Job Discussion With Physician Parents

Hello,

I am a 17 year old student starting college next month. Over the past years, my physician parents and I have been discussing job potential in finance. FYI, I've always been a good student in high school. Numerous extracurricular accomplishments, top 5%, respected by teachers, academic awards etc.I'm not an idiot, as you can tell. And I know what I need to do in order to get a top Wall Street job (internships, activities, grades, interests and other things).

Yet......

As you probably guessed by now, they want to become a physician. However, the field does not interest me so I chose finance instead. This has been creating tons of tension in the family. They argue that getting a degree in finance or economics means unemployment or crappy jobs. I reply by mentioning the potential salary in investment banking (even though money isn't exactly my #1 factor to be honest) as a 1st year financial analyst is $110K - $150K and it progresses exponentially from there. They allude to the "100,000 finance graduate per year" (exact words) and the average salary according to studies is $40K or somewhere in that proximity.

I go on to mention that the finance major in my school has the highest employment rate and one of the highest average base salaries (without signing bonus or end year bonus...and it totally beats $40K by a long shot) out of all programs in the college. Yet they believe I "will be a failure who will never make more than $20,000 a year at most" (again, almost exact words). When I mention investment banking again, they say that being a banker at a prestigious firm is equally as unfeasible as becoming a football or basketball star.

Not only that, but they claim physicians make more money than investment bankers. Looking at average salaries, that is true...to an extent.....I mention that base salaries for bankers are low, but bonus makes up for it and such bonuses are not mentioned in salary statistics because they are not base salary.

Furthermore, they claim that "financial analysts" caused the crisis in 2008, even though analysts are the lowest rung in the bank. Then they mention that bankers are criminals, get sued a lot, and many are in jail. On the other hand, very few doctors go to jail because they are so altruistic and kind.

Now, what do you guys think? If you had the choice to do it all again...would you do medicine or banking (assuming no debt is incurred)? Do any of you have stories regarding a similar situation? Is my logic wrong, or are my parents wrong?

You can constructively criticize me or my parents, but please do so CONSTRUCTIVELY.

Comments (43)

Jul 28, 2013

What college are you attending?

Jul 28, 2013

I attend a solid university. We have good placement in most BB firms and most of the reputable MM firms every single year. Judging from placement statistics of my university, as the years go by, more graduates are getting FO jobs.

I believe it is definitely possible for me to receive a solid job, if that's what you are asking.

Jul 28, 2013

This is definitely a troll. No sane doctors would actually recommend their kids go to medical school in this regulatory environment.

Jul 28, 2013
Raptor.45:

This is definitely a troll. No sane doctors would actually recommend their kids go to medical school in this regulatory environment.

Why are you so quick to come to conclusions? I have no reason to troll. If you came from a family of physicians (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins), then you would see the pressure of choosing this profession and understand this situation.

If you have nothing to contribute to this thread, then simply do not contribute.

Jul 28, 2013

Your parents are so concerned with money, yet they are willing to pay for 10 years of school, when most 1st year analysts made more money at age 22 than your parents made at 33.

Ignorance is the main factor here, and I agree with someone else who said you'd have to be crazy to tell your kids to become a doctor today. Are your parents Indian, just curious? Anyways, you should only pursue a career you can see yourself in, and know that your parents only THINK they know what's best for you.

Jul 28, 2013

Trust me, my parents are wealthy enough not to worry about debt, tuition, etc. I will probably not have to take out any loans for medical school because they'll pay for it (or I can go to a med school in UK/Asia it is practically for free...My parents went to non-US med schools to avoid this problem and are now doctors in highly lucrative specialties).

And no, I'm not Indian.

One key selling point my parents have is that doctors have godly job security while finance graduates are unemployed losers in life. Whether a physician is a specialist (dermatology, cardiology, radiology etc) or a generalist (internal medicine, family practice), they say doctors WILL ALWAYS have jobs, regardless of the economic climate.

