What is your name and what are you studying?
My name is Juliane Thiele and I am studying MSc EBA - Accounting, Strategy & Control at CBS.
Where did you work as an intern?
I worked in Corporate Controlling & Strategic Finance, which is part of Corporate Financial Planning (CFP), and functions as a Finance Partner to Novo Nordisk's CFO.
How did you get the job?
That was standard procedure - I applied via Novo's career page and shortly afterwards got invited to the assessment/interview day. There we were around 10-15 candidates, 5 of which would be allocated to the different departments in CFP based on best mutual fit.
The assessment had something of everything: Individual English and Excel test, a case to be solved and presented in a group, socializing time, and interviews, of course - both with team members as well as the head of CFP. We even all got personal feedback before being sent home! A couple hours later already, I got the call with the offer.
Why did you find it relevant to do an internship
in Novo Nordisk in general and Corporate Financial Planning in particular?
I have long had the ambition to work in a pharmaceutical company, and after moving to Denmark (I’m from Germany originally) for my bachelor degree I was fortunate enough to land a job as student assistant at Novo Nordisk. So you could say that I was ‘blue’ already – for me, the internship was about developing my financial tool box and getting to know Novo Nordisk from another, very different angle. It ended up being the bird’s eye view to be precise!
What was a 'normal' day at the job as an
On a 'normal' day, I would typically take the first half hour to check any potential late night emails as well as the overview of headlines and articles in the news regarding Novo Nordisk, competitors/industry, diabetes in general, etc. - because in CFP, it is not just about crunching numbers. It’s about understanding the bigger picture, which is also why we had so called ‘Business Understanding’ sessions on a regular basis.
Following that we would typically have a team/status meeting regarding the on-going financial process (e.g. the quarterly report for the Board of Directors) to get aligned on what needed to be done during the day, by whom, etc. Here, I’d typically have a few deliverables for my own and would otherwise support my team members wherever needed.
While waiting for new input, I would take the time to work on my individual, more project-like tasks which ranged from developing and updating Excel based reporting models, analysing the development in administrative costs to finding suggestions for a more objective feedback model for our colleagues in India.
What was the best and most difficult thing
about your internship?
The best and most difficult thing about my internship is actually one and the same thing: I didn’t have the strong finance background that some of my fellow interns in the other CFP departments had. Putting that together with the fact that my team was the one consolidating and challenging data and information from the entire organisation, it could sometimes be difficult for me to put all the pieces together. However, I could always count on my colleagues and especially my mentor who would take the time to answer any burning questions I had. And then again: who would like to have an internship where they are not challenged?!
How did you experience the working environment
in your department?
CFP must be one of the departments in Novo Nordisk with the lowest average age of employees, which is kind of crazy if you think about the decisions they make and the impact they have. You definitely want to be a person with a professional attitude, strong personal drive and willingness to work hard and help others because that is the kind of people you will meet. But rest assured that they certainly don’t cut on the fun once the hard work is done!
Probably the most outstanding thing in CFP is their focus and emphasis on giving feedback: Not just from manager to employee, but also the other way around as well as among peers.
Do you see yourself working in CFP in the
That’s a clear yes! CFP would be a great place to kick off my career because you get both high responsibility and great exposure to senior stakeholders from day one. Add the motivating environment of ambitious colleagues as well as focus on feedback and personal development, and that should sum up to a bright future!
Corporate Financial Planning is currently looking for for interns, you can read more about the department(s) and the job here. Remember to apply before January 20.