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Networking 101: Do’s and Don’t’s

Category: International Operations Business | (2) comments

First of all, congratulations to those who have already started their interview processes. It’s going to be an exciting journey and like what my mentor has told me before, “enjoy and just be yourself!”

Over the last several days, I have received multiple emails asking for information, personal tips, and questions about the graduate programmes. I’ll just share my top 5 do’s and 5 don’t’s when you’re networking.

Top 5 Do’s

  1. Introduce yourself properly – It’s definitely a pleasure when someone reaches out to us and of course, we want to know more about you too. You’ve probably mastered your elevator pitch and it doesn’t hurt to include that as your opening statement in your email.
  2. Be punctual, don’t be late – It’s a given. When you try to schedule a call, do it at the specified time. Avoid getting late. :)
  3. Use English first – As much as we love being in your countries, some of us unfortunately do not speak the language yet. We want to understand what you want so we know what to give you.
  4. Send us a list of your questions –We want you to succeed in your application and we would most likely give out information (without spoiling your journey).  I learned this the hard way when I was networking before. When I finally met up with the person I was going to talk to, I forgot 4-5 crucial questions I needed to ask. Ever since then, I would already include my questions in the email and if I have further clarifications, I can ask the person during the meeting. Another tip, give us a heads up in the beginning of the email that you have a lot of questions. This way, we can set time aside to answer your questions properly without rushing.
  5. Keep us updated – It would be great to learn about your progress whatever the outcome is. The people I reached out to when I was still applying became my good friends and most importantly, valuable contacts when I started working. Keep the network open.

Top 5 Don’ts

  1. Ask salary questions – As a candidate, never ask about the salary at this stage. First, it’s very personal. Second, you should focus on the getting the position and getting to know the programme and the company more. Third, money isn’t everything in life.
  2. Treat it as a date – Getting invited for coffee, lunch or dinner is nice but be professional and keep it that way. Don’t flirt while exchanging messages and most importantly, during the meeting. Also, there’s an app for that! NOTE: just to be clear, a colleague just told me and I didn’t experience this first hand. ;)
  3. Be too formal – Strike a balance between being too formal and too friendly. Just relax, we’ve been through that situation too and don’t be too uptight when conducting your informal interview/networking. It’s an informal interview and we don’t decide if you get the position or not, that’s not our job. At the same time, don’t be too friendly and comfortable since that would make us uncomfortable.
  4. Be too personal – Keep the scope of your questions in a professional level. Don’t ask us about personal questions that are not related to the position. At the same time, don’t share your personal life story. Yes, we want to get to know you too but not to that level yet.
  5. Process specifics – As much as we want to help you succeed, don’t ask about when the next interview will be, what specific questions were asked, and what business cases will be discussed. You can ask your interviewer for those information, don’t be shy. Also, each country has their own interview and screening process before the GRC in Denmark so whatever happened in the Philippines might not be the same elsewhere.


I hope you keep these tips in mind when doing your networking/informal interviews. Thank you for reading and good luck in your interview process! Feel free to reach out!


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The video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the best,


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

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









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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!!

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Somewhere in the near future..

Category: R&D Global Development | (0) comments

Hi everyone!

Let me set the scene, somewhere in the near future: it is Sunday afternoon; you wake up late after a great post-graduation evening party. You have breakfast at lunch time and somewhere between coffee and an abstracted look through the window, you have the thought: My student life just finished, it was great, I learned a lot and had fun. What now?

Well, this happened to me and as an answer, I came across an email announcing applications about the Global Development Graduate Program of Novo Nordisk. So I did apply and here I am now, in my 4th month as a Global Development Graduate in Novo Nordisk!

Ok ok, I can almost hear: “But wait a minute, what is Global Development in Novo Nordisk?”. “And what is the Global Development Graduate program?”. “And by the way, who are you?”.

Fair enough! Well, let me go over the questions, starting with introducing myself!

I am Evangelos, yes this is a Greek name! I was born and raised in Greece where I also got my degree in Statistics from Athens University of Economics and Business. After dealing with economics and financial statistics I decided to apply my knowledge of statistical methods in biology and medicine and help towards a better understanding of diseases, creating more efficient drugs and ultimately improving patient’s life. Thus, I came to Denmark and studied Bioinformatics with strong focus on (what else?) Statistics. Apart from stats and biology, I love playing and listening to music, I enjoy a nice reading in the afternoon, a great night with friends, travelling to explore new places and play or watch basketball.

Now, about Global Development in Novo Nordisk. Global Development is the part of the organization where skilled scientists from all over the world, collaborate in order to develop products that can make a difference in patients’ lives. The main responsibility of Global Development is to conduct clinical trials and manage projects in order to assess drug effectiveness as well as safety and deliver the best results to our patients. It is a large and vital part of the company and consists of a diverse group of scientific disciplines.

So, being a graduate or getting close to finish your degree, how can you join this great team? That brings us back to the first question! The Global Development Graduate Program is a great opportunity for ambitious and skilled young scientists with a master’s degree in a relevant subject within natural or health science to launch their careers in Novo Nordisk. It is a 2 years global program which gives the unique opportunity to rotate inside Novo Nordisk, gather international experience and gain great insights about how the different departments of the company collaborate while building a strong global network. The program consists of 3 8-months rotations where you will work both in Headquarters, Copenhagen (in your 1st and 3rd rotation) as well as in one of our affiliates outside Denmark (in your 2nd rotation). After the completion of the program, a permanent position in Novo Nordisk might be waiting and a great career is already on the track!

