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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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Application Tips to those applying to become a Graduate

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs US Rotational Development Program | (17) comments

Wondering what recruitment specialists are really looking for? What you will need to get through the graduate recruitment?
Lee Millian, a senior Talent Attraction specialist from our R&D division, has shared his application tips for future applicants! 

Competition is intense for graduate positions in any company.  Often there are hundreds, if not thousands of applications for each position.  You need to stand out from the crowd! This is certainly no different at Novo Nordisk.

It is a good idea to start thinking about applying early and to prepare yourself thoroughly.  In my capacity as Senior Talent Attraction Professional I am the person globally responsible for university relations for Novo Nordisk R&D. I have a number of years of experience of graduate recruitment and have looked through more graduate applications than I dare to remember.  I would like to offer my own personal tips to future applicants.  They are also tips which can be applied to any job application.

  • Read the job advertisement carefully – make sure you are fulfilling as many of the specified job requirements as possible in your application. I advise people to make a list of the skills and attributes the company is looking for.
  • Targeted and Specific – ensure every application you write is targeted towards that specific role. It is obvious to recruiters when you have just used the same general CV and cover letter.  Do not be general, but be precise.
  • Research – show in your application that you have really researched the industry, company, department and employees. The more you can show this the more recruiters can see how much you really want that specific position.  As an example, mention company projects which interest you.  Use as many sources of research as possible.  Make sure you have at the very least read the company website very carefully
  • Examples – use examples to back up statements you make. Just writing “I am good team player” is not as strong as backing it up with a specific positive example.
  • Well-structured application – make sure your application is well structured and “easy on the eye”. Remember, that your CV and cover letter are the first impressions we get of you.
  • Details – It is often the small details which count. As an example, make sure you do a spell check.
  • Exclude irrelevant points – Try not to include irrelevant points. Even if you are very proud of a particular achievement, if it is not at all relevant to the position you are applying for use the limited space more effectively.
  • Network – use your network as much as possible to answer questions you may have and give tips.
  • A second pair of eyes – I advise people to get someone they know and trust to look through their application before sending it. Another pair of eyes can see the application in a different light.
  • Passion! – try to show your passion for the industry, company, department and position. A good way for graduates to do this is by being active in relevant student societies.  Also to take part in company and industry related presentations, lectures and events.

Hopefully the above points will help you in some way. They can not of course guarantee anyone an interview, but they will improve your chances.  Good luck and maybe I will meet or interview you in the near future!

All the best with the application process! For more tips, advice and graduate insights read more of the blog posts full of guidance from former graduates, for e.g. this post by Nicolas on how to prepare for the interview.


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IO Business Graduate Programme – Bangladesh: Your Walkthrough of the Application Process

Category: International Operations Business | (3) comments

I’m posting this on behalf of my colleague Saifur Rahman, International Operations Business Graduate from Bangladesh.

“It just feels like yesterday when I was going through this graduate blog hoping to come across any and every piece of information that would help me know more about the programme and especially the application process.

And here I am—the first IO Business Graduate from Bangladesh and already midway through my first rotation—writing to let prospective candidates gain a better understanding of the application process.

As there are numerous insightful write-ups available on the application process by other graduates, I would like to address and focus on the Bangladeshi candidates to help them gain a better idea on what is expected of them throughout the application. Nevertheless, due to the mostly general nature of the article, anyone looking for a few tips and tricks before applying might find some handy information as well.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let me list the items required for an application and with any of these missing, your application will not be considered valid at the first place. The requirements are a candidate’s CV, cover letter, video answer, and academic transcript. Here goes a gist of the dos and don’ts.

CV: This is your first point of contact with Novo Nordisk. Make sure it counts.

  • Make a customized CV

Candidates, especially in Bangladesh, conveniently have a general format finalized for their CVs and they send the same version to every job opening they apply for. What I would recommend to you is to create a personalized CV by clearly outlining your educational qualifications and experiences that are relevant to the programme. You may include training’s/conferences you attended and/or any other leadership experiences you have had but please leave out any irrelevant information that does not add any value.

