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Are you ready for a cultural challenge?

Category: Product Supply | (0) comments

こんにちは(Ko-n-ni-chi-wa)from Japan!

If you had asked me two years ago, then I would never have had imagined that I would be living and working in Japan. But here I am, four months of my second rotation have passed in the blink of an eye and it has been the biggest challenge for me in my professional career. Entering the graduate programme of Product Supply I knew that my second rotation would be at one of our production sites around the world. My great colleagues in the Product Supply programme are currently on rotation in the US, France, Iran and Denmark. Usually the second rotation in the Product Supply programme is at our sites in the US, France, Brazil, China and Denmark, but this year we have graduates in both Iran and Japan.

Picture 1

A picture from a fishing trip with my colleagues

So how do you prepare for working abroad? What I did was that I started attending Japanese classes every Monday evening. I quickly discovered that Japanese would be a difficult language to learn, but more importantly, that the cultural differences between Denmark and Japan were bigger than I had anticipated (or least that was what the textbook said). This was further strengthened by the cultural awareness course that my colleagues and I attended before embarking on our second rotation journey. When comparing the two countries on different cultural dimensions you would usually find Denmark at one end and Japan on the far other end. With an increased cultural awareness and tools to tackle cultural differences I moved to Japan in May to begin my second rotation at Koriyama factory as the only foreign employee. Having worked here in Japan for four months now, I can confirm that some of these cultural differences exist. Exchanging business cards using both hands, bowing instead of shaking hands, swapping out the knife and fork with chopsticks and being addressed as Jacob-san are all natural to me now and part of my everyday life here in Japan. There have of course also been cultural challenges, which from time to time have been frustrating. Eventually you learn to tackle or accept these challenges either by changing your behaviour or by understanding the why. So have a changed the way I work? No. For me it has been important to be myself even more, exposing my Japanese colleagues to Danish culture at first hand on a day to day basis. In the end working with different cultures comes down to a matter of understanding and having respect for other people’s way of work. You might wonder; so how big is the cultural difference between Denmark and Japan? In my experience it is smaller than I expected. The global mind-set and values of Novo Nordisk are key reasons to why the cultural gap is smaller than that described in the textbooks. It is fantastic to see that the values that Novo Nordisk emphasizes in Denmark also are finding their way to a packaging site in the country site of Japan. To give a real life example, my good colleague had a single day off in three years (to go the interview at Novo Nordisk) before joining Novo Nordisk in Japan. Now he has just returned from two weeks of vacation. As I see it, it is not a Japanese packaging site in Novo Nordisk, but a Novo Nordisk packaging site in Japan. Living in Denmark I knew that I wanted to work for Novo Nordisk. Had I lived in Japan, Novo Nordisk would still be my first choice.

Picture 2

So if you are looking for a unique cultural challenge at first hand, then the Product Supply Graduate Programme is a good place to start. Unfortunately the Product Supply Graduate Programme will not be open for applications next year, but fortunately for you there are a lot of other graduate programmes in Novo Nordisk that offers the same cultural experience.

Best,Jacob

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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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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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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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If there’s one word to describe our experience…

Category: International Operations Business | (0) comments

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

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

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

 

AVDY

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

JRPC

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nikita

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

YSES

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

PVIA

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Good luck!

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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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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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    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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    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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