Jul 28, 2013

Obviously these types of situations are never easy to resolve when family is involved (trust me, I went through a similar situation a few years ago), so any decision you make you really need to be 110% sure of.

So this is what I would suggest. Determine if finance is really the road you want to take. I don't mean, "I took a class and found finance interesting" level of commitment, I mean "I want to work in this field for the rest of my life and I'll be damned if anyone tells me I can't" dedication. I understand this can be a lot to ask from a 17 yo, and given my personal experience knowing what you want to do at 17 does not mean you'll end up doing it 5 or 10 years down the road. I started out wanting to be an aerospace engineer, but by the time I graduated I was a poly sci major with a minor in Asian studies. Now I'm getting a masters in accounting wanting to work in real estate finance. If your interests bounce around like mine have, putting all your eggs into the investment banking basket may not be the best idea. If you still find yourself dead-set on entering the finance world though, you still have a few options for your particular situation.

The easiest step you can take is to just not select a major for your first year of college. Most schools I've seen require X number of core classes to round out student's educational curriculum. I would using your first year to take as many diverse classes as you can to get a feel of what you like and don't like. Take a finance course. Take a intro medical course. Take a poly sci and a hard science and a philosophy course. You never know what might interest you, and heck maybe you'll find that finance really isn't what your passionate about, that it's marine biology or quantum physics. This will help you get these core classes out of the way while buying you some time to really nail down what you want to do.

If after a year you don't know, or are still gunning for finance, you're going to have start making some real choices. A path you might want to consider is doing the medical degree, but still network with finance people on the side (and maybe getting a finance minor or double major on the side). I believe all of the BB IB divisions have healthcare focused groups, as do many boutiques and MM banks. Having this distinction may help you differentiate yourself from other candidates, and get you into the field of finance. This is of course assuming you can tolerate being pegged for healthcare related finance positions, rather than having the option of finding another area within finance that you enjoy.

Finally, if healthcare/medicine does not interest you AT ALL, you may just have to screw your parents and get the finance degree anyway. There's no doubt this can be a scary decision, and I wouldn't suggest making it with a lot of consideration an introspection, but at the end of the day your #1 priority is your education. This can mean hurting relations with your folks, this can mean losing your financial support, but if you are really, truly wanting to get into this field, this may be the step you'd have to take. Once you hit 18, for the most part you are your own man, and as long as you're willing to except the responsibility of your choice you should have no regret doing what's best for you.

Outside of that, there's not much more I can suggest to you. It's unfortunate you have to fight your parents so hard on this, but sometimes it's difficult for them to get over their own experience and bias of the world they know. Not to mention they've also invested 17 years of their lives (and tons of money) to develop you to the person you are.

Hope this helps.

Jul 28, 2013

One thing I think that you're missing is that you don't need to study finance to work in finance. Why don't you major in physics (or some other STEM major), then you can go either way later on. Your parents may not know what you should do later in life, but you probably don't either.

    • 1
Jul 28, 2013

@crackjack

Thanks for your well thought out post. But I have certain issues with your post. My parents and I see college as an investment. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely love studying philosophy or whatever else, but I don't know if I can get a job in any good job (no offence intended to graduates of philosophy).

Convincing them about finance is tough enough, just imagine if I tell them I want to major in something potentially less lucrative... See where I'm coming from?

@SirTradesaLot

I was actually admitted into some UK undergraduate medical schools, so my parents were pressuring me to start my medical studies now (and graduate around 1 or 2 years earlier than US med-students). So getting a STEM major is kinda out of the question now, especially since I have this "golden opportunity" of pursuing an "awesome" career in medicine starting right now.

Also, what happens if I major in STEM and don't want to go to med school for that matter? I know Wall Street is open to STEM people but I'm not convinced of the prospects of landing a solid job.

Jul 28, 2013

People with art history majors go to wall street all the time, if they go to a good school. I can't think of anyone that wouldn't want to hire a STEM grad.