The next recruitment for Graduates in Global Development will start early 2018. In 2016, GD hired 12 graduates within 6 different skill areas (Biostatistics, Statistical Programming, Data Management, Epidemiology, Medical Writing and Trial Management). More info will follow end 2017 on number of graduate positions and skill areas.

Well, that’s all from me for now! I will be back with a post introducing my skill area, Biostatistics and how is the Graduate life working as a Biostatistician in Novo Nordisk!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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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

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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.

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The other PS graduates and their advice ! Part 2

Category: Product Supply | (0) comments

To follow-up on Gustaf´s post about our current Product Supply graduates group. Below are the information, Aleksandra, Kasper and Laura were very kind to share about themselves. We hope it will give you useful details about the Product Supply graduate program and to help you prepare your application.

Aleksandra Heleniak
Nationality: Polish
Age: 27
Background: MSc Engineering Management, BSC Biotechnology, Project management certification. 9 month work experience prior to graduate programme (Product Manager).
1st Rotation:

  • Global Quality, Supplier Audits, Bagsværd, DenmarkAleksandra, Project management for risk based audit selection, Business review process start up 
  • Main Learnings: Change management for the experienced auditors, developing credibility and trust among specialists 

2nd rotation:

  • Business Support, Diabetes Finished Products, Clayton, USA, Strategy development and process governance, Coaching in cLEAN management – PS@Shopfloor
  • Main Learnings: Flexibility and change readiness in the way I handle communication (being direct, highly respecting hierarchy), facilitate workshops (top down approach) and challenge concepts 

 3rd rotation::

  • Biopharm Tablets and Finished Pack, Måløv, Denmark, Project Portfolio Management Process Start up, Part of management team – TBD
  • Learnings so far: Reflection on strategic priorities, status quo and management styles between 3 different rotations

Best thing about the program: Focus placed on self-development and self-reflection, ability to drive improvements and make a difference
My tip for the application: Be yourself, and focus on your dreams and passions

Kasper Veje
Nationality: Danish
Age: 27
Background: MSc. International Marketing and Management  
1st Rotation:


  • Corporate Innovation Project, Bagsværd, Denmark. Project analyst on supply chain and business development project in Kenya, Africa.
  • Main learnings: Advanced my business understanding and analytical skills as I developed business cases for projects at the highest level of the organization. In addition, I advanced my project management skills, namely my stakeholder management skills while navigating a large number of external and internal stakeholders  

2nd rotation: 

  • Aseptic Production Site Clayton, North Carolina, US. Project Portfolio Manager and LEAN coach.
  • Main Learnings: Developed coaching abilities and change management skills by leading LEAN improvement efforts and through shop floor coaching at multiple levels. Gained thorough understanding of project management  and project portfolio management including evaluation of business cases and their strategic fit.

3rd rotation:

  • Bulk insulin production, Kalundborg, Denmark. Support team and plant closedown coordination.

Best thing about the program: The level of responsibility that managers trust graduates with.
My tip for the application: Provide vivid examples of how you have displayed your strengths.

Laura Sørensen
Nationality: Danish
Age: 28
Background: MSc. in Biomedical Engineering. 11 month work experience (in research) prior to graduate programme.
1st Rotation:

  • IM2 Business Support, Kalundborg, Denmark. LEAN coordinator working with LEAN projects and leadership coaching.
  • Main Learnings: Advanced my LEAN skills and general business understanding. Learned how to run a workshop and develop business cases and most importantly shopfloor and leadership coaching.

2nd rotation:

  • Aseptic Production, Chartres, France. Project manager on planning project
  • Main Learnings: Strengthened project management skills and change management and stakeholder management skills.

3rd rotation:

  • Device Manufacturing and Sourcing Logistics, Hillerød, Denmark
  • Teamleader for internal planning

Best thing about the program: The program has a huge focus on personal development, learning from feedback and reflections
My tip for the application: An application should make us want to get to know you better, but still be short and precise

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Why did I choose Product Supply?

Category: Product Supply | (6) comments

While I introduced the topic of personal reflection, I would like to look back at and share my journey to the graduate program, which has not been a straightforward path.

When I finished my master, I had built my elective courses across different subjects such as economics, law, public policy and felt that I was more a generalist than a specialist, although I had a strong preference for subjects where quantitative skills were important, like finance or supply chain management. And with a generalist background, choosing a first job was hard. I did not know where I wanted to work neither in terms of position nor in terms of industry. I had a keen interest in optimizing processes and was used to interacting in teams so the skills I developed could be useful in many different areas. Since I did not know where to start so I decided to create my own rotations!

I first started joining a start-up company to help build the activities in the US, then I worked as a project finance analyst in a large energy company recommending on acquisitions. While being close to the decision-making process and interacting with decision-makers in these previous positions, I felt I also wanted to be closer to where things happened, to be more active in making things happen and to optimize them, so I decided to seek for more challenges.

After two rotations in the Product Supply graduate programme (I will get back to those in a later post), I realize how fulfilling it is to be in an area where there is strong culture of hands-on problem-solving and of continuous improvement both in the support functions but also on the production floor. For instance, in my first rotation, I would go on the shopfloor and help production managers to identify financially where to prioritze efforts to reduce waste and help initiate the projects to make it happen. I also recognize how the graduate program enabled me to grow even further in terms of professional skill sets with training and personal impact with the opportunities given to graduates to use their skills on challenging tasks. And besides work, the graduate network opens up to great people with diverse backgrounds, interesting stories and a common desire to keep on learning while having fun.

 Feel free to ask any questions, I will be happy to answer them.

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