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

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments



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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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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Meet Simon, Global Development Biostatisics Graduate!

Category: R&D Global Development | (2) comments

Hi everyone,

firstly, my wishes for a great 2017! Last time I promised to write about Biostatistics Graduate life in Novo Nordisk. This week I had lunch with my dear colleague Simon, also a Biostatistics Graduate, and talked about the everyday routines and tasks. Here’s our discussion:


Evangelos: Simon, can you take us through your average day at work?

Simon: Sure! So for example, last Friday I started the day with a short breakfast together with my department. It’s a nice way to talk and get to know your colleagues, and hear what they do. After breakfast I prepared some slides for a meeting regarding sample size for a clinical trial. As you know, when conducting a trial it is necessary to include a sufficient number of subjects in order to ensure that the trial results are statistically significant.

So, you were involved in the planning of the trial?

Yes. As a Biostatistician I have various tasks not only in the analysis of the data but also in the planning of the trials as well as understanding the results. For example we review documents necessary for the initiation and conduction of the trial and also try to ensure the best quality of our data. All that in collaboration with medical specialists, programmers and other stakeholders.

I think that’s a very interesting part of the job. After your sample calculations what did you do?

Oh, won’t you let me eat my lunch? After preparing the slides, I attended a course on missing data. As a GD Graduate in Novo Nordisk, you attend a lot of training and courses in the first months of your employment. In this particular course I learned about various statistical tools for estimating the potential impact of missing data on clinical trial results. This is a very important issue for us. Imagine a trial where 40% of the subjects drop out, but the remaining 60% have amazing results. Is your trial a success? If you don’t include the drop-outs in your calculations, you will get biased results.

Ok. Take a minute for some bites and then tell me what else did you spend your day on?

After the course, I spent the remaining hour creating a couple of tables and plots for a scientific journal. I work closely with various stakeholders when deciding how to illuminate our results, and it’s our task to create the tables and plots we present. Next week I will be on a business trip in one of our affiliates to work on that.

That sounds nice! So, last question, in general how would you describe Graduate life as a Biostatistician in Novo Nordisk?

I enjoy it! I like working in Biostatistics, my colleagues are great and I feel that I contribute to the goals of the department and the company.

Well, Simon, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I will let you enjoy your lunch now and will see you around!

Thanks Evangelos! See you around!


That’s it for now from GD Graduates! Next time, I will present more skill areas and give you the opportunity to meet my fellow Graduates working on these areas. Until then, a quick reminder that the GD Graduate program is not hiring in 2017. But you can always register your interest in Novo Nordisk’s Global Talent Pipeline following this link: www.novonordisk.com/gtp, in order to stay updated with all the great opportunities that Novo Nordisk provides in order to kick off a global career in the company.

Stay tuned!

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Global Marketing Graduate: What could the first rotation look like?

Category: Global Marketing | (1) comments

“The areas of expertise where you will gain invaluable experience include:

  • Product strategy development and implementation
  • Product positioning and branding
  • Product development, launch or withdrawal
  • Market research and analysis
  • Forecasting and pricing strategy
  • Conference exhibitions and symposia
  • Promotional material and communication
  • Communication strategy and implementation


Now, this is what one encounters on the official page of the Global Marketing graduate programme. Quite broad, huh? My graduate buddy from the 2014 Global Marketing batch, Arnar, has made a crisp post elaborating on these areas here, and let me try with this post to dig yet one step deeper in specifying what the tasks of a Global Marketing graduate could concretely look like – drawing on my experiences from the first five months in the programme.

Before getting into describing what my working days look like, let me briefly explain what department I am spending my 1st rotation in. My department is called Sales and Marketing Excellence, and I can best describe it as an in-house consulting unit – a very project-based department, focusing on advancing Novo Nordisk’s sales and marketing capabilities globally.

Now, enough talking already, what do I actually do? During the first five months I have been supporting primarily two projects:

Hospital Relations Management

  • Project in brief: Excelling at hospital relations management is what this project is ultimately about. This field is quite interesting, as it deals with multiple stakeholders on two levels. On the one side, pharmaceutical companies have employees from various functions working with hospitals, which in essence requires careful coordination. But more importantly, hospitals too consist of a multitude of stakeholders, ranging from purchasers, pharmacists and hospital management to specialists, nurses and internists (to name a few). The task is to optimize the way we service these stakeholders, enhancing the value we provide them with.
  • International scope: Based in the global HQ, the project is being implemented in key affiliates around the world. I have supported an implementation in a European affiliate last fall, and this year I will most likely be supporting another implementation, possibly outside of Europe this time.
  • What is my role: This is my main project for this rotation, and I get to spend a lot of time on the different sub-projects related to the overall project. I work together with my project manager. This setup has two key advantages in my view: (1) As it is just the two of us working on this project, my role is central and I get to try a lot. (2) Since I am working directly with a project manager with several years of experience with the topic, I learn not only from trial and error, but also get to jump a few steps on the ladder, as he can give me valuable advice along the way.
  • My tasks include: process-optimisation through facilitating cross-functional collaboration, hospital strategy development, segmentation, local market adaptation, etc. I have been using in-depth interviews to gather information on affiliate-setup, Excel to develop structured ways of capturing and sharing knowledge, and a lot of PowerPoint to build templates for internal capability assessment, strategy planning and information sharing. Aside from this, I get valuable experience in collaborating with external vendors as part of the project.


Project Picture

Picture from the last days of project implementation in European affiliate. After a few days with an empty room, PowerPoint and Excel templates quickly filled all the walls, so we could discuss our latest versions with the European affiliate’s team members when relevant.


Internal Marketing Academy

  • Project in brief: Excelling at marketing strategy in Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk recruits new employees all the time, and these come with different backgrounds and have been schooled at different universities. This project exists as an internal marketing academy to make sure that the way we develop and implement strategies is up-to-date and consistent throughout the organisation (so for instance we don’t work with 37 different ways of doing strategy planning).
  • International scope: Training courses are made available to the entire organisation – across boundaries. Main tasks are handled from our department in Denmark.
  • What is my role: For this project I have been supporting the execution of both physical and virtual workshops, assisting the two project leads.
  • My tasks include: Assisting with practicalities for setting up global workshop, capturing the learnings from participants in various trainings (through setting up and distributing online surveys and tests), and developing training material. Tools I have been using for this include PowerPoint and a programme called Articulate Storyline. Also, this project has given me a great opportunity to participate in the workshops myself.


Picture taken after one of the workshops from the internal marketing academy that sits in my current department. International team with participants from all over the world.

Picture taken after one of the workshops from the internal marketing academy that is managed in my current department. International event, and here with my energetic and good-humored team with participants from all over the world.


Now, I know my Icelandic graduate colleague, Arnar, is dealing with other interesting areas in his first rotation, but without detailing these, I hope this post has given you a better idea of what everyday tasks a Global Marketing Graduate can be facing in his/her first rotation.

If you at this point are interested in applying for the Global Marketing programme, find the direct link here and send us your tailored application with a clear motivation before the deadline, February 8. Happy application work :-)


All the best,

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