Jul 28, 2013

Yes, some Wall Street firms did hire STEM majors as FO analysts from my school, but they are in the extreme minority. Most are finance or economics majors.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:

Yes, some Wall Street firms did hire STEM majors as FO analysts from my school, but they are in the extreme minority. Most are finance or economics majors.

That's self selection. Most STEM majors don't want to work in finance.

Jul 28, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
MoneyManager:

Yes, some Wall Street firms did hire STEM majors as FO analysts from my school, but they are in the extreme minority. Most are finance or economics majors.

That's self selection. Most STEM majors don't want to work in finance.

Good point. I might do a double major of sorts if necessary.

But that still doesn't change the fact that my parents want me to start my medical studies right now..

You see, my father is probably one of the happiest doctors in the planet. He loves his job, works 15-20 hours a day, 6 times a week, and isn't even ready to retire despite his gray hair, health problems, and wrinkled face.

So he expects me to be a doctor and follow his footsteps...I really don't want have much altruism and would honestly ONLY do medicine for the good money involved...If that is the case, I'll be a terrible doctor and spread more suffering than health due to my incompetence.

Jul 28, 2013

Welcome to the life of asian kids across the country :P.

Numbers and statistics won't do you much good here.There are plenty of unemployed finance grads and plenty of doctors in primary care netting as much as a 1st year analyst. Yeah, yeah reimbursement is getting slashed for a bunch of things but the high paying specialties will still be doing fine and the primary care docs will still be getting shit on. Broadly speaking, the physician industry is more forgiving with regard to "prestige" and someone who goes to a non top 5 med school/residency program can still come out ahead. BUT then and again not all finance grads have to work FO IBD at GS. There are plenty of other legitimate, interesting finance jobs with decent pay. There's really not much to say other than, what do YOU want to do? You haven't even started college yet so give it some time.

Once upon a time I was in your situation. My cousins and I were pretty much raised on a "either be a doctor or marry one" mentality. Parents really really wanted (and still want) me to be a doctor and a bunch of my relatives are in high paying specialties. They were happy to pay for med school and I took the MCATs, etc. We had plenty of similar conversations throwing law into the mix for good measure. The one, GIANT thing that was overlooked was what I actually wanted to do and it turns out that 10+ years of extra schooling and residency to get into the specialities I wanted just wasn't it. Work on becoming your own person and figuring out what you want to do. You don't have to be disrespectful about it, but it's time to set some boundaries with the parents.

It's worth bearing in mind that you don't need to major in finance to go into finance and you don't need to major in bio/premed to go to med school. You do need to take the premed requirements but those can be crammed into a year and/or taken elsewhere if you do change your mind.

Jul 28, 2013

Are you asian?

Jul 28, 2013

At some point in life, you'll need to cut the umbillical cord and be your own man. That's all else I can say.

Jul 28, 2013

@mehtal,

Thanks for your comment.

This sentence highlights my sentiments exactly: "The one, GIANT thing that was overlooked was what I actually wanted to do and it turns out that 10+ years of extra schooling and residency to get into the specialties I wanted just wasn't it."

I really don't think I would want to spend at least 7 extra years studying in order to find a good job. This simply isn't worth it, especially since I'm just going to do medicine for the money.

@raptor.45,

Is your question really important?

@SirTradesaLot

Haha, nice pun.

I am trying to be my own man, but am being attacked on all sides. Do you think I enjoy this?

Jul 28, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

At some point in life, you'll need to cut the umbillical cord and be your own man. That's all else I can say.

This is on point. You can come up with plenty of reasons to do or not to do finance or medicine. Ultimately, you'll simply have to stop listening to somebody else--even if they are your parents--and make a decision on your own. There's really not much to say other than that.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:

I am trying to be my own man, but am being attacked on all sides. Do you think I enjoy this?

Eh, keep in mind that you're still living at home and in constant contact with the parents. This will probably start fading once you move out and actually start college. It's not always a gentle process but the weaning will happen if you want it to, even with the most involved, micromanaging parents.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:

I am trying to be my own man, but am being attacked on all sides. Do you think I enjoy this?

