12/8/12

Ever since I could remember, I've wanted to become a dental surgeon. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, and Calculus were all my strongest subjects. I was one of those kids who studied half as much as others, but still got one of the highest grades in the class. For as long as I could remember I've had an incredible memory that borders pictographic memory. I read a long time ago that supposedly no one has complete pictographic memory, which I agree with. Regardless, I've been blessed with an above average memory which has saved me throughout my school years.

Fast forward to senior year, and I've received admissions offers from the 9 colleges I've applied to. I rather keep my identity a secret, but I went to a target school, which was subsequently my number one choice. During my college years, my mind was set on dentistry. Looking back, I have no idea why. I think I eliminated being a medical doctor because I didn't want to get a random phone call at 2:00am for an emergency operation, and I didn't want to be a pharmacist because most of my female friends were doing that and I wanted to one up them. Optometrist? Hell no. Male nurse? Good one. Dentistry fit the mold because it allowed me to 1.) Set up my own hours, 2.) Take vacations as needed without guilt, and 3.) Make bank sitting in a chair and basically chill all day. We're talking about the most relaxing health occupation with a respectable pay, upwards of $100K per year, easily.

I went through it all. I took all the science classes, which were a pain in the ass, and attended 7pm labs. While my friends were out partying, I was stuck studying for multiple exams that just happened to be one after another, almost every week. Being a science major was no joke, and seriously required some depressing sacrifices and late night suicidal thoughts.

Then I took the DAT (official dental exam). I studied intensively for 3 months. My goal wasn't just to get a good score, no...I wanted to fucking destroy that test. I got a 29AA, which translates to the top 0.1% of test takers (30AA = perfect score). I was on top of the world. I received offers from basically everywhere, including full rides to some of the best dental universities in the world.

Then something incredible happened. I did not want to go. I've never seen my parents so mad in my entire life. They called me an idiot and basically every other blasphemous word you can think of. Even my friends were confused. "Why aren't you going to dental school?!"..."Are you dumb??" were the most popular responses I got.

What happened? I just wasted my entire college career and threw 4 years out the drain. Why did I change my mind, when I had a 99.9% guaranteed, secure future set in stone?

These are the 5 reasons why:

1. Security = Predictability = ?

Security represented a predictable path, which I absolutely loathed. I don't know about you, but completely understanding my future and knowing what would happen drained the adventurous vibe from it. I'm a risk taker and I thrive off the unknown. After dental school, I would undergo residency, then open up my own practice, then continue until I retire. Sure, I'd be secure and never have to worry about money, but when I weighed the pros and cons - I chose happiness and excitement, rather than the boredom from security.

2. Alpha dogs must have competition!

Dentistry is not competitive! In fact, dentistry looks like child's game compared with banking. You can open up or even share an office space with another joint dental practice and you're essentially set. Health is recession proof and very stable. But deep inside, I want competition. I live off of competition. If I'm competing against others to be the best then something is missing. In dentistry the only bragging rights you can have are a better office, regular clientele, and the ability to fix teeth better. What the hell? Just thinking about that made me feel very depressed. I wanted to be the best deal maker; fight for more clients based on my personality, skills, and connections; and most of all, be part of an industry that's going for the championship. Dentistry symbolized Little League....I wanted to be part of the World Series.

3. All eyes on you

Have you ever heard of a big time dentist? That's what I thought. I'm not saying that I want to appear on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or be interviewed on CNN or MSNBC, but the prospect that you could be recognized for what you are doing had something to do with it. I like performing on the big stage and being clutch. Michael Jordan always did better in important playoff games when it mattered because he had the clutch gene and had something to prove...that he was the best. I wanted to feel big. Not like Jay-Z big, but I wanted to feel like a prominent person and feel that I deserved it because of the hard work that it took to get there.

4. Money makes the world go round.

If you got paid $30K a year to be in investment banking, would you still do it? Probably not. Most dentists reach their salary peak at around $200-250K, depending on how good you actually are. This is also assuming that you specialize...so most won't ever reach that type of figure. I love the fact that banking, and finance in general, truly has an unlimited potential. It's a twisted mixture of luck, skill, and timing. It's almost like a professional poker player who enters the World Series of Poker. Chances are he won't win, but he'll be at the final table 9 times out of 10. I like the thrill of gambling with deals and being part of a market that not only welcomes skilled players, but also ruthlessly smashes you if you had a bad day. All dentists make around the same type of money based on years in practice, but bankers are truly defined by their ability to win. Bring it on.

5. The Managing Director I met changed my life.

I can't state this enough. After college, I realized that I had no investment banking internships, let alone any financial internships at all. No bulge bracket would take me in. I didn't even bother submitting my application to Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and all the other big dogs because they would just laugh and wipe their asses with it. I chose a different route. I completely hustled by connecting with my alumni database and asking around. I got in touch with one of them and we connected. He was very hesitant because he didn't understand why I would leave dentistry and randomly go into investment banking at such a late-stage in my life.

Well, I gave him a deal that he couldn't refuse. I offered to work for free for one month and then he could either kick me out or keep me, no questions asked. Let me tell you, this month of unpaid internship, or slavery, was brutal. He really tested me to see how badly I wanted it. At one point, I almost broke down and called it quits. But I had to make it through, because my pride was way too inflated to beat down. After the month, he called me into his office.

He handed me a yellow sticky note.

"2000"

"What's this?" I asked.

"Stop eating McDonald's and also go buy yourself some new dress shirts," he said.

Turns out, it was the payment for my month of working roughly 80 hour weeks, for one month, unpaid. Well now, it was paid!

"Oh and one more thing...welcome to the team. Keep doing what you're doing."

I shook his hand, said "thanks" and walked out. The type of bliss you feel from achieving true success from painstaking hard work is very hard to describe. Once you reach that plateau, you'll understand what I'm talking about. It's a natural high that makes everything seem perfect, for a brief amount...maybe minutes, maybe hours. Simply put, I was happy beyond all measure.

Today, I'm still working harder than ever in a middle market investment firm and learning as much as I can from the MD and the rest of the firm, who gave me a chance.

I hope those of you on the borderline of a career change are as sure as I was when I made the 180 degree turn from dentistry to banking. My advice is to weigh the pros and cons...imagine who you want to be, but more importantly what type of person you want to be 10 years down the road. That should help make your decision a little easier. It'll be the toughest decision of your life, but as one saying goes, "the hardest part is the beginning."

Comments (86)

Best Response
11/16/12

I wonder if there is a dentistoasis.com site out there with a post called "from investment banking to dentistry"...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

11/16/12

amazing story. well written.

11/16/12

OP -- you should become an orthodontist.

My old orthodontist is one of the most balling people I've ever known. He makes his own easy schedule, goes on vacation all the time, doesn't have to deal with emergency dental work, and makes a pretty ridiculous amount of money.

In reply to holla_back
11/16/12
holla_back:

OP -- you should become an orthodontist.

My old orthodontist is one of the most balling people I've ever known. He makes his own easy schedule, goes on vacation all the time, doesn't have to deal with emergency dental work, and makes a pretty ridiculous amount of money.

I'll second that. Mine had tons of clients @ $5000 a pop plus incidentals and was away from the office half the time counting his money. A pretty genuine guy overall too.

Thank you for the story. I'm currently studying what I love (I think) and am in for the ride, whatever that may entail.

11/16/12
11/16/12

Thanks for the feedback. Cheers DM123!

My uncle is actually an orthodontist. Without a doubt they make tons of money and have a very flexible and ideal lifestyle. However, I think I just wanted to transition out of the health industry and focus more on finance. I'm a mover and want to meet more people and explore..rather than explore their mouth. I'm loving what I do right now and don't regret it at all. Can't wait to look forward to what my future entails.

Good luck with your progress Heist...as long as you love what you do, you will go very very far.