  • Keep it short

Often our CVs become too long and by the time assessors are done with it, they lose interest. Remember your CV should only contain the highlights of your career so far and is not your biography. Therefore, try to keep the CV within one or a maximum of two pages by taking out useless sections like personal information (assessors are not interested in your birth date, your parents’ name, etc.).

I would advise you to prepare an informative yet concise CV which clearly emphasizes your strengths. It is also advisable for your CV to have a sleek look with a creative interface and formal formatting (please don’t use Comic Sans or any other informal formats) devoid of any mistakes. I cannot stress enough the damage any grammatical or spelling error can do to your first impression as an applicant. Hence, I would urge you to check your CV thoroughly for any typos/errors.

Cover letter: This is your opportunity to let Novo Nordisk know you on more personal grounds.

  • Let them have a deeper look into you

The cover letter’s purpose is to complement your CV and not to reiterate it. Therefore, it should either contain relevant information not mentioned in your CV or build on the information provided. Ideally, the letter should help the assessor know the type of person you are and what it is that drives you to apply for the position. Hence, it can include your personal story on what makes you a strong contender or it can elaborate on the work that you have done and how it can add value to the Graduate Programme. Just to emphasize it further, I would once again remind you to be absolutely sure of not submitting anything which has errors or formatting inconsistencies in it.

Video answer:  Enough of pen and paper, time to show who you really are. The video answer is your gateway to really leave an impact on the assessors.

For the video answer, it is absolutely essential for you to set a professional tone and hence it is a good idea to first make a script which answers the questions and then practice enough for your delivery to be flawless. The answers can be a reflection of your cover letter so you can emphasize further your suitability for the programme. It is imperative for your video and audio to be clear and devoid of any disturbance. Also make sure to look sharp, demonstrate your professional best, and shoot the video in a controlled environment.

Transcript: Although there is nothing for you to prepare for this item, it’s important for you to acquire this well before the deadline. Given the paperwork involved, the university process for providing transcripts can take some considerable time especially the public ones in Bangladesh and hence you are advised to take preparations taking that into account.

That was all from my side. I have tried to briefly shed some light on the items required during the initial application phase. In addition to what I have mentioned, there are certain general measures you should take before applying. These include doing an extensive research on Novo Nordisk, being genuine in your applications, and demonstrating your true self. Furthermore, as I mentioned in the beginning, I would recommend you to go through the numerous articles from other graduates that provide valuable information on the application process and the graduate programme as a whole.

It is important to note that this is the most crucial phase of the recruitment process as it is during this stage when the majority of the applications are filtered. Therefore, it is crucial for you to prepare these in the most impeccable way and then leave the rest to destiny. Please remember, it is not just a test of your fit for Novo Nordisk, it is also a test of Novo Nordisk’s fit for you and as you continue to plan your application, you should consider the nature of the programme and whether it is something you want to pursue.

I wish you the best of luck! And if you are all good to go, apply here before 4 January, 2016.  <LINK: http://www.novonordisk.com/careers/see-list-of-all-available-jobs.34698BR.External.html>”


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

Category: International Operations Business | (20) comments

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

  1. Research

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

  1. Reach-out

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

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

  1. Review

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

That sums up my 3-R Process!

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

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The phone interview survival guide!

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

Congratulations to all of you for taking the decision to apply to the graduate programme! I will take a wild guess assuming that you may have more doubts about what is to come in the screening process now that you have filled up your application.

Right now the recruitment team is reading through thousands of applications looking for those candidates who may fit the graduate programme. After this stage they will contact you to let you know about the outcome of this process. I know that waiting sometimes is not precisely the most pleasant thing in the world; therefore I’ll do my best to give you some hints to be ready for the next big step you may be facing… The phone interview!