People with different opinions are going to be attacking you your entire life. Better get used to it now at 17. When you realize your opinion regarding your own future is the only one that truly matters, you'll be better off. Your parents are trying to help, certainly, but there is no cookie cutter approach for everyone.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:

@crackjack

Thanks for your well thought out post. But I have certain issues with your post. My parents and I see college as an investment. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely love studying philosophy or whatever else, but I don't know if I can get a job in any good job (no offence intended to graduates of philosophy).

Convincing them about finance is tough enough, just imagine if I tell them I want to major in something potentially less lucrative... See where I'm coming from?

My suggestion about taking other classes was merely to broaden you experience in other fields. Just because you're not making $200,000+ a year at your job doesn't mean you can't find financial security in a field like philosophy. There's always other things like personal life, enjoyment of the job that can (IMO) be just as important, though it may not seem like it at 17.

As to your other point, I will reiterate my last point. That the end of the day, it's not what you're parent's think about your future career or want for you, it's about what you want. If you absolutely, positively want to go into finance, and you're willing to stick to your guns on your choice, then you'll have to have the balls to say, "Look mom and dad, I know you want me to be a physician but this is my life, and I want to go into finance. So either you're going to be willing to help me, or I will do it on my own." It'll be the fucking scariest conversation you'll ever have with your parents (outside of things like "hey I just knocked up this girl and we're getting married"), but unless you want them dictating to your future, it's what you'll have to do.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:
Raptor.45:

This is definitely a troll. No sane doctors would actually recommend their kids go to medical school in this regulatory environment.

Why are you so quick to come to conclusions? I have no reason to troll. If you came from a family of physicians (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins), then you would see the pressure of choosing this profession and understand this situation.

If you have nothing to contribute to this thread, then simply do not contribute.

Most doctors today would recommend against going into medicine.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/06/05/yo...

According to Forbes, "Over three-fourths of physicians we surveyed last year were pessimistic about the future of the medical profession; 84% agreed that the medical profession is in decline; over half would not recommend medicine as a career. And more than 60% of physicians said they would retire if they had the means to do so."

Jul 28, 2013

@crackjack,

Thanks for your clarification and I appreciate your advice.

@Techbanking

lol, you know what's funny? I mentioned a similar article on medscape about physician dissatisfaction to my father and he said such articles/studies are a bunch of bullshit because doctors love to complain about their profession.

He then goes on to say that only unhappy doctors report their beliefs (ie: complaining) to medscape (and forbes, if I mentioned your article) and the happy doctors love hiding behind the scenes.

I don't know if my father is incredibly biased in favor of the medical profession or if he genuinely believes finance is the mother of all evil.

Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:

Furthermore, they claim that "financial analysts" caused the crisis in 2008, even though analysts are the lowest rung in the bank. Then they mention that bankers are criminals, get sued a lot, and many are in jail. On the other hand, very few doctors go to jail because they are so altruistic and kind.

Now, what do you guys think? If you had the choice to do it all again...would you do medicine or banking (assuming no debt is incurred)? Do any of you have stories regarding a similar situation? Is my logic wrong, or are my parents wrong?

When your parents refer to financial analysts, they aren't really referring to junior IB analysts...just the profession as a whole. Your parents believe what the media and many other people in this country want them to believe. Your average banker isn't a criminal. There are bad people in finance, and there are bad people in medicine. You'd be hard pressed to find a banker whose improper actions led directly to someone's death.

Medicine is certainly a more altruistic career choice in that you can directly help people. Essentially no finance people were jailed as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, unless you want to count Ponzi schemers. That is just wrong.

If you are worried about getting sued, don't go into medicine. Your average doctor is more likely to be sued for malpractice than anyone in any area of finance.

Jul 28, 2013

They'll get over it once you're out of college making money.

