Learning by Helping Others

It wasn’t long ago that Yacine Amirouche, Senior Global Customer Insights Manager at Novo Nordisk, was anxiously waiting to hear if he had been accepted to the graduate programme. Reminiscing, he remembers his first encounter with Novo Nordisk. “I come from a small town in Algeria, which also happened to be one of the very few places in the world where Novo Nordisk had established a factory. In university, we had the opportunity to visit the factory and I remember being so impressed to see that this global pharmaceutical company was not only respecting the international standards regarding production and working environment, but was also setting the bar in the country.” After graduation, while working as a Business Analyst in the healthcare industry, Yacine’s curiosity about Novo Nordisk grew. “It was hearing from a former colleague her positive experience within the graduate programme, as well as the attractive possibilities to work in different countries, that made me very keen to apply.”

Yacine began the first out of his three rotations in Algeria, followed by Denmark and Mexico. Whether he was engaged in market research, working with numbers, or developing a patient support programme, Yacine took each opportunity to expand his knowledge and further the mission of Novo Nordisk. “With the programme, you have the opportunity to explore different fields both geographically and within the company. It really encourages you to understand what you enjoy doing and where you see yourself in the future. Even after the programme, when you decide to focus on a specific field, you have solid background knowledge in other fields because of the breadth of your experience during the two-years within the programme.”

Experiencing your work and social life on three different continents in two-years requires high levels of adaptability. But for Yacine, who thrives outside of his comfort zone and seeks to always stay open-minded, he approached these new challenges tenaciously, seeing each as a new opportunity for learning. “The culture shock wasn’t so big when I moved to Denmark, my working style was quite similar- very structured and time focused. When I moved to Mexico, that was a very positive cultural shock both on a personal and professional level. In general, they were much more relaxed and take time to do things. For example, working hours were much longer, but lunch breaks were also much longer. Wherever you end up as a graduate, people will work differently, but that doesn’t mean one does it better than the other. It is easy to have your own perspective on how things should be done, but you are the one that needs to adapt rather than expecting others to adapt to the standard approach you have in mind; this is also key if you want to be considered a part of the team.” Work in the Mexican affiliate office was conducted in English; however, Yacine said learning Spanish was beneficial for working with the salesforce, and in his daily life. “Novo Nordisk provided me with a weekly Spanish teacher that would come to the office. From my 8 months in Mexico, I had a decent grasp on the language and had the chance to conduct several workshops and trainings in Spanish. Learning a new language was an additional challenge, but an unexpected asset I gained from the programme.”

Yacine added that it was important for him to take learning into his own hands. “I always had the flexibility to ask for more work. This of course meant at times I worked harder, but I was also able to learn so much more. And the hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.” For Yacine, the graduate program gave him a significant advantage to network. His definition may be different than one might expect. “To me, it is about creating as many opportunities to collaborate as possible, with as many people as possible, and naturally making a good impression on the people you work with, because one day or another you will work with those people within the organization again.”

After the graduate programme, Yacine returned to Algeria and was offered a position as a Product Manager. After two short years, his networking philosophy came full-circle, “I was working hard in my 2nd rotation at the headquarter office in Denmark trying to make a good impression, and two years later there was an opening in that department. Having already proven my diligence and collaboration with the manager’s team, I believe my time as a graduate gave me a strong advantage over the other qualified candidates.” Just one year after accepting this role and moving to Denmark, Yacine was promoted to his current position as a senior manager within the insights & forecasting department.

With his experiences across the globe, Yacine says that what makes every office at Novo Nordisk similar is the patient centricity that resides parallel with his own values. “Yes, you can choose to be competitive and focus on the business, but never to the degree of neglecting the opinion of others and preserving the high level of respect there is across the organization. This includes never losing sight of our purpose to improve peoples’ lives.” Yacine is excited for his future at Novo Nordisk, “Even now there are still so many opportunities to learn and develop as a leader. Our business is simple— to help people— and this clear-cut mission makes me look forward to going to work every morning.”

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