Business leaders and the complexity behind strategic decisions - IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Leadership

Talent acceleration with IMD

Novo Nordisk’s Kasper Roseeuw Poulsen prepares his leadership skills
August 2017

“TBL came to me at an extra good time, just as I was getting ready to take on a new and broader leadership role. It helped familiarize me with core leadership values and plan the transition.”

IMD’s PED (Program for Executive Development) attended in 2014, completed by TBL (Transition to Business Leadership) in 2017, has helped Kasper Roseeuw Poulsen prepare for his new position and expanded responsibilities as VP Finance, IT, Administration & Procurement at Novo Nordisk in Beijing, China.

Kasper has been with Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company that focuses on diabetes care, hemophilia, growth disorders and obesity since he joined as a finance graduate 11 years ago.

You joined Novo Nordisk straight out of business school. What keeps you there?

Novo Nordisk has as a company enjoyed solid organic growth during the last many years. With growth comes good development opportunities where I have continued to get new and challenging roles. Furthermore, the values of the company have been aligned with my own personal values which has made it the natural work place for me.

How did your role progress?

For the first two years, I was a ‘corporate gypsy’, gaining a broad understanding of the organization, primarily in finance, and more specifically in controlling and strategic finance, as well as corporate development, including six months in Brazil as a financial analyst.

I have been privileged by having enjoyed strong support from members of our senior management from an early stage, which I believe is due a good cultural fit with the values of the company.

My first managerial role came within five years when I was appointed Head of Investor Relations, a position I held for three and a half years.

Is that when you came to IMD for the first time?

Precisely. Our CFO sponsored me to gain the foundations for business leaders. When I attended FBL (Foundations for Business Leadership) in 2014, it came as a good complement to our internal development programs and allowed me to accelerate talent as a manager.

How did FBL help you?

FBL was very motivating, not just academically, but also through its many practical applications.

It was like dusting off my toolbox. The clarity and experimentation were refreshing. It was also useful to brush up on my skills in a completely different habitat, with participants from different industries and walks of life.

I also appreciated having many professors with real-life business experiences to share. IMD’s ‘real world’ mantra is a reality.

You then moved to corporate financial planning for a couple of years?

For those two years, I was heading 50 people across five units which was a much more complex leadership challenge than I had previously experienced.

Is that why you decided to return to IMD for TBL?

Yes, it was becoming clear that I soon would move to a new role and it was therefore a good time to strengthen my understanding of my own key leadership values and strengthen my toolbox as a leader.

Did TBL meet your expectations?

My expectations were very high to begin with and I can clearly say that they were met. What impressed me the most is how naturally IMD combines platforms to allow different learning styles to fit together in an impactful way.

This has been the best training I have attended yet. The mix of topics and teaching approaches was great: the case applications were extremely solid, the simulations and role playing in crisis situations were full of learning.  But there were a lot of laughs as well!

What did you enjoy about the program?

The closeness of our small group, so small that everyone knew and interacted with each other. This contributed to mutual trust, which, in turn, allowed us to open up, including myself, a normally reserved person.

I genuinely feel that made our networking stronger and more authentic.

What do you feel you gained?

Being together with relatively senior leaders from different industries was a good way to become familiar and confident with my own strengths and weaknesses. It allowed me to hold a mirror up to myself, as well as discover how others perceive me.

The timing was also good, because TBL came when I was about to take on broader responsibilities. If I had done it any earlier, I’m not sure that I would have been ready to appreciate it as much. The transitional aspects were very relevant, as was the awareness gained from the high level of multiculturalism.

TBL has helped equip me for my next role, where I will be entering a different culture in China. It is as good a starting point as I could hope for. Now, it’s up to me!