11/16/12

you are getting into finance at a very shitty time though. so it looks like you didn't do your homework on the dental life, and you've not done your homework on the finance life either.

11/16/12

Awesome story, SB for you

"I like Ackman," Mr. Icahn said. "I'll tell you why I like him. Anyone that makes me a quarter of a billion I like."

11/16/12

you sound like a very humble guy. keep truckin' there squirt

11/16/12

Great story and great read! I've had a similar 180 degree switch situation. I was on track to get my PhD in Biochemistry but decided to call it quit's at the Master's level and try breaking in to consulting. So far I'm still on the grind, and your story has re-ignited my desire to get what I want and work hard to get there.

SB for you if I had one!

The error of confirmation: we confirm our knowledge and scorn our ignorance.

11/16/12

This was the best post I've seen on this site in quite some time--wish I had a SB for you.

My dad was in the same boat. Top percent on his MCAT, then realized he didn't want to spend another minute studying medicine or biology. Does commercial litigation now, funny how that works.

11/16/12

Also, the picture for this thread is hilarious

11/16/12

Thanks for sharing your story. Way to make the most of your opportunity!! Keep up the good work.

CPA/investor/bballer

11/16/12

Awesome story, thanks for sharing.

11/16/12

Great story. I'm not surprised at all by your success though; you're clearly incredibly intelligent and hard working. That combo never goes out of style.

11/16/12

After reading this I think I want to go from banking --> dentistry lol

11/16/12

when u get laid off by UBS, let me know again whether u prefer banking to dentistry.

11/16/12

Holy shit. An actual good post on WSO. Probably the best in a few months.

In reply to Imperialian
11/16/12
Imperialian:

when u get laid off by UBS, let me know again whether u prefer banking to dentistry.

Yes, because UBS is definitely middle market...

11/16/12

Thanks for sharing atmosphere. Congrats on your progress!

Its weird how closely your story mirrors mine. I did well at school - got all As in my Chemistry, Biology and Physics A Levels in the UK. Went to red brick university in England and studied a Biology degree with a view to attending Dental School in North America. I realized mid-way through my undergrad that it wasn't for me and did some soul searching which led me to investment finance. Unfortunately my lack of drive meant I slacked hard during my undergrad and came out with a mediocre GPA equivalent. I've since done a masters in Finance, am close to CFA completion and have taken a two or three stepping stone type jobs that finally helped me land a job in project finance, which I enjoy. I'm still not quite where I want to be but I feel I've come a long way and feel vindicated in my decision to have followed the dream.

11/16/12

Great post and I wish you the best. However, when did you make the jump? It seems like pretty bad timing and with bonuses at 20-30k, you might actually have come out ahead in dentistry.

11/16/12

"Dentistry is not competitive!.. ..Most dentists reach their salary peak at around $200-250K, depending on how good you actually are." Why do you think that is? Because they do not make it competitive. I know a dentist raking $400,000 per year, he is quite competitive.

Too little for you? Greed is your goal. Too far of a 'salary climb' in dentistry? Then you are not competitive.

If you were just good with science, then maybe investment banking is your path. If you have a passion for science, I urge you to turn the other way. If you are like me (left science for finance) you may be disappointed in the long run.

Years later, I returned to science, but on the VC side of the business. I still feel the urge to get in a lab, but to my focus, I am no longer qualified.

Great story, good luck in your endeavors. Keep us posted!

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever."

11/16/12

Such short term perspectives here. Even in this market (which will certainly improve), Ds are making 750k+, junior MDs are making 1mm+ and group heads are making 2-3mm. This will only go up. And the job is still a very interesting one.

11/16/12

Sounds like you've had it made your entire life.

Nice work fella.

11/16/12

There is someone who went from Dentisty --> M7 MBA --> BB S&T

Not going to out this person here, but you can find him / her if you know where to look.

In reply to BTbanker
11/16/12
BTbanker:

Holy shit. An actual good post on WSO.

lol what a critic.. didnt you catch this post? http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/so-you-made-it...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

In reply to AndyLouis
11/16/12
AndyLouis:
BTbanker:

Holy shit. An actual good post on WSO.

lol what a critic.. didnt you catch this post? http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/so-you-made-it...

Yes, that one was great too. I was being melodramatic.

In reply to Imperialian
11/16/12
Imperialian:

when u get laid off by UBS, let me know again whether u prefer banking to dentistry.

Lol, Besides the fact that he is clearly not at UBS, this is ironic since one of the reasons he said he switched to something like banking is because he didn't want the stability- takes away from the adventure.

In reply to SanityCheck
11/16/12
SanityCheck:

Great post and I wish you the best. However, when did you make the jump? It seems like pretty bad timing and with bonuses at 20-30k, you might actually have come out ahead in dentistry.

I made the decision around 2009-2010. I agree bonuses are way lower than what they used to be, but I literally reached the breaking point where I clearly knew I would be extremely unhappy with my profession in dentistry. I even talked to many of the dental students at nearby universities and professors for a while. Funny thing is...90% of the students I interviewed said, "Why would you want to be a dentist?" In fact, some even regretted their decision, but had to live with it because they were already too deep. I met way more students who regretted their decision than were happy with it. I was very shocked by this...could be an outlier case, but still it was strange to hear this because I was meeting with students at a top 10 dental university. Their inputs were helpful but really only accounted for 5% of my final decision. After much deliberation, research, and thought I decided to nail it in and go for what I wanted to become.

Basically it came to the point where I knew that I'd have to choose a career, not just a job. Fix teeth and make money, or manage money and make money? The financial route seemed way more knowledgeable and also a gateway to many more opportunities in various fields that I'd love to learn from. At a certain point, dentistry ceases to teach you anything more...in finance the plethora of knowledge is truly unlimited, as it's always changing and evolving. Also my mind has always been geared towards finance, I actually began with some entrepreneurial endeavors that led to some moderate success (could be a future post), so in the end it was a no-brainer.

11/16/12

plus women don't wanna say "i slept with a dentist" they wanna say "i just bagged a cardiologist" or something along those lines. so i think you made the right choice

Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
No.
Good!

In reply to snakeplissken
11/16/12
snakeplissken:

plus women don't wanna say "i slept with a dentist" they wanna say "i just bagged a cardiologist" or something along those lines. so i think you made the right choice

yeah the most a dentist can get is a woman to open her mouth...sad stuff

11/16/12

The short story about the unpaid work is well written, but the post overall seems superficial and also puzzling. Dropping a stable career path to join the investment banking club, making colorful pitchbook after colorful pitchbook, so you can be rich and famous and better than others? It's refreshing how the words "analyze companies" didn't show up once in the post even in any sort of vaguely related permutation. If you just want an unpredictable competetive job where you can be rich and famous, maybe you can be a boxer instead. Would let you avoid those "brutal" 80-hour weeks. Make sure to get a good mouthguard though, as you wouldn't want to lose any teeth cuz that would just be ironic!

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
In reply to Going Concern
11/16/12
Going Concern:

The short story about the unpaid work is well written, but the post overall seems superficial and also puzzling. Dropping a stable career path to join the investment banking club, making colorful pitchbook after colorful pitchbook, so you can be rich and famous and better than others? It's refreshing how the words "analyze companies" didn't show up once in the post even in any sort of vaguely related permutation. If you just want an unpredictable competetive job where you can be rich and famous, maybe you can be a boxer instead. Would let you avoid those "brutal" 80-hour weeks. Make sure to get a good mouthguard though, as you wouldn't want to lose any teeth cuz that would just be ironic!

Well if I wanted to be rich and famous maybe I should become an NBA player, right? Bad analogy you used there, let's keep it realistic. Of course the breadth of the work, including analyzing companies, corresponding with MDs and private equity contacts, and traveling to continue deals is what I enjoy...I just didn't want to include it because it's stated so often and more importantly I wanted to introduce a fresh new perspective without wasted space.

