Tag Archives: Challenge

Share This

Before 30 Years Old

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments

“Before 30 years old, follow somebody. Go to a small company. Normally, in a big company, it is good to learn processing; you are part of a big machine. But when you go to a small company, you learn the passion, you learn the dreams. You learn how to do a lot of things at one time. So before 30 years old, it’s not which company you go to, it’s which boss you follow. That’s very important. A good boss teaches you differently.” – Jack Ma

Just in case you don’t know him, he’s the founder of Alibaba Group and one of the most successful businessmen in the world. When I was doing my masters, I had tons of time to watch his interviews and the quote above is probably one of my favorites.

So you might ask, if he said to go to “a small company”, why am I working for Novo Nordisk, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world? Well, I asked myself that too almost 2 years ago!!!

Fast forward to today, I am on my final rotation in my 3rd country and I can answer the question already. Why am I working for Novo Nordisk and why I would recommend the IO Business Graduate Programme.

  1. “Go to a small company” – One of the best things of the IO Business Graduate programme which I only realized now is that you start in the affiliate. When I started, I felt sort of disappointed and bad that I needed to go back to the Philippines after doing my masters in 1st world countries. After enjoying the convenience and safety of 1st world countries, I had to go back to a 3rd world country once again. But you know what, once I figured out that the affiliate was actually growing in double digits, I felt relieved. It got me excited! Yes, Novo Nordisk is a big company globally indeed but in the affiliate level, it is still rapidly growing and it has a lot of challenges ahead. I knew then that the opportunities for learning would be great and in this stage of my career, that’s the perfect breeding ground. It is like joining a small company after all!
  2. You learn the passion, you learn the dreams. You learn how to do a lot of things at one time.” – As a graduate in the affiliate, you learn how to do a lot of things at one time. You may be assigned to a Marketing project but you also get to do some tasks related to Commercial effectiveness, Finance, Product supply, Medical Affairs, and sometimes, even changing the printer’s ink! It may sound absurd but that’s actually very interesting because you get to learn to do stuff that you wouldn’t expect. With that too, you get to interact with basically everyone in the office, from the General Manager to the kitchen assistant. If you are open enough, you get to know what makes them wake up early in the morning. You see things in a different perspective and you get to know their ambitions whatever it may be. Those interactions can teach you a lot as a young professional.
  3. it’s which boss you follow” – I have to admit after finishing my MBA, I felt like I knew everything in business. I was that “annoying know-it-all-I’m-too-good-for-you MBA person”. Yeah, I’m sure you know someone like that too and yes, they’re definitely annoying I must say! :D Back to my point, the graduate programme gives you the opportunity to interact with various kinds of bosses in the affiliate and in global. It gives you the opportunity to learn from them and network with them, you also get to have free advice from them on your life goals. They can provide you with good inputs on how to live your life and how to properly grow professionally. These valuable lessons and inputs would have costed thousands of dollars from consultants, but you get to have them for free, or maybe a cup of coffee (which can sometimes still be free too if there’s a coffee machine in the office!)
  4. “A good boss teaches you differently.” – In my first ever meeting with the General Manager of the Philippines back then, he told me, “don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” Throughout my experience in the graduate programme, that phrase has been repeated by all my direct managers. Being a graduate lets you do things that haven’t been done before, it lets you take risks without really worrying too much. If unsuccessful, the worst thing that can happen is that your boss will just ask, “So, what did you learn from it?” Of course, these risks still have to be calculated risks and it should still be within the bounds of the Novo Nordisk Way.
    On another note, I’ve always envisioned myself to be working in the global headquarters right after doing my masters. However, this ambition has changed a lot after the interactions I’ve had during the Market Access and Public Affairs summit.  Vice-Presidents, Directors, senior managers, and various product managers from all over the world were in Copenhagen for a 2-day summit which I was fortunately been invited too. Learning from their experiences and their best practices from their affiliates is probably one of the highlights of my rotation in Denmark. This experience has inspired me even more to work harder in improving patient access to our products.

MAPA summit

 

As a parting shot, I would like to share what my boss in Denmark told me as it’s definitely different from what I have been taught before, “People who walk with the most stars on their shoulders here in HQ are from the affiliates.”

