Should You Go All-In on a Career in Medicine, or…

OPM 222: Should You Go All-In on a Career in Medicine, or...

Session 222

Students often ask if they should continue their current path, or abandon everything in pursuit of their interest in medicine. Today, I’ll answer!

Meded Media

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community. 

Check out The Premed Years Podcast Session 384. It’s an interview with Enrique Jasso of TMDSAS, talking about how the Texas medical schools are potentially thinking about what’s going on with COVID-19 and the application cycle. 

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:12] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Dr. Gray and/or others… HELP!!!

I recently determined that I want to be a physician, but I have an MBA acceptance with a deposit due in a month. Please send advice!

Without going into detail, over the past 2 years I have experienced multiple family deaths, including my little brother, which have prompted a total re-evaluation of my life and goals. I’m a 32-year-old IT & marketing professional with a degree in Computer Science and a 3.3 cumulative GPA, 3.0 BCPM from a middle-of-no-where state school. I have always felt restless and unfulfilled in my career, but recent circumstances have allowed the opportunity for a complete restart.

I am passionate about being a trusted advisor and an advocate for those who are suffering but never felt I had the wherewithal to do something as impactful and tangible as becoming a physician. For context, I’m a female from the deep south with a love a learning, an introverted personality, and a lower middle-class family. Over the years I worked my way through the business world and was recently accepted to a top-15 MBA program. Before my brother died, I was bound and determined to do whatever I could to progress up the corporate ladder and use my position for good in the community (e.g. social impact projects, community service, and being a champion for underrepresented minorities) – hence the goal of the MBA. I was accepted to the program a week after my brother died (I had spent the previous year studying for the GMAT and preparing applications) but decided to defer for a year to heal and spend time with family.

My dilemma is this:

After careful and thoughtful re-evaluation, I know for certain that I want to be a physician. I believe I have the compassion, thirst for knowledge, thoroughness, and perseverance that would allow me to truly make a difference in patients’ lives. However, I still have an MBA acceptance that I’m not sure what to do with.

I’m currently enrolled in multiple science courses at my state university, have been volunteering at a regional hospital, and am scheduled to shadow physicians this spring. I would like to continue taking DIY post-bac courses, but I’m not sure whether I should take them at my state university or at the higher tier university where I’ve been accepted to the MBA program. Because healthcare today is ever-changing and highly complex, I know that many physicians end up completing an MBA either as a dual degree or later in their career. I also know that if I am accepted to medical school, I likely won’t want to tack on an MBA at the end of 4 years of medical education. I love learning and am interested in knowing the ins and outs of the healthcare industry, both clinical and operational.

So… Should I complete an MBA now (while I have the opportunity to do so) and at the same time complete my post-bac science courses? Or should I forgo the MBA and continue taking post-bac courses at my state university? Or to throw another wrench in the mix… should I apply to formal post-bac programs? All of the above will require varying degrees of debt. I want to ensure that I am making wise financial decisions while also making the most of my time and talents.

As a side note… I know there are many variables at play, including financial debt, time commitment, personal considerations, grades, ECs, etc, but I would prefer not to stay in my hometown/home state for the foreseeable future.

What would you do??”

[04:55] Shadowing and Clinical Experience

The one thing I haven’t seen here is that this poster has any exposure to healthcare and to medicine. And she knows that she likes medicine. She’s talking about her skills that she thinks are appropriate and are necessary for being a good physician. Therefore, she’s making a leap that if she has those skills then she should be a physician.

'I always caution making that leap too soon. Go and get shadowing and clinical experience.'Click To Tweet

Our poster says she is getting those experiences so that’s great. But has she done enough at this point to really show herself that this is what she wants to do? 

[06:55] Wanting to Know the Ins and Outs of the Healthcare Industry

Depending on the MBA, maybe you could get healthcare-specific MBAs. But the question is, will the MBA that she’s applying to and has been accepted to have enough healthcare industry MBA knowledge to really make that difference for her that make it worth the extra debt.

'If you know you want to go be a physician, pause everything. Go do everything that you can do to prove to yourself that this is what you want.'Click To Tweet

Go get the clinical experience and the shadowing experience. Prove to yourself that you want to be a physician. Prove that academically, you can handle yourself. Prove to the medical schools that you’re not going to be a problem child student. 

Put all of your focus on that journey, not the MBA just because you want to know the ins and outs of the healthcare industry.

[08:22] Final Thoughts

Decline the MBA invitation. The MBA is a distraction. Go do your postbac at your community college or somewhere else. 

If you want to look at an MD/MBA program once you’re in that position, great. Most of those programs you apply just for the MD and then you say you’re interested in the MBA program. A lot of those are done in conjunction. You’re not tacking on more years. So this is something to look into. 

Every school is going to be a little bit different but those are done a lot of times in conjunction with your med school classes. 

Links:

Meded Media

The Premed Years Session 383

Nontrad Premed Forum

Premedforums.com

The Premed Years Podcast Session 384

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