Also, I think you misunderstood that section about being rich and famous. I don't want to be rich and famous (there's youtube for that), hence my reference to the likes of Jay-Z...I want to do something that is recognized but most importantly something that I'm proud of. I realized being a part of finance instead of dentistry would make me more proud of myself which is the most important perspective one that receive.

Appreciate your feedback though!

In reply to atmosphere
11/16/12
atmosphere:
snakeplissken:

plus women don't wanna say "i slept with a dentist" they wanna say "i just bagged a cardiologist" or something along those lines. so i think you made the right choice

yeah the most a dentist can get is a woman to open her mouth...sad stuff

Exactly. Except, the flipside of that is dentists have access to anesthesia. the things you could do with that open mouth...

Too far?
Too far.

Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
No.
Good!

In reply to snakeplissken
11/16/12
snakeplissken:
atmosphere:
snakeplissken:

plus women don't wanna say "i slept with a dentist" they wanna say "i just bagged a cardiologist" or something along those lines. so i think you made the right choice

yeah the most a dentist can get is a woman to open her mouth...sad stuff

Exactly. Except, the flipside of that is dentists have access to anesthesia. the things you could do with that open mouth...

Too far?
Too far.

but you can never go too far...right?

wait right??

In reply to atmosphere
11/16/12
atmosphere:
snakeplissken:
atmosphere:
snakeplissken:

plus women don't wanna say "i slept with a dentist" they wanna say "i just bagged a cardiologist" or something along those lines. so i think you made the right choice

yeah the most a dentist can get is a woman to open her mouth...sad stuff

Exactly. Except, the flipside of that is dentists have access to anesthesia. the things you could do with that open mouth...

Too far?
Too far.

but you can never go too far...right?

wait right??

Not on this forum, and that's what makes it such a gem

Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
No.
Good!

11/17/12

Absolutely loved your post. Personally, I agree with you on your first point. Knowing what the future beholds really takes away the excitement out of it, which is probably why I will never pursue certain careers, such as dentistry, medicine etc.

11/17/12

Well written. But I tend to agree with another poster who labelled your post as superficial. It was unnecessary to go on and on about what an ace you are (you got a hint of Prestigious Pete in you). And also, you got into investment banking because it was competitive? Everything in this world is competitive. I would of given you more credit had you did something like open your own store and figured out that evaluating businesses was what you wanted to do.

I sometimes wish finance positions didn't pay as well because it would really separate those who have a true passion for it from those are in it for the money. As in the NFL, the ones who are only in it for the money will dwindle out eventually (e.g. Jarmarcus Russell). And those who do it for the love of the game will constantly try to improve their game regardless of how tough it gets. Essentially, the reasons you switched were 1.Fame 2.Money and 3.Power. What ever happened to having a purpose in one's own life?

I'm not here to hate on you or judge you (congrats on the offer) but you just strike me as one of those kids who feels as if they deserve a powerful position because of (insert here).

In reply to madmoney15
11/17/12
madmoney15:

Well written. But I tend to agree with another poster who labelled your post as superficial. It was unnecessary to go on and on about what an ace you are (you got a hint of Prestigious Pete in you). And also, you got into investment banking because it was competitive? Everything in this world is competitive. I would of given you more credit had you did something like open your own store and figured out that evaluating businesses was what you wanted to do.

I sometimes wish finance positions didn't pay as well because it would really separate those who have a true passion for it from those are in it for the money. As in the NFL, the ones who are only in it for the money will dwindle out eventually (e.g. Jarmarcus Russell). And those who do it for the love of the game will constantly try to improve their game regardless of how tough it gets. Essentially, the reasons you switched were 1.Fame 2.Money and 3.Power. What ever happened to having a purpose in one's own life?

I'm not here to hate on you or judge you (congrats on the offer) but you just strike me as one of those kids who feels as if they deserve a powerful position because of (insert here).

Definitely agree that my post has hints of being an ace. I'm guilty of having a bit of an ego..but most guys are..damn it. However, I wanted to create a backdrop of the exact type of student I was while making it somewhat interesting. I wanted to show that if you're on the borderline, you can do it too! And believe me, I'm not as smart as many people on these boards.

You sometimes wish that finance positions didn't pay as well? The profession deals with money! And there are a lot of finance related positions that don't pay that well. Also, the NFL, or any professional sport for that matter, is not a good comparison in this situation. Almost no one can become a professional athlete without having a true passion for the game. If you find someone that has, please give me their contact info because I'd pay them to speak to me about certain things. There's a statistic out there that less than 1% of college athletes actually become professional athletes - it's probably even less. That percentage tells it all. In addition, once you make it as a professional in sports, you start to reach a comfort zone...which really explains the difference between standout players and average players. It's a very complicated industry that requires way too much detail in terms of philosophy and realistic outlook.

I definitely did not switch into banking for fame, money, or power. I already distinguished the difference between fame vs. recognition. I don't want to be someone well known (hence the reference to Jay-Z as an outrageous example) because honestly who will become that famous in finance? I'm not the next Jamie Dimon and don't even want to be. Also, I could have made a very good salary from dentistry so the argument about money is not as relevant in this discussion as it could be. Power? Not sure about that yet, unless I become a very good banker in the future. But if I do get power, then I'm all for it! What guy wouldn't turn down some power...

Also you said that you'd give me more credit if I opened up my own store or loved evaluating businesses? 1.) Opening up my own store has nothing to do with my stated situation because I was a fresh entry into the industry. In fact, I too would have even given myself way more credit if I was able to accomplish that. That's MD level stuff right there. 2.) I do love evaluating businesses and I'd be shocked if less than 100% of people who transition/career switch into banking didn't. Isn't that a given? Making a career switch is a very serious matter and requires deep insight into why you really want to switch into it. Most people who give up a secure, lucrative career to switch into finance hardly do it for the money...it's tilting more towards their predicted enjoyment and recurring satisfaction.

My top goal was to write a piece that gave fresh ideas and didn't give the obvious answers (ex, I love evaluating businesses, merging companies, and working on deals!)...that everyone has read countless times. I wanted to give my version of the transition from health to finance. Hopefully it has helped some people in some way, shape, or form.

Above all, appreciate your feedback!

11/17/12

Career switch not unseen.

See Alexander Dibelius: From surgeon to head of German-speaking and Eastern Europe at Goldman Sachs.

When utility becomes concave
and outliers cease to be brave,
think of the CAPM twist:
that return grows as does risk.

11/17/12

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

11/17/12

Love the post atmosphere as I can relate to your story. I'm glad things worked out for you in the end.

I wanted to do pharmacy (didn't want to look at peoples' eyes, use the cavitron all day, or spent so many years to become a doctor). During college, I started to have doubts as if I really wanted to be a pharmacist the rest of my life. I finally discovered what I really wanted to do after I read a few of my friend's investing books. When it was finally time for me to write my personal statement the summer after my junior year, I couldn't do it. I told my parents that I didn't want to pursue this path anymore (they damn near wanted to disown me). Stuck it out an extra year to get my finance degree (beats the hell out of a biochem degree), and it was completely worth it. The only thing I would have done differently was to really network and tapped the alumni database like you did.

In reply to RunFarther
11/17/12
ptnguye8:

Love the post atmosphere as I can relate to your story. I'm glad things worked out for you in the end.

I wanted to do pharmacy (didn't want to look at peoples' eyes, use the cavitron all day, or spent so many years to become a doctor). During college, I started to have doubts as if I really wanted to be a pharmacist the rest of my life. I finally discovered what I really wanted to do after I read a few of my friend's investing books. When it was finally time for me to write my personal statement the summer after my junior year, I couldn't do it. I told my parents that I didn't want to pursue this path anymore (they damn near wanted to disown me). Stuck it out an extra year to get my finance degree (beats the hell out of a biochem degree), and it was completely worth it. The only thing I would have done differently was to really network and tapped the alumni database like you did.

