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Calling all master’s students!

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement People & Organization Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (6) comments

As I wrote in one of my previous graduate blog posts, the graduate programme is not the only option for a life-changing career in Novo Nordisk! If you are studying for a master’s degree and are eager to get started with your career, I can highly recommend applying for one of Novo Nordisk’s more than 100 internships. An internship can be a great way to test your skills and knowledge, but also an opportunity to develop and challenge yourself.

I started my Novo Nordisk career as an intern in the Cities Changing Diabetes team last year, and found that it was a good chance to figure out whether working in Novo Nordisk was something for me. Novo Nordisk takes its interns seriously, and you will have the opportunity to contribute on equal terms, so be ready for a challenge. My six months as an intern was a true learning experience and I had the chance to both use the skills I had achieved from university, but to a large extent also develop new and different capabilities that I could never have gotten from studying. In my case, coming from a public health background, increasing my business understanding was a key learning. I can highly recommend spending six months on an internship at Novo Nordisk, if you want to get a feeling of how it is to work in one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

However, you only get something out of an internship if you put some effort in it. To get the most out of your stay, here four tips for maximising the benefit of your internship:

  1. Have a clear goal: Before you start your internship it is important that you consider what you actually want to get out of it. What would you like to learn and what are your expectations? It is also a good idea to think about where you can contribute to the company!
  2. Be curious: To learn as much as possible, you have to be motivated and curious of what is going on – ask questions, participate in as many different meetings as possible and reach out to people.
  3. It is okay to make mistakes: An internship is a learning journey and no one expects that you can deliver from day 1, which also means that you have to be open to and ask for feedback during your stay.
  4. Be social: Make sure that you talk to all the interesting people you meet and network as much as possible. Participate whenever there is a social event and see it as an opportunity to get to know people who might be able to help you later on in your career.

Novo Nordisk offers around 100 internship positions in all areas of the business, ranging from marketing, finance & economics, research & development, engineering and IT. The internships vary in length (from 4-6 months) and scope but are all designed to give master’s students a valuable learning experience. The application period for the majority of the fall internship positions is from now to 14 May 2017.

See all the internships positions right here and read more about internships in Novo Nordisk here.

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Q&A about the GRC (Graduate Recruitment Centre)

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (0) comments

If you are reading this graduate blog post, you were likely invited for the Graduate Recruitment Centre (GRC) in Copenhagen next week – so first of all congratulations! You are in for a fun and intense day filled with group exercises, presentations and networking. This blog post is based on three questions I have received from a candidate participating at the GRC next week, so I hope the rest of you can use these answers as well.

 

1. How do I prepare my personal compass?

The personal compass is your opportunity to demonstrate to the assessors who you are as a person deep down. Use the presentation of your personal compass to tell the assessors your story and include personal elements you wouldn’t normally put in a CV or application. The aim for this exercise is to get to know you better and learn more about what drives and motivates you. A good advice is to prepare examples from your past experiences that demonstrate how you behave in specific situations. This is also highly relevant in the interviews many of you will have on Monday.

 

2. How do I make the best impression during the GRC?

It might sound a little lame, but you give the best impression by being yourself! You were chosen for a reason and you were chosen among a lot of talented people, so keep in mind that Novo Nordisk finds YOU interesting. To give the best possible impression, think about why you are interested in the pharmaceutical industry, Novo Nordisk as a company, and the graduate programme you applied for. A big and important part of the GRC is the group exercises where you engage in problem-solving tasks. Here you will be assessed on what role you take in the group, how you contribute to the group dynamics and how good a team-player you are. Don’t hesitate to take initiative, but do it in humble way where you make room for the other group members as well.

 

3. What was your personal impression of GRC last year? How did you like it? Was it stressful? Were there any social activities etc.?

My impression of the GRC last year was really good! I didn’t quite know what to expect, but was positively surprised by how great and fun the experience was. The schedule was definitely tight (even though we had two days), but I didn’t find it stressful. You will have breaks during the day where there is time to mingle and get to know the other candidates. In regards to social activities there is a dinner at night (which I assume you already know), where you are not assessed and can enjoy the nice atmosphere and food together with some of us current graduates and the assessors.

 

GRC

A picture from the GRC 2016

Let me know if you have comments or more questions and read Mathilde’s GRC tips right here.

I wish you the best of luck – don’t forget that you deserve to be there, so give everything you have, this is the only chance! I can recommend to watch some motivational TedTalks if you need a little extra energy.

I look forward to see you all the GRC!

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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,

Brandon

"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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If there’s one word to describe our experience…

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments

One of the most amazing things that can happen during the graduate programme is that you get to grow your network exponentially. You get to meet colleagues from all over the world, especially on your 2nd rotation.

In the International Operations Business Programme 2015 batch, there’s a Mexican (Guillermo), Brazilian (Joao), Colombian (Julianna), Bangladeshi (Saifur), Iranian (Navid), Vietnamese (Anh), Kenyan (Christine), Egyptian (Yasminah), Indonesian (Yudha), Russian (Nikita) and Philippines (me!). For our 2nd rotation in Denmark, we lived close to each other and we would have gatherings where we would share our national dishes, conutry’s tourist spots, cultural norms, and traditional dances. (In my case however, I’m embarassed to say that I don’t know any Philippine dances so I taught them “the Nae Nae” – and yes, I learned that while doing my masters in the United States and I can dance that very well too). We surely had a lot of fun in Copenhagen and those memories will last us a lifetime.