Jul 28, 2013

Just sayin, if cost is not an issue as you said then you can always go to the undergrad med schools you mentioned, get a good science degree, and just read books on accounting/finance/investing in your free time. It's entirely possible to set yourself up with the knowledge needed for an internship/entry level finance position just from reading books on your own. Your medical studies would probably set you up foor something in the healthcare sector.

Jul 28, 2013
Thurnis Haley:

They'll get over it once you're out of college making money.

This. They probably have some image as "financial analyst" as some day trader in their underwear buying aapl on margin. Just tell them about your six figure income when you're 22 and they'll probably shut up.

Jul 28, 2013

Be sure your parents actually understand what it is you're doing. For my family "investment banker" = "bank teller". Now that I'm looking at hedge funds, I have to deal with the "Aren't hedge funds really dangerous?" type questions. It's easy to forget just how little exposure people outside the industry get to these topics.

And I, like many people on this board, started college as premed. When I was growing up, I thought the only two high paying jobs were "doctor" and "lawyer". Turns out lawyers don't make shit outside BigLaw, and doctors are incredibly dependent on specialty.

I would not bet on medicine long term. I bailed as soon as healthcare reform started looking likely. US doctors are the exception among developed countries with regards to pay. And I have far more faith in finance to survive government attacks than medicine. You are taking on a lot of debt for a distant payout by going into medicine. It's hard to predict what salaries will look like 10 years out.

Your parents are likely working off old information. Doctors killed in the the 80s and early 90s, largely due to some rather dysfunctional reimbursement schemes. It's not so easy now. Overhead and insurance costs have gone up, HMO / ACO / MCOs are driving down reimbursement rates, and NPHs are pressuring generalists.

Jul 28, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

At some point in life, you'll need to cut the umbillical cord and be your own man. That's all else I can say.

This... You have to man up and deal with it just like thousands of other Asian kids in the world. Nothing you say is going to change their mind right away. I didn't want to do finance (went the consulting route), but parents usually change their mind once their kid land an SA gig and they see how much s/he makes as an intern. (Mine sure did.) In the meantime, just do well in classes, take some STEM classes, etc.

Jul 28, 2013

Also I don't think you're just trolling because you legitimately do sound about 17 years old. I mean you're telling your parents you're going to be making $100k+ in your first job out of college before you've even begun college. The truth is you have no idea what the state of finance will be in 4 or 5 years. And now you're worried what mommy and daddy will think of your life. You're going to find out soon when you're on your own at college that it doesn't matter what they think. If they don't like it tough shit. It's not their career. If they annoy you about being premed, just tell them you are and do what you want anyways because you doing what you want will happen no matter what you tell them.

Jul 28, 2013

@Thurnis Haley

I really hope you are right. However, IF I receive that $120K job at the age of 21, I bet my parents will ask me why I'm not making $300K like 33 year old "prestigious radiologist."

@StryfeDSP

Why should I spend 6-7 years as an undergraduate medical student if my sole goal is to get into banking? Even most healthcare investment bankers aren't even doctors. I see no reason to satisfy my parents and spend more years than necessary if the end goal is the same (getting a jogb as a banker). If I think long term, getting a medical degree and then working in finance might show that I am clueless on the subject of my career and thus top MBA programs will not accept me due to such indecisiveness.

@Raptor.45

Read the part of the super awesome radiologist. I really hope I'm wrong and my parents are satisfied with $120K (if I'm successful and become a FO analyst) at the age of 21.

@West Coast Rainmaker

NAILED IT!

My parents think an investment banker = bank teller. This gets incredibly annoying and I stopped explaining to them the difference. They don't seem to understand anything finance related, so I gave up arguing.

@pnb2002

I really hope you're right..

Jul 28, 2013

You sir strike me as a pussy afraid of letting your parents down, but not caring about what you really want. Tell your parents that you're going to go to school and work hard... they are paying for it so they have a LARGE say in what you do... doesn't mean they can tell you where you have to work...

