Switching from studying medicine to healthcare consulting.

Hi everyone!

I have been looking into my career goals, and have decided that I want to make a change from medicine to some type of health consulting.

I have come to realize that while I love providing patient care and I love working as an army medic currently, I don't want to do a 2nd degree with no guarantee of getting into medical school and then be poor until I'm in my mid-30s and finally complete residency. Right now, I'm 21 years old and in my third year of university, studying public health and health sciences at Western University. Once I finished school, I was planning on doing a Masters in Public Health before applying to MD school, and then hopefully making it as a regular family doctor. 

I was driven into the idea of consulting because I, for one, love policy, research, and solving puzzles. Especially within existing structures of policy and government. A lot of my current research revolves around humanitarian healthcare systems and health systems analysis. It allows me to find bottlenecks in current models, find out what works and what doesn't, and then use further research to apply past precedent to policy recommendations. 

Most of my friends are at Ivey, and are breaking into the business world. A few work for Big 5 IB and Big 4 accounting firms, but none are in consulting. 

I am currently in the middle of completing my degree, with the hopes of doing my MPH after. I was originally looking into government consulting (PHAC, Health Canada, provincial Ministries of Health, local public health units, etc.), but I wanted to see what i would need to do in order to get into a company like ZS, MMB, or the Big 5 banks. 

I'm very new to this, so any information helps. Even if it's just some information on the day-to-day life of someone working in the field. 


Based on the most helpful WSO content, transitioning from a medical background to healthcare consulting is a viable path, especially with your interest in policy, research, and health systems analysis. Here’s a structured approach to help you navigate this career shift:

  1. Leverage Your Background in Public Health: Your current studies and research in public health are highly relevant to healthcare consulting. Emphasize your analytical skills and your ability to understand and improve healthcare systems in your applications.

  2. Networking: Since most of your friends are breaking into the business world, use this network to gain insights and possibly introductions to professionals in the consulting field. Additionally, try to connect with alumni from Western University who are currently in consulting. Platforms like LinkedIn can be very useful for this.

  3. Master’s in Public Health (MPH): Completing your MPH can further solidify your expertise in public health, making you a stronger candidate for healthcare consulting roles. Focus on courses and projects that align with consulting, such as health economics, policy analysis, and systems management.

  4. Internships and Relevant Experience: Look for internships or part-time roles in consulting firms or healthcare organizations. Experience in a consulting environment, even if it’s not directly in healthcare consulting, can be beneficial.

  5. Understand the Roles and Companies:

    • ZS Associates: Known for its work in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Roles here might involve working on sales and marketing strategies, which would benefit from your health systems analysis skills.
    • MMB (Monitor Deloitte, McKinsey, BCG): These firms have robust healthcare practices. Roles could range from strategic advisory to operational improvements in healthcare systems.
    • Big 5 Banks: While not traditional players in healthcare consulting, banks may have consulting or advisory divisions that work with healthcare clients, especially in areas like healthcare financing or mergers and acquisitions.
  6. Prepare for Consulting Interviews: Consulting interviews often include case studies and situational questions. Resources like "Case in Point" by Marc Cosentino or Victor Cheng’s resources can be very helpful. Practice case interviews, ideally with peers or mentors who have consulting experience.

  7. Day-to-Day Life in Healthcare Consulting: Typically involves a mix of client meetings, team meetings, data analysis, and strategy development. Consultants often work on multiple projects simultaneously, requiring strong time management and multitasking skills. The work can be fast-paced and demanding but also very rewarding in terms of impact and learning opportunities.

By following these steps and actively engaging with the resources and networks available to you, you can make a well-informed transition into healthcare consulting.

Sources: Q&A: Healthcare/Biotech/Pharma Consultant with Biomedical Background, Q&A: I grew up in Consulting and reinvented my brand 3 times, Q&A: PhD -> MBB (with some steps in between), Advice: Transitioning from Csuite healthcare -> PE, Doctor thinking of exit opportunities

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

So if you’re doing your undergraduate degree, you’re not switching from medicine, because you’re not in medical school yet.
Recruiting for consulting will be the same for you as anyone else as you’re not a physician yet and recruiting is the same regardless of Major. Western university is a target school, so would recommend networking with alums, doing case prep, polishing your resume, etc to apply for internships or full time roles at consulting firms. It will be tough to break in given the market currently however but it’s possible for sure.
You can also become a physician and then become a consultant. MBB hires MDs and pays them a higher starting salary, but the recruiting process for that is completely different.


I never said I was in medicine. I said I'm thinking of switching from studying medicine to consulting. 

With that, do you know what the big differences would be between working with the public sector for consulting and the private/business sector? 

Most Helpful

You clearly say you’re studying medicine in the title of your post, when you’re not studying medicine, you’re doing a public health undergraduate degree and have not been admitted to medical school. You’re not a medical student, nor doctor, and you’re not studying medicine. When people say they’re studying medicine, they mean they’re currently in medical school or residency. People say they’re doing pre-med when they’re in undergrad, I’ve never met an undergrad say they’re studying medicine, they always say “im on the pre-med track” or “I’m pre-med.” Public sector is more government related while private sector is more corporations. As above poster said, western uni is a target, so youll have a great shot, just follow the normal consulting recruiting process


Instead of making submissions for r/iamverysmart, can you just answer my question? Literally nowhere here does it say I’m a doctor or a med student. I’m thinking of changing from the idea of studying medicine to going into consulting. Like I genuinely don’t understand what’s the confusion in that.  


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