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Time to apply – who are we looking for?

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

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

Formal qualifications needed to apply:

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

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

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

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

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

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The video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the best,


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

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









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3-Rs: Steps I did before that 1st interview

Category: International Operations Business | (20) comments

In this post, I am going to share the steps I took to get to that first interview. Having zero background in the industry I wanted to learn more about the history of Novo Nordisk’s, and how the company operates around the world and in my country. Hence, I made it a point to understand what I was getting myself into, by maximizing the available resources and using the techniques that were taught to me by a good friend and mentor from my graduate school in Boston, Rose Keating. To keep it simple I would like to call these steps the “3-R Process” which means Research, Reach-out, and Review.  

  1. Research

One of the obvious sources for information would be the company’s website, www.novonordisk.com. I spent a considerable amount of time reading each hyperlink on the website trying to understand the company and its culture. In addition, I was also reading a lot of blogs like what you are probably doing now and watching videos that were available on Novo Nordisk’s YouTube account. I was fortunate that around January in 2015, the 2014 Annual Report came out and it was available online as a PDF. It contained the company’s performance review and overview of the company’s global financial information. Moreover, I also subscribed to the Graduate Programme’s Facebook page  and followed Novo Nordisk’s LinkedIn  account to keep myself updated. I did not limit myself to those sources; I also randomly searched “Novo Nordisk” to see news clippings and articles about the company, its challenges, and its responses to those challenges. Most importantly, I made sure to write down all the things that I didn’t understand so I could follow up on those to satisfy my curiosity.

  1. Reach-out

In relation to the things that I wanted to understand, I simply reached out to several individuals for clarification. The first person I contacted was the Graduate Programme’s FB page moderator.  As I had little knowledge of the position’s functions and everyday life, I sent a message asking if there was already an IO Business Graduate from the Philippines that I could consult. The moderator said that there was none, however, an IO Business Graduate from Malaysia was in his 3rd rotation and another Global Finance Graduate from Denmark were presently in the Philippines. I exchanged several emails with them while I was abroad and they agreed to meet me once I got home to the Philippines. Another person I reached out to was the Danish General Manager in the Philippines whom I found through LinkedIn. The reason why I wanted to talk to him was that I wanted to understand how the company was doing in the Philippines and its challenges in the local market. This was the most challenging part because in my culture, we rarely speak or hold conversations with people in such a position, especially foreigners. However, at the back of my mind, I was really determined to get the first interview and eventually get the position. I messaged him nervously saying that I wanted to talk to him about Novo Nordisk in the Philippines and surprisingly, he replied within less than 24 hours, agreeing to answer my questions.

I was very impressed and amazed by how open they were in answering my questions and concerns. I appreciated how they allowed me to do informational interviews with them. The fact that it was easy to reach out to them also spoke a lot about the company’s culture and the people. I realized that those simple gestures were glimpses of the learning and growth potential opportunities that I wanted to have as an applicant.

  1. Review

I kept a small journal detailing each and every important insight throughout my research and preparation. So as not to put my efforts in vain, I constantly reviewed all the information that I obtained and updated them as I got more familiarized with the company. This journal proved to be helpful throughout the process because it really calmed my nerves knowing that I knew my facts and figures. In addition, all the informational interviews gave me an idea on what I was getting myself into, and it helped me narrow down my priorities.

That sums up my 3-R Process!

Thank you very much for reading and I hope this post will be helpful as you go along in your journey. Research, reach out, and review!

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Mastering your Video Application – Do’s and Don’ts!

Category: Business Processes | (21) comments

Do’s and Don’ts.

Before uploading your application, make sure to prepare for the one minute video that you will have to record! I have listed a few tips and tricks you should consider when getting ready for the recording – and yes, do think about it before. Most of you will experience a difficult time fitting everything you would like to say into one minute, most of you will do a lot of re-takes and it’s pretty difficult to be satisfied with the final results (at least if you are a perfectionist like myself!).


  1. Be yourself – I know, this is said several times, but it is really true. At Novo Nordisk it is very important to find a candidate that fits into the organization and the Novo Nordisk Way. Not to repeat what the host managers have already advised you, but I remember from my own feedback that they really appreciated my honest and open personality. This piece of advice is of course applicable for the entire recruitment process.
  2. Speak clearly and with confidence – I just recently found that old piece of paper with my “script” notes answering Why should we hire you as a global business processes graduate – which I later transferred onto a few post-it’s with key words I had hanging on the lamp in front of me.
  3. Structure your story line – There is nothing less convincing than someone reading from a script, rather imagine you are sitting in front of someone. I personally had my friend do the filming so I spoke directly to her rather than into a camera. Make sure to practice what you want to say before, whether you speak into the air, look into the mirror, practice with your friend or your teddy bear, doesn’t really matter.
  4. Prepare for action! – First impressions are important, if you are filming in the morning, make sure to drink your coffee first and look awake! It’s your personality that is important, so make sure that it shines through.
  5. Prepare your “recording studio” – As I’ve highlighted above, first impressions are important and this is your opportunity to really make a great impression. Therefore, here is a few tips:
    1) Don’t leave your washing machine on while you record or have your neighbor’s loud music playing in the back,
    2) Sit with enough light to have a good quality video – that means have the light shine towards you not behind you!
    3) Make eye contact by looking into the camera, don’t watch yourself on the screen
    4) Don’t film yourself from below, (it’s never a good idea) rather keep the camera straight on or slightly from above
    5) Have a “clean” background -no one wants to see your messy closet or an unmade bed in the background. This may sound silly, like it shouldn’t matter, but it does. Draw attention to yourself and not everything else around you.


