When your internship kicks off a global career

Jennifer Dennis, Global Product Manager of Rare Blood Disorders, currently working at Novo Nordisk in Zurich recounts her journey from interning and working in the Canada affiliate to her 7,000km jump to working out of our offices in Zurich.

Jennifer Dennis with her colleagues in Novo Nordisk Canada
Jennifer Dennis with her colleagues in Novo Nordisk Canada

Imagine pursuing an internship that could kick-started a global career – Jennifer Dennis can. Global Product Manager of Rare Blood Disorders and an Early Talent success story, Jennifer recounts what her 4-month internship experience was like. 

“It was my first introduction to pharma. I hadn't really had any experience at that point. But that's the whole point of [a] co-op – to try things that you've never tried and to see what you like.  I had a couple of interviews…and it sounded like a really interesting job. It sounded like something I hadn't done before, but I would enjoy. And so off I went.”

And off she went, indeed.  Originally located in Canada and working at the Novo Nordisk Canada affiliate after graduation, Jennifer made the nearly 7,000km jump to Zurich, Switzerland where she is now living and thriving. 

“This has always been something that I wanted to do - to go live somewhere else, to experience and work in a different culture and see what it's like – to get that global experience.”

For many individuals, making such a bold move can be frightening and often discouraged by others.  But not for Jennifer. 

“It was an easy decision to make because it's something I knew I always wanted to do, and the company supported it and that is also one of the reasons that I've enjoyed working for Novo Nordisk for so long.” 

Life-changing opportunities all over the gloabe

Jennifer described that a decision like hers is one of the defining qualities of working at Novo Nordisk.

“One of the things that I've always liked about the organization, and particularly Novo Nordisk in Canada, is that they very much encourage people to do things like that and to take a risk.”

Switzerland might not be the last stop for Jennifer, though.   With a penchant for travel and the guts to boot, the world has become her oyster. 

“Whether it's a different affiliate or whether it's in Denmark or something like that – I think there's a lot of different opportunities around the world and I think it will be interesting to see what's out there.”

While international mobility is an incredible job perk, it isn’t the only thing that inspires Jennifer to work for the organization. 

“Novo hires good people who believe in putting the patient first.” 

Helping the 1 in a million

For Jennifer, that focus has been on the 1 patient in a million that is affected by Acquired Hemophilia. 

Acquired Hemophilia or AH is an extraordinarily rare bleeding disorder that “develops in individuals with no pervious history of bleeding disorder with approximately equal numbers of males and females affected.”[1]   The chances of a person developing this disease is literally 1 in a million. 

Currently, Jennifer works on the strategy and marketing materials for one of the few coagulation treatments out there for AH. Her goal is to not only drive brand awareness with physicians but increase awareness of the disease in general. 

“These patients exist,” states Jennifer, “and they’re just not being recognized...In a lot of cases [our products] have been life changing and specifically in hemophilia, lifesaving. And I think that's amazing.  And I think the fact that we can be a part of that is very inspiring.”

[1] Baudo, Francesco. “Acquired Hemophilia.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), NORD, 23 Aug. 2016, rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/acquired-hemophilia/.