IB or medicine? (Yet again)

I know this question has been asked over a million times on wso and i've probably read every single one. Here is the problem: it started when I downloaded trading212 (UK Brokerage) for the first time as a 16 year old and managed a portfolio under a parent monitored account. From then on my interest in the financial industry expanded. Reading the financial times and looking through bloomberg. Researching companies and been amazed by the supposed power of compound interest when investing for long enough in the S&P 500. Later down the line I found out about the investment banking industry and the fact that you can do all this research and number crunching as a job - I felt something inside of me telling me to pursue this. Yes the superficial factors of money and security also helped away me but the potential that I would also enjoy this massively helped. If i were to pursue this I would need to take the untraditional route at a target uni as i've opted for prereq subjects for medicine (biology, chemistry, english at A level (UK))

Previously, before i was met with this dilemma i was set on becoming a doctor purely out of the idea of saving peoples lives and the tremendous job satisfaction and prestige associated with it. I loved the idea of financial security with this job while loving what you do. I never thought i would question this path up until i was introduced to the world of investing and now... well i'm stuck in a continuous cycle of despair. I can't choose between these two careers and its really getting to me. I know this is a highly irresponsible method of seeking advice as this is a biased platform but so far, this community seems incredibly helpful from all that i've seen. I also love the idea of playing hero (read lots of comics as a kid) and I know most won't think this is applicable to banking but donating to charities would feel somewhat heroic and gratifying for me.

can anyone provide me with guidance or advice on this dilemma? Once again i know this has been asked a million times but the fact that i have a genuine interest in both fields makes it considerably. harder for me. I want to be able to provide for my potential family and generate wealth whilst loving what I do and 'making a difference'/mark on the world - so they say


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Comments (9)

Apr 4, 2021 - 3:34pm

I am a former premed student who switched to consulting.  My parents are in healthcare and all their doctor friends told me to never go into medicine :/

IB Pros:

-More $$$

-Work can sometimes have strong impact on corporate landscape in specific industry

-Do not need a lot of school (just 4 year undergrad and sometimes an MBA)

-Start working in early 20's

IB Cons: 


-No feeling of doing good to the world

Medicine Pros:

-Feeling of doing good to the world

-Money is solid

-Job security (there will always be a need for doctors)

-Flexibility (can practice anywhere, whereas IB have to be close to their office which is usually NYC)

Medicine Cons: 

-School (between undergrad, potential gap years, med school, residency, and fellowship, most doctors aren't making real $ until 30's)

-Debt (This goes with school- med School is expensive)

-Do not start working until later on in life, so harder to build up long-term savings

-Not as rewarding as you think (some patients never get better, some patients are angry/stressed, insurance companies and regulation is a huge headache).

-Low $ ceiling relative to finance.  Unless you open your own practice, you will likely be unable to become super rich like IB counterparts will.  A family friend who is a doctor said "my friends in IB all make what I make with a zero at the end."

Honestly, I would focus on what interests you more.  Have you shadowed a doctor and saw if you liked it? Have you taken a finance class?

Also, if you do not go to an elite university, banking might be out of the picture because the high paying banks only recruit from elite schools.  

Apr 4, 2021 - 3:37pm

Go into medicine if you absolutely love it and want to sacrifice the time and effort to go to med school. IB is relatively the 'easier' route if you're smart. I'd recommend IB, unless you're dying to 'save lives'. Most doctors have a strong draw to help/save others. Take some time to sort out your mind and you'll come out with the right answer. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Apr 4, 2021 - 3:39pm

I've had some people saying go into IB and if it turns out its not what you want you can always go to med school later. Some data also shows med schools favour older applicants as the average age for acceptance has increased over time - now being around 24 years old or so

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 4, 2021 - 5:46pm

Are you interested in ib or trading? I'm not quite sure you understand what you actually going to be doing in ib

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Apr 4, 2021 - 7:35pm

Are you interested in IB, or the buyside? You realize that as a banker, you're pretty much a real estate agent for companies, right? Or like a mortgage broker, except for equity/debt offerings?

Apr 4, 2021 - 8:12pm

If you're even asking this question you don't belong in a licensed profession. These paths, like acting and trying to strike it rich as a musician, are for those who cannot fathom doing anything else.  The doubts will eat at you and you'll wish you tried IB

Apr 5, 2021 - 7:10pm

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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