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Ready, steady, GO! …but where? Abroad rotations in the graduate programme!

Category: Business Processes | (21) comments

Hello again! Today I would like to share with you where you can potentially end up for your rotations abroad as graduates at Novo Nordisk. I woke up in a snowy Copenhagen , and my head can’t help thinking about my next rotation…Panama! So I HAVE to share with you what I know and think about the experience abroad during the programme!

 

Snowy copenhagen

Bopa Plads in Copenhagen

 

A broad range of choices…

As many of you know, Novo Nordisk has a global presence: affiliates or offices are present in 77 different countries, there are 16 production sites across 5 continents and products are marketed in around 170 countries. What does this mean? The range of countries you can go live and work is not banal!

We had a graduate get together last week, where the graduates from the different programmes shared their next destinations. Quite a few are heading the U.S., our biggest market. Some will rotate within Europe (France, Spain, Switzerland,..). A few will experience Far East Asia (Japan, China, Thailand, Myanmar,..). Other destinations include United Arab Emirates, Brazil and even Australia. And the cool thing is that we are all going to do different things.

…So can I choose where to go?

I got this question a lot lately, so I’d like to address it in this post. As a graduate, you are able to express your preference in terms of function and office for the next rotation, but you obviously have to keep open for alternative options, too. Throughout the two years a graduate manager will follow you and your development, and he/she will discuss with you about career and rotation options, including the rotations abroad.

 

world map

Where graduates will be going

 

And what is the value of the rotation abroad?

I know that for many of you the second rotation is just a far-away thought: application and VIDEO are, most likely, the words buzzing in your head at the moment. However, it is good to think about the added value that this programme can give you through the abroad rotations. Primarily, you will be able to experience the affiliate setting, which (and this is what I have been hearing from all of the older graduates) is quite different from the Head Quarter experience in Denmark. The rotation abroad allows you to get closer to the market, to the patients and to the whole dynamic around sales and hands-on implementation of local and global strategies. I cannot wait to experience that in first person and to share it with you!

What I will be doing and why.

For those who are interested in a more specific example of an abroad rotation, I can briefly touch upon my coming rotation in Panama City. I will be living and working there from May to December 2017. From the current position in Corporate Sustainability, I’ll be moving towards a marketing position, well I will support the preparation of product launches as well as learn about some commercial effectiveness-related taks of the affiliate. This will allow me to experience a more analytical role, in a country that I never experienced before but that intrigues me for its controversial fame and, honestly, its Latin approach. I look forward to working in a new market with new people and new tasks! It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s what the programme is also about! :)

If you are also up for a challenge, make sure to apply by THIS SUNDAY,  12 FEBRUARY 2017 on our website!

Best of luck with the applications and, of course, feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions or feedback!!

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How could the three rotations in European Market Access look like?

Category: Global & European Market Access | (0) comments

Just like many of the other graduate programmes the European Market Access track has three rotations of 8 months each. During these three different rotations you will experience the many ways Novo Nordisk ensures patients access to our innovative products in Europe. Below I have tried to elaborate on what the three rotations might look like and what type of work you would be exposed to.

The first rotation: The European Regional office in Denmark The European regional office acts as the intermediary between Global Market Access strategy and local implementation in the affiliates around the world. The office has up until recently been located in Zurich, but is now located in Ørestaden, Denmark together with the Danish affiliate and the business area covering ‘Europe North & Central’. In this rotation you will support both headquarter and affiliates optimising activities. Therefore you will get an introduction to working in Market Access that covers both the more strategic work done in headquarter and the more hands-on work done in affiliates. This will provide you with an overview of the many aspects of market access and public affairs!

The second rotation: A European affiliate or business area (BA) This rotation is where you get to go abroad (naturally within Europe) and gain a lot of international experience while building a network! The work done in affiliates and BA’s is more focused on local strategies and the execution and implementation of the strategy. You will work on many and broad aspects of market access engagement and collaboration. Depending on the size of the affiliate, you will experience a market access team who are in charge of everything related to market access and public affairs. In the second rotation you will likely be driving your own project – of course supervised by your host manager – where you are in charge of the work process and outcome. In affiliates you are extremely close to the market (including local payers) and will gain valuable knowledge and experience that you can leverage in your last rotation.

