Julie helps safeguard that Novozymes continue to have the best graduate talents in the world

I studied Economics & Business Administration at Aarhus University and travelled to Copenhagen where I completed my MSc in Applied Economics and Finance from Copenhagen Business School. During my studies I did an exchange in Singapore and did a Summer School course at Harvard. 


➔  Hiring!  Novozymes are hiring graduates right now. Click here for more details on the programme.


While studying I had part time jobs within finance, first in Group Finance at Nykredit and then afterwards at KPMG in their Deal Advisory team. I enjoyed my role at KPMG, but I also figured out that I was probably not going to get excited by working in the consulting/advisory world after graduating.  I discovered that the key thing that changed in the role was the company you worked for, not the task itself.  I therefore decided to apply for the Novozymes Finance Graduate Programme as I knew that would provide a wide range of projects and challenges. 


After completing the graduate programme I had different finance roles before getting the opportunity to lead our graduate programme. I’m very excited about this role as it is one of the ways we safeguard that Novozymes continue to have the best talents – now and in the future.


What is the story of the Novozymes Graduate programme?  


I believe the programme has existed since the demerger from Novo Nordisk, so roughly 20 years ago. Our current CFO is a former graduate from Novo Nordisk, so in general graduate programmes have a long legacy in the company.


During my time at Novozymes I have seen a positive development – particularly with an increased focus on professional development for the graduates and also seen the network between themselves grow stronger. 


Below you can see Julie during her half-marathon on The Great Wall of China

Why do you have a graduate programme?


It’s primarily to ensure that we attract the best talents to the business. It’s a very competitive world when it comes to talents and we want to make sure we can provide an offer that is attractive. 


In addition then we see it as a great value add to our organisation. Graduates will build a broad and strong internal network across the organisation during the program and their diverse rotations, which is very valuable for themselves and for Novozymes in terms of working efficiently and applying different perspectives when solving problems cross-functionally following the programme.


What kind of graduates are you trying to attract?


Since our programme is focused around finance – we are of course looking for graduates with an analytical background. 


It’s also important that they have a genuine interest in Novozymes and they should be driven by the purpose we have. On a personal level then we are looking for graduates that are curious, innovative and who dares to challenge the status quo.

On a personal level then we are looking for graduates that are curious, innovative and who dares to challenge the status quo.
Julie Ahlgreen, Graduate Manager Novozymes

Above Julie is on a Novozymes site outside of Shanghai, China as part of her rotation there


The best thing about the programme?


Personally then I think it’s very positive that we have multiple rotations, 4-7 depending on the program we tailor to the individual graduate. It allows for the graduates to really get a broad range of experiences and enable them to figure out what direction they want to continue in after the graduate programme is over.  They also get to spend a rotation abroad and that is a great experience to get that early in their career. 


On top of that then we have a lot of flexibility. So if a graduate has certain projects/locations he or she wants to do then we try to find a way to accommodate that. 


Areas where you are still trying to improve the experience?


We recently elevated our mentor program from mentors being relatively recent former graduates, to director within finance who can also be sparring partners of the graduates in their transition into their roles after the program, so they don’t feel alone when the program ends. I hope this will be of great value to them. They will still have a buddy who is closer to them and can relate to their situation as having been in it themselves not long ago. Next on my list is a more structured approach to getting a holistic understanding of Novozymes, also outside the rotations – it is always very interesting to get to know our business better, also with that as the sole purpose.


What other graduate programmes do you admire?

We try to  learn from what other companies are doing and I’m impressed with what Ørsted has done with their programme and general employer brand in recent years. The way we run the application process today is definitely also inspired by others, when I was through the process myself, it was individual assessment whereas now we do the case in groups as part of a common assessment day similar to what I know Novo Nordisk implemented long before us.


Fun fact about your graduate programme?


Our CFO, Lars Green, started the same day as the graduates started in 2020 and is a former graduate himself, from Novo Nordisk, which is also the origin of our program


➔  Hiring!  Novozymes are hiring graduates right now. Click here for more details on the programme.