  1. Speak as fast as you can to say as much as you can within the minute – it is not how much you say that matters, but what you say.
  2. Spend a long time creating a fancy home edited video – don’t forget they want to see you, not your editing skills. Sometimes effects and fancy videos can overshadow you. You heard what they said, don’t focus on quality of the video. That said, I am personally a very creative person and think a personal touch can’t hurt either, if that reflects who you are. Last year when I had to make my own video we didn’t have the option to upload a prerecorded version and I was experiencing some technical issues so I actually did exactly three retakes – third time’s a charm after all!
  3. Don’t make a 5 minute video when it says one minute – it’s tempting I know, but seriously don’t! Perhaps use a timer or countdown to guide you. This will work against you.

I hope that my experiences and advice will help you through the process and remember, making a video is actually quite fun!
Feel free to write me any questions you may have!

–> write me in the comment field below and I will make sure to get back asap :)

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Novo Nordisk graduate programme – from application to Executive Management

Category: Uncategorized | (4) comments

As you may know, we received 9.648 applications from 130 nationalities for just 42 graduate positions this year.

Amongst those to welcome this year’s selected candidates to the Graduate Recruitment Center in Copenhagen was Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen. Lars has a special story in Novo Nordisk; together with 5 other newly graduated professionals, he started in the company in 1991 as the first-ever graduate in Novo Nordisk.

I was privileged enough to be interviewed together with Lars, and another former graduate, Mads Stoustrup, who started in 2001 in the company’s first business graduate programme, and is now the general manager in Switzerland.

Read more about what a graduate entry to Novo Nordisk really means in the article “Novo Nordisk graduate programme – from application to Executive Managementhere. In the article, Mads and Lars also give their advice to new and future graduates.

My advice? Be yourself, work hard and enjoy the learning journey.


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The phone interview survival guide!

Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance Uncategorized | (23) 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 may 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




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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The Interview process that made me a stronger person

Category: International Operations Business | (2) comments

 I have seen this scene in an action movie before!

The high walls, hot seat, interrogator, the torture tools, the glass of water on the table and the poor captive fighting to be a hero by making it through the explosion…errr…I mean the interview process! Now that I actually think of it, the interview process sure did feel like a scene from an action movie… and I was an action star on a mission to be victorious…

 blog 1 

This is how the interview action went down:

Day 1

Scene one: I wrote a test in an unfamiliar board room on my own for an hour… The seat engulfed my tiny frame and the deafening silence sent sweat beads racing down my forehead. I was not allowed to use a calculator for any of the sums that the test contained, nor was I allowed to use any of the notes I had made to answer the questions.

Scene two: Then I was put in the hot seat for an hour to answer questions about myself…where I was from…did I know who Novo Nordisk was? Where I wanted to go in life? What I knew about diabetes? Why had I applied for this Novo Nordisk Graduate program? Why I thought I was the one? Why the interest in this industry? What had I done in my past? Why should I be the one to be chosen over all the other potential candidates?

2 Days later

Scene three: I took an online psychometric test that had to be completed within an hour on a specific day from home. And if I failed to take the test I would miss my opportunity at freedom

5 Days later

Scene four: Then I was called back to talk to the head of Sales (Ms Tanya Nel) at the South African Affiliate for an hour, to convince her as to  why I was innocent, eerrrr, I mean why I was the one suitable for the Graduate candidate position

10 Days later

Scene five: Now I must meet Dr Timmy Kedijang the GM of the South African Affiliate!?! The big boss…the one whose eyes you must never look into when you address them…The leader of the Novo Nordisk South Africa pack?!!?

OK! OK! I WILL TAKE YOU TO MY LEADER! I WILL TAKE YOU TO MY LEADER…just enough with all the tests, interviews, questions, probes, more tests and mind analysis!

Yet again I guess being a leader in the diabetes healthcare industry for 90 years validates the reason behind the graduate interview process at Novo Nordisk being so thorough. The potential candidates must be business savvy, cope well under pressure, easily adapt to the ever changing global business landscape, tackle challenges head on and still have a compassionate heart.

Saving millions of lives across the globe on a daily basis is no joke, hence only the brightest of the bright survivors, um…I mean graduates are carefully selected to join the Novo Nordisk Graduate Program!

So how can you survive the vigorous assessments and make it into the program?

  1. FOLLOW CURRENT GRADUATES’ BLOGS and learn from their experiences…this really helped me when I was about to crack under the pressure
  2. RESEARCH: knowledge is power!!! Visit the IO Business Graduate site and take it all in so you know what you are dealing with
  4. STAY CALM AND FOCUSED even when feeling under pressure
  6. SLEEP ENOUGH! It refreshes the brain and trust me you will need all your brain cells in tact
  7. EAT HEALTHY, you are nothing without a healthy body, mind and soul
  8. Finally, BE YOURSELF…it makes the action movie enjoyable even when it may seem a little stressful at the time

There is nothing you cannot overcome if you set your mind to it…Give it your best, as if your life depended on it…And if you need advice or help or clarity or a super sidekcick. Im here to walk through it with you, drop me a comment and we will find a way :)

PS: Tis the season to be jolly! tralalala laaaa la la la la! Hope you have a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year…

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