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“life-changing career” – What it Means For Me

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments

 

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June has finally arrived and in 3 months, the graduate programme for the 2015 batch will be wrapping up. In football terms, we’re in the last 15 minutes of the game with everything there is to win. Indeed, the programme has been true to its tag-line: “life-changing career”. I have learned so much about Novo Nordisk and its business but most importantly, I have learned a lot about myself. I have experienced and done things that never in my wildest dreams could’ve imagined. I have learned from most the ambitious, amazing, and inspiring people throughout the programme spanning 3 different continents.

When I was doing my master’s degree, I wanted to do something that would change the world and have a positive impact on people. (Yeah, that typical millennial mindset trying to conceal the fact that I didn’t know what to do with my life). However, I really didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted to change but I did want to make a difference somewhere, somehow. Fair enough, I had ideas yet they remained ideas with no actual plans of realizing them. Or, I was too idealistic that the changes or impact that I wanted in this world were just not feasible. It was frustrating, and most importantly, getting expensive as I was living in Boston after graduation with dwindling funds and no actual income. Everything changed when I got into the graduate programme.

For my first rotation, I went back to the Philippines. As it was my first time in the pharmaceutical industry, I had some catching up to do. The first few months were certainly an information overload. I learned more about diabetes and how the disease affects people, along with terminology such as pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and different kinds of proteins (I have a business background and in no way would I have encountered those words before).  As for my main project there, I was assigned to do a medical education event that would benefit HCPs and patients. It was exciting and I felt really great as I was finally doing something impactful. However, being a newbie in the industry, it definitely had its challenges as I had to deal with internal and external stakeholders who were far more experienced and definitely demanding. Yet, as a graduate, I got a bit of leniency and understanding from all of them.  After all, it was the beginning of a learning process. My key takeaways from that first rotation was to learn and absorb as quickly as possible, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t think that you are the messiah sent from the heavens that can immediately turn things around. (But it would also be great if you can!)

As for my second rotation, I worked in the global headquarters in Denmark. As Rihanna would sing, “shine bright like a diamond, shine bright like a diamond,” which was also my approach and it was definitely a rotation where I can have a global impact; just like how I wished it to be. As my pharmaceutical experience was limited to the Philippine affiliate operations, I imagined myself as a diamond in the rough. This was certainly an opportunity to learn about global operations and be involved in projects with a global reach. In Denmark, they were more familiar with handling graduates and the expectations were more clear and actionable. In my role, it was certainly fulfilling as the projects involved more countries and with that, came a bigger impact. Being assigned there in global headquarters provided me with the opportunity to reach out and learn from global managers with different functions and from different countries. I was able to interact with various kinds of people coming from different backgrounds who have given me a wider perspective of the business and, cheesy as it may sound, life. My key takeaways from that experience was that it has set some things into perspective and most importantly, it gave me a perfect example on what work-life balance is, in addition to a concrete example of what should be prioritized in life.

Finally, for my 3rd rotation, I got assigned to Colombia. I have been living here for the last 5 months and my role has also changed to a new therapy area, which means a new set of patients and a new set of products. Compared to my 1st and 2nd rotations, I came here with a lot of confidence as I was more familiar with the operations and where to get the available resources. I feel so at home here because it’s like Philippines except that people speak in Spanish. The hospitality of the people has been amazing, not just my co-workers but people in general. Everyone has been so helpful and warm, and frankly, I couldn’t ask for more. In terms of personal goals, I have finally figured out what exactly I want to do after having learned about haemophilia and how it affects the lives of people who have the condition. Being a new parent myself, I can relate to how challenging it is to take care of a child and can imagine how much more so for the parents of children with haemophilia and of course, the patient himself. It’s a rare disease affecting approximately 1 in every 5,000 males born worldwide. It’s a disease where access to adequate care is very challenging in the developing world. Given these conditions, it’s a specific opportunity where changes can be done.

I still have 3 more months in this beautiful country but I think I already know what my key takeaway is and it has to be a combination of these; be ambitious, stay focused, be patient, say “no” at times and trust the process. Over the last 21 months, the graduate programme for me has not only been a professional growth process, but it’s also a personal development process where I learned to figure out what I can do with my life and how I can contribute to this world.

 

 

What is haemophilia? Click here to learn more.

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Before 30 Years Old

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments

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

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

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

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

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

MAPA summit

 

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

 

Have a good day,

Paul

 

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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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Global Business Processes and Global Marketing: What is the difference?

Category: Business Processes Global Marketing | (1) comments

During some recent career events, I have been talking to some students interested in applying to Novo Nordisk (maybe some of you reading were there, too!), and many of you asked me: “…but what is the graduate business processes programme about, and what differentiates it from the global marketing programme?”

If you would also like to know more about it, I can only suggest to keep reading! 