Biologically speaking it is proven that with unexpected news or events, your body uses high amounts of blood in almost every part of your body … except for the brain. Sometimes it is good because it can help you to fight for your life against a raging bear; but when you receive a phone call for an interview, the organ you may want to be working at its fullest is exactly the one with less blood: your brain!

Based on this fact, I recommend you to prepare your own survival guide for the phone interview based on the following points:

1)    Data

I won’t elaborate too much in this topic because I’m sure that you have already done some research about Novo Nordisk in the corporate website and already read the Novo Nordisk Way. Also I’m confident with the idea of you having the chance to download the Annual Report 2014 and gather some nice information to show off (a little bit) about the last year performance.

Just remember to have all those valuable facts available for you when your phone starts ringing.

2)    You

Be not afraid to give open and honest answers. The interviewers are eager to hear the rationale behind the decisions that brought you were you are right now. Also they would like to know why you think Novo Nordisk is the best place to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Ask and answer to yourself the kind of questions that maybe you will hear from the other side of the line, such as: Why the graduate program? Why are you interested in pharmaceutical industry? What is appealing for you within Novo? How can you contribute to the success of Novo Nordisk?

Finally be prepared to talk about what did you achieve, which challenges you faced, and what did you learn from them. I recommend you to take some time to elaborate, prepare, and learn by heart every point of your CV that may be worth to share during the interview. The interviewers like people who are high performers and at the same time humble enough to recognize that always are challenges and learnings to share ;)

Remember, your brain will not receive as much blood as you wish … so maybe writing down all of the above in your tablet or a simple sheet of paper can make a huge difference.

3)    Low-hanging fruits

Everyone loves the low-hanging fruits, therefore I prepare a list with some… feel free to use them when you receive THAT phone call from the recruitment team.



a)    Keep Calm. It is really happening, you have been chosen, you have one shot… make it count.


b)    Breathe deeply and smile. Ok, it may sound corny, but it is proven that your voice tone improves by doing this two simple things.


c)    Lock and sit down. Avoid at all background noises or to walk during the interview because it will make your voice tremble




e)    Listen, understand and answer. There are no traps in the interview, so try to listen carefully what the interviewer is asking, then find the reason why he/she is making that specific question, finally and most important: give your answer.


f)    Be yourself. In Novo Nordisk we like diversity, stand out and show yourself as you are.


I hope this short blog can help you in your path to become a graduate; finally I would like to invite you to post any doubt or comment you may have regarding the phone interview or any other topic, so you and many others can have a better survival guide

May the phone ring with you…

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Last Minute Application Tips!

Category: Product Supply | (0) comments

Let’s face it, you are probably writing you application, just now, while reading this post. Either you just became aware of the application deadline or you are like me – always doing everything the last minute ;)

Unlike others, I would argue that this is a good thing, because if not, you wouldn’t have been able to include all my very useful last minute application tips (based on my own experience) in order to make it through to the first interview!

For all the international applicants let me first make it clear that in Denmark an application is both a resume (or CV) and a motivational letter (or cover letter) and if you like you can even put a picture of yourself on the resume :)

There is not much time left so why not just go ahead with the tips:

1.    Focus on your resume

I am not an HR expert, but think about it.. if you have several thousand applications to look through and you just have a few minutes to do it, what is the easiest thing to do first? Skim the resume. Why? Because it gives you a brief and relatively structured overview of the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Therefore, make sure that your resume is very sharp and no more than 1-2 pages long. There are a lot of great articles or blog posts out there telling you how to build up a great resume – use them!

 2.    Make use of concrete examples in your motivational letter

In order to make your motivational letter unique you should make use of specific examples when explaining your competences (or else it could be anyone writing it!). As an example when explaining that you possess leadership skills give a concrete example from a group work situation at your university, or the like, where you took some specific actions in order to make things happen and drive the changes.  

