lab based skills or have been first and/or co-author on several publications, but this is not a pre-requisite for the programme. A clear, concise CV will facilitate the reviewers matching your skills and experience to what they are looking for. In addition, a portrait picture is welcome if you like; I didn’t add one as I didn’t want to confuse the reviewers into thinking Whoopi Goldberg was applying.

Daily activities: What sort of exciting Regulatory Affairs (RA) activities will I be doing?

I want to take this opportunity to redirect you to the first blog post of the other RA graduate, Annika – here and that of a former RA graduate – here. Don’t forget to come back here though, as we are only at letter D :)

Expat life: I heard that Denmark was voted the happiest Country in the world, so will I be super happy all the time here?

You heard right, Denmark generally tops the happiest country polls. I mean, I am super happy here but I get super happy (not even just normal happy) eating my favourite chocolate bar (FYI it’s Milky Way), so I may not be the best person to ask. Sheng, a graduate on the International Chinese Graduate Programme is a more reliable source and covers it wonderfully here.

Family : Can I bring my partner?

Why of course

Grades: On a scale of Kim Kardashian to Einstein, how important are grades?

Grades are assessed as part of your application, yes, and we are looking for candidates with good grades but honestly don’t be put off by the ‘Top 5% in class’ part some of you may have read. If you fulfill the basic qualifications (scroll down to Qualifications) you are in with a shot. The take home message on this one is that grades play a factor, but what is more important is your motivation to work in RA and transferable skills/experiences you can bring to the table.

Housing: Is accommodation offered as part of the programme? Do I have to find it myself?

We have a fantastic relocation partner that will offer you accommodation with another graduate (you will have to pay rent) and usually graduates are all placed near each other. For example, in the block of apartments I live in there are 6 graduates. I nearly forgot to mention, if you prefer to live by yourself  the relocation team can arrange that too.

International rotation: I would love to live and work in the Maldives, do I get a say on where my international rotation will be?

No, we didn’t get a say, so bear in mind that you have to be flexible around this. Nonetheless, we’re off to pretty awesome places: myself to the States and Annika to Vietnam. Furthermore, previous RA graduates have been sent to Brazil, Japan, the UK (love that place) and India.

Job Prospects: Being a graduate sounds like a lot of fun, but what happens after the two-year programme?

Upon successful completion of the programme you will be offered a permanent position within one of the departments based in our Danish Headquarters

Keep positive: I applied all the way back in December, but I still haven’t heard anything. Have I been unsuccessful?

No, relax, as we won’t start contacting applicants until after deadline (8th Feb). Also, all applicants successful or not will hear back from us.

Language: I speak about as much Danish as I do Ancient Greek, will this be a problem?

You and me both, oh and no this won’t be a problem as English is the business language, so if you’ve mastered that it’s a piece of cake.

Motivational Letter: I have a gazillion questions about the motivational letter, such as word limit, format, structure etc etc.

This one is a hot topic amongst you and was the thing I stressed about too. I will now shut up on the matter as Annika has just written a fantastic blog post addressing all your motivational letter related questions; I would strongly advise you check it out here.

Numbers hired: I heard through the grapevine the ratio of applicants:positions is actually crazy, so how many people do you take on?

You heard right, the ratio is a little crazy and last year approx 720 people applied and only two of us got selected. Don’t be put off by this though, in submitting an application you have absolutely nothing to lose and absolutely lots to gain. In addition, you may be happy to hear that this year we will be hiring 4 of you.

Other Documentation: Apart from my CV, motivational letter and grade transcript what other documentation should/could I upload?

I would say anything of interest that helps us build an even greater more rounded picture of you, whether that be an amazing reference you received or a really good grade on a piece of coursework. I was really random with one of the documents I sent as it was a newspaper cutting of me talking about the dance classes I then attended, bearing in mind this newspaper cutting was dated around 2004!!!

Pharmaceutical Industry: Damn, I have no Pharmaceutical experience. Does this mean I will be at a disadvantage?

Certainly not, if you have experience within the Pharmaceutical industry that is great. If you don’t, that is fine as there are RA graduates hired that didn’t have any either. More importantly, just highlight in your application why you would want to work in the Pharmaceutical industry

Qualifications: What are the basic qualifications for the programme?

  • Recent Natural Science Masters degree/PhD
  • Good grades
  • International experience/mind-set
  • Relevant Work experience (scroll down to Work Experience for more on this)

Recruitment Process/Timeline: Okay, so I have applied, what happens next?