The third rotation: Global Market Access in Denmark (HQ) The last rotation may be in Global Market Access in headquarter based in Bagsværd, Denmark. This department is constantly growing because market access is becoming increasingly important to the success of the company (read my previous blog post about why market access is so important right here). Here you will be part of one the teams within the department, such as Public Affairs, Health Economics & Outcomes Research (HEOR) or Strategic Pricing. In general the work done in Global Market Access is focused on developing strategies within these areas, which means that you can really use and leverage the many invaluable insights you have gained in the two previous rotations.

If you are still not convinced why you should apply I have listed my top five reasons below:

  1. You will have the opportunity to make a difference to patients and society while delivering exciting results from a business perspective
  2. Novo Nordisk is the world leader in diabetes care
  3. The programme is designed to develop top talent become future leaders
  4. You will be challenged – expect a steep learning curve!
  5. During the two-year journey you will build an extraordinary network

Don’t forget that the deadline for applying for one of the graduate programmes is 12 February (this Sunday!), so get started on your application today! I wish you the best of luck and remember to be yourself!

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Possible concerns and Why they should not hold you back – IO Programs 3 days to go!

Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance | (0) comments
Hello! Are you still contemplating whether to apply for the graduate programme(s)? Are you searching your soul for some motivations?

Three days left before application closes for the International Operations Finance programme; be quick! If I may, let me address some common concerns I have seen among graduate hopefuls, and share with you why these should definitely not hold you back from submitting your confident applications, at all!

Concern #1. I do not have experience with the health care industry.

No worries! Previous experience with pharmaceutical industry is not a qualification required for IO Finance graduate programme. For me, Novo Nordisk is the first pharmaceutical company that I work for, and I have seen my fellow graduates come from a variety of industries and different financial backgrounds before joining the company.

So in case you are concerned about lack of experience with pharma industry, do not let this hold you back from recording your most confident video! Learning about the challenges of pharma world when you are at Novo Nordisk will be a rewarding experience.

Concern #2. Before I start as a graduate, I do not know the exact assignments for my future rotations.

You may read more on the programme description page for some ideas about the locations. And yes, it is true that the graduate programme has some uncertainty about where a graduate would go for future rotations, and what projects or tasks would be assigned to the graduate. It also ensues that, as a graduate, there are many challenges to face when you start each rotation, due to the organizational changes, the cultural differences, or the working language in English, etc.

Make no mistake though, is it not what makes the graduate program even more interesting?

As a graduate, the challenges that you will face, you may love or hate it, but either way you can grow and develop yourself. The Graduate programme adds value to you, not only because of the technicalities of the job, but also because of the changing environments, hence the push for you to get outside your comfort zone and to adapt to differences (while still maintaining superb performance!).

If you feel concerned, no worries it is just natural. To share with you, frankly, I do not like surprises myself; I simply like to learn from them as much as I can, for at the end of the day it is the uncertainties in the journey that makes it all worthwhile. Let’s feel less concerned and more eager! The skills to adapt to and perform effectively under changing circumstances are the skills that will stay with you in the long term and benefit you in a future come what may.

So what are you waiting for? Apply away. Show your open mind and eagerness to rise up to (unexpected) challenges! Be the one the graduate programme is after!

Concern #3. As a graduate starting in an affiliate office faraway from other graduates, how do I get connection and support from the graduate network?

This is a common question, owing to the fact that one difference between the International Operations (IO/AAMEO) Finance Graduate Programme and several other the Global Programmes is that IO graduates start their first rotation in the Novo Nordisk office located in their respective home countries, instead of at the headquarter.

But if you are concerned about lack of interactions with the graduate community due to distance, worry not! I am half way through my first rotation now in Vietnam and I can attest to the fact that as a graduate here I do not feel disconnected at all from the graduate network. As part of the IO Finance Graduate Programme, I enjoy the opportunity to take part in regular online department meetings with IO finance graduates located across different continents. In these talks everyone can discuss important updates about the program and share his or her experience on the job. The support is there for you, definitely.

I learn significantly from fellow graduates in many ways. As soon as I started the programme, experienced fellow graduates warmly welcomed and sent new graduates a binder full of helpful information. Or recently in January, we had a talk joined by colleagues who have finished their graduate programs in prior years, learning a good insight into how to make the best out of the opportunities we have as graduates, right from the experienced graduate alumni themselves!

