Dropping medical school for investment banking

Subscribe

I'm (25) in my second year of medical school and I'm just not happy with where things are going. There was always something about business that attracted me and I'm particularly interested in investment banking or private equity. But I have no experience whatsoever and I have no idea where to start, but like most, I want to work for a bulge bracket bank. I'd really appreciate some honest advice how I can get there!

Comments (90)

 
Jan 31, 2015 - 10:31pm

Do you have a network that can not only get you in to an interview, but that can also get you hired? And "network" here means "inside track of close family and friends willing to risk their reputation and livelihoods for you," not same random dude you met at a "networking event" or added on LinkedIn. Do you have a good brand name UG school (HYP etc.)?

If you answered no to any of these questions, forget it. Or well, don't forget it, but realize you are potentially giving up a relatively high and nearly guaranteed-to-be-there salary for a gamble.

 
Jan 31, 2015 - 10:58pm

UG was at Top20 USNWR private university.

I have a friend who's a 2nd year IB analyst at a boutique bank, a close friend in consulting in NY, and friends in other areas in finance.

I realize what I'm giving up, so how should I go about breaking into this business?

 
May 15, 2020 - 2:37am

Try to network with top healthcare groups. Sell your knowledge of the science to them.

Better yet if you're interested in biotech VC or hedge funds, network with them. You could have a shot at graduating med school, skipping residency and starting at one of them FT right out of med school.

I was a premed in college, even took the MCAT (got a 516) and decided to pursue IB right after graduating college. I've been in similar (but certainly not the same!) shoes.

 
Jan 31, 2015 - 11:11pm

then in your spot, you kinda need to shoot for an M7 or similar MBA because hiring anyone older than 23 as an analyst is exceedingly rare. And you don't get associate out of undergrad. And beware that if you friends can only land you back office, you're gonna have a hard time getting a top MBA. Honestly, you'd have a better shot of Wall Street if you complete your MD/residency and then make your switch or go for a top MBA. You hear about more guys who completed moving fields after getting their MD than med-school-dropouts doing it.

 
Feb 1, 2015 - 12:56am

i know actually know of two kids who quit med school to do banking. they started as first year analysts; got into banking through networking. Focus on HC teams.

 
Feb 1, 2015 - 9:05am

It depends if you are willing to settle for less than a BB. The process for getting into a BB is very formal, so its hard to get in if you are not following the standard trajectory (i.e. high gpa in freshman year, internship in sophomore and getting FO after internship). However, boutiques and MM have a less formal recruiting process, which could allow you to break in regardless of your background. You need to be able to commit to networking and learning key finance skills on your own (understanding acccounting, modeling, valuation, etc)

 
Feb 1, 2015 - 2:14pm

^^this.

Dropping out would be such a terrible decision based on the knowledge you have displayed about the industry in your post. Horrendous idea. Stay and get your degree and become a doctor. You could always go into equity research or healthcare banking if you really wanted to after you got the degree.

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 3:02am

stick to it man. If you like when you're practicing, you can just be a $400/hour consultant for Wall Street http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2002294596_topol01.html . Thats a pretty nice hourly rate. Best of three worlds: you get to be an consultant physician on Wall Street.

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 3:40am

I cannot believe this. You have completed your pre-med, have gotten into med school, got past your first year, and now you're going to throw it away for a career you know little to nothing about?

If you think it's going to be easier: It's not.
If you think the hours are going to be better: They're not.
If you think you will be better compensated: You most likely won't.
If you think you will feel better about the work you're doing for society: You won't.

Honestly if I had the interest and the fortitute to get through 4 years of bio and organic chemistry and then GET INTO med school I would do that 1000000% of the time and actually help to contribute to society.

...

All that being said, if you still really want it, you can probably do it best by focusing on healthcare banking, and trying to stick it out in your school for as long as you can. Having that advanced degree (MD or MBA) is going to be crucial for you.

I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things
 
Feb 3, 2015 - 5:18am

Dropping out of med school is the worst decision in my opinion. Finish the school, work a couple of years as a doctor, and if you still want to break into IB/ER, shoot for a M7 MBA and leverage your medical knowledge. I would guess, that there are not that many pharma analysts with such a medical background

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 11:29pm

quality_matters:

Dropping out of med school is the worst decision in my opinion. Finish the school, work a couple of years as a doctor, and if you still want to break into IB/ER, shoot for a M7 MBA and leverage your medical knowledge. I would guess, that there are not that many pharma analysts with such a medical background

What? Have you ever even read a Pharma report? A very large portion are MDs or MD+Phds.