All applicants are assessed twice and following deadline roughly 25 applicants will be shortlisted for Skype interviews, which take place around mid February. Next, 10 successful applicants will be invited to the Graduate Recruitment Center (GRC) at the end of March, which is a two-day event held in Copenhagen, where applicants are assessed in a series of exercises. Furthermore, prior to the GRC the 10 selected candidates will be invited to complete some online tests in early March. Finally, following the GRC, 4 candidates will be offered graduate positions to start September 1st 2015.

Salary: I heard its crazy expensive to live in Denmark and I don’t want to be poor, so do we get paid?

Denmark can be an expensive place to live (my jaw hit the floor when I heard how much I would get taxed here -FYI its around 42%). In saying that, you will get paid a competitive salary that will ensure that poorness is not on the cards

Training: What sort of training would I receive as a graduate?

I will go into more detail about this in my next post, nevertheless,  most training is on-the-job, but we also offer a lot of internal courses and the opportunity to attend external courses.

University: Does the university I have attended matter?

No, so long as you haven’t attended ‘The University of Life’.

Visa: Will I have to sort out my Visa/Work Permit myself?

No, we have a fantastic mobility team that initiates this process, co-ordinates it with you and pays for it.

Work Experience: What and how much work experience is required?

Regarding ‘what’, we look at all your interesting work experience undertaken RA related or not. If it’s RA related, great tell us more. If it ‘s not RA related, that’s fine (I had no RA related experience before I joined), just try and tie it in somehow to why you want to apply for the RA programme. The key here is that you need some form of work experience to apply , as having none will unfortunately most likely mean you are unsuccessful. Regarding, ‘how much’  generally we want applicants with no more than one years work experience following completion of their Masters or PhD studies. This takes into consideration those of you who may have conducted work experience for a few months here or there during your studies. All in all, this is reviewed as a case-case basis but generally if you have lots of work experience following your bachelors degree and then complete your Masters or PhD studies or you have more than 4-5 years work experience it will almost certainly make you overqualified. The reason is that the programme is structured towards bringing fairly unskilled people up to speed really fast, and grouping very unskilled people with more experienced people makes it very hard to do a meaningful programme for everyone. With 4-5 years of experience and a strong CV you will most likely be eligible to apply for a normal job in Novo Nordisk, here.

Xtraordinary (I had to cheat on this one): What can I do to make my application extraordinary and stand out from the competition?

Sorry to disappoint, but there is no clear-cut answer for this one. I remember when I was applying I read an interesting bit of advice on the blog of another graduate (sorry I can’t remember the post), stating ‘think about what makes you unique and express that in your application’. As cheesy as it may sound I said helping people in my application, as I had done a lot of volunteer work. I then tied this in with the notion that I found helping people a quality that makes employment meaningful to me and to wanting to help people suffering with Diabetes. I’m not sure if this made me stand out as such, but it was something I tried to have in mind. So, get thinking, what makes you stand out? We would love to hear it!

Zzzzz  (It’s always a struggle to come up with a relevant word for Z): Will I work insanely long hours that will leave me chronically tired?

No, I very much doubt it as you are contracted to 37 working hours. Yes, you will sometimes have to log onto your laptop in the evening to prepare something for a meeting you have the following day, or write a blog post on a Sunday evening, when really you should be in bed watching new episodes of American Dad. However, I am a firm believer in work hard and play harder.

If you are reading this, it means you made it to the end of this post. Congratulations are in order, as it was a lengthy one (I did warn you in the beginning)

Still in two minds as to whether to apply? Well take this quick test here to put your mind at rest.

 

 

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Your Cover Letter: Make It or Break It

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 | (39) comments

As the application process has now been open for some time, the reviewing process is in full swing and one of the main weaknesses of some applications are the cover letters (also called motivational letters to avoid any confusion).

So I thought I would share some pointers on what we look for in a cover letter. Please take these only as guidance and not requirements for being successful in the application process (apart from points 1 and 2 that are essential).

Key Points to consider when writing your cover letter:

1. Mention the company and SPELL it right.

Each programme gets hundreds if not thousands of applications and if Novo Nordisk does not even appear it screams not interested.

2. Mention the programme you are applying to.

As for the point above we want to see that you are interested in what the company offers and have taken the time to write a cover letter for the programme and are not sending the same one to all companies.

