Doctor (resident)---> MBB (with a twist)!

S-B1's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

Hey all,
I'm desperately in need of some advice for my next move, please let me know if this is in the incorrect forum. As some background - I took a pretty circuitous path to my career. I'll keep it short though. Started out in entertainment + fashion (on the creative side). Decided for a multitude of bad reasons that I should go to med school. Took the MCAT, got in to a mid tier school, worked my ass off and landed at an elite program in my specialty. Unfortunately about 3/4 of the way through med school I realized what a huge mistake I had made and how shitty being a doctor actually is. Now my goal is to eventually head back into entertainment - which has been my passion career all along (couldn't lose the showbiz bug), but the problem is I'm no longer ok being poor.

The way I see it is I have two options - suck it up at my elite program become a doctor, work part time, and follow my passion projects "on the side" (ugh).
Advantages: guaranteed multi-hundred-thousand dollar paycheck, can easily get a job in LA, my particular specialty makes it fairly easy to work "part-time", TRAVEL (haven't left the country in 7 years ), really hard to get fired.
Disadvantages: Hate my life for 3 more years, disparate industry with little hope of meeting anyone relevant, not in LA/NY (but close).

OR

Switch into a well-paid career in which the skill-set I've developed may provide some value, get out of medicine, and use the contacts and alumni network to bridge a career back into entertainment.
Advantages: MBB alumni network (includes entertainment players), get to LA faster, opportunity to transition into the media/entertainment division, possibility of a massive paycheck.
Disadvantages: Obviously I would be on the healthcare side of things to begin with, no guarantee of LA/NY, no guarantee of a huge paycheck, can get fired.

Any advice is more than appreciated. I've actually already started my application/resume which I can anonymize and post if it makes a difference, but the vast majority of the relevant information is above.

Thanks so much!

Comments (13)

Mar 28, 2017

If you apply through advanced degree process and succeed, you'll come in as a generalist. So you won't necessarily have to focus on healthcare at the onset. If you already have an LA MBB network + advanced degree process, that should help to get on the radar for interviews.

Mar 28, 2017

Seconded on the Generalist point. You can usually sell interest in healthcare during the interview and "change your mind" later if it's a bigger office.

If you have a way of getting internal referrals when you apply it goes a long way, especially at BB which hires less advanced degrees.

Mar 28, 2017

3rd Option - Become a plastic surgeon and make other stars

Mar 29, 2017

I've always been curious about the entertainment industry. If you really want to get in, doesn't it make sense to try to get a job at WME or CAA or one of the big media companies/studios as opposed to MBB?

Mar 30, 2017

At least finish your med degree. Don't be a drop out, have that MD on your resume if anything!

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Mar 30, 2017

Thanks for the replies everyone. It's a bit encouraging that I haven't been laughed off the forum, and I think it's tipped me over the edge to apply to atleast MBB and see what happens.

Just a couple follow ups questions:
1) When interviewing and applying - you apparently start out as a generalist (even as an APD?). Do you have any option as to the industry that you choose to specialize in or for the most part are you just placed where needed and then over time have to move laterally into different departments over time?

2) It seems to be the biggest benefits of this career transition would be contacts in the industry made from the job, business skills (which I have... none), and the alumni network. It seems McKinsey alumni at least have ended up in essentially every field. Is that connection between alumni real? Obviously the connections are what you make of them, but do people actually offer to sit down with you/mentor you or generally just blow you off.

3) I've read that the culture is very much an up-or-out after about 2-2.5 years. I'd imagine that's when most make the transition into the career of their choice. Any personal experience with those moving into entertainment?

And then, to answer some questions:

stocksonstacks:

3rd Option - Become a plastic surgeon and make other stars

Haha that ship has already sailed, I'm currently a resident in another field, and it's incredibly difficult to switch residencies. Also with my shaky hands no one would want me to be a plastic surgeon anyway. I hear at some interviews they make you carve facial features into a bar of soap?

GSB or bust:

I've always been curious about the entertainment industry. If you really want to get in, doesn't it make sense to try to get a job at WME or CAA or one of the big media companies/studios as opposed to MBB?

So... in my experience there's no "one" way to get into the business, perhaps more so than other fields. I think the clearest cut way is to become a "Hollywood assistant" say at WME/CAA/Big5. However that comes with a tremendous financial sacrifice. When I interviewed at CAA they were offering me 11.39 an hour...WHAT? Now that I'm getting close to 30, that is not appealing or sustainable to me in any way - especially living in LA. As a point of contrast, a friend of mine started as a personal trainer at Equinox met the CEOs of a Lionsgate subsidiary and is EPing his 3rd film right now. So, yes, while there is a clear route through the agencies you basically have to be independently wealthy to survive. Even once you're there the competition is extremely fierce, and entertainment is well known for the personalities of its bosses (see: Ari Gold) who can fire at a whim. I have actually seen and experienced the phenomenon.

sy-l:

At least finish your med degree. Don't be a drop out, have that MD on your resume if anything!