I can completely relate to the parent situation. At first they were very disappointed, but eventually when I proved to them how much more I loved finance and how much better I was at it (because I enjoyed it) they accepted it. With that said, the bar was set even higher and it gave me a new goal to reach so that I could erase all doubt. In the end, parents just want the best for you so I completely understood the initial reaction they gave me.

Glad to hear that you stuck it out for another year and got your finance degree. Sacrifices are necessary early in the game of career switching, and it eventually pays off. Hope everything is going smoothly for you and you're enjoying your career so far.

11/17/12

+1 dawg
Going from a neurobio major prepping for MCAT to grunt work in finance was an extremely uncomfortable decision to make but I knew my passion would ultimately yield higher returns. Graduating high school in 08 gave me quite a warped view on economics and finance in general so when I finally gathered the funds for college I knew I would be out there pandering for a job with a business-based degree. I gave bio my best shot. I tried to love it because I knew it was a path to financial security for me and my aging parents. Then came the reality check, I absolutely loathed sitting through lectures on protosomes and nematoda. Labs without physical dissections or DNA extractions were simply a waste of time and it was unfortunate to become part of the student class that just tries to pass a class without learning jack.
I remember the day when I decided that a life in medicine (though extremely blissful) was just not for me. I knew that regardless of my profession I would always be creeping onto WSJ and forums like this for my "finance-fix". Markets, investments, capital raise, structuring a merger - shit is exciting! While I'm still uncertain about my exact path in finance, I know that there will come a day when I will appreciate the physical and mental challenge my profession will bestow upon me. I will do my best to excel until I drop.

In reply to atmosphere
11/17/12
atmosphere:

Definitely agree that my post has hints of being an ace. I'm guilty of having a bit of an ego..but most guys are..damn it. However, I wanted to create a backdrop of the exact type of student I was while making it somewhat interesting. I wanted to show that if you're on the borderline, you can do it too! And believe me, I'm not as smart as many people on these boards.

You sometimes wish that finance positions didn't pay as well? The profession deals with money! And there are a lot of finance related positions that don't pay that well. Also, the NFL, or any professional sport for that matter, is not a good comparison in this situation. Almost no one can become a professional athlete without having a true passion for the game. If you find someone that has, please give me their contact info because I'd pay them to speak to me about certain things. There's a statistic out there that less than 1% of college athletes actually become professional athletes - it's probably even less. That percentage tells it all. In addition, once you make it as a professional in sports, you start to reach a comfort zone...which really explains the difference between standout players and average players. It's a very complicated industry that requires way too much detail in terms of philosophy and realistic outlook.

I definitely did not switch into banking for fame, money, or power. I already distinguished the difference between fame vs. recognition. I don't want to be someone well known (hence the reference to Jay-Z as an outrageous example) because honestly who will become that famous in finance? I'm not the next Jamie Dimon and don't even want to be. Also, I could have made a very good salary from dentistry so the argument about money is not as relevant in this discussion as it could be. Power? Not sure about that yet, unless I become a very good banker in the future. But if I do get power, then I'm all for it! What guy wouldn't turn down some power...

Also you said that you'd give me more credit if I opened up my own store or loved evaluating businesses? 1.) Opening up my own store has nothing to do with my stated situation because I was a fresh entry into the industry. In fact, I too would have even given myself way more credit if I was able to accomplish that. That's MD level stuff right there. 2.) I do love evaluating businesses and I'd be shocked if less than 100% of people who transition/career switch into banking didn't. Isn't that a given? Making a career switch is a very serious matter and requires deep insight into why you really want to switch into it. Most people who give up a secure, lucrative career to switch into finance hardly do it for the money...it's tilting more towards their predicted enjoyment and recurring satisfaction.

My top goal was to write a piece that gave fresh ideas and didn't give the obvious answers (ex, I love evaluating businesses, merging companies, and working on deals!)...that everyone has read countless times. I wanted to give my version of the transition from health to finance. Hopefully it has helped some people in some way, shape, or form.

Above all, appreciate your feedback!

Again, well written but you have holes in your argument.

1. I sincerely believe that the game of football translates to each of our personal lives. Passion, teamwork and work ethic is mandatory of each us to be successful in life. It's funny you mentioned to get someone to contact who wasn't passionate about their professional sport. Well, I personally know one. We played football together in high school and now he plays for the Miami Dolphins. He was never passionate about the game of football (e.g. didn't study film, skipped practice often and didn't take it completely serious). He relied on his God given ability to excel on the football field. Does he work hard now? Sure he does because the big checks are rolling in. It is quite plausible he is passionate about money and not the game.

2. Fame and recognition go hand and hand. You posted you wanted to be mentioned on CNBC or WSJ so in essence you want fame from the street. A famed rock-star analyst who gets a nod from MD's when he enters the room. If that doesn't sound like wanting fame, I don't know what is. And the money is not relevant? I literally laughed out loud when I read that. In your original post, didn't you make a complete section about compensation being so appealing? Would you still apply to be an investment banker if they made 35k a year with no bonus? I think we both know the answer.

3. You said, "Most people who give up a secure, lucrative career to switch into finance hardly do it for the money...it's tilting more towards their predicted enjoyment and recurring satisfaction." Where are your facts to support this beside your own personal opinion? It's hard to conceive that generally people who switched would consider it a predicted enjoyment as working 80-100 hours a week and being in an industry with a high turnover rate.

4. I have no qualms of you switching from dentistry to investment banking. But the way you try to frame your switch is more b.s. and superficial (in my opinion) than I can swallow. Thank you for your posts though.

In reply to madmoney15
11/17/12
madmoney15:
atmosphere:

Definitely agree that my post has hints of being an ace. I'm guilty of having a bit of an ego..but most guys are..damn it. However, I wanted to create a backdrop of the exact type of student I was while making it somewhat interesting. I wanted to show that if you're on the borderline, you can do it too! And believe me, I'm not as smart as many people on these boards.

You sometimes wish that finance positions didn't pay as well? The profession deals with money! And there are a lot of finance related positions that don't pay that well. Also, the NFL, or any professional sport for that matter, is not a good comparison in this situation. Almost no one can become a professional athlete without having a true passion for the game. If you find someone that has, please give me their contact info because I'd pay them to speak to me about certain things. There's a statistic out there that less than 1% of college athletes actually become professional athletes - it's probably even less. That percentage tells it all. In addition, once you make it as a professional in sports, you start to reach a comfort zone...which really explains the difference between standout players and average players. It's a very complicated industry that requires way too much detail in terms of philosophy and realistic outlook.

I definitely did not switch into banking for fame, money, or power. I already distinguished the difference between fame vs. recognition. I don't want to be someone well known (hence the reference to Jay-Z as an outrageous example) because honestly who will become that famous in finance? I'm not the next Jamie Dimon and don't even want to be. Also, I could have made a very good salary from dentistry so the argument about money is not as relevant in this discussion as it could be. Power? Not sure about that yet, unless I become a very good banker in the future. But if I do get power, then I'm all for it! What guy wouldn't turn down some power...

Also you said that you'd give me more credit if I opened up my own store or loved evaluating businesses? 1.) Opening up my own store has nothing to do with my stated situation because I was a fresh entry into the industry. In fact, I too would have even given myself way more credit if I was able to accomplish that. That's MD level stuff right there. 2.) I do love evaluating businesses and I'd be shocked if less than 100% of people who transition/career switch into banking didn't. Isn't that a given? Making a career switch is a very serious matter and requires deep insight into why you really want to switch into it. Most people who give up a secure, lucrative career to switch into finance hardly do it for the money...it's tilting more towards their predicted enjoyment and recurring satisfaction.