 

Have a good day,

Paul

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 6 people. Average 3.7 of 5)

What a European market acces graduate actually does…

Category: Global & European Market Access | (4) comments

I remember when I applied for the European Market Access programme last year, I researched (as you may remember from my first blog post) what market access is and what a job within this field would entail. After I did some research, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the areas market access covers (such as health economics, value communication, public affairs, and so on), but it still felt a little like a black box. I had a lot of questions, including: What could an example be of a task? How does a day look for someone working in market access? I imagine that you have similar questions and considerations, so I will try to address this and hopefully make it a little clearer what a market access position looks like in real life.

I am the only graduate in my year with a first rotation in an affiliate – the other business graduates are currently in headquarter and will have their affiliate experience during their next rotation. I will have two affiliate rotations, as I am going to the affiliate in the U.K. for my next rotation (which is an extremely interesting place to go if you want to learn about European market access!). Working in an affiliate is extremely exciting – here you have the opportunity to learn about practically every aspect market access and thus get a broad understanding of the many different areas. My first rotation is in the Danish affiliate located in Ørestaden, which makes a lot of sense for me, since I studied Public Health at University of Copenhagen and therefore have an understanding of the Danish healthcare system structure and a general overview of the political environment. For me, working in the Danish affiliate has been a great introduction to market access!

I have tried to gather some examples of tasks that I have worked on so far, and to outline a typical day at the office as a European Market Access graduate. My hope is that it will give you a more concrete feeling of what types of tasks you could get in market access and how life as a graduate is in the reality of an affiliate.

Below you will find some examples of tasks I have worked on so far:

  • Prepared and given a presentation for World Diabetes Day
  • Contributed to process of obtaining reimbursement for a new insulin product
  • Organised and prepared a workshop for the Danish management team focusing on obesity treatment in Denmark
  • Helped organise a political conference on the treatment of obesity in the Danish healthcare system

In addition to the affiliate-specific work, I have graduate-related tasks, such as:

  • Writing graduate blog posts
  • Writing a case for a CEMS business project in a Norwegian business school
  • Participate in graduate events and trainings, e.g. about project management, personal development or presentation skills

 

What a day working in market access in the Danish affiliate could look like:

  • 08.30 – I usually come into the office and start my day by checking my calendar & email and making a to-do list for the day.
  • 09.00 – We usually meet briefly in the market access team and update each other on what the plan for the day is, and if needed we discuss how to approach a task or meeting.
  • 10.00 – I often have a meeting or two before lunch, either internally e.g. with a brand team or externally with e.g. an agency.
  • 11.00 – Depending on the number of meetings, I usually have some time to prepare for the next meeting or work on what is on my to-do list.
  • 12.00 – Lunch
  • 12.30 – Back to work! Hopefully sending some emails and crossing some minor tasks off my to-do list, unless something urgent have come up, which in my opinion only makes the workday more exciting!
  • 14.00 – Another meeting/teleconference with either an internal or external stakeholder.
  • 15.30 – A short coffee break with one of my colleagues and then back to the computer, telephone or meeting room.
  • 16.00 – Depending on how the day developed, I usually have some time during the afternoon to discuss my tasks with the market access manager in the team or work on something graduate related if needed.
  • 17.00 – I leave the office around 5, depending on the work load and how much time I have had during the day to make it through my to-do list.

 

I hope this little sneak peek into my affiliate experience have answered some of your questions, if not feel free to reach out to me by leaving a comment below! You can also read Albert’s blog post: Take a look into my calendar – what a week as a graduate looks like for more insight into a headquarter rotation in R&D Business Support as part of the Business Process programme.

And don’t forget to apply for one of the graduate programmes right here from today (20 January 2017) until 12 February 2017! I can highly recommend the European Market Access programme if you want to be part of the team that ensures millions of patients across Europe get the full benefit of life-changing medicines. 

A little to do list for you!

A little to do list for you!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 1 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

Why the Novo graduate programme? My Four P-s job mix!

Category: Business Processes | (0) comments

“Graduate Programme or full-time position? Home or abroad? Generalist or specialist track?” Many questions were going on in my mind one year ago, as I was looking for the right job after business school. No answer was obvious to me, and career events seemed to have become a new hobby… I blamed my indecision on my curiosity and desire to not limit my possible scenarios…In reality, I felt a lot of pressure in making a decision towards my first, real job. If you somehow also feel this way, I will share with you how and why I found an instant match with the Novo Nordisk Business Processes Programme!

So let’s press forward one year!

I am now a Global Business Processes graduate at Novo Nordisk (long names sound quite official, don’t they), and I am really enjoying my first rotation in the Triple Bottom Line Value and Impact team, which falls under the Communications, Relations and Sustainability department. How did I end up in this programme? Reflecting back to my applications, I realised that four elements were the key decision criteria. What am I talking about? People, place, progress and purpose…a.k.a. my Four P-s job mix!