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jul 28, 2013
bfin:

You sir strike me as a pussy afraid of letting your parents down, but not caring about what you really want. Tell your parents that you're going to go to school and work hard... they are paying for it so they have a LARGE say in what you do... doesn't mean they can tell you where you have to work...

I'm not afraid of letting my parents down. If I was, I would turn my back and enroll in the reputable UK undergraduate medical schools I got accepted to and finish in 6 years instead of 8. I've even had family members threaten to disown me, but I refused to listen to them.

Instead, I have chosen finance and nothing will change as of the near future.

FYI, I received a scholarship at the university I will attend. So they aren't really paying.

Lastly, please stop using ad hominem attacks. If you have nothing constructive to tell me, please don't waste your time here.

Jul 28, 2013
Jul 28, 2013
MoneyManager:
bfin:

You sir strike me as a pussy afraid of letting your parents down, but not caring about what you really want. Tell your parents that you're going to go to school and work hard... they are paying for it so they have a LARGE say in what you do... doesn't mean they can tell you where you have to work...

I'm not afraid of letting my parents down. If I was, I would turn my back and enroll in the reputable UK undergraduate medical schools I got accepted to and finish in 6 years instead of 8. I've even had family members threaten to disown me, but I refused to listen to them.

Instead, I have chosen finance and nothing will change as of the near future.

FYI, I received a scholarship at the university I will attend. So they aren't really paying.

Lastly, please stop using ad hominem attacks. If you have nothing constructive to tell me, please don't waste your time here.

Please point out where I "attacked" you... You asked for advice of the community, you received advice, you didn't like it, maybe you shouldn't respond? Please don't waste your time here.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jul 28, 2013
Thurnis Haley:

Sounds like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_pfzYD1dXY

Haha, that sums it up.

@bfin

You immaturely refer to me as a "pussy." Now, I don't care what you think. After all, getting worked up on the internet is ridiculous. But that isn't really constructive. Although you do make a good point in the rest of your post.

Jul 28, 2013

These kinds of finance vs. medicine discussion usually end up in some kind of time/compensation debate, and this thread is no exception. OP, do not base your career decisions solely on money. If you're interested in finance more than medicine, do that. Don't worry about that "prestigious radiologist" making 300K at 33. btw, radiology is not considered prestigious in medicine, and if you're doing it right in finance, you should be making more than 300K at 33 without 150-200K in loans.

Jul 28, 2013

If you're still around in IB/PE/HF at age 33 starting from an analyst at age 22 you will be clearing multiples of $330k. Compare that to making $0 (and going into crushing debt but it sounds like your parents would pay for med school) until you're 30+ and then making a fraction of a PE/HF/IBer even as a radiologist. And correct me if I'm wrong but don't doctors (even the best specialties) top out at around 600-800k? The sky is the limit in high finance pay.

Jul 28, 2013

@Ipso Facto

I never really intended for this thread to be a medicine vs finance discussion. I already made my final choice of pursuing finance, but I had to vent my frustrations and share my experiences with all of you to learn about your opinions.

Radiology is one of the more competitive specialties in medicine, and their average pay is among the highest. So many people consider it "prestigious." I honestly do not care about prestige at all and am just sharing what some doctors think.

I'm not doing finance for the money. I know I WILL NOT last long in finance if I'm doing it solely for the compensation. As a matter of fact, I chose NOT to pursue medicine because I know I'd get burnt out and be miserable for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, having a financially secure life is important to me. I feel like I will enjoy a career in finance.

@Raptor.45

Yea, most specialties top out at $600K-800K.

Again, I'm just venting my frustration. No family member is open to this discussion. So I'm here to do what I feel needs to be done in order to get this off my chest. Please don't take anything I say as if I'm trying to offend you. I've had to deal with this for around three full years and I'm letting all of it out now, before college starts.

Jul 28, 2013

sounds reasonable to me. good luck.

Jul 28, 2013
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Jul 28, 2013
Jul 28, 2013