3. Talk about specific aspects of the programme you like.

An expansion on point number 2. Try to show tat you have read all the information available on the programme and have thought about what you think makes it special and a great match for you.

4. Do not just repeat your CV.

Your cover letter and your CV will both be read so there is no point in providing us with the same information in both. Use your cover letter to showcase your interest, motivation and fit to the programme.

5. Do not dwell on scientific techniques.

In RA the majority of applicants have a scientific background (which is great and what we are looking for) but you will not use the lab techniques in RA. They provide you with a great understanding of the process; however we will see this from your CV so try to focus more on transferable skills. How have the previous work experiences provided you with skills that can you can use in another setting?

6. Read the Novo Nordisk Way and the Triple Bottom Line.

You want to show as much as possible that you have researched the company and identify with its core values. If you feel it fits mention it in your cover letter but most importantly you should be able to portray the key characteristics Novo Nordisk stands for.

7. Showcase any international experience.

All programmes involve some form of international rotation and so candidates ought to have an international mind-set and be ready to be flexible and leave their comfort zone. If you have done this in the past, it’s the proof that you are ready for what the programme holds.

8. Keep it short.

Preferably your cover letter should be to the point and not exceed more than 1 -1.5 pages. Remember that each reviewer needs to read hundreds of applications; the last thing you want is for him to get bored while reading yours.

9. Link previous work experience.

We are not looking for people with great amount of work experience however if you are able to link previous internships, projects or courses to the programme it will help you in showing your true interest and motivation.

10. Read the graduate blog.

You have already fulfilled one of the ten points by reading this. during the preparation of my application the graduate blog became my bible and it is the best source for first-hand knowledge that will allow you to understand the programme and its requirements.

 

I know I am not reinventing the wheel here but maybe some of you will find it useful and as an extra tip for reading till then end: Make sure to upload your cover letter as a document and not use the field provided in the application process as it will look much nicer.

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What does Regulatory Affairs even mean?

Category: R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (10) comments

Before I try myself at the impossible task of portraying Regulatory Affairs in 500 words and hopefully provide you with a bit more insight of what one actually ‘does‘ in RA, let me describe my path to the Novo Nordisk RA graduate programme.

My initial online exploration into the field of Regulator Affairs came after a similar experience with science than my fellow graduate Nani describes so amusingly in her blog post; just with less brains and more mice. After having initially studied Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine I was finding myself unsure of how to proceed. My main thought at the time was: “How do I stay in science, without actually doing science?” I loved everything about science and could have spent the next decade just learning, however when it came to the actual research I was lacking the passion.

In search of an alternative I went on to do a second Master in International Health Policy. Quickly it became apparent to me that this was definitely too far from science and not the right path for me either. Luckily fellow students felt the same and informed me about the Novo Nordisk RA graduate programme. What followed was an exhaustive Google search into the field of RA after which I did not feel much smarter then before and an extensive rewriting of my cover letter until I thought it somehow sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Let me tell you right now, no one seems to poses the ultimate knowledge of what RA stands for. If one asks more experienced colleagues they might throw around phrases and key terms like we bring drugs to the market,ensure compliance, stakeholder management andagency interactions to describe RA. All not very hands-down descriptions that tell you what one actually does. The reason for this is because it varies so much and these key terms are the ones that are likely to apply overall. That is the beauty of RA. One gets to work on various tasks i  different settings and with internal and external stakeholders.

I have been working within a CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and control) team for a product that has been launched in some countries and is going to be submitted soon in others. Quite an interesting time to join a team, right at the border of the development and life-cycle management phase, which implies a very heavy workload. Having no previous work experience with CMC it did feel like drowning in cold water, but I quickly learnt to swim and have so far survived. During the first four months I have been responsible for compiling and providing the ‘Annual Report’ (an annual update sent to the FDA) allowing me to work closely with the US affiliate among others and preparing a variation submitted in multiple countries. During the time we also received the Canadian ‘Clarifax’ (a request for additional information) for our market application submitted earlier that comes with an impossible deadline and so occupied the whole team.

Overall it has been an eventful time and I am looking forward to the next four months before I move on to something completely different. In order to shorten your Google search I advise you to check out this video and read previous posts by RA graduates; these were where I got most of my information.