People: “If I start at a big pharmaceutical company, what will my colleagues be like? Can I learn from the people around me? Can I build a meaningful network?” If you share these concerns, well, then it’s worth knowing more about this programme.

It is not a coincidence that People is the first P of this mix. In fact, I believe this is one of the programme’s main assets. As a graduate, you are exposed to an incredible network of people, and they are people like you! By rotating in three different departments, you build relations with colleagues from the most diverse areas.

In my current role, I am exposed to people with interesting mind-sets and skills that I might not find in any finance or marketing department. Most of them have been with the company for many years, which is for me not only a source of inspiration but also an important source of expertise and experience that I can consult any time. The atmosphere is easy going (not what one would expect from a pharma company), and if I have questions (and trust me, I have many!) my colleagues are always happy to help. Humbleness and respect are not just words on paper in the company.

Meanwhile, I can count on my ‘graduate family’: a mix of international and like-minded colleagues who either are or have been part of one of Novo Nordisk’s graduate programmes. It is extremely helpful to have people around you who are or have been in the same situation and with whom you can discuss ideas, share feelings and, equally important, have fun! I live with another graduate, Claudia (great blogger, too!), and it is a lot of fun!

The business and marketing graduates during the introduction week

Place: Industry, company, country and rotations are all components of my second P – Place.

When I applied for the programme, I had never worked in pharma, and I was not committed to any industry. However, I saw pharma as a secure industry with a bigger purpose, complex dynamics and varied career opportunities – all elements that fulfilled my ‘place’ criteria. Complexity and size often bring in processes and stakeholders, slowing down the decision making. For some, this might be a frustrating aspect. I personally see it as an interesting opportunity to learn how to work with and adapt to new processes and stakeholders.

In geographic terms, Copenhagen is quite an ideal place to live in: you can bike around everywhere, nothing is too far! There’s art, music, good food, nice parks for burning off the good food, and a fun nightlife. I am also learning Danish (life might be too short to learn it, though!) and will be living here until the end of April and then coming back for my last rotation in January 2018.

At the moment, I am also very excited to be moving to a new country soon. How often do you get to work and live for 8 months in places like Canada, Australia, Thailand, Chile…? Rotation options vary from marketing to R&D, finance, consulting…you name it! Of course, flexibility should be part of your personality; if you are focused on one particular aspect, the Business Processes programme might not be ideal for you. In order to learn and enjoy the programme to its fullest, you have to be open to unexpected rotations and be curious to learn about different aspects of the business. So, if change and novelty stimulate you, then this programme will make you happy!

The graduate team during a factory visit

Progress: You can be in an amazing place with wonderful people, but if there is no potential for growth, things will get boring pretty fast, don’t you think?! This is why my third P is about Progress – namely potential for personal and professional development.

As I already mentioned, the graduate programme is perfect for exploring different areas of the business. In complete honesty, I don’t think I would have ever considered working in corporate sustainability myself, but I am learning about concepts and aspects of the business that turned out to be really stimulating. Moreover, as a graduate, you get to attend project management courses, workshops and practical trainings.

In terms of personal development, you have regular individual meetings with both your graduate manager and your host manager, where you can discuss about work-related but also personal challenges and opportunities. Overall, the focus on both hard and soft skills is what I really like about this programme!

Three-day project management course in Favrholm

Purpose: My fourth and last P is probably the one that distinguishes Novo Nordisk from most companies out there. Having tried other industries before and realised that I wanted more than just money and responsibility, I purposely looked for a company with a positive impact on society. I am proud to work for a company that is working to improve the lives’ of people with chronic diseases. Especially now, in corporate sustainability, I see how Novo Nordisk engages in initiatives that go way beyond the simple sale of drugs. Being part of such culture inspires and motivates me greatly. At the end of the day, I want to be proud to tell my friends and family where I work, don’t you?

I hope this post provided you with some useful food for thought. Please reach out if you have questions and I look forward to sharing with you my upcoming adventures. Stay tuned!!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 9 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

Rotation Abroad: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Category: Global Finance | (3) comments

Our application window is now open and graduates are posting all sort of relevant tips and tricks on how to make a successful application. In the meantime, I decided to share my experience from the rotation abroad to give your some inspiration.

