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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."

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Comments (84)

  • DM123's picture

    amazing story. well written.

  • holla_back's picture

    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
    Dedline's picture

    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.

  • Asatar's picture
  • atmosphere's picture

    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.

  • ivoteforthatguy's picture

    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.

  • Waymon3x6's picture

    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."

  • Yekrut's picture

    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.

  • CaR's picture

    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.

  • CaR's picture

    Also, the picture for this thread is hilarious

  • AndyLouis's picture

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

  • Bobby Hurley's picture

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

    CPA/investor/bballer

  • asiamoney's picture

    Awesome story, thanks for sharing.

  • athcasi's picture

    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.

  • hopesanddreams's picture

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

  • BTbanker's picture

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

  • In reply to Imperialian
    BTbanker's picture

    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...
  • bananaman123's picture

    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.

  • SanityCheck's picture

    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.

  • BiotechBanker's picture

    "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."

  • mergersandacquisitions78's picture

    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.

  • John_McClane's picture

    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 Imperialian
    Black Jack's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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.

  • snakeplissken's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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

  • Going Concern's picture

    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!

    "He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."

    "Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent."

  • In reply to Going Concern
    atmosphere's picture

    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
    snakeplissken's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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
    snakeplissken's picture

    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!

  • win's picture

    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.

  • madmoney15's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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!

  • kshu's picture

    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.

  • RunFarther's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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.

  • sandsurfngbomber's picture

    +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
    madmoney15's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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!

  • Febreeze's picture

    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.

  • StrongMan's picture

    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
    atmosphere's picture

    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!

  • expenseaccounts's picture

    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.

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