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From dreams of Neurosurgery to Regulatory Affairs

Category: R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (15) comments

Being a naturally, annoyingly (ask my mum) inquisitive child, science always appealed to me; Neuroscience, in particular, after experiencing some not so great stuff and reading ‘The Man Who Mistook his wife for a hat’ by Oliver Sacks. Back then I wanted to study post-graduate medicine, so I could write volume two of Dr Sacks’ book. In my first ever lecture a brain donated from a cadaver was shoved in front of me and I was told to ‘explore it’. After being revived by CPR I realised I am not quite cut out to be a doctor.

See, I kid you not. I present the photographic proof of holding a human brain.

See, I kid you not. I present the photographic proof of ‘exploring’ a human brain.

Next, I decided I wanted to become a Neuroscientist and discover a cure for a neurodegenerative disorder. However, during an internship, the solitude of lab life became too much for me – when I found myself interacting with diseased brain cells more than humans, I thought Houston we have a problem! At this point, I was well and truly lost. I love science and wanted a job that was enjoyable yet meaningful, challenging, yet allowed me to have a healthy work – life balance, but was I asking for too much and did such a job exist?

Following graduation, I moved to London to do a bit of soul searching and at the same time took up a position as a scientific recruiter, which was a HUGE eye opener, as it was the first time I had come across Regulatory Affairs (RA). Speaking with RA professionals, shed light on a career that appeared to match everything I was looking for, but hmm I thought, there must be a catch right?

The catch came in the form of the ever so annoying cache-22 situation. Trying to find an entry level position within RA was proving difficult, as most companies requested applicants have at least 6-12 months experience. Great, I was being defeated by a stupid paradoxical situation! Then I stumbled across a two-year training programme being offered by Novo Nordisk: experience within RA was not a pre-requisite (phew), you get to essentially change job every 8 months and wait for it…you get to work in one of their global affiliates for one of the three rotations. I was that excited by what I was reading that I did a little happy dance, but hmmm I thought, who are Novo Nordisk?

I will be honest with you, I was not that familiar with Novo Nordisk at all. Nonetheless, upon further research I came to discover that Novo Nordisk really is the business when it comes to leading diabetes care. You can’t really go wrong with a company that produce more than 40% of the world’s insulin, was voted most sustainable company 2012 and is managed by a CEO recently ranked among the top 10 in the universe. That aside, going to work in the morning, knowing that what I do is helping to save the lives of millions of patients suffering from chronic disorders is extremely humbling.

Lastly, whilst I have only been working for Novo Nordisk for 3 months, I have come to realise that it is a company that truly invests in its employees; a company that invests so much into giving cake to its employees at any given opportunity is winning, period.

So, do you love cake? Of course you do, so Apply here now!

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Rocking the Graduate Recruitment Centre (GRC): key tips and all the blog posts published so far!

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

As the deadline for the GRC draws nearer with every day, we can remember how we felt a year ago: a mixture of stress, curiosity, fear but above all excitement! We wondered how to best prepare for these two exciting days, and though we had browsed Novo Nordisk’s website, graduate blog and the entire Internet in search for more information, it somehow never felt enough.

In this blog post, we would like to ease your task of preparation a bit and assure you once more that you do not need to be afraid :-). As many posts about the GRC have already been published and you might find it difficult to find all of these, we have listed them all in our post below, and each of us has picked ONE of our top recommendations that we have for you. Enjoy reading and good luck!

 

Anne-Sophie’s tip: 4 letters: T.E.A.M.

At this advanced stage of the recruiting process, what does differentiate THE candidate from the other candidates? I do not have the exact answer to give you but I can tell you what I felt at the GRC: teamwork and collaboration! I know what you think: you have read it everywhere, on the website of every company you have applied to, and probably already experienced it along other Assessment Centres. And this is again the case here!

Bear in mind that we are looking for skilled candidates – which we know you are – but also for colleagues and people we can see ourselves working with. Your strengths might be the weakness of others. But instead of using these strengths solely to your own advantage, rely on them to help and drive your other teammates. As a leader and manager, you are expected to empower people and help them grow in their role. Knowing yourself and using your best skills for the benefit of the group and for achieving a common goal will be key to your success at the GRC. I can only give you my example: having had some prior experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I chose to share this knowledge with my teammates for them to better understand the tasks that were given to us and for the group to be faster and more insightful to solve our business case. Of course I felt exposed and sometimes wanted to keep this knowledge only for myself as I thought that this could be a huge personal advantage. But choosing the other way and deciding to use this for the benefit of the group only encouraged us to aim higher. Hence don’t be shy and dare exposing your best self for others!

 

Lisa’s tip: Never stop believing in yourself and your skills!