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 7:41am

Finish your degree. Do an MBA at a solid university then leverage your skill set into a HC banking/ research team. Your age won't be a massive factor post MBA as many of your class will be doing similar career changes.

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 11:27am

I also tend to agree that coming out of the med school no one forces you to be a practitioner. You have a decent chance finding a job in finance/consulting related to health care (it would be silly not to leverage your medical background). You can later play however you want based on expectations vs reality check, but if IB is still a dream, MBA will be the most vital option at that point. Good luck!

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 12:01pm

Finish you medical school and then pursue IB or whatever. You can always do business as a medical doctor in the healthcare sector so you don't have to do ib to accomplish this. At least complete medical school so you can have a back up in case ib doesn't work out

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 2:34pm

As someone with in-laws who are both doctors and own their own practices, I can tell you without a doubt you will make more money as a general surgeon, working in a medium sized hospital, than you will in investment banking or equity research. The hospital in their current town has an opening for a urologist, signing bonus is $1M, salary is $700K, and hours are a flat 40 per week. Most of the physicians leave by 4:00pm to go play golf at the local country club. I don't know very many jobs where you can make that type of money, working those hours, with very little stress. A private practice physician working as a general surgeon in a small town can make anywhere from $1.5M to $2M per yr and gets unlimited vacation along with setting their own hours. My father-in-law had another physician cover his patients and office for a month so he could travel around Russia. He routinely takes 2 months off a year for vacation and still drags down the aforementioned sums. Also, remember there will always be sick people, you will always be able to have/find a job, finance will not treat you that way.

As a current analyst at an institutional manager I will work 60 - 80 hours a week for the next 52 weeks. I have taken 1, 1 to repeat that, vacation in the last 24 months, and it was from a Tuesday to a Sunday (I got to come back to 200+ emails). I don't make anywhere near what a physician makes. That will be your life for 3 years (likely in perpetuity) if you decide to leave med school and go "into finance"...however, if you really, really, like my life, I would suggest you enroll in a post-bac program in quant finance at either University of Chicago or Columbia. These programs, and others like them, give you the foundation necessary to apply to financial engineering or MSF programs at Top - 15 schools. To give you an idea, my wife did the post-bac at Columbia and got into most of the Econ PhD programs she applied to. She ended up going to Vanderbilt, however, she was accepted into Columbia's Masters' in Quantitative Finance and other top-tier MSF and Fin engineering programs, her UG was a private liberal arts college.

To finish, given that you made it into med school, which is really hard, you would very likely get accepted to post-bac programs available at Top-10 business schools. If you do well in the post-bac you should be able to get into a good graduate program. From there do an internship during the summer after your first year and you will likely get an offer during your second year. The grass is always greener on the otherside....I've contemplated leaving finance to go to med school but after careful consideration it wasn't the right choice.

 
Best Response
Feb 3, 2015 - 4:39pm

ThorsteinVeblen:

The hospital in their current town has an opening for a urologist, signing bonus is $1M, salary is $700K, and hours are a flat 40 per week. Most of the physicians leave by 4:00pm to go play golf at the local country club. I don't know very many jobs where you can make that type of money, working those hours, with very little stress. A private practice physician working as a general surgeon in a small town can make anywhere from $1.5M to $2M per yr and gets unlimited vacation along with setting their own hours..

This is just ridiculous.

Flat 40 hrs per week?
Leaving at 4:00 PM?
Very little stress?
General surgeon in a small town can make $1.5M to $2M per yr?

HAHAHAHA

I'm a physician and all my friends are in different specialties (plastic surgery, ortho, uro, neurosurgery,ROAD, etc)
In other words the specialties that make the most coin.
And none of them make from $1.5 to $2M per year, much less in a small town AND as a general surgeon.
Just look at any compensation report and you will see how off target those comments are.
(If you feel so inclined look here: http://www.cejkasearch.com/compensation-data/physician-compensation-data/ )

The highest paid surgeons are the neurosurgeons, to get there you need to finish medical school with great grades and ace the USMLEs after that you need to endure 7 years of residency + 1 (optional) year of fellowship at a set salary of $50,000 give or take depending on geography (CoL adjustment). And the average salary after training is $600-700K.