I didn't make that very clear in my inital post. I will be done with intern year in July. My top ranked program is for residency, not med school.

Mar 30, 2017

this is incredibly informative - no reason for you to get laughed off

Mar 29, 2017

that's really interesting. so how does MBB compare to the talent agencies? do they actually have significant entertainment work? i'd imagine they'd be a lot more on the business end and not much on the creative side

Mar 30, 2017

I would assume they don't do anything explicitly creative like produce/direct/write etc, but I'm assuming they're involved on the corporate strategy level. But if you look at McKinsey alumni, for example, they've definitely moved onto creative endeavors afterwards (head of production at Netflix, head of Walt disney Pictures etc.) So transitions are possible

Apr 2, 2017
S-B1:

Unfortunately about 3/4 of the way through med school I realized what a huge mistake I had made and how shitty being a doctor actually is.

As someone who sometimes wishes he went to med school, I'm curious what you mean by this? Hours, stress, the work itself?

Mar 30, 2017

There's too much for just one post. I think the vast majority of people go into medicine with an idealistic view of what the profession entails (despite numerous warnings and statistics that a significant portion of doctors would not choose the field again). I can go into specifics with you if you'd like, but I think to sum it up, at least where I'm at I feel like I'm fighting a war on too many fronts. It's always Doc vs. the patient (usually commanding their own treatment, or being demanded to be seen immediately). Doc vs hospital (here is 3 hours of BS paperwork that you do on your free time...). Doc vs Nurse/ancillary staff(I will do that urgent blood draw 4 hours after I see the order despite the 8 times you've called me to do it). Doc vs. Insurance Company (here's 30 minutes of paperwork for this prior auth or this "peer-to-peer." Take time out of your clinic schedule to justify why I should authorize this med). And on and on and on. It's not a war that I'm too keen on fighting anymore, and I'm only 10 months in.

Best Response
Apr 18, 2017
S-B1:

There's too much for just one post. I think the vast majority of people go into medicine with an idealistic view of what the profession entails (despite numerous warnings and statistics that a significant portion of doctors would not choose the field again). I can go into specifics with you if you'd like, but I think to sum it up, at least where I'm at I feel like I'm fighting a war on too many fronts. It's always Doc vs. the patient (usually commanding their own treatment, or being demanded to be seen immediately). Doc vs hospital (here is 3 hours of BS paperwork that you do on your free time...). Doc vs Nurse/ancillary staff(I will do that urgent blood draw 4 hours after I see the order despite the 8 times you've called me to do it). Doc vs. Insurance Company (here's 30 minutes of paperwork for this prior auth or this "peer-to-peer." Take time out of your clinic schedule to justify why I should authorize this med). And on and on and on. It's not a war that I'm too keen on fighting anymore, and I'm only 10 months in.

Just a note. When you talk to current consultants you're going to hear a lot about how amazing and rewarding their roles are. Talk to people 4+ years out for the real story. In consulting you're going to have potentially just as much BS as in medicine, don't fall for a grass is greener without doing your research.

Examples:

You vs. Client: This one is obvious. You'll be working with much bigger personalities than in medicine. These are people that aren't used to be wrong, can stonewall your work and might not want you on site anyways if they feel threatened by your presence.

You vs. Partner/Hierarchy: You've been called at 7pm on Friday to make serious revisions to a deck that needs to be pitched on Weds. You need to finish by Monday to bring the senior partner up to speed. You work until 2 AM Friday, then work another 20-30 hours with your analyst over the weekend to make it happen. Output is a 50 page deck. You proudly present it to the senior partner on Monday. They took one look at it, don't open it, toss it in the trash and let your manager know they were looking for "more of a two pager". Yup this happens, yes it is dysfunctional, yes we know why and how it could be fixed but no you won't be the one to fix it.

You vs. Impactful Work: This one's obvious. In medicine you make people better. In consulting most of your work is either rubber stamp work to justify a clients preexisting point of view as a cover your ass for them or is never implemented/misunderstood/lightly utilized by a client.

You vs. Your Associate: Your associate will be an endless source of frustration at their lack of business sense and intuition, minor powerpoint errors and the fact that they think they're better than you on all fronts because you just left med school. I am not slamming the majority of junior staff, but you will work with plenty of these people.

The difference might be that in consulting a lot of this tampers down as you go up the ladder. However, with 50% attrition at each level (or more if you consider laterals), there is a less than 10% chance that you make partner and can really rain shit downhill. Once you get your grove there's a good chance you'll be on your way to counseled out.

Bear in mind these frustrations will be felt daily, not occasionally, while working 60-80 hour weeks and with a heavy (80%) travel schedule. The travel is not fun or glamourous. Expect to stay at mid range hotels near projects in Idaho where the only food for three months is Starbucks, Applebees and McDonalds.

This can be an amazing and rewarding industry, but you should do some research on the shortfalls to ensure you're not trading one set for another. These are both hard, grueling fields and consulting has a high burnout rate for a reason.

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Apr 18, 2017
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