Same same…

Let me actually start by highlighting what these two programmes have in common:

Programme duration: both programmes last two years and are made up of three 8-month rotations.

Trainings and development activities: the other business processes graduates and I have attended all trainings together with the marketing graduates. These trainings included the introduction days, a project management training, a presentation skills training, personality development meetings, etc. We do a lot together, also with the Market Access graduates, so it feels like we are all part of one big family…also outside of work!

Basic requirements: The two programmes share the same basic requirements:
a. A recent master’s degree (graduating in 2016 or 2017)
b. Minimum of 6 months of international experience
c. No more than one year of work experience after graduation (The Global Development Programme takes graduate with up to 2 years of work experience). If you have more experience apply for one of our many open positions. Sign up for our job agent e-mail service.
d. Above average grades

…but different!

Despite some similarities, the two programmes do have differences! Here’s an overview:

Generalist track vs marketing/sales track: While both programmes offer a wide range of options for the three rotations, the business processes programme has a much more generalist focus. In fact, while in global marketing you will most likely rotate within the marketing and sales departments, the global business processes allows you to rotate around many different departments at Novo Nordisk. You might be wondering what these departments are…If that is the case, check out some specific rotation examples in my latest post! Rotations can go from Marketing to Finance, from Consulting to Supply Chain Management, to Communications, etc. For example, I am currently working in Corporate Sustainability, and my next rotation will be with the Marketing team in Panama!

Number of abroad rotations: Both programmes start off in Denmark, usually either in Bagsvaerd (where the Novo Nordisk Headquarter is located) or in Søborg (especially for Marketing and Market Access functions). All of us live in Copenhagen though. However, while in business processes we only go abroad for the second rotation, as a global marketing graduate you will not come back to Denmark for your third rotation but you will go to another country on a sales rotation.

Candidate profiles: As mentioned, the same basic requirements apply to both programmes. However, the type of candidate that the two programmes are looking for is not the same. The biggest difference between marketing and business processes is that the latter is looking for candidates with a broad, generalist background that reflects your interest in a generalist programme like the BP one. For marketing, instead, a profile with stronger focus on marketing, sales and communications is preferable.

Is the difference between the two programmes more clear now? I hope so!

If you still have questions, please comment below or write me an email and I will be happy to answer you!

Also, if you didn’t do it yet, remember to apply before February 12th, 2017!

 

 

 

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Mornings at Kobenhavn Lufthavn (Copenhagen Airport)

Category: International Operations Business | (4) comments

Monday, it’s 4:30 AM and my alarm goes off. It’s one of those mornings when I needed to fly to one of the affiliates in Europe for a project meeting. I got out of bed quickly, did my morning routine, called the cab, and set off for the airport.

Transportation in Denmark is very convenient and dependable (compared to Philippine standards). I got to the airport precisely at 5:30 am and went directly to the security check. Right after the security screening, I got a cart and as I looked back, lo and behold, it was the 2-time Harvard Best Performing CEO of the World: Novo Nordisk’s very own Lars Rabien Sørensen. He was alone and without any assistants or bodyguards tailing him. Coming from a country which was proudly (and embarrassingly) awarded Selfie Capital of the World by the Time Magazine in 2014 (http://time.com/selfies-cities-world-rankings/), it was an opportunity of a lifetime, burn to the ashes or rise like Pheonix!

I stopped and waited for him, thinking about what to say and contemplating if I should take a selfie with him or not. It was 5:45 AM and as he was approaching, I finally had the courage to say hello and I briefly introduced myself. We exchanged pleasantries, I asked him where he was going and he also asked me where I was going. As we parted ways and went to our respective gates, we wished each other a safe flight and said goodbye.

Certainly, it was one of the most memorable experiences I had while working in the Global Headquarters in Denmark because it demonstrated to me a working culture that has a flat structure in contrast to the Philippines’ working culture. In the Philippines, it was very rare to talk to bosses unless spoken to, especially western foreign bosses. It’s a sad reality coming from a culture with more than 450 years of being under foreign rule (400 years – Spain, 50 years – United States) although I must say that there has been a significant shift in the last couple of years. Also, local bosses in the Philippines tend to think too highly of themselves which is not very conducive for collaboration. That’s what I found interesting in Denmark, you can simply say hello to everyone, even the big bosses. I even rode the same public transportation with some Corporate Vice Presidents, Directors, and Senior Global Managers, and etc. The office layout is very open and you can get seated and learn beside these amazing people. If you don’t know anything and you have questions, you can simply ask and book a meeting room. Everyone is pretty much approachable and this trait is very important for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Indeed, working in Denmark is one of the best experiences I’ll ever have. It’s not my ambition to work there again any time soon as I know that I have a long way to go in terms of front-line experience and local and regional market execution. My ambition is to go up the ranks first locally and hopefully the International Operations Graduate Programme will have provided me with this opportunity for the future, by going back to the Philippines with a global experience after this rotation.