My top goal was to write a piece that gave fresh ideas and didn't give the obvious answers (ex, I love evaluating businesses, merging companies, and working on deals!)...that everyone has read countless times. I wanted to give my version of the transition from health to finance. Hopefully it has helped some people in some way, shape, or form.

Above all, appreciate your feedback!

Again, well written but you have holes in your argument.

1. I sincerely believe that the game of football translates to each of our personal lives. Passion, teamwork and work ethic is mandatory of each us to be successful in life. It's funny you mentioned to get someone to contact who wasn't passionate about their professional sport. Well, I personally know one. We played football together in high school and now he plays for the Miami Dolphins. He was never passionate about the game of football (e.g. didn't study film, skipped practice often and didn't take it completely serious). He relied on his God given ability to excel on the football field. Does he work hard now? Sure, he does because the big checks are rolling in. It is quite plausible he is passionate about money, not the game.

2. Fame and recognition go hand and hand. You posted you wanted to be mentioned on CNBC or WSJ so in essence you want fame from the street. A famed rock-star analyst who gets a nod from MD's when he enters the room. If that doesn't sound like wanting fame, I don't know what is. And the money is not relevant? Would you still apply to be an investment banker if they made 35k a year with no bonus? I think we both know the answer. It was funny when you said that.

3. You said, "Most people who give up a secure, lucrative career to switch into finance hardly do it for the money...it's tilting more towards their predicted enjoyment and recurring satisfaction." Where are your facts to support this beside your own personal opinion? It's hard to conceive that generally people who switched would consider it a predicted enjoyment as working 80-100 hours a week and being in an industry with a high turnover rate.

4. I have no qualms of you switching from dentistry to investment banking. But the way you try to frame your switch is more b.s. and superficial (in my opinion) than I can swallow. Thank you for your posts though.

1. Very rare situation, that's awesome for your friend. I am infinitely jealous of his talent. But I think we can both agree that in general most professional athletes do have to maintain a passion for the sport (otherwise they will be benched and possibly kicked off). I also realize that some do lose their passion once they reach that level because they've already made it. I've stated this before so I am definitely familiar with it, as I follow sports pretty religiously.

2. Completely agree. I mentioned that I wanted to be on WSJ as a nod towards my recognition, but not to the calibre of Jamie Dimon or someone who is always in the spotlight. A bit contradictory, but hope that makes some sort of sense.

And of course money is relevant! Who would do banking or dentistry if it weren't for the money? Oh my...to imagine someone operating on teeth for $30K as their passion...that's sick. I meant money was not relevant to the previous poster's argument towards me because I truly did not make the switch into banking entirely for the money. I did it because it's what I wanted to do and how I wanted to position my lifestyle and career in the future. Also a big reason was the plethora of knowledge I would gain because in dentistry you eventually stop learning as rapidly as you could in business - it stagnates. If you were to offer me $250K to work in dentistry while $200K for banking...I'd choose $200K for banking every single time.

3. That quote is kind of taken out of context because I was using that as a conclusive sentence to my entire body of writing. I was trying to highlight the seriousness of my decision while also noting that people who do make a career switch from an already lucrative career logically would not be doing it for the sole purpose of increasing their yearly income. Why would a rich person from industry A switch to another high paying position in Industry B? Money? Of course it's a factor. Passion? You bet it's an even bigger factor. There's always exceptions to every rule, but this was the approach I was taking to support my entire post.

I hope that people here understand that some tidbits of the blog post are meant to evoke discussion and also highlight the essence of writing a non-neutral post. Seems like it worked!

Above all, really appreciate your feedback!

11/18/12

Billy Beane joined MLB for the cash. Apparently, his biggest regret in life was not going to school instead...

Money is a huge motive for most people in life. But I don't see how that's a bad thing necessarily, it keeps the world moving. just sayin.

11/19/12

You do realize you could have opened multiple dentistry offices and could have earned more money. You failed to see the entrepreneurship opportunity. Sure you can make a lot of money in banking. But you've got to think about the difference of holding down a job versus owning a business. Unless you enter banking with the mindset that someday you'll own a firm, you'll be left in the dust when you decide to try to start your own firm. There are senior bankers who have worked for 20-25 years, sure they've made good money. But it ain't no CEO of GS/MS type of money. And well, chances of becoming CEO of GS/MS is heavily stacked against you.

I honestly don't know why you chose banking. I'm not even sure what type of banking you're in. I'm guessing IB since you said you basically said you worked like a dog.

If I had chosen to become a dentist, I personally, would have opened multiple offices, hired junior dentists, developed training programs, and then sold them equity shares or franchised businesses. Essentially, you wouldn't be a dentist for very long, you would be an entrepreneur.

It is not about the title that you have, it is about how much money that you have.

In reply to StrongMan
11/19/12
StrongMan:

You do realize you could have opened multiple dentistry offices and could have earned more money. You failed to see the entrepreneurship opportunity. Sure you can make a lot of money in banking. But you've got to think about the difference of holding down a job versus owning a business. Unless you enter banking with the mindset that someday you'll own a firm, you'll be left in the dust when you decide to try to start your own firm. There are senior bankers who have worked for 20-25 years, sure they've made good money. But it ain't no CEO of GS/MS type of money. And well, chances of becoming CEO of GS/MS is heavily stacked against you.

I honestly don't know why you chose banking. I'm not even sure what type of banking you're in. I'm guessing IB since you said you basically said you worked like a dog.

If I had chosen to become a dentist, I personally, would have opened multiple offices, hired junior dentists, developed training programs, and then sold them equity shares or franchised businesses. Essentially, you wouldn't be a dentist for very long, you would be an entrepreneur.

Of course I saw this possibility. I think what many people here are failing to realize is that I did NOT want to work in dentistry any longer. Don't no how much more I have to reiterate this fact. I understand the amount of money that can be made in both fields and the pros and cons of each. Again it was not an easy decision, but it came down to the very fact that I wanted to open up my own business (firm) in finance for the longer run...not a dental practice and wanted to be my own boss in banking. Please read my initial post more carefully next time, but appreciate the insight.

Thanks for your feedback!

11/19/12

So let me get this straight:

You tossed a guaranteed career in dental surgery - where you could been rich while setting your own hours, taken all the exotic vacations you wanted, been your own boss, healed people, and told girls that you were a "surgeon"...

...for a career full of no personal life, bone-grinding 90 hour weeks, yelling bosses, divorce, thinning hair and powerpoint administrated misery.

Way to go, bro. Follow that dream.

In reply to expenseaccounts
11/19/12
expenseaccounts:

So let me get this straight:

You tossed a guaranteed career in dental surgery - where you could been rich while setting your own hours, taken all the exotic vacations you wanted, been your own boss, healed people, and told girls that you were a "surgeon"...

...for a career full of no personal life, bone-grinding 90 hour weeks, yelling bosses, divorce, thinning hair and powerpoint administrated misery.

Way to go, bro. Follow that dream.

Glad I like my job and future prospects more than you do...feel very bad for you.

Thanks for the feedback though!

11/19/12

+1 for this is retarded.

there are no barriers to entry for IB and the macro environment is going against the securities industry.

healthcare will always be in demand, can't say that about finance.

regardless, if you are top in any field, you will find success. but, on average, dentistry is a much more stable field and it's expected value on the long run is much greater than IB.

look back at this post in 5 - 10 years and see what everyone who said this was retarded was talking about.

In reply to criticalmass
11/19/12
criticalmass:

+1 for this is retarded.

there are no barriers to entry for IB and the macro environment is going against the securities industry.

healthcare will always be in demand, can't say that about finance.

regardless, if you are top in any field, you will find success. but, on average, dentistry is a much more stable field and it's expected value on the long run is much greater than IB.

look back at this post in 5 - 10 years and see what everyone who said this was retarded was talking about.