As to the 40 hrs per week, that is just laughable. A day in the life of an attending neurosurgeon in Johns Hopkins (MD from Harvard, summa cum laude) starts at 5 AM, rounds on patients and checks pre-ops, performs 2-3 surgeries after that goes to clinic, finishes paperwork, checks on post-ops and complies with any academic or research commitments. Leaves hospital at 7-8PM. This is Monday to Friday. Not counting call schedule. The best part is that his salary is $750-850K per year.(irony)

Oh and I forgot about the stress; although this is subjective, I think most people would agree that it is a really really high stress job.
Making the slightest error means death or paralysis, besides the obvious economical repercussions produced by malpractice and there is also the imminent risk of losing your license if you fu*k up.

Finally, I leave you the average compensation of a general surgeon: median $240,463 (which is $1M short of your quote)
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=General_Surgeon/Salary

Urologist:
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physician_%2f_Doctor%2c_Urologist/Salary

Neurosurgeon:
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Neurosurgeon/Salary

To the OP, I've been in your shoes.
My advice:
Option 1: Finish medical school and look into the 1-year accelerated MBA at Cornell Johnson for MD's or Wharton EMBA.
Option 2: stay the course, continue medical school BUT learn finance, accounting, valuation and modeling on the side. Start the CFA, network and pass Level 1 and Level 2. Get some kind of financial experience (internship). Check www.dropoutclub.org constantly and apply to positions.

In option 1 you get MD/MBA in option 2 you get none but you MIGHT get to the Street faster.

If you want IB and/or PE definitely option 1.
If you want ER and/or HF then 2 will suffice.

Also, start in boutique get to at least a VP level and then transfer to BB if it makes sense. BB's are very structured. In a boutique you can move higher faster, once you get to an income generating position you can lateral.

 
Feb 3, 2015 - 4:54pm

They both own their own practices, so yes, those sums are accurate. Not common, I know, but can be. Just like hedge managers can make 9 figures in a year, not common, but occurs Yes, there is a shortage of specialties that serve regional areas, so those salaries for that particular region and hospital are correct. It's hard to get specialist to live in a town of 24,000 people that serves as the only hospital in 30 mile radius. I would never want to be a doctor or specialist in a large city, the pay is often half of what a doctor can get in small to mid sized towns. My brother-in-law is a urologist and that sum comes directly from their private physician practice. Averages are skewed, and given my sample size of 3, that should tell you where that sits. Also, as you know, salaries at hospitals are entirely different than salaries at private practices.

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:09am

I really appreciate all the input guys. There are various reasons why I may be in the process of dropping out. I'm just trying to do my best to look a new beginning while I'm still have the chance.

From what I've gathered, I should start with a post bacc in finance (at a top 10). Look for summer internships at boutique. And network, network, network. Apply for MSF (at a top 10). Find IB/ER analyst job ( at boutique?). Apply for M7 MBA after working for #? years. I'm not sure what's possible after that. BB? Private equity?

Would this be realistic? Or am I still shooting in the dark?

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 8:17am

jy_gby:

I really appreciate all the input guys. There are various reasons why I may be in the process of dropping out. I'm just trying to do my best to look a new beginning while I'm still have the chance.

From what I've gathered, I should start with a post bacc in finance (at a top 10). Look for summer internships at boutique. And network, network, network. Apply for MSF (at a top 10). Find IB/ER analyst job ( at boutique?). Apply for M7 MBA after working for #? years. I'm not sure what's possible after that. BB? Private equity?

Would this be realistic? Or am I still shooting in the dark?


Shooting in the dark. No one (at least in the figurative sense) is hiring 25 or 26 year old interns unless they're already M7 MBA. Its just not in the culture of Wall Street to have older interns.
 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:24pm

Ex-Premed Student interested in IB (Originally Posted: 05/26/2017)

Hey guys:

So, I am a student at Cornell (just finished my freshman year) and I started as premed, so I took many STEM courses this past year and learned that medicine/science is not for me. I didn't do terribly, but I also didn't do well. I will probably have about a 3.4 after this semester. Simultaneously, I have grown increasingly more interested in finance. I haven't really had the opportunity to join any finance-related clubs, I was in a few medicine organizations but will discontinue them next year. I was recently able to secure a local (although shitty) PWM internship for the summer.

I am confident I will be able to do much better sophomore year, and maybe get a 3.6 for BB/EB SA recruiting, but even then I feel like I am at a huge disadvantage against my frat peers who have hella connections through parents and other really intelligent kids with 3.9s in fucking engineering. I also plan to transfer into ILR or econ for easier coursework, but it will honestly be hard to completely salvage my freshman year GPA.

I wish freshman year had some kind of grade forgiveness policy so we can figure out what we really want out of our UG experience because we are really just 18 and naive af without a clue of what the world has to offer.

