Mario Alzamora, 23, Supporter at Novo Nordisk Kalundborg
In the late summer of 2017, Mario Alzamora took the leap and moved from Stockholm to Kalundborg to pursue his educational aspirations. Today he is full-time employed at Novo Nordisk.
At the time, Mario had just ended high school and imagined continuing his studies in northern Sweden. After hearing about the University College Absalon, he changed his plans.
"For a while, I thought that I was going to study rocket science in Sweden, but I have always had an interest in biology as well. At a university fair in Stockholm, I heard about the Biotech City in Kalundborg and decided to take the plunge – even though the campus was not yet built at that time. I'm so glad I did!", Mario explains.
Pursuing a unique opportunity
"What I found motivating when hearing about Absalon at the university fair was the close collaboration with the local industry throughout the studies. I saw it as an opportunity to ensure I would have both educational qualifications and experience after finishing my degree, which turned out to be a great advantage", Mario points out.
He is one of the first students to graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology from Absalon in Kalundborg. Being a student in Kalundborg is quite different compared to Stockholm, according to Mario.
"I enjoy having the nature as my backyard and being close to the coast. During my studies, I joined the student council at Absalon and later became a student ambassador, where I ended up on the opposite side of the counter at university fairs in Baltic countries to tell curious students about Absalon and Kalundborg", says Mario.
Making career collaborations
One of the collaborations Mario had with the industry resulted in a student job at Novo Nordisk, where he benefitted from the practical learnings gained at Absalon.
"I became involved in a laboratory project with Novo Nordisk for two months after hearing about the various industries at the university. After the project collaboration with Novo Nordisk ended, I applied for a student position at Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg, which allowed me to get an overview of the whole company. The practical preparations during my studies at Absalon gave me insights and working tools with a direct link to the industries", Mario analyses, and adds:
"I've visited several companies during my studies and received lectures from people working in the industry. It has helped me to both see and understand how the companies operate", he says.
Building strong networks
During the 6th semester, students at Absalon gain practical experience through a six-month internship at one of the companies within the local industry.
"I wanted to continue at Novo Nordisk because I really enjoyed the work environment and I could tell that my colleagues wanted me to do well. It also became motivating to see my own practical development during the collaborations and work. The knowledge and network gained at Novo Nordisk have opened new doors", says Mario. When the last semester approached, Mario was looking for his final student collaboration.
“My interest in manufacturing started to grow on me, which became the topic of my bachelor thesis. I started a collaboration with Novo Nordisk, which allowed me to specialise in manufacturing”, he says.
After the student collaboration, Mario was offered an opportunity he couldn’t pass by.
Towards full-time employment
"When I was to finalise my bachelor thesis, I applied and got accepted to pursue a master’s degree in biotechnology at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). But then I was offered a full-time position for a 1-year contract at Novo Nordisk to drive optimisation projects, starting just after my graduation in January this year. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by, so I accepted the offer. I have decided to postpone my plans of studying for a master’s degree until next year", Mario shares.
Since his graduation in January, Mario has worked as a Supporter in manufacturing in Novo Nordisk Kalundborg. He shares some reflections about the student collaborations during his time at Absalon:
"I think my experience from Novo Nordisk became an advantage for me because of the knowledge, skills and network I have continuously gained. I became aware of job opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have, due to the teachers, co-students and employees from the industry I met during student collaborations”, says Mario, who still enjoys living in Kalundborg after four years.
"My aspiration is to do work which has a positive impact in the world and which I find meaningful. My aim is to become an expert in development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and molecules", Mario ends.