My advice to you is: Believe in yourself and show this confidence until the end! Compared to other assessment centres the GRC is quite long. It will be two very intensive days with many different exercises as you already know. You will feel exhausted at some point and there will also be moments where you might not feel happy with your performance. But this should never discourage you. Stay motivated throughout the two days and if there is a moment where you are not pleased with your performance, forget about it quickly and focus all your energy and enthusiasm towards the next task. I am saying this because of a personal experience from last year: Somehow, the business case was not ‘my friend’ right from the start, but when it came to the actual presentation in front of the assessors it seemed that it actually achieved to ‘break my neck’. During the preparation for the business case there were several things that made it difficult for me to properly prepare, so I held the worst presentation that I had ever prepared. And I am not just saying that because I felt like this, but also because I could clearly see from the assessors’ faces and their questions that they were not at all happy with it. I had terrible slides and the content was not really insightful. I felt very bad after this and since it was one of the last exercises, I was sure that I had lost my chance for a graduate position. After some time of feeling miserable I realised that there is still a chance to at least improve the final impression of myself. So I tried to forget about the presentation and focused on the next exercise. Although I did not feel that this actually compensated for my bad performance earlier, I still felt better and more pleased with myself after it went quite well.

In the end, I actually got the graduate position! For me, this shows that one unsuccessful exercise does not mean that you have lost all your chances. When I got the feedback for the GRC, I was honestly told that everyone was negatively surprised by my presentation of the business case at first, but then they admired how confident I presented these ‘lousy’ slides and how honest I answered their questions. They also appreciated that I did not give up after this, but put all my rest energy and motivation in the last exercises.

Hence, I want to show you that the way you deal with an unpleasant experience at the GRC can be key to your success and self-satisfaction. With confidence in your skills you will be able to better deal with such an experience!  

 

Now that we have given you our two best recommendations for the GRC, please browse the graduate blog and visit the insightful following posts below:

GRC video from 2013

http://video.novonordisk.com/video/7923654/graduate-recruitment-center-19-and-20

Graduate Recruitment Centre: Last Minute Practicalities

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2014/03/26/graduate-recruitment-centre-last-minute-practicalities/

Survival guide to reduce jetlag in the GRC (& something important)

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2014/03/20/survival-guide-to-reduce-jetlag-in-the-grc-something-important/

Next Stop: GRC 1-2 of April

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2014/03/19/next-stop-grc-1-2-of-april/

GRC: What to expect?

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2010/03/16/grc-what-to-expect/

Next steps in the graduate recruitment process, key tips for success

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2013/02/18/next-steps-in-the-graduate-recruitment-process-key-tips-for-success/

Final words of advice, the Graduate Recruitment Centre

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2012/03/06/final-words-of-advice-the-graduate-recruitment-center/

BP Graduate shares experience from last years’ recruitment centre

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2012/03/05/bp-graduate-shares-experience-from-last-years-recruitment-center/

Ove Munch Ovesen: what is an assessment centre, the expert shares his tips

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2011/03/14/what-is-an-assessment-centre-the-expert-shares-his-tips-2/

A job is a 2-way match

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2011/03/14/a-job-is-a-2-way-match/

Applying for Novo Nordisk and the Graduate Programme – Part 3- Graduate Recruitment Centre

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2011/03/04/applying-for-novo-nordisk-and-the-graduate-programme-%e2%80%93-part-3-graduate-recruitment-centre-march-29th-30th/

Enjoy the recruitment centre

http://blogs.novonordisk.com/graduates/2011/03/28/enjoy-the-recruitment-center/

 

Good luck and we – together with all the other graduates – will see you on April 1st and 2nd!

 Graduates 2013_Group Picture during Intro Day

All the best,

Lisa and Anne-Sophie

 

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The phone interview?! Tips and tricks to get ready

Category: Business IT Business Processes Chinese International Graduate Programme European Business Management European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (32) comments

Congratulations to those of you who have submitted their application to one of the graduate programmes! You have taken the first hurdle in becoming a graduate within Novo Nordisk :-). At the moment, all of your applications are being read through. This is probably the toughest round of the selection process since we receive so many great applications and we can only choose ca. 400 for the phone interview! At the end of February/ beginning of March you will be informed vie E-mail about the outcome of this process. In case you get selected for the next round, we can only say that being selected for the phone interview out of several thousand applications is really a great achievement and the main feeling you should have at that moment is being proud of yourself!