I have spent the last 4 months in beautiful Kuala Lumpur, in position of a finance analyst in the Business Area office – a regional headquarter for our South-East Asia Operations. I must admit that even though it has been my dream destination from the very start of the graduate programme, it was still a drastic change in all sorts of ways. It is my first time living in Asia, an encounter with a completely different culture, in a place where family and friends are no longer just a couple-of-hours flight away. Kuala Lumpur is a buzzy multicultural business hub, so it took some adjusting after calm and structured Copenhagen. Needless to say, there were times of frustration and misunderstanding, but I value every single one of these experiences, because it gave me great insights into my own preferences regarding work and lifestyle.

 View from the office and KL by night

View from the office         KL by night

Job wise, I found myself in a completely different surrounding, too: I am now a part of a smaller team, where the proximity to markets puts you in a very dynamic setting, and you need to make smart decisions – fast! Smaller team also means that you are involved in several projects simultaneously. In my first 4 months, I have been juggling the budgeting process, organizing a functional meeting in Manila for 40 participants and managing implementation a new sourcing tool, among other things. It is also here where I first experienced finance partnering in its core: apart from number-crunching, you need to understand the local business model and be smart about managing your stakeholders in order to create value for your team.

Finance, Legal and IT meeting in Manila

Social activity        Group picture

Luckily, some things are true about Novo Nordisk in all parts of the world – and one of them is a close-knit and supporting community. Living in a new country by yourself can get lonely at times, but I never felt left out thanks to my friendly local and expat colleagues who are always up for something fun after work. And not to forget, the graduate family is always there no matter where you are.
Lost in Hong Kong

Lost in Hong Kong

with  fellow graduates  who are currently rotating in Vietnam and Philippines

All in all, it has been a truly life-changing experience for me so far, and there are even more exciting things to look forward to in the next two months: another functional meeting, now in Bangkok, and a field trip with a Malaysian sales representative.

Hope this gave you a little insight into a graduate rotation abroad, feel free to leave a comment in case you have any questions and don’t forget to apply before January 10th 2016.

All the best,

Nika

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 4 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

An insider opinion about the Graduate Programme, routine, and motivation.

Category: International Operations Business | (5) comments

As the application deadline gets closer and closer, more and more people may be wondering: how the Graduate Programme looks like from the inside? How ‘routine’ fits in? And how motivated I am after more than a year as an IO Business Graduate? Well, if you want to know my answer to these questions, you better read this blog.

How the Graduate Programme looks from the inside on a regular day? Do I have to deal with routine?

In my experience, it is very hard to find a ‘regular’ day as graduate because you will have huge responsibility over your given projects. Of course you may enjoy working in some projects/tasks more than others, but the bottom line is that each one of them has an real impact on your current department and ultimately on the company performance.

You can expect a lot of respect and trust on how you manage your time and at the same time you can have as much guidance/coaching from your colleagues as you want to. As a consequence you can expect lots of learning and innovation opportunities which may give little-to-none room for routine.

What is my motivational level after 15 months of being a Graduate?

It is true that specific projects/tasks will change according to the rotation and specific Programme you are in; nevertheless I can say that on every day in Novo Nordisk I arrive to the office with a very clear motivation: to change something for the better.

I do not always have an idea of what precisely I will change, or how I will be able to do it; it could be during a meeting I’ve been asked to attend, or while presenting an idea in front of my colleagues, or even while performing some not-so-funny task you need to complete in order to move forward with your project. Nevertheless, one thing I’m certain about is that the Graduate Programme gives me the key to unlock my potential, by challenging me on a daily basis and by knowing that I am part of doing business which improves lives.

Some people say that you may never know what is around the corner in a growing company such a Novo Nordisk, however to me one word comes to my mind: Opportunity. Therefore my question for you is: are you ready to be challenged and realise your potential?

Drop any comment of concern you may have and let’s start the conversation!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 1 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

Why I joined despite having no background in pharmaceuticals

Category: International Operations Business | (4) comments

“Why don’t you try applying in the pharmaceutical industry?,” I was asked in one of the networking events I attended in May 2014. Little did I know then, that question would have a big factor in my life. I never pictured myself to be working in the pharmaceutical industry because it was very foreign to me until that very faithful Saturday night.

During the last few months of business school, I was really active in attending networking events hoping to get valuable connections and of course, eating free food! Although networking events were really challenging for me because I came from a reserved culture, I needed to do what I had to do. I was an unemployed business student with my graduation looming so I felt extremely pressured. I’m certain that most of you can relate to that feeling too.