 3.    Use formatting and layout to stand out

Why not be a little creative and use a few colours or structure your text in bullet points? It gives a great overall impression and makes your application stand out from the black and white crowd. However, remember not to overdo it! Too many colours can make it look very unprofessional. Bullet points create structure and make it easy for the eye to quickly skim through a lot of information.

 4.    Be personal – be yourself

Make sure to give a little bit of yourself meaning we want to know who you are besides from your professional skills. If you have used tip number 3 you have already showed that you like to be creative, but what about mentioning what you do in your spare time and how you can use that in your working life. Everything counts and the better the person reading your application gets to know you the more curious he or she becomes.

I hope you find my tips useful and that it is not too late to make use of them :)

Happy Writing,


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Video: What candidate profiles are we looking for?

Category: European Finance Global Finance Global Procurement Uncategorized | (29) comments

This is the most frequently asked question.
Watch this video! It provides a 360-degree understanding of the programme with you.
Hope it will help you spicy your application!

Further, current graduates from Global Finance and Global Procurement have provided valuable tips for your CV and cover letter.

Should you have any questions or comments, please post it in this blog. I will get back to you ASAP.

Note the application deadline: 9 Feb 2014
For Global Finance Programme: www.Novonordisk.com/Global-Finance-Graduate
For Global Procurement Programme: www.novonordisk.com/Global-Procurement-Graduate

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12 things to consider when writing your application

Category: Global Procurement Uncategorized | (7) comments

(5 questions to get you started, 4 advices on how to improve your cover letter, and 3 practical tips to finish off) 

There are plenty of good advice out there about what to do and what not to do, when applying for a job, but also a lot of useless rubbish. I know it because I spend hours – almost days – searching through it a year ago (this webpage was a diamond among the dirt).

I’ve asked the team that will be reading, screening and evaluating a part of the applications to chip in with their advices and tips for what you should consider and do, when writing your application. I will run the risk of adding to the rubbish section and try to share it with you – here is the result:

5 questions to get you started:

  • Why do you want to work for Novo Nordisk
  • Why do you want to work in the pharmaceutical industry?
  • What do you find interesting about the Graduate Programme and why do you think it will fit your profile and make you a good candidate (interests, experience and personality)?
  • Why should Novo Nordisk pick you – and not other highly qualified candidates?
  • What is your passion? What make you forget about time and place and how does that fit the programme?


4 advices on how to improve your cover letter:

  • Use examples from your life, work, study and non-curricular activities to support your motivation and the picture your paint of yourself

If you write you are an entrepreneurial person then it comes across stronger if it is followed up by an example of a thing you have started (a small business, a student union, a football team, etc.)

  • Use your cover letter to write a motivation and apply your life and personality to Novo Nordisk

Don’t just repeat your CV in prose, but use it in your cover letter to support your motivation and description of your personality.

  • Read your application from different perspectives

In the first review, see if you present yourself clearly and effectively to the company content-wise; In the second review, put yourself into the shoes of the company, to see if your application can catch the recruiters’ eyes.

  • Be honest with yourself; do not write something you think you are

You shouldn’t be looking for a number of magical personal traits to emphasize in your application. Rather be honest with yourself and present who you are, not what you think you should be. But don’t be shy of mentioning if you have done or achieved something to be proud of.


3 practical tips:

  • Keep it short and crisp

There is no golden rule to how long a CV or cover letter should be, but never longer than necessary. For newly graduate people, like us, that often mean: Cover letter (1 page) and CV (2 pages).

  • Be thorough

Have someone read through your application to make sure that it is free of e.g. spelling mistakes and that it makes sense to someone reading it for the first time. Further remember to check that you have added all the required information and documents.

  • Make the life easy for the recruiter

Add a few bullets about the focus in your studies (it isn’t always self-explanatory for outsiders), what you did and learned in internships, part-time jobs (when relevant), and in extra-curricular activities. It could even be a quote from your appraisal.  It is also a good service to calculate your current GPA and add it to the CV.



Get started now and apply before 9 Feb 2014







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