Thank you Captain Obvious. Looks like you're not Partner/MD material or good enough to eventually start your own firm.

Regardless, good luck!

11/19/12

Awesome thread! I am in a somewhat similar situation except it took me a bit longer to realize to make the switch (put off the whole med school application, decided to work in industry a few years (which turned into 5 and going on 6 now...) realize just wasn't for me and during this time developed an interest in finance/business side of things.

Also disagree with everyone saying you should have stuck with it because in the end regardless of how much money you could have made, if you weren't happy doing it and wanted to try something else it doesn't matter. Although I have a rather secure job and make ok money (no where near as much as a dentist though) in the end, I am not happy with it and I would not forgive myself if I didn't make an effort to at least try to break in (rejection over regret is a mantra of mine).

Kudos on your networking to break in though that is awesome. Currently I am trying to the MBA path so we'll see how that goes...

In reply to TOB2020
11/20/12
TOB2020:

Awesome thread! I am in a somewhat similar situation except it took me a bit longer to realize to make the switch (put off the whole med school application, decided to work in industry a few years (which turned into 5 and going on 6 now...) realize just wasn't for me and during this time developed an interest in finance/business side of things.

Also disagree with everyone saying you should have stuck with it because in the end regardless of how much money you could have made, if you weren't happy doing it and wanted to try something else it doesn't matter. Although I have a rather secure job and make ok money (no where near as much as a dentist though) in the end, I am not happy with it and I would not forgive myself if I didn't make an effort to at least try to break in (rejection over regret is a mantra of mine).

Kudos on your networking to break in though that is awesome. Currently I am trying to the MBA path so we'll see how that goes...

Glad you followed your passion, and agree with your mantra of rejection over regret.

Good luck with your future MBA and I'm sure you'll go very far in your career!

In reply to atmosphere
11/20/12

Great post! I have a different insight, as I was about to go into finance after graduation, but instead went back to school to take the pre reqs to go to dental school. I start next august and could not be more excited.

Quick background: I'll admit it's not like I had IB jobs to turn down, I had an offer at a respected equity trading firm out of school.

My opinions differ in a few aspects, and I will outline them here:

Path more controlled:

I'm a control freak, and the idea of working at a firm had too many variables for me. For example, I could work my butt off, but if a boss hated me, or if the market turned, my comp or career path could change. In dentistry, my success will have a direct correlation with my effort. Do I want to not worry about anything and just work for the man? I can work in someone else's office. Do I want to work hard and open 2-3 offices and develop my brand? This is completely under my control. I will be my own boss 5 years out of school. Guaranteed. Pretty cool.

Entrepreneurial opportunities:

Believe it or not, I felt that my entrepreneurial opportunities were better in dentistry than in finance. Dentistry in its most basic form is basically a bakery. It just takes more education to become this kind of baker. after that, the business model is the same-attracting customers, advertising, looking for new locations, reducing overhead with new equipment, efficiency, etc.

Work/Life Balance

I think this is pretty obvious. There is no point in a dental career where you are working 80 hours a week. (besides maybe residency for specialty). Every dentist that I have spoke to in their 30's is making over 300K and works about 4 days a week on average.

Job satisfaction:

This is subjective. I have friends in finance that don't even know what they are doing, let alone feel they are contributing to society. Dentistry gives you a nice sense of contributing to a community, developing relationships, and providing a good service. Sure there are some dentists that go overboard and over-treat patients just like there are bad apples in finance, but I think you're more likely to succeed being a "nice guy" in dentistry than being a "nice guy" in finance.

Competition:

Unfortunately, dentistry compensation works to favor rural areas over urban areas. For example, newly minted dentists expect to earn less in NYC as compared to Charlotte, NC because there are so many dentists in NYC and they must compete on price. This means that I will most likely not be able to work in the city upon graduation. Stinks, but the comp is worth it.

I think you made a good choice because you are happy, but I think you would have killed it as a dentist. You'd be surprised how many dentists I meet that are jealous that I have a business background, because they are bio major nerds and don't know the first thing about business. I am confident that I can move into an area and do better than some of my competitors because of my background knowledge.

But you sound like the kind of person who could be successful by just running a chain of halloween stores, so whatever you do im sure you'll do fine

11/20/12

Don't take this the wrong way, $20 says you're Indian.

In reply to danger20
11/20/12
danger20:

Great post! I have a different insight, as I was about to go into finance after graduation, but instead went back to school to take the pre reqs to go to dental school. I start next august and could not be more excited.

Quick background: I'll admit it's not like I had IB jobs to turn down, I had an offer at a respected equity trading firm out of school.

My opinions differ in a few aspects, and I will outline them here:

Path more controlled:

I'm a control freak, and the idea of working at a firm had too many variables for me. For example, I could work my butt off, but if a boss hated me, or if the market turned, my comp or career path could change. In dentistry, my success will have a direct correlation with my effort. Do I want to not worry about anything and just work for the man? I can work in someone else's office. Do I want to work hard and open 2-3 offices and develop my brand? This is completely under my control. I will be my own boss 5 years out of school. Guaranteed. Pretty cool.

Entrepreneurial opportunities:

Believe it or not, I felt that my entrepreneurial opportunities were better in dentistry than in finance. Dentistry in its most basic form is basically a bakery. It just takes more education to become this kind of baker. after that, the business model is the same-attracting customers, advertising, looking for new locations, reducing overhead with new equipment, efficiency, etc.

Work/Life Balance

I think this is pretty obvious. There is no point in a dental career where you are working 80 hours a week. (besides maybe residency for specialty). Every dentist that I have spoke to in their 30's is making over 300K and works about 4 days a week on average.

Job satisfaction:

This is subjective. I have friends in finance that don't even know what they are doing, let alone feel they are contributing to society. Dentistry gives you a nice sense of contributing to a community, developing relationships, and providing a good service. Sure there are some dentists that go overboard and over-treat patients just like there are bad apples in finance, but I think you're more likely to succeed being a "nice guy" in dentistry than being a "nice guy" in finance.

Competition:

Unfortunately, dentistry compensation works to favor rural areas over urban areas. For example, newly minted dentists expect to earn less in NYC as compared to Charlotte, NC because there are so many dentists in NYC and they must compete on price. This means that I will most likely not be able to work in the city upon graduation. Stinks, but the comp is worth it.

I think you made a good choice because you are happy, but I think you would have killed it as a dentist. You'd be surprised how many dentists I meet that are jealous that I have a business background, because they are bio major nerds and don't know the first thing about business. I am confident that I can move into an area and do better than some of my competitors because of my background knowledge.

But you sound like the kind of person who could be successful by just running a chain of halloween stores, so whatever you do im sure you'll do fine

Great post in itself! Love how you broke that down. The one thing I'll miss about my ex-dentistry path is the entrepreneurial side of it as well, but it all came down to what I loved doing...so don't regret that at all! It sounds like you'll make a fine dentist and I have no doubt that you'll reach an amazing level of success that most of all makes you live a very fulfilled life.

All power to you and sincerely wish you the best. You're already ahead of the pack with your business background so go and kill it!

In reply to karypto
11/20/12
karypto:

Don't take this the wrong way, $20 says you're Indian.

Hahaha you owe me $20!

In reply to atmosphere
11/21/12
atmosphere:
karypto:

Don't take this the wrong way, $20 says you're Indian.

Hahaha you owe me $20!

+1

11/23/12

Not to bring controversy to this thread but I wonder how much one's "race" influences the factors in considering the career switch? STEM fields generally attract high driven minorities who seek security as you mentioned, and there is a recognizable trend in finance for people of certain race/religion to be favored over others. For some it may not be such an 'easy' change due to certain circumstances.