One more thing I thought you should know about Novo Nordisk culture: online talk conference is a very common way for employees located in different countries to get in touch. Have something to discuss? You reach out and book your colleague’s calendar! It is that simple. You definitely do not need to work at an area level office to feel connected and get assistance. Your colleagues here (not only graduates!) are supportive and helpful; it is the Novo Nordisk culture.

Feel assured yet? Check out the International Operations Programmes and Apply!

Three days left! Go go go!

Binh

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About the International Operations Finance Graduate Program

Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance | (0) comments

Hello!

I am Binh and I come from Vietnam. I became a graduate in Novo Nordisk International Operations (AAMEO) Finance Graduate Program in September 2016. This is my first graduate blog post. Nice to meet you!

As you are reading this, you probably are interested in Novo Nordisk and the promise of a challenging and rewarding two-year adventure called Novo Nordisk’s Graduate Programme. Does that sound intriguing to you? Let read on and find out what you can expect when joining the International Operations (AAMEO) Finance Graduate Programme.

  • What is in the name?
  • The AAMEO Finance Graduate Programme is your opportunity to engage in Novo Nordisk’s finance organization that covers Africa, Asia, Middle East & Oceania. AMMEO region includes 110 countries with many emerging and developing markets, which promises a diverse and challenging environment for all ambitious prospective finance graduates out there!

    Now, if you are interested, let imagine yourself in the shoes of a graduate and see what is ahead of you:

  • What is in the program?
    • Your Rotations:

    As an AAMEO Finance Graduate, you will work in three different countries in 2 years – 8 months for each rotation. You spend one rotation in your home country office and two others in one of the business area headquarters, the region AAMEO headquarters in Dubai, UAE, or the corporate headquarters in Denmark.

    As a result, you have opportunities to get exposed to different cultures and working styles, collaborate with multi-cultural colleagues, learn from diverse perspectives and gain a more global understanding of the industry in general and the finance operations in particular.

    • Your Tasks:

    As a graduate, you will take on a variety of tasks to enhance different key finance competencies. More specifically, you can develop skills in finance planning and analysis, finance control and reporting, as well as project management. When you relocate outside your home office, you can have the opportunity to explore the specialist areas including but not limited to corporate tax, corporate accounting, treasury, or internal audit.

    As a result, you are able to develop a diverse technical skillset, pursue different finance interests and challenge yourself in different finance areas.

    • Your Graduate Network:

    The AAMEO Finance Graduate programme itself can be seen as a close-knit family of graduates. Even though you may not work directly with other AAMEO finance graduates in the same location, you have opportunities to engage in scheduled Graduate department meetings and Experience sharing sessions, share and listen to stories and challenges of fellow graduates who are located across different continents and time zones. In addition, through the finance graduate training, you can also get connected to the very nice folks who are part of the Global Finance graduate programme and European Finance graduate programme. This graduate network is an exclusive perk of the graduate programme and presents a very nice addition to the international network of colleagues that you build yourself through work in each of your rotation.

    That is all for now! I will be back soon with another post. In the meantime, visit this page to find out more about the programme and our recruiting locations this year, and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    Binh

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    Life as a Regulatory Affairs graduate

    Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs Uncategorized | (16) comments

    Hello and welcome to the Novo Nordisk graduate blog! I’m Mathilde and I joined the Regulatory Affairs (RA) graduate programme on September 1st 2016. So far, working for Novo Nordisk and my new life in Copenhagen has been fantastic, and I look forward to telling you about my experiences, as well as those of my fellow RA grads, in the coming weeks.

    Let me tell you a little bit about what enticed me to apply for the program and how my expectations have aligned with my first 3 months here. I admit that when I first applied, I knew very little about what RA was. I had recently completed a Master’s degree in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology in London but was not convinced that I wanted to do a PhD. I am drawn to science at the core, but wanted to find a place where I could use my knowledge of science and work with scientific data without having to work in a lab. I had also never held a position outside of academia so I was naturally curious about what working in a company would entail while also being keenly aware that my business skills and knowledge were slim to non-existent and might require a bit of attention.

    I stumbled across Novo Nordisk quite accidentally one day on the internet when looking for job opportunities for graduate students and was interested in this particular position for a number of reasons.

    1) I was curious about what RA was. A cursory google search revealed that RA’s role in a pharmaceutical company is that of the middleman between the company and health authorities. This was intriguing to me, as I’d developed an interest in science policy and how countries or governing bodies regulate scientific discoveries and advancements. For those of you who are still unclear about what RA is (as I was), in a nutshell the RA department aims to secure approval of a product by ensuring compliance with health standards and through direct interaction with health authorities. RA is involved at all stages along a drug’s development and life cycle.