Does anyone here have some advice? Am I stressing too much? What should I look for my sophomore summer (I am not diversity so I can't do any of the BB soph stuff)?

Thanks. Really appreciate

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:32pm

I am a long time lurker here, but a lot of folks have posted previous threads stemming from STEM, to non-traditional backgrounds breaking into finance.

Get into Econ or Finance at Cornell, and get the highest GPA you can have. Start networking during/after your sophomore year to land summer internships roles.

Keep it simple as possible. You'll be fine. Cornell is a great school. I work with a lot of engineers from Cornell at the big Q in the engineering test teams.

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:33pm

Was Med School oriented; now want to switch to Business / IB. How do I start? (Originally Posted: 01/10/2017)

Hello. A little about myself first. I graduated from George Washington University in 2013 with a major in Psychology minor in Biology (Pre-med track) with a 3.9 GPA. Afterwards, I held a research position at Mass Gen Hospital under a well-known investigator and am published in a well-known peer reviewed journal. However, during my time there--long story short--I decided medical school isn't what I want to do. It was extremely tough to admit that to myself, but I know for a fact I won't be happy in 10 years in medicine. In fact, looking back, I'm not sure how I even ended up here. For the past month or so I've been looking into Investment Banking and I'm becoming more and more interested in field. I've taken a a few statistics and calc classes in college, but nothing business or finance related.

I can handle learning the material on my spare time (already started micro and macro econ), but my questions are,
1) I'm not sure how I can go about getting into the field?
2) What options do I have?

I'm extremely motivated more than willing to put in all the work; just need some advice on how I should proceed.

Thank you all.

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:34pm

Hi,

You can take some online courses to help you with the skills you need for the job (finance, excel, powerpoint, financial modeling, etc.). You can find most of these on Udemy at deep discounts (there was a new year discount going, not sure if it's still on - or you can search for promo codes and apply those).

As for how to break in, the key is to network as much as you can, call people working at investment banks and set up informational meetings. Ask about their typical day, culture, work-life balance (if it exists), and anything else that is important to you. This way you can make sure you like investment banking before you get a full-time job. It's not going to be easy though (but it's not rocket science either, it just needs hard work).

Have you considered consulting? Many management consulting firms hire people from the medical sector since they have the required knowledge and skills to help out hospitals and companies operating in this sector.

If going to school again is an option, consider doing an MBA or, if this isn't an option, a specialized masters in finance (you can take the prerequisite courses before you start grad school). This will help you a lot, especially if you go to a target school since most banks and consulting firms hire from there.

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:37pm

Ignore micro/macro econ and do financial accounting instead. I would suggest talking to alumni in IB/finance to get a better sense for what the job is before going headfirst down the path.

It may be possible (but not probable) that you could get a role as an analyst at a healthcare focused boutique or a small firm, but you will have to do some networking. Assuming you don't want to MBA just yet, the other route would be to do a one year master's in finance (search around on WSO for like MFin, probably some good threads).

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:38pm

Med school- finance (better work-life balance?) (Originally Posted: 12/26/2017)

I'm a med student and I've been thinking more about the future lately and long story short; a 60+ hr work week will not allow me to properly raise a family or pursue other interests. Can anyone recommend any stable careers in finance I can look into with a good starting salary (90k +) that will allow for upward mobility and will require an average of about 50hrs/week.

P.S. more hectic hours at entry level are fine but I need things to be more relaxed by the time I reach 30 (which would be after about 6 years of work).

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:41pm

Med school ---> IB? (Originally Posted: 04/13/2016)

My uncle sounds a bit like Lazard's late Bruce Wasserstein: the Harvard JD, the fellowship at Univ. Cambridge, but that's where the resemblance ends. No, they weren't classmates. (I checked.)

(See "Slate" on Remembering Bruce)

Frankly, he was Harvard College, but that too is besides the point:
"It ain't me, babe."

Here's my purpose: I wrote in to one of these resume services for Wall Street investment bankers.

There might be IB refugees who are physicians, but can't find med students on Wall Street.
Indeed, I left medical school, so don't try to convince me otherwise. :)
I did not sit in a single finance class.

Where do I further my education and training in finance without getting lost in academia?
Am I better off with economics and finance? It's not being advertised on the Internet so far as I can tell.

My father was an attorney also. (BA, MA, PhD, all physics, all UPenn)
My quantitative skills are decent. "A" in Calculus. Not an alumna of the aforementioned schools.

