Youth Goodwill Ambassadors in Focus: Harry Rose

2015 Youth Goodwill Ambassador, Harry Rose, tells us about his experience being an ambassador and shares some of his insights to our future YGAs. Graduating soon with a Master’s in Law from the University of Copenhagen, Harry is currently an intern in Novo Nordisk as part of their Investor Relations department.

Why did you chose to study in Denmark?     

The law program in the University of Copenhagen is a very good program and they have a lot of focuses on which I myself had a background in with my bachelors from the UK. Particularly they have a very good research center here called iCourts studying international courts within every area of their operation.

I have an interest in the philosophy of law, with the application of international law and how the two link in. Also, Karolina, my girlfriend, is studying at DTU so it was a good opportunity to come over and live once again in the same place as my girlfriend.

How did you come to hear about the YGA and why did you decide to join?

I was recommended to join by a previous member, Karolina (YGA, 2014), so the system works!

What does being a YGA mean to you?
It’s very good way to meet other foreigners that are here to study and potentially find a job. You meet some very interesting people with 
very interesting ideas, either directly through the connections made by the YGA network, or through the second-tier connections that you make in the process. I’ve met people through work in every conceivable field, from healthcare to innovation in the media space, so for me the value is in the breadth of network and knowledge sharing.

It’s also been very good leverage for me personally, as a very good way for me to showcase my interest and my ambition when I apply for things. There is the exposure to more personal aspects of finding a job, with things like what does it look like to have a good CV in Denmark, or what sort of skills can you showcase. It’s different with my UK background, where I know that our CV type is one that is far more experience-focused. Here, it’s more of who you are and that really threw me! In that interview for Novo Nordisk, when the interviewer asked me “I want to know who you are”, he had to ask the question again because I answered it initially with what I was. It’s a very hard question to answer coming from my background where it’s sort of “give me your track record”, or “give me evidence that you can do this”. So that was a big thing for me, their emphasis on personal side of who you are.

What was your most interesting experience as a YGA?

I did enjoy the first conference that I went to last year, at Dansk Industri. That was good fun and very informative. But again as I say, more interesting to me was the sort of the network that I built out of the programme as a whole, particularly with the innovation events and having a look at the accelerators, and getting to know quite a few people doing some very interesting things in those areas, particularly in tech and A.I. Some of those conversations have been really, really fascinating.

How was your journey from education to employment like?
My process essentially was that I was never one to shirk work. I’m not work shy and I will work anywhere. I’ve worked at some of the worst bars here, and at some of the best bars here, but I got a bit tired of that, you know. I really preferred working in an office environment where I could focus on a task more than focus on a person, and where I could see the outcome of my work in a far more concrete manner. So, I decided to look for other things, and it was another YGA that alerted me to this role at Novo Nordisk. I applied and I got it.

The way the YGA community really helped was firstly, through the initial recommendation for the role. Also, it shows engagement to be in a YGA. Particularly because the person interviewing me, the CVP at Novo Nordisk, knew some people who are themselves in the Goodwill Ambassador programme, so he recognized the brand and asked me questions about it. It gave me something personal to talk about during the interview.

Also, you get to sort of know a little bit more about the work-life balance and the corporate environment of Denmark through the activities in the programme, and if you can bring across that knowledge during the interview, you have an advantage. Whenever I go to an interview, I don’t go in thinking that I need to show them how I am the smartest, most qualified candidate—I go thinking that I need to show them that I can sit next to a person on a plane from New York to Los Angeles and not bore him to death or make her want to kill me. That’s my modus operandi. It works, because that’s what they are looking for: they want someone that they can sit next to on a plane for five hours and still enjoy their company for the rest of the time they spend with them.

Tell us a little bit about your job right now and your role in the company.
One of the nice things about Novo Nordisk—and I think this translates quite well across the larger corporates—is that it’s a very flexible working day. As long as you complete the tasks you have to complete and you do them to a sufficient standard, you don’t have to be around until your boss leaves. You can stay as long you complete the task and until you feel like you are ready to go. At the same time, you are surrounded by so many intelligent people—people who have a lot of knowledge to give— so you will want to stick around the office for as long as possible. That’s sort of the work-life balance.

In terms of what I do, I really enjoy it. The nature of the investor relations office is that you need to have a good understanding of pretty much every side of the company. I simply work at the back-end and try to generate a good analysis for the spokespeople of the company to use. It’s good to see what we should be doing, to know how the company works, and what the different operations are. Also, I am member of the intern steering committee which handles all the social and professional events for the interns, so that’s quite fun.

Was it easy to find a career in Denmark? Did being a YGA aid in your job search?
In terms of ease, I feel like it was more luck than design! I know that it can be very frustrating to find a job. When I first came here, finding any work was difficult but you must persist. If you come here aiming to get an office job from day one, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You have to show that you have an interest in work. In my opinion, that’s what has gotten me through.

Any insights or advice for the incoming YGAs that are looking to stay in Denmark for a career?
It’s less focus on qualification and more of can you do the job. They already know you are qualified to do the job; they wouldn’t ask you to come to the interview unless they knew that you could do it. What they want to see (as I say, in my way of putting it) is whether they can sit on a flight with you for 5 hours without wanting to murder you at the end of it. It’s about whether they like who you are and whether they can be in an office with you 8 hours a day, 5 days a week; and at the end of it, still grab a beer with you.

That’s my personal opinion. But the other thing is work is work and if you show a willingness to partake in any sort of work, a lot of time that pays off in the long run.