11/25/12

I must say I wish I could leave finance for medicine.
I've even left for a while to take the premeds but I seem to lack your capability in the sciences at the college level. All those smart kids with AP sciences in their recent memory.
I will take the middle of the road view - kudos to you for doing what you love and following your dream.
Don't let anyone dissuade you.
But still, I personally wish I could trade finance for healthcare - where you can actually help others and have stability to boot, as opposed to always wondering when you'll get that tap on the shoulder because the econ is bad, and so you work 80 hrs per week.
I'm married now and all I want is time with my wife and time to raise kids, but it's not possible now.
Really I am looking just for a stable way to raise a family without the feast or famine of banking.
And a bit of time to spend with family.
Dentistry would be a dream come true.
I have a friend who is a periodontist - makes $1.5mm per year.
More than I'll make in a decade in banking.

12/2/12

I did a google search on "Dentist vs IBanker" and came across this post. I am in my first year of dental school in NYC and I'm starting to regret my decision to pursue dentistry. Here's why 1) loans, I will owe about $350K (before interest). 2) Dental school is just as tough/time consuming as being an analyst. 3) A high paying salary is not a guarantee in dentistry either, especially with loan repayment 4) I find myself my interested in the business aspect of dentistry (ie how to run a lucrative practice) vs the science of dentistry. 5) Now that I am actually learning how to drill teeth, I find it somewhat monotonous and unsure it will bring me pleasure as a career. 6) I have friends who are analysts and they talk highly about the career. 7) making $1M salary is something I find intriguing.

That being said, I'm looking for some input on my situation since unlike the original poster, I am already in dental school.

12/2/12

Dentistry is a horrible profession. Looking at teeth all day? Investment banking sucks too. Doing excel models all day?

Whatever happened to good ol' project management? Babes babes babes

12/8/12

hey atmosphere, i was in dental school and left my dds program 2 years ago to do healthcare investment banking at a BB...you're the first person i came across who had the same thought process i did previously...i just sent you a personal message with my email address....feel free to email me to chat some more

12/8/12

hey atmosphere, i was in dental school and left my dds program 2 years ago to do healthcare investment banking at a BB...you're the first person i came across who had the same thought process i did previously...i just sent you a personal message with my email address....feel free to email me to chat some more

12/8/12

I actually went from top 5 dental school -> top tier MBA. I currently intern for a middle market and honestly, realized dental school wasn't that bad. My bank is def struggling and working 14 hour days (complete with shower and in office cot) for bottom barrel deals make Dental School seem nicer and nicer...

In reply to earthwalker7
12/8/12

earthwalker7:
I must say I wish I could leave finance for medicine.
I've even left for a while to take the premeds but I seem to lack your capability in the sciences at the college level. All those smart kids with AP sciences in their recent memory.
I will take the middle of the road view - kudos to you for doing what you love and following your dream.
Don't let anyone dissuade you.
But still, I personally wish I could trade finance for healthcare - where you can actually help others and have stability to boot, as opposed to always wondering when you'll get that tap on the shoulder because the econ is bad, and so you work 80 hrs per week.
I'm married now and all I want is time with my wife and time to raise kids, but it's not possible now.
Really I am looking just for a stable way to raise a family without the feast or famine of banking.
And a bit of time to spend with family.
Dentistry would be a dream come true.
I have a friend who is a periodontist - makes $1.5mm per year.
More than I'll make in a decade in banking.

Anything is possible. There was a 33 year old married man taking one of my chemistry labs (normally a soph/junior would take this class) and was talking about changing careers to dentistry. He had to take it at a 4-year university because dental schools wouldn't accept community college classes.

If you're looking for a stable career later on, I suggest you look into other opportunities such as consulting, opening up your own firm, etc.

jm3_dds:
I did a google search on "Dentist vs IBanker" and came across this post. I am in my first year of dental school in NYC and I'm starting to regret my decision to pursue dentistry. Here's why 1) loans, I will owe about $350K (before interest). 2) Dental school is just as tough/time consuming as being an analyst. 3) A high paying salary is not a guarantee in dentistry either, especially with loan repayment 4) I find myself my interested in the business aspect of dentistry (ie how to run a lucrative practice) vs the science of dentistry. 5) Now that I am actually learning how to drill teeth, I find it somewhat monotonous and unsure it will bring me pleasure as a career. 6) I have friends who are analysts and they talk highly about the career. 7) making $1M salary is something I find intriguing.

That being said, I'm looking for some input on my situation since unlike the original poster, I am already in dental school.

1.) What do you really want to be 10 years later? What would be more proud of to call your PROFESSION
2.) Why did you find out that drilling teeth is monotonous AFTER you went into dental school? Didn't you shadow dentists and take hands-on classes provided by dental universities (available to undergrads). This is not an excuse, because you should have expected this! Dentistry can be more than just drilling teeth...it is also about engaging with friends and families and working with people from the age of 5 to the age of 20. There are many positives so I suggest you find some reasons that will motivate you to continue onwards.
3.) Loans can be overcome by good dentists. It does take a while, but that's the risk of attending graduate school.

You seem to be having a semi-crisis, but I think you seem too motivated by money. You can have the best of both worlds - business and healthcare - with dentistry. It was tough choice for me as well, but lay out some pros and cons. Would be happy to help you out...

Breakerbreaker19:
hey atmosphere, i was in dental school and left my dds program 2 years ago to do healthcare investment banking at a BB...you're the first person i came across who had the same thought process i did previously...i just sent you a personal message with my email address....feel free to email me to chat some more

Got the message. I only correspond with messages here because I'm keeping my identity strictly confidential. This is due to the fact that I may post many offensive things in the future, and although I trust you...emails and identity targeting can travel very quickly on the internet. I can't be lax on my confidentiality now or the borders will become too soft. Feel free to continue messaging me, I'd be glad to chat!

BoothiesUnite:
I actually went from top 5 dental school -> top tier MBA. I currently intern for a middle market and honestly, realized dental school wasn't that bad. My bank is def struggling and working 14 hour days (complete with shower and in office cot) for bottom barrel deals make Dental School seem nicer and nicer...

Interesting. Must have been a very tough choice...I did not want to be in that position at all, so had to painfully make the choice before attending at all. I knew once I attended, that there was essentially 0% chance I was leaving dental school, especially with scholarships, awards, etc.

I'd really like to hear your thought process and at what stage you left. It might be interesting for others on the borderline to hear as well.

12/8/12

Awesome post and great humor throughout. Though I am surprised that with your personality, you thought about dentistry in the first place!

In reply to CharmWithSubstance
12/8/12

CharmWithSubstance:
Awesome post and great humor throughout. Though I am surprised that with your personality, you thought about dentistry in the first place!

Thanks! I've heard it both ways...some people said I'd make a great dentist and some have said that I'm definitely the business/entrepreneurial type. I guess during different stages of my life, I've shown attributes that characterize each end. Glad no one said I'd make a great stripper..

But I can definitely agree that being social and out there is definitely what suits me.

12/8/12

this guy is hungry

Don't give up what you want most for what you want now

12/8/12

Atmosphere, I can empathize with your situation. At the end of the day, you lay awake at night asking yourself the question "am I doing everything that I want to do?" It doesn't matter if society perceives your profession to be "stable" or "respectable." If you judge yourself by "what you've done," then you will always try to do what you see to be the most difficult or most challenging (in this case, your career). Dying with regret is the worst. Do what you want to do and...just crush it.

"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

12/9/12

Interesting story.
I can empathize with your career change from dentistry - I felt the same about science after a PhD in Molecular Biology. That feeling like I'd rather shoot myself in the head than run another Western Blot or look into a microscope one more time. However, for me it was a lot easier decision to jump ship, since there was no money to be made in science. In your case I'm not sure you are guaranteed to be better off in terms of money if you think about probabilities of making it to MD in banking comparing to having your profitable practice in dentistry.