As we start our final rotations, I emailed each one of them to share their new office views and I asked them to describe their graduate experience in one word. For part 1, I will be featuring Anh (Vietnamese), Julianna(Colombian), Nikita (Russian), Yasminah (Egyptian), and also myself;

 

AVDY

 

 

“I am Andy/Anh from Vietnam. I am currently in Tehran, Iran.

If there’s one word to describe my experience with the graduate program, it would be ‘unforgettable‘ (memories with friends and prestigious knowledge acquired).”

 

 

 

JRPC

 

 

“Hello! I am Juliana from Colombia. I am currently in Bagsværd, Denmark.

If there’s one word to describe my experience, it would be rEVOLUTIONary”

 

 

 

 

 

Nikita

 

 

“Hello, I am Nikita from Russia. I am currently in Santiago, Chile.

If there’s one word to describe my experience, it would be ‘amazing‘”

 

 

 

 

 

YSES

 

“Hello, I am Yasminah from Egypt. I am currently in Manila, Philippines.

If there is one word to describe my experience, it would be ‘enriching‘.

 

 

 

 

 

PVIA

And this is my current view, I am currently in Bogota, Colombia.

If there is one word to describe my experience, it would be “fantastic

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting part 2 in a few days from my colleagues in Kenya, Thailand, Dubai, Mexico, and South Africa.

Also, here’s a tip from my personal experience and from what I have learned in business school. When I wanted to learn more about the International Operations Business Programme 2 years ago, I invited the Malaysian graduate, who was in the Philippines for his 3rd rotation, for a dinner meeting and coffee. Talking to him in person was much better than exchanging emails. Plus, he was more open to answering my questions.

Good luck!

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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!

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Is a graduate position the only option?

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

iia-2015

Innovation in Action 2015

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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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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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!

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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.

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What does a Regulatory Affairs (RA) graduate actually do?

Category: R&D Global Development | (11) comments

Bring drugs to market’, stakeholder management’ and ‘strategic input

are probably some of the phrases the internet bible, that is google, flagged up during your search of what a RA professional does. How does that translate into what the daily activities of a RA professional are, I hear you cry? Well sit back, relax and make yourself comfy for at least the next few minutes, as I will attempt to give you an idea of what you are signing up for when you submit your application before the 8th Feb.

Before I continue I have a little confession to make, whilst I am a RA graduate my first rotation is actually within Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) Supply. One of the many beauties of the graduate program is the rotational element; one of your 8 month rotations will be outside of RA, but in a department closely aligned to RA, which leads me nicely into my next paragraph…

CMC Supply

CMC supply is a pretty awesome place to work because:

A) One day you may go into work to see an ice cream machine in the coffee room, which signals you to start salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs

B) Following the arrival of said ice cream machine, your department manager may tell you to ‘help yourself to as much ice-cream as you want’ (adios waistline)

C) CMC Supply is the heart of the formulation and development of our drug products. In a nutshell, we are the middle men and women between our research laboratories discovering a novel drug product that can kick the ass of diabetes (and other other chronic disorders), and our colleagues in product supply, who manufacture the drug on a commercial scale to then ship to patients across the globe.

Blog post 3 ice cream

This was no mirage, there was an ice-cream machine in my office!

Now I should really get on with telling you a little about what I actually do:

’Bring drugs to market’

Think less breaking bad and more Phase 3 drug development, with the latter being a pivotal stage in the ‘bring drugs to market’ concept. In Phase 3 you compile and submit all your documents to health authorities as part of a new drug application (NDA). The NDA essentially proves that you have the coolest drug product out there, bar none. Recently, I authored one of the first documents from our department to be submitted to the FDA as part of the NDA. Thus highlighting that you get real responsibility from the get go and a real chance to apply yourself. However, it must be noted that such a task could not be completed alone and I was able to get by with a little help from my friends -not Paul McCartney and Co, but my stakeholders.

‘Stakeholder management’

Whether I am relying on a chemist in my department to review a protocol  I am writing, to ensure it is scientifically viable or a colleague in analytical support to give me input on validated methods used to test the stability of our drug product; stakeholders and their input is key to your day-to-day work. Don’t be surprised if you can sometimes spend the best part of a day in meetings with your stakeholders or find yourself negotiating deadlines for their input. I am quickly learning that if you manage your stakeholders well, you have won half of the battle in finalising a task you are responsible for.

‘Strategic input’

Recently I tried my hand at being strategic during the writing of a protocol for a study that confirms our drug product is degraded in light and hence must be stored away from light. Sounds simple right? Well not so simple, as we need to decide on what stability indicating test parameters we want to investigate. To cut a long story short, I made a suggestion of not including some test parameters in the submission package as part of that NDA application I told you about earlier, but still testing said parameters and keeping them in house in case FDA has questions around them. Apparently, this is a good suggestion and considering up until now, the most strategic thing I had done involved me placing hotels on the orange property set of the monopoly board and bankrupting my whole family in the process (sorry guys), I think it is safe to say I am learning and reaching new strategic heights.

blog post 3 monpoly

It’s like looking in the mirror.

For me to be able to help in the process of bringing drugs to market, whilst managing various stakeholders and trying to give some strategic input from time to time I have been trained and continue to receive ample training to aid my development. Training will be the theme of my 4th blog post, so stay tuned folks :)

 

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