    2) As a Canadian, I was anxious to get out of North America and venture across the pond. One of the great things about this 2 year program is that it is split into 3 different rotations of 8 months each: one in Copenhagen, the second abroad, and the third back in Copenhagen. The rotation abroad could be in Brazil, Japan, US, China, just to name a few. For someone like me who is highly curious about other cultures and loves to travel, this fit the bill.

    3) I like to learn and try new things. In each rotation, you are integrated into a different department, with new projects, new people, and new things to learn. This is exciting for anyone who thrives on change, yet it also offers you the opportunity to find out what you like to do and what suits you best. Because RA has responsibilities and provides input throughout the entirety of a product’s lifetime, working in RA means you will be given a whole variety of different tasks which keeps things dynamic and requires flexibility.

    With all these aspects of the graduate programme in mind, I couldn’t have anticipated how great the programme would be for facilitating a social network, which was especially important for a foreigner like me who knew practically no one in Copenhagen. There are a lot of people to meet outside your own programme and if you take advantage of it, you can meet a lot of cool people. I can honestly say that after just 3 months, I already have both a rewarding work life and a whole other life outside of Novo Nordisk.

    I hope this has given you a nice overview of what the RA graduate programme has to offer. Stay tuned for more information about the application process and more!

    Bye for now,

    Mathilde

    RA 2016 grads on our first day

    RA 2016 grads on our first day

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    My first rotation as a Global Finance Graduate: R&D Finance

    Category: Global Finance | (0) comments

    Dear readers,

    One year ago I was in your shoes trying to answer one of the most difficult questions in life: What do I want to do?

    After graduating you face an ocean of possibilities and if you are like me it could end up in a never-ending storm of questions: Where do I want to live? Which intellectual challenges do I like the most? Which industry/company would best fit my values? What kind of position could quench my thirst for learnings and personal development?

    With the application deadline for Novo Nordisk Graduate Programme approaching you might still hesitate between different programmes (because yes you can apply to more than one, I personally applied to European Finance and Global Finance).

    The purpose of this post is to give you a better understanding of what it is like to be a Global Finance Graduate in Novo Nordisk.

    4 months ago I have started a rotation within Corporate Financial Planning (CFP) where I joined the R&D Finance team. CFP is the tower of control of the entire organization managing the financial plans, and following-up on performance.

    At R&D finance we are responsible for controlling Research and Development activities from the very early research phase, when scientists have new ideas for developing innovative molecules, until the large scale Phase 3 clinical trials performed on thousands of patients across the globe. With the increased complexification of molecules and regulatory requirements, this journey of drug development can take more than 10 years. Since I am fascinated by the extraordinary progress medicine has made since rDNA technology has been discovered I could not imagine a better place to start.

    Working at CFP gives you a very good business understanding of the areas you are controlling and allow you to interact with many different stakeholders. I have been responsible for following up performance of the early discovery research projects which gave me precious insights on the pipeline of products and I hope that someday a project that I am currently following will reach the market.

    Although one could think controlling might be very process based and repetitive, my daily tasks are extremely diverse. The organization is continuously evolving and striving to streamline its processes and I have been involved in a lot of different projects. For example, following the acquisition of 2 biotech companies in the US I have been part of the integration team and after only 1 month within the company I was flying to Princeton, our office in the US, to participate at the Finance integration workshop.

    NNI HQ - flags front entrance exteriorNNI HQ

    Novo Nordisk office in Princeton

    Another exciting and challenging project I have been part of was to build a financial model to automatically compute the standard cost of a research milestone. To do so I had to understand the complexity of the research organization, challenge the numbers pulled out from the systems, make assumptions on cost drivers and test them with the actual data.

    I believe that one of the major advantages of the programme is that it is designed so that you are constantly out of your comfort zone, and once you feel that you finally have a good understanding of your function it is time for you to start on a new rotation.

    I hope that sharing my experience might help you with your own reflections and I invite you to read the Global Finance Graduate page to have more information on the different rotations you could experience.