I am also impressed by the hoops you have to jump through for some interviews.
(Nothing that comes easy is often worth doing.)
And I'm not just bent on more education. It is probable that I could have the Culture points for any of this.
but -----

Advice, please?

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:43pm

Are... you okay?

I know one guy who went to med school for a year (in '08) I think and then got an offer at a decent non-coverage group in IB at GS (think Activism Defense-type) which is pretty good. He said it was incredibly hard, and he came from a near-perfect background (Harvard Med, Princeton 4.0 UG, parents in finance), so it's not impossible- but almost impossible.

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:55pm

Med school to IB? Rework my plan (Originally Posted: 05/27/2016)

I am indeed a med school dropout. I need that Wrong Way post more than the chimp who posted that, perhaps.
My friend in finance (actually the only person I knew in finance) is dropping high finance for nursing. More power to her.
I'm female, incidentally.

Can you evaluate my plan below? Suggestions absolutely welcomed

Thus far, my plan is as follows.

  1. Take a graded, pre-MBA math course online (covers linear algebra and differential calculus) from mid-
    June to early September. (Since I took Calculus I ~10 yrs ago)
  2. Prepare for CFA I exam administration in December, by taking Kaplan Schweser course at night from
    mid-July to late October.
  3. Draw from reading list on IB.

Incomplete parts of plan (needs focus):
Work
Networking

Problems: CFA exam is in three parts, ideally over 3 years. Not sure if I have three years to spare and may
not pass on first attempt.

I may have bitten off more than I can chew at once. You can absolutely tell me my approach is wrong, so long as you offer new advice
At least the physician path is well-trodden and like a guild. It is not unreasonable to expect a job when you come out the other side.
So, be that as it may, can you can suggest orgs that have worked in networking for you, too

I am in the DC area. I could relocate to NYC, but D.C. is my playground for now

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 5:02pm

Medicine to Investment banking (Originally Posted: 01/27/2018)

Hello i am new here. I am currently a medical student student at zhengzhou university henan china. i have 2 years to go till i graduate from my medschool. I wish to get into wall street after graduation. Could someone give me a place to start ? i am new here and really have no clue. I am not a us citizen by the way. I did my schooling in Australia and am originally from australia

thank you

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 5:05pm

First question for you. How are your conversational skills in English? Next, what made you want to get into wall street and not stay in medicine? If you are on linkedin, I would suggest cold emailing analysts at investment banks and writing something like, "Hello Mr. XX, I see you are in investment banking and I would love your advice, as I would like to be an investment banker. I know it may be a busy/off season right now, but I would love to hear your advice on how to best position myself to obtain an internship at "XX" for the summer of 2018 or the summer of 2019.

Thank you very much,

XX"

You really should take finance courses during the last part of your schooling, because if you do not have classes like that under your belt, it will be much harder for you. You also must develop a very thick skin if you wish to survive wall street. Investment banking is very hierarchical, you as an analyst, you will endure a lot of crap from those above you. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I hope that helps.

Array

 
Feb 4, 2015 - 5:03pm

Hi thanks for your reply. I think my spoken English is fantastic as I have lived in Australia for 8 years as a chile before coming to china.

I have a question, in my med school we do not really have an option for taking finance courses.

I was thinking maybe after graduation i would do a postgraduate in statistics or maybe finance ? i wonder is that possible/helpful ?

I look forward to your reply

thank you

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Biggest Regret in Undergrad
+45IBby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
Virtual Summer Interns - which banks sent you WFH gear?
+16IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage">Intern in IB - Ind
Making the first move as a woman?
+11OFFby Intern in Investment Banking - Generalist">Intern in IB - Gen
Meal plan in IB
+11IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage">Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
The lighter side of IB! (Hopefully)
+10IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
What is 1st year all-in comp for MMs?
+7IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Intern in IB-M&A

Total Avg Compensation

October 2020 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (17) $704
  • Vice President (49) $326
  • Associates (265) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (36) $168
  • 2nd Year Analyst (147) $159
  • Intern/Summer Associate (136) $141
  • 1st Year Analyst (583) $129
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (558) $82

Leaderboard See all

1
LonLonMilk's picture
LonLonMilk
98.4
2
Jamoldo's picture
Jamoldo
98.3
3
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
98.2
4
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
97.8
5
redever's picture
redever
97.7
6
Addinator's picture
Addinator
97.6
7
frgna's picture
frgna
97.5
8
NuckFuts's picture
NuckFuts
97.5
9
bolo up's picture
bolo up
97.5
10
Edifice's picture
Edifice
97.3