12/9/12

Incredible story. Thanks a ton for sharing!

12/9/12

from dentistry to investment banking... you never even started dental school

12/10/12

good move - most dentists are complete fags

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

12/10/12

As far as the "I've figured out my life" posts go this one has to be one of the most shallow and infuriating ones I've read. Only the WSO community would just look at this and on consensus say "Awesome job bro."

Banking and dentistry both sound like complete wastes of your gifts. You're at a pretty critical juncture right now so thought I'd share a few thoughts. I've got about 7 yrs on you and I worked in banking for some time. On the whole I found your post immature, boorish, and superficial (as I think GoingConcern mentioned). You come across as extremely self centered, money driven, narrowly focused and very unsure of what you really, actually want - banking has too many of you already and you're doing banking for all the wrong reasons, "Alpha Dog." I don't doubt you've made yourself believe you've made a good choice but I'm not convinced and I actually think you should reconsider your considerable options.

1) Agree that predictability in life is a recipe for disaster but why not consider a career in medical research - you might just find the cure for cancer or Alzheimers, right? Or become a plastic surgeon and start a cleft palate clinic in Morocco? You could do breast augmentations and nose jobs to pay the bills.

2) I found your analysis of career options flat out stupid - how is having to occasionally be on call to save lives worse than dealing with investment banking clients? And ruling out a profession because you want to 'one up' women? I hope that wasn't a serious comment. You seem to think a career is about showing off and getting recognition and approval from others, which is the telltale sign of the insecure macho man.

3) Don't ever, ever, ever use the word 'slavery' in this context again.

4) Leaving dentistry is not a dumb choice. Spending four years studying it, on the basis that it 'fit the mold' of a career where you can be lazy and rich, was a dumb choice. Why did it take so long to realize you wouldn't be happy sitting in a chair looking at teeth? You're too smart to have ended up there.

5) Leaving dentistry to become a banker, might be a bad choice - that remains to be seen. I know you're excited about it now, but please check back in when you've worked an 8 month M&A process and the seller and/or buyer get cold feet 2 weeks before closing. The longer you stay in banking the harder any of the possibilities in point 1 will become. I wouldn't give those opportunities up quite yet if I had your talents (which I clearly do not). If anyone asks you could always just say you took a gap year to see what investment banking was like.

6) I assume you don't want to just be a banker, because that actually is a very predictable path. Especially in M&A, the clients may change, but the BS is generally about the same - M&A is more or less commoditized at this point, and you're only as good as your next deal. I'll assume for now that at some point you want to go to the buyside or become an entrepreneur.

I really think you need more deep and introspective thought because right now frankly I'm really not totally convinced you've made the right choice, and your decision process seems pretty self-centered, money driven, and shallow. Banking certainly fits your personality much better than being a dentist - hard to imagine a bigger difference in careers - but there are also literally thousands of other things you could do with your life.

My two cents.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

In reply to frgna
12/10/12

frgna:

1) Agree that predictability in life is a recipe for disaster but why not consider a career in medical research - you might just find the cure for cancer or Alzheimers, right? Or become a plastic surgeon and start a cleft palate clinic in Morocco? You could do breast augmentations and nose jobs to pay the bills.

Good call on plastic surgery, but as for medical research, you have no idea. If you care even a bit about prestige or money, medical research is a horrible career choice. "Find the cure for cancer", right, LOL

In reply to etherlord
12/10/12

etherlord:
If you care even a bit about prestige or money, medical research is a horrible career choice. "Find the cure for cancer", right, LOL

Actually I think they almost just did bro!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/health/a-breakth...

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
In reply to Going Concern
12/10/12

Going Concern:
etherlord:
If you care even a bit about prestige or money, medical research is a horrible career choice. "Find the cure for cancer", right, LOL

Actually I think they almost just did bro!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/health/a-breakth...

Uhmm... There are HUNDREDS of types of cancers. Finding something that may (or may not) directly help with one of them does not bring the researcher much glory. If he ever finds it, that is, which most don't.

Do you know who invented Lipitor, the best selling drug of all times? I bet you never heard of the guy, and neither did most people in the biotech/pharma industry. When it comes to general population, most will have no clue which company markets it. So much for prestige.

Then take into account how much work (and politics) does it take to get into a position to lead a decent group and get funding in order that you may discover something someday. Then it has to be something with significant potential market. And then take into account the probability of getting the treatment commercialized and used in clinic... You could be better off counting on becoming a partner at GS.

In reply to etherlord
12/10/12

etherlord:
Going Concern:
etherlord:
If you care even a bit about prestige or money, medical research is a horrible career choice. "Find the cure for cancer", right, LOL

Actually I think they almost just did bro!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/health/a-breakth...

Uhmm... There are HUNDREDS of types of cancers. Finding something that may (or may not) directly help with one of them does not bring the researcher much glory. If he ever finds it, that is, which most don't.

Do you know who invented Lipitor, the best selling drug of all times? I bet you never heard of the guy, and neither did most people in the biotech/pharma industry. When it comes to general population, most will have no clue which company markets it. So much for prestige.

Then take into account how much work (and politics) does it take to get into a position to lead a decent group and get funding in order that you may discover something someday. Then it has to be something with significant potential market. And then take into account the probability of getting the treatment commercialized and used in clinic... You could be better off counting on becoming a partner at GS.

The fact there are hundreds of types of cancer should make you want to cure them that much more.

Leukemia is a pretty big one of those hundreds - of the ~1.6 mm in the US who get cancer in a year, just under 10% are expected to be leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma (that's 140,000 people per year just in the US). The 5 yr survival rate for leukemia has quadrupled from 14% to 57% since the 60s so even if there's not a cure yet, treatments are getting better and any progress whatsoever would impact literally over a million people in less than a decade. If that's not prestige, I don't know what is.

No I didn't know Bruce Roth before I googled him, but I do now and I'm sure he has a comfy life by now because of Lipitor and Pfizer. And I'm sure his peers are plenty impressed at dinner parties when he says he invented Lipitor. And even if they're not impressed, a) I'm sure he is plenty happy that he's had such a positive impact on so many lives and b) he should find better dinner parties to go to.

I agree there are no perfect professions, and am fully aware of the difficulties of being a researcher/medical professional (my friend is becoming a researcher at Wash U on a full ride). Never said it was a great way for money, but for personal satisfaction and impact, yes. It's a sad fact that medical research doesn't pay well - we don't even fully understand how muscles work yet.

I was curious who the banker at Morgan Stanley who took Facebook public was, because he wasn't a household name either. He's moderately famous now, but for all the wrong reasons. I'm having a hard time thinking of any sellside bankers who are famous for good reasons, and I'd wager most of the girls in the club wouldn't be able to tell you who Lloyd Blankfein or Ken Moelis are but they'll all know who Justin Beaver is. They'd probably know Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, but as far as fame and finance, the top guys are pretty much only "famous" to people who work in finance. If it's just about telling people where you work, saying you're an investment banker just makes you sound like a dick, esp if you are not at a household name bank (as I was not, and in which case please just say you work in finance) whereas saying you work for Mayo Clinic or Pfizer or Merck, or that you are the emergency room surgeon at Mt. Sinai, people respect that.

I dunno. Curious to see what original poster has to share on the matter.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

In reply to atmosphere
12/10/12

To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
12/12/13
8/8/14
2/10/16
  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  3/14/16

What's Your Opinion? Comment below:

Login or register to get credit (collect bananas).
All anonymous comments are unpublished until reviewed. No links or promotional material will be allowed. Most comments are published within 24 hours.
WallStreet Prep Master Financial Modeling