    All the best,

    Emmanuel

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    Rotation Abroad: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Category: Global Finance | (3) comments

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

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

     View from the office and KL by night

    View from the office         KL by night

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

    Finance, Legal and IT meeting in Manila

    Social activity        Group picture

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

    Lost in Hong Kong

    with  fellow graduates  who are currently rotating in Vietnam and Philippines

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

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

    All the best,

    Nika

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    Rotation in USA or why it is so awesome to be a Global Procurement Graduate

    Category: Global Procurement | (0) comments

    You might have already seen a post from Klaus in the beginning of this year about his experiences and learnings from the rotation abroad. Now I would like to share with you my personal experience while rotating abroad.

    The majority of you can probably relate to living overseas, since you may already have had the opportunity of studying abroad.  I myself studied in Sweden and Australia,  but working full time in another country is a whole different story!

    I am located in the US affiliate in Princeton, New Jersey. The work life and culture is very different from what I was used to in Denmark. Of course, I was prepared and read a lot about the American culture (note: I have never been to the US before). However, one thing reading about it, and another thing is experiencing it in reality. There are no Friday breakfasts with my colleagues in the office, no jeans are allowed, lunches are usually arranged in the nearby restaurants, and even no cakes! These were the things I noticed during my first week of being in the States that were different to what I was used to in Denmark. After being here for over 3 months now,  I can say that people here put a lot of emphasis on efficiency and work here is very dynamic, which I learned I like very much. It is important to remember that graduate rotations is not only about you learning new cultures, new business practices and processes, but it is to also about taking an opportunity to learn about yourself. After being here for over 3 months I can say for sure I know much more about myself, what I am capable of and what type of job I would like to have in the future.

    So what is my role in my third rotation? I am a part of a Category Management team in Procurement and Business Services department which provides procurement support function to the rest of the organisation. Rotation in this team is slightly different from my second rotation, where my responsibilities were less fixed. I was fortunate to receive my own area of responsibility within Sales & Marketing – fulfillment category. This category refers to everything a company does between receiving an order from a customer and placing the product in the customer’s hands.  I became a “CEO” of the category, where I am leading the tender process, supplier selection and evaluation and the category strategy development. I can say for sure I am being challenged and stretched, and I love it.

    The team here puts a lot of effort into continuous development where I see a lot of opportunities to learn about new procurement practices and most importantly contribute my own novel suggestions to the team development. This aspect of my job – ability to learn from different teams across the organisation- is invaluable to my development as a  Global Procurement Graduate and as Klaus pointed out: “very difficult to accomplish in a permanent position without the rotational structure“.

    So if you would like to take one this fantastic journey as well, apply for Global Procurement Graduate position before January 10. It is a great springboard for launching a life-changing career at a global pharmaceutical company. The programme is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge of the Novo Nordisk Procurement value chain and a solid understanding of our business. In procurement, that currently manages multiple billions of spend every year across the value chain, you will develop your skills within category management, supplier strategies, negotiation, sourcing processes, procurement systems and project and change management. So if you hold a recent master’s degree in Finance, Economics, Business Administration, Supply Chain Management or Engineering and have finished at the top of your class apply now and become a part of the fantastic team!

     

     

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    The Start of a Journey

    Category: International Operations Business International Operations Finance People & Organization | (13) comments

    Every time I turned a corner in my life, I had always found myself imagining what the new road would be like. Setting up a few expectations and comparing with the life thus far is a subconscious exercise we often resort to without even realizing that we are doing it. The decision to join Novo Nordisk was one such corner. Amidst the rigors of business school, these are often decisions that set definite precedents for an evolving career. The good thing is that I have taken it! But even greater is the realisation that it was right. Through the posts that will follow, I will try to give you a sneak peek into my first days with Novo Nordisk and how the graduate programme is an exciting launch pad to build a career.

    A unique experience awaits you at Novo Nordisk!.

    I am Sreedipto Bhattacharyya from India and I am a part of the International Operations Graduate fraternity of 2015. It did not take me long to find out that I am also the first International Operations People & Organisation graduate in Novo Nordisk. Having completed my post-graduation (MBA) from XLRI in India, I understand the dilemmas that a graduating student faces in the final year while taking a decision on their careers. The graduate blog is a good place to complement your research with graduate experiences. During my application to this prestigious programme around the same time, I found a lot of inspiring and insightful posts from the previous graduates, and it is time for me to return the favour. As a student we often look at how strong a company’s financials are and how big a brand it has. There can be absolutely no doubt as to how strong the brand of Novo Nordisk is and its strong financials are a testimony to the positive market sentiments around it. But there is one more thing I have realized as an insider that makes Novo Nordisk an organisation with a truly “sustainable competitive advantage”: The Novo Nordisk culture! It mainly manifests itself in the form of an internal governance framework that reflects the ambition of the company, the direction of the company and the values and behaviours that the employees have to exhibit throughout the organisation. We call it the Novo Nordisk Way.