But, of course, you may also be a little bit nervous about what comes next. Therefore, we would like to share with you some tips for how to best prepare for the phone interview. Since there will not be a lot of time between the invitation for the interview and the actual interivew, it might be wise to already start preparing now:

First of all, be assured that there are no traps or mean questions in the phone interview: If you have reached this stage of the process, it means that we already think that you are a great fit with Novo Nordisk and the graduate programme. Interviewers will take the opportunity to get to know you better and get a more thorough understanding of what you previously did and why this made you want to join Novo Nordisk.

So be prepared to talk about the following:

What is your story?

Basically: why did you do what you did (academic and professional experience, extracurricular activities, etc.)?

We like open and honest answers: only a few of us have a straight arrow for a personal and professional path. What your interviewers are interested in is why you made those choices, and why, in regards to your experiences, you have decided that Novo Nordisk would be the best place to achieve your personal and professional development. For example, with regards to my (Lisa) professional experience, my CV was mainly filled with internships in the financial services industry (and mainly at one company). So of course during my phone interview the question came up: Why are you interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry and at Novo Nordisk? Why do you not want to work in the financial services industry and with the company you interned with? Although I had clear answers to these questions in my head, the challenging part was to share them in a logical and convincing way with the interviewer on the phone. Some preparation beforehand definitely helped me with that!

What did you achieve, which challenges did you face and what did you learn?

Take a look at your resume as well as your cover letter: you have to know them BY HEART and be prepared to answer questions regarding them! You will be questioned about both your positive and negative experiences. What you achieved and what you learned. Don’t be fluffy in your answers: of course you have learnt something and of course you had some challenges. What you did to overcome them is what we would like to hear. Also, be ready to elaborate on your achievements. However, no matter how great these might be, try and stay humble :-).

Why Novo Nordisk and why your programme?

We are looking for people who want to contribute to Novo Nordisk’s success. The graduate programme IS challenging, for real. Also you have to be convinced of why you wish to join the programme and what this means to you: What is important for you within Novo Nordisk, what programmes, actions, initiatives appeal to you and why you think they are relevant to Novo Nordisk’s patients, are some of the questions you should ask yourself.

Identify and know your motivation for Novo Nordisk and for the specific programme you will be interviewed for: This is your only chance as you will get interviewed for only one of the programmes you have applied for. Browse Novo Nordisk’s website as well as the graduate blog, podcasts, videos, FB page, etc., there is plenty of information there to help you :-) 

Our last advice: Be yourself because then you will be at your best! The interviewer wants to get to know YOU and since it is the story of your life you are the one who knows it best!

Also remember: everyone is nervous during phone interviews and the interviewer knows this as well and will not hold this against you. It is just natural. But if you smile while talking (Yes, you can definitely hear if someone is smiling on the phone!) and if you even manage to laugh this will not only leave a positive impression to the interviewer, but also make you more relaxed.

To read more about interview tips and tricks, read the following blog posts:

–      My top 3 tips for the phone interview

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

–      OH BOY!!! Interviews scare me…

Now enjoy the rest of this weekend and stay tuned for more blog posts to come!

Anne-Sophie and Lisa

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Regulatory Affairs

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs | (19) comments

Hi all,

Over the past few weeks there have been a ton of questions relating to some particulars about the Regulatory Affairs Graduate position (and for the Graduate Programme, in general).

Ideally, of course, one’s desire for this position should be based around changing your own life as well as helping to change the lives of others (as Inca writes here ). And what an opportunity you will have to do both with Novo Nordisk, which has established an environment where one is given both the opportunity to develop as a person and help change the lives of millions.

However, understanding that there are particulars that everyone wants answers to; what makes this programme even more fantastic is that you get paid! So do not let the term “graduate programme” mislead you. As a Regulatory Affairs Graduate (and, indeed, as a Graduate in general) you will be a full-time employee with a full-time salary (approximately 5500 USD a month).

And along with that comes the responsibility of being a full-time employee. This is not a position where you sit idly by as you watch others do important work. No, from day one you will be doing important work and will be expected to produce (just ask Jerome about his challenging day). Therefore you will have full autonomy to “sink or swim”.

So what do you say? Does having the opportunity to start your career in a challenging environment with a growing company excite you? Are you ready to contribute to something that is bigger than yourself?

Don’t forget that the deadline for applications is 9 Feb 2014.

Apply here: www.novonordisk.com/Regulatory-Affairs-Graduate

BR

Oluf

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