So here I was with my plate full of cocktail food (yes, free food is always good!), going around the hall and doing my 30 second elevator spiel to new acquaintances. I was doing that until my classmate grabbed me and introduced me to this executive who said she worked for a global pharmaceutical company. As I was very curious and interested, I asked her what she does and if she had a prior background in medicine. She said that to be in this industry, you don’t necessarily need a science or medicine background because the companies would teach you what you needed to know and train you with tools once you are in your business role. With those words, I got more curious so I asked her more questions. One of my questions was “if there’s one thing that she likes the most in this industry, what would it be?” and she said that she’s passionate about making an impact on the lives of people and this business directly does that. Once again, those words raised my interest because I also want to do something that would benefit peoples’ lives. As usual in networking events, I also told her about my background and what I wanted after I graduate. That’s when she asked me the question that changed my life’s direction.

As I was trying to sleep that night and reflecting on that question, I was browsing several companies and job openings in the pharmaceutical industry. It was my first time to look at the industry. Three phrases stood out in one of the job search engines; Novo Nordisk. Business Graduate Programme. In The Philippines.

It was one of those eureka moments and I immediately went out of my bed to read about the company and the programme’s requirements. After researching a bit and reading the blogs, I was really impressed and it swept me off my feet. I knew right there and then that I wanted this position. I really wanted to be part of a global company with the right ethical standards, where I could also grow and learn as an individual. The International Operation Business Programme provided me with all of that. I didn’t wait for the next day to submit all the required documents, I was that excited, despite the deadline being 2 months away!

In my next post, I will share the next steps that I took to get to that first interview. Stay tuned.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 1 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

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).

 

 

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 6 people. Average 4.7 of 5)

The Ups and Downs of the Rotation Abroad

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

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 2 people. Average 5.0 of 5)

Mentors: Your greatest nightmare but your best lesson…

Category: International Operations Business Uncategorized | (0) comments

One of my greatest teachers was actually my biggest enemy…at the beginning of my HQ rotation! But at the end he was one of the biggest Rock Stars I had the opportunity of learning from…I know this may sound a tad bit overly dramatic, but it is what it is!

 

Remember when I told you that learning from a Rock Star was not at all that easy? And I admitted to having been left bruised, scratched, tired, drained, confused, dizzy and ready to pack my bags and head home to my mum? (Read here if you missed what I said) Well it was all true, but I hung in there with my dear life and gained so much from it! So much so that I would now like to share with you tips on how to survive a tough no nonsense mentor (who you may encounter in one of your rotations….if you are lucky) and how to actually make that mentor one you can count on to always develop you in your Life Changing Career journey.

 

At first it may be hard to adjust to…especially if you are expecting special treatment because you are a graduate. YES! you are very special for being one of the 42 candidates to have been chosen out of 10 000 hopefuls for the Novo Nordisk Graduate Program. Kudos to you! But the truth is the real world of a graduate equates to actually doing real meaningful work that millions of people around the world depend on, which is not at all easy.

 

But KEEP CALM, put on your big people trousers/skirt, DON’T FALL APART and CARRY ON READING:

 

Disclaimer: the below advice is especially helpful for those who are thinking of getting into this prestigious graduate program…How so? Well basically the moral of this story is: NO ONE LIKES CRY-BABIES! Deal with the situation like the Masters student that you are! Also it may help to read the Graduate Programme FAQ as well as get advice from other graduates (Graduate Blogs) who are currently surviving the world of Novo Nordisk.… Don’t worry you can thank me later and NO, cake is still not allowed (Read here if you missed what I said).

 

Ps: Do not… I repeat: DO NOT forget the closing date for 2015 applications is February 8th so you still have time to Apply

 

As I was saying: how to survive a dragon that spits fire…erm…sorry I meant tough mentor

dragon1.Research the intricacies of their mind if you can.

After numerous failed attempts to please my mentor who was my daily supervisor in my HQ rotation, I found out he was an ex McKinsey & Co. superhuman. So I did some research and finally found a book in our library that could help me understand the way he thinks… I literally read The McKinsey Mind by Ethan Rasiel and Paul N. Friga, which I must admit pointed out what my problem had been… I was thinking in circles and not frameworks, and structures like he did. However, once I had figured out the language he understood, life become a little easier!