Now you may be wondering if I took a selfie with our then-CEO or not, the answer is no. Considering all factors; 5:45 AM, Monday, assumingly without breakfast and coffee, I didn’t want to be that annoying person. I took the higher ground and presented my professional-self to the biggest boss of the company. In that brief moment, I was very humbled.

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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 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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2-years as a RA graduate and then what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blog pic 4

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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The Ups and Downs of the Rotation Abroad

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3 movies, one haiku, and the Global Business Processes Programme

Category: Business Processes Uncategorized | (4) comments
Hillerod

Novo Nordisk’s Favrholm Campus in Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maple leaf, drifting

Through oceans n’ thousand isles,

Land in Viking ship

Haiku, 5 January 2015, Barcelona Airport

 

If you keep an open mind, there are endless possibilities in life. I have been very blessed to stumble across the Global Business Processes Graduate Programme. I cannot guarantee that this programme will fit your profile, but I can tell you that the recruiters are not only looking for candidates with top grades – so let your personality and personal values shine through the cover letter and résumé!

The names for the graduate programmes are confusing, even for me working in HR. The Global Business Processes Graduate Programme is internally referred to as the Business Processes Graduate Programme and sometimes informally called the Business Process Graduate Programme (because Business Processes is such as tongue twister).

Basically, Global Business Processes (official) = Business Processes (internal) = Business Process (lazy).

Also, Global Business Processes Graduate Programme and International Operations Business Graduate Programme are different.

  • Global Business Processes Graduate Programme = based in Denmark (Headquarters); two rotations in Denmark, one rotation outside of Denmark
  • International Operations Business Graduate Programme = based in a local affiliate (outside of Headquarters); one rotation in Denmark, two rotations outside of Denmark

 

 

timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is not easy to define the tasks of a Business Processes graduate because it is the most diverse programme out of all the Novo Nordisk graduate programmes (in my opinion).  To give you a sneak preview of what you can be part of starting September, here is a list of where the six 2014 Business Processes graduates are currently assigned:

•   Global Medical Affairs
•   Corporate Development
•   Product Supply
•   Quality Development
•   Corporate Communication
•   Human Resources  <– that’s me

 

The sky is the limit with the Global Business Processes programme and it can be an epic trilogy of a life-changing career.

 

Volume 1: Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Release Date: September-April

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starring 2014 Swedish business processes graduate – Matilda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novo Nordisk’s philosophy for employees is: “Be yourself–more–with skill”. Authenticity is a core value of the company. The company hires you for who you are, develops you to become more aware of your capabilities, and will NOT change you into someone that you are not.

Although you do not have input in your first rotation, your profile, personality, and education are taken into consideration. There is a broad variation in tasks for all business processes graduates and the company will provide training and support. In your application, demonstrate that you are a generalist with high level of flexibility and adaptability to live and work overseas for an extended period of time.

Think SMART and give specific interesting life experiences in your application (e.g. Coordinated the 2014 Asian Business Student Forum that attracted 200+ participants and 30 business leaders from North Korea, China, and Laos).

 

Volume 2: The World is Our Playground
Country: Affiliates outside of Denmark
Language: English/Local Language
Release Date: May-December

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You need to be adventurous and global-minded. Novo Nordisk does not own an isolated tropical island populated with cloned dinosaurs. Instead, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 41,500 employees in 70+ countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.

In your second rotation, you will have a chance to discuss with the graduate programme manager and have an input as to where and what line of business you would like to explore. However, the graduate programme is not a travel agency, so do not expect to handpick your destination. The second rotation is a unique opportunity to experience the local affiliate after eight months working in headquarters. Our corporate language is English and you are not required to speak the local language of the affiliate country.

The 2014 business processes graduates are dispersed throughout affiliates in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Where will the 2014 business processes graduates work starting this May? Answer:
• Switzerland
• Canada
• U.S.A.
• Japan
• Vietnam
• Egypt <–  that’s me

 

Volume 3: The Graduate Strikes Back
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Release Date: January-August

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In the final rotation, graduates will return to the Death Star, I mean, headquarters in Denmark. Graduates will begin searching and applying for a permanent position within the organisation after 16 months of intense learning and networking. You also have the choice to pursue a different career path and not stay with Novo Nordisk.

What lies ahead in my journey, I do not know. The life-changing saga is to be continued…

 

pete

(Warning: This is a spoiler to a life-changing career through three employees’ personal stories – including Pete, my manager today – and my 3 seconds of fame starting 1:25.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 more days until the graduate programme application deadline (8 February 2015).

Comment below if you have any questions about the Global Business Processes Graduate Programme and/or general questions about the graduate programme.

 

May the Force be with you.

 

 

 

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