    I have been with this organisation for about seven months as I am writing this post and the journey so far has been nothing short of an experience. The most important thing I felt after getting associated with the Novo Nordisk Graduate Programme is the culture of inclusiveness. You will feel that you belong to the organisation, your ideas are being valued and this is a company where “you” can contribute. And this is a great feeling to have. Add to that, the great opportunity to interact with graduates from different parts of the world, develop 3 different perspectives of the organisation – local, regional and global, and collaborate on projects that have strategic ramifications. I believe, the graduate programme is a microcosm of a truly global career that Novo Nordisk has to offer as a multinational organisation. Sometime back around the same time, I had made the decision to apply for the graduate programme and it was a conscious one.

    If you would like to know more about the graduate programmes on offer, please visit the link below:

    http://www.novonordisk.com/careers/graduates-students-and-trainees/graduates.html

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    The Ups and Downs of the Rotation Abroad

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

    At the beginning of the month I took the chance to sit down with the two RA graduates Mark and Sascha that have just returned from their rotation abroad. Throughout our one hour ‘coffee’ meeting that involved a lot of cake (my favorite type of meeting) I questioned them about their high and low moments of the past eight months and any useful tips or experiences I could use in the time leading up to my move abroad and during the eight months at the affiliate.

    When I was applying to the program the rotation system and in particular the eight months spent at an affiliate were among the main reasons I really wanted to be successful in obtaining one of the positions. Therefore I thought it might be useful to share some of the stories and insights Mark and Sascha told me; also because I know for some people being sent to a random country (and it is really any country as you have no influence over where you will be sent in the RA program) can be daunting.

    Let me start by providing you with the basics about Sascha’s and Mark’s rotation. Sascha went to NNi, the affiliate in Princeton in the US also coined small headquarter in Novo Nordisk, and Mark to the production facility in Brazil. Mark had never been to Brazil before whereas Sascha had visited the US twice and even lived there for a short period of time. Thus they had very different rotations with diverging tasks, impressions and cultural experiences.

    For Sascha his rotation at NNi was hist first exposure to RA work as he had spent the first rotation outside RA in the medical writing department. He focused on the future insulins and got to work on many different projects in numerous departments. The flexibility and wide exposure to different products were the features Sascha enjoyed the most and he ended up working with most of the diabetes portfolio in just one rotation. This is an experience many graduates make when spending time at an affiliate. The smaller workforce and the less rigid structures means your role will be far less defined and constrained.

    In Mark’s case it was the opposite, after having spent 8 months in an RA department in Headquarters he joined the Quality Management Systems team in Brazil working with the implementation of such systems at the local site as well as with customer complaints and RA site approvals among other tasks.

    Now let me get down to the nitty-gritty questions I posed them:

    blog post 3-1

    First Reaction?

    I was able to emphasize greatly with Mark in this case as he had never even considered the possibility of going to Brazil. I had the same sensation when I was told that my rotation was in Vietnam. Sascha on the other hand stated that he was neutral about it and grew more and more excited as working in headquarters showed him the importance of NNi.

    Biggest Fear?

    Whereas Sascha worried mainly about his previously mentioned lack of RA experience and was not sure if he would be able to contribute anything of value; Mark’s main concern was focused on the ability to communicate. At least he believes it should have been his main fear but he might have been a bit naive about such issues before actually experiencing it first-hand.

    blog post 3-2

    Other Graduates at the same Affiliate?

    Very surprisingly Sascha was the only graduate going to NNi at the time, very unusual as NNi is one of the prime destinations for graduates, and was joined later by finance graduates. Mark was accompanied by two Product Supply graduates for whom Brazil is one of few possible locations.

    Social Life?

    From a graduate perspective Mark was lucky as graduates have a special bond among them so going somewhere with other graduates immediately means you have a set of friends that have the same fears and ‘dreams’  as you. That does not mean that Mark only interacted with two people or that Sascha spent his rotation being lonely. Both found it easy to join in the social life with Mark participating in numerous sport teams and Sascha being surrounded by a group of very kind colleagues who took him in immediately.

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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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