I have recently found this community/website and wanted to provide some insight into my personal journey into transitioning from the healthcare industry into (hopefully) financial industry. Although I have never written a post like this in any social media platform, the discussion topics I have been seeing on here inspired me to write one. So please go easy on me as this is my first post and I am not a great writer.
Academics – did pretty well, I think my GPA was around 4.50 (weighted on a 4.0 scale with 5.0 scaled AP courses, took most of the AP courses that my school offered, I think about 11-12). Also got 2380 on SAT during my sophomore year which I thought was great (I'm not sure if SAT is even a thing anymore).
Extra Curriculars – played sports during Fall and Spring (none during winter), president of 2 clubs, involved in a lot of service/volunteer work, and shadowed bunch of internal medicine physicians.
I luckily grew up in an incredibly privileged neighborhood in the US after immigrating, had great family upbringing (albeit a little emotionally tough with immigrant eastern Asian parents), along with lifelong friends and generally was never worried about my future.
However, things went south for me when my parents decided to cut me off entirely financially when I turned 18. This normally might not be a big stress on a lot of folks since this is the harsh reality of most. But having everything taken away when I had everything was a big stressor for me. I have never even thought about not being able to afford college or even going to college (I hated school).
So naturally, I applied to an Ivy school that I thought I would for sure get into (unreal level of arrogancy) but was later rejected. Wow, that was one of my first of many reality checks. I then applied to a state school since my state offers full ride scholarships based on high school grades and eventually decided to attend that college.
Academics - I went to an SEC school and decided to study Biochemistry since its major courses were closely aligned w/ pre-reqs for med school. I personally did very well (unlike most people who switch majors after getting clowned by entry level science courses) and ended up graduating with 3.97 GPA. Also scored a 99 percentile on the MCAT (anyone can do this. I studied for about 6 months straight, 6-7 hours per day, took about 15 ish practice tests, thank fuck for Anki).
Extra Curriculars – Although the tuition was fully paid for with the state's scholarship, I decided I need a job asap since I had no disposable income. With a great amount of luck, I got a job at a surgeon's office with great pay (15/hr) at the time. This was so amazing since most pre-med students can't even dream about being able to shadow a procedure with a physician, let alone making money while learning all the ins and outs of running an outpatient clinic with a well-established surgeon.
This is how much I allocated my time during school for work, life, and school:
Work: 60% | Life: 30% | School: 10%
I thought I had everything figured out.
During my Junior & Senior year, I started to have doubts about going to med school and wanting to become a doctor (didn't consider a lot of factors + lack of motivation). So I decided to take a "gap year" after graduation, to confirm my conviction about wanting to become a physician. With another great amount of luck, I was able to get a job at one of the best hospital systems in the US where I was able to work with world-class, absolute tanks of attendings that led a lot of the modern medicine research.
Within less than one year of working at this organization, I realized that most of the physicians did not really give a shit about the quality of care, had lack of emotional connection with people, and only thought about advancing their clinical trials to have their last name published on a research paper. That didn't sit too well with me. Additionally, I was surrounded by people who were in their 30s and 40s that were stuck in the same position that fueled a lot of negativity into me while I was working 12+ hour days + weekends, making less than $50k a year, picking up my co-workers slack so I could at least try to give great patient care to dying patients.
With my motivation to become a physician down to the gutter, I felt super lost. I intentionally took incredibly difficult classes in school, put in thousands of clinical hours, and tried to be an excellent student and an applicant… all for what?
After multiple months of frustration, I decided to quit with absolutely no jobs or prospective jobs lined up as my work was affecting my mental health severely. I didn't even have that much money saved up since I barely made enough money to eat only once a day without becoming homeless. I had exactly 2 months to find another source of income before my funds were completely dried up.
First month was a shitshow. I blacked out everyday. I would buy the cheapest beer and just drink whenever I woke up until I was ready to sleep again. I would submit half-assed resume/applications during this time.
During the second/remaining month, I got my mental state functioning and was finally able to land a job with a healthcare consulting firm with the help of an employee referral, again with an incredible amount of luck. Although I had no business experience, the firm took a big risk and hired me on the spot after my final interview.
I still work for this company as a senior consultant (been about almost 3 years) even after multiple M&A's and awful management changes and am going back to school to get my master's in finance starting this Fall.
I have no idea if this is the right path for me. I have no idea if this is the correct program vs. MBA (I would love to talk about my decision if y'all are interested). But for the first time in forever, I feel excited. I am excited for new challenges in life. I can't even believe it myself, but I am actually stoked to go back to school to learn concepts that I am interested in. I am excited for an industry that does pay, on average, somewhat based on performance and merit.
So much of my life decisions thus far were based on societal pressures and unrealistic expectations I had on myself. I never truly wanted to go into medicine (thank goodness I figured this out before attending med school).
Also, I have come to the realization that pivoting careers are completely normal and regular. Being an untraditional applicant in finance is quite daunting. However, I believe, in some ways, this allows you to bring unique (both tangible and intangible) values and new outlook to the industry.
If anyone wants to chat about making a 180 deg career change, or healthcare consulting (even healthcare tech space atm), PM me. I'll try my best to give you some insights into the emotional and mental challenges that I personally went through.
Went all-in on one specific career path, took a lot of L's along the way and now making major career bet/shift.