MD (Medical Doctor) wanting to get into healthcare ER

DorianMD's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 20

Hello everyone, I am currently a resident in internal medicine that is planning to forgo fellowship to get into ER. Why now? Because I didn't know the field even existed until last year.

About me:
BS in biochemistry at a University of California school.
MD from a BIG 10 school in the Midwest.
Currently doing IM residency at an academic institution.
Planning on completing residency and being board certified before applying to these ER associate jobs.

My issue:
Most of these job postings seem to require prior finance experience. How do I approach this? Take finance courses while not working? Apply for a M7 MBA program? CFA Level 1? Self-study? I know I don't want to practice clinical medicine on a long term basis anymore (no autonomy, healthcare inefficiency, etc.). I want to do ER because I have been managing my own brokerage portfolio for sometime now and enjoy it.

Thanks for your help.

Comments (41)

Best Response
May 23, 2017

What the f** is wrong with you? You went through med school to get into ER?

    • 20
May 23, 2017

If you are actually serious about this, the most feasible path would be CFA -> MBA - > ER. You could take CFA level I this December and then level II next June. That will give your story more weight in the MBA application, and it would be a good litmus test for yourself to see how serious you are.

May 25, 2017

I think that part of the attraction of hiring an MD by financial organizations is the experience they have that comes from working at a hospital or even at a private practice. You'd lose the novelty factor by a big margin if you didn't actually practice medicine. It's a difficult situation, but you'd just sound like a smart kid who couldn't make up his mind on what he/she really wanted to do.

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May 26, 2017

For the love of god, don't do it!

But it is your life, so if you wanna get into ER, I'd recommend just browsing job forums for anything related to biotech, med tech, or pharmaceuticals. A MD doesn't really help for covering managed care or facilities - besides, biotech and pharma are hotter spaces.

Also, since people with your pedigree are in short supply, you could definitely shoot to go directly to the buyside. I've seen a couple jobs out there for some top notch funds that explicitly state you need a PhD or MD to be considered.

Bottom line, I doubt you need to get the whole CFA (level 1 alone will give you 90% of the value that the charter has to offer) and depending on your vertical, the finance element will be a piece of cake for you. An MBA would be a similar waste of my time imo - lemme know if you want me to expand on this.

Happy to discuss more via PM.

May 26, 2017

This is very good advice, and I withdraw my earlier comment (I wasn't thoroughly thinking through the value of the MD to biotech, etc. within ER).

May 29, 2017

Start working as a doctor than network. Learn modeling via WSO or BIWS. Don't bother with more schooling like an MBA. At most, do Level 1 of the CFA, but you don't need all three levels before transitioning into the field.

On a side note, most legit life sciences and bio-tech VC firms want MD / PhDs for associate level positions and above. That would be a lot more interesting than ER in my opinion, but depends on the person.

Buy side is always better than sell side.

May 29, 2017

Do you foresee any issues with the US housing market?

If you do pls let me know. ty

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May 29, 2017

Not worth. Dude it will take forever to make what you will be as a doctor, who knows if you will ever make it (given no prior finance experience with actually valuing companies), healthcare ER is very specific work (most HC HF's want people from HC IB). There are so many cons and no real pros. Don't fuck this up after coming so far. If you really are interested in HC equities, then you can do that on your own time while making well upwards of 200k practicing later down the road (depending on what you do)

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May 29, 2017

All I want to say is, what is wrong with ppl? This doesn't seem to be entirely uncommon in the US but I don't think this ever happens in Canada. In Canada, we pay doctors way too much I suppose.

May 29, 2017

No, in garbage little Canada, finance professionals get paid too little.

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May 30, 2017
Black Knight:

No, in garbage little Canada, finance professionals get paid too little.

Both statements are very true.

May 29, 2017

Networking should be top priority for you here. Plenty of ER spots for an MD, but they don't necessarily post job ads searching for a doctor. Try LinkedIn and university alumni networks to reach out and make some contacts - plenty of healthcare or even biotech groups will want to talk to an MD.

May 30, 2017

Why are you actually interested in equity research? I suggest researching 2-3 stocks in the pharma / biotech / medical equipment space, meaning reading the 10k, 10q, call transcript, industry report, proxy statement, building models, and forming a view on whether your stocks are buy or sell. Then come back and tell us: do you see yourself doing these tasks on a daily basis for the rest of your career? (because that's what you do at least on the sell side for sure)

I advise against MBA because I am an MBA candidate currently. You learn investing by researching stocks, not by going to school. Do it on your own rather than paying expensive tuition.

DM me if you want to chat more.

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May 30, 2017

ER is a dying field, and if you're good enough to have gotten a fellowship, why not go through with it?

if you get through the fellowship and don't like medicine, no one says you have to practice, you could always go into drug development.

seems like an awful waste of time just to be a footnote reader.

Nov 21, 2019

Is ER dead yet ?

May 30, 2017

I think the best path is CFA (mostly to learn basics/ demonstrate interest) and some basic finance courses: (accounting, corporate