2.Don’t be afraid to challenge them

This means if you don’t agree with everything they say, tell them. And if they challenge you back…stand your ground and substantiate your perception. This actually shows them that you are not afraid of thinking differently and standing behind what you believe. They will respect you for this, but of course they will never let you win the challenges. And that’s ok because your skills will become perfected every time you try. Learn how they work and try doing it better than them…then go back to them for feedback. I am still learning and will one day be that student who became better than the master! Watch this space.

3.Never let them see you upset and never speak when upset. Breathe & keep smiling.

Being upset and losing your cool at work was never a good idea in any case, so just stay away from it period! And speaking while upset may lead to irrational words and decisions, so just breathe! Eat cake! Take a walk! Have coffee! Do anything that calms you, then go back and try again. And besides, if you crumble while learning from the best…it will be your own demise as they will never push you to your limits again! And being pushed to be the best person you can be is what the program is about…right? RIGHT!

4.Listen to everything they say, but don’t take all of it to heart

Getting feedback is the name of the game at Novo Nordisk. Some things however, may be meant with good intentions but may hurt your feelings. Being criticized is good because this is how you grow as a person and professional, but let’s face it… no matter how tough you are some things STING. But you know what, you need to hear them. Take them with a pinch of salt and know that they are not a personal attack on you but are from a place of utmost sincerity for you!

5.Ask questions you want honest answers to, then don’t cry when you hear the truth

I don’t like people who will tell me I look like Gisele Bündchen or Halle Berry when I actually DO NOT!

Untitled-1

 

So if you want the truth, rather ask the one who will never lie to you. Like my mentor… He never not once in the history of my HQ stint told me things that were untrue, even on those days that I was looking for some kind of empathy. And you know what: I will forever respect those who tell me the straight truth over those who try make me feel better… candy coats don’t help anyone in the long run! Trust me…

 

So, once you have gotten over the initial scary part of “taming the dragon”…erm.. sorry…I meant navigating a brilliant mind, be prepared for lessons that may change your life forever! My life has been changed and I will never look at another tough person with eyes of fear ever again…  And I can honestly say that what I have gained from this experience is priceless and definitely worth every battle scar collected along the way.

 

Hope this helps you and if you have any other questions on how to overcome your dragon… DO NOT hesitate to reach out.

 

Ps: Do not… I repeat: DO NOT forget the closing date for 2015 applications is February 8th…I REPEAT you still have time to Apply

Signing out from my last rotation in Santiago Chile, Adios

Llama

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 5 people. Average 4.2 of 5)

On Global Finance Graduate Program

Category: Global Finance | (0) comments

Over the last couple of months, I had a pleasure to meet a few candidates for the Global Finance Graduate Program through our promotional activities.

It occurred to me that the candidates have a very diverse understanding of what the program is about: Pricing? Controlling? Accounting? That’s why, before describing experiences in my current rotation, I felt I should briefly touch upon the program set up.

The advantage of the Global Finance Program is that you can specialize in Finance, but at the same time cover quite a large area of expertise. Your aim is to become a Finance Business Partner, which implies knowledge of various Finance functions, supported by a solid business understanding.

It means that you most certainly will end up on a rotation outside of what is traditionally considered the scope of Corporate Finance – it could be in-house consulting, internal audit or a foreign sales affiliate. That also means that the skills you will have to acquire and demonstrate will extend beyond operating profit calculation. You will have to learn how to think strategically: long-term forecasting of production volumes or Novo Nordisk Global Finance Strategy for the next five years could be among the projects that you will be directly involved in as a Finance Graduate.

 

Generally, by the end of the programme you will have covered 4 main competency areas:

 

1)    Financial Planning and Analysis – the “bread and butter” of a finance professional in any industry: month-end closings, business controlling, budgeting etc.

2)    Finance Specialist Function – a unique opportunity to get insights in such areas as Cash Management, Transfer Pricing or Accounting without prior experience or specialist training.

3)    Project Management – indispensable skill that they don’t really teach us at school. During each rotation, you will be assigned a project, which will be your direct responsibility.

4)    Rotation abroad – ability to adjust to foreign environment is essential to your success in an international company. Being flexible and open-minded will help you grow both professionally and personally.

Of course, it is hard to imagine what your day-to-day tasks on a job would be when you are still a student, but I can assure you that as a Global Finance Graduate you will be constantly challenged and you will most certainly not find yourself staring at a balance sheet every day.

We are excited for the opportunity to meet some of you on  4th February on CBS Career Fair, where my colleagues and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about Novo Nordisk Graduate Programs.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
(Rated by 3 people. Average 5.0 of 5)