Leaving Medical School for Finance

Hi all,

I hope you are well. I'm currently finishing my first year of medical school, and am thinking of leaving medicine for finance (PE, VC, or IB, if possible).

Some background: I was Phi Beta Kappa from a target undergrad, and graduated with slightly over a 4.0, but studied biology. I'm currently at an Ivy med school.

My primary question, which I've been thinking about over the last few months, is how best to move from medicine into a career in finance. My thoughts of what I could do are as follows:

  1. MBA - Apply to my school's MBA program (not M7, but close), which I'd complete in an extra year between 3rd and 4th year, and finish in fourth year. This seems like an okay option, but the downside is that I would need to continue in medical school for two years until I can start the MBA. The main drawback I foresee is that I would be spending my time studying medicine instead of building a career in finance.
  2. Apply for a master's in finance. I'm too late to apply for the upcoming year, but could in principle apply for the following academic year. Pursuing a master's in the near future would require me to drop out of medical school.
  3. Apply for summer internships in the upcoming cycle, which I believe would require dropping out of med school to pursue.

Regarding a career, I don't really have any desire to incorporate medicine into a career in finance, but would be willing to do so if it would help my career. Could I please ask you which option you think is best? I don't imagine that my list is nearly exhaustive, and I would love any suggestions and advice you can offer.

Lastly, if you think that staying in medical school and doing an MBA is the best option, what would you advise I do to de-risk myself and prepare myself for a career in finance (e.g., CFA exams)?

Comments (3)

May 4, 2018

Curious as to why you'd like to switch from med school to finance.

I can't speak from the standpoint of a recruiter or hiring manager, but my opinion is as follows: MF> Internship > MBA. Given that you don't want a finance role that deals with medicine/healthcare, you'll likely need financial knowledge and experience. I'd say internships are generally better because its hands on learning, you get paid, and there's a chance of converting a full time offer, but imo its unlikely that you'll get a relevant internship for this summer given that it's already May and you have little to no background in finance. A Master's gets you that knowledge and direct access to OCR. (I don't have much experience with MBAs so someone should correct this if I'm wrong, but) I'd guess an MBA would set you up for a role that's more geared towards healthcare management/finance rather than 'pure' PE/VC/IB

May 4, 2018

Thanks so much for your reply.

As shallow as it sounds, my primary motivation for going into medicine was because I thought that a career as a doctor would give me some level of prestige/status, and is well remunerated. Since coming to medical school, I have found that medicine doesn't have the same 'prestige' I thought it did when I was an undergrad. In undergrad, I wasn't overly fond of the premed coursework, but pushed myself through it because I thought that learning about human medicine as a med student would be more exciting. I've found that not to be the case, and regret that I didn't seriously consider other careers (namely finance) in college.

I suppose my reason for wanting to go into finance isn't that strong. I read The Economist periodically, and find it exciting to read about M&A's, stock prices, etc. I also have some money invested in a managed fund, and as silly as it sounds, I get really excited when I check my account, and feel excited at the thought of doing work that could generate returns for others. I'd like to do more reading about finance, but until I completely commit myself to moving into finance, it's hard for me to justify spending the time on work that isn't related to med school.

I agree re this summer's internships - I wish I had come to this realization earlier on. I had been toying with the idea since I started med school in August, but only in the last few weeks have I considered it more fully.

Do you think it would be a better idea to try to do an MD/MF (doing the MF at another school, like Princeton), than doing an MD/MBA. Or do you think it would be better to apply for an MF starting in 2019, and then drop out of med school to pursue that?

Alternately, as part of our school's MD/MBA program, students do summer internships, which aren't restricted to healthcare-related roles. Although it would be a few years away, do you think it would be fruitful to aim for an internship in PE, VC, or IB if I do an MBA? That still would leave me in med school for the next two years, during which time I could work on my own time to build up my financial knowledge (e.g., by studying for the CFA exams). Do you think that would be a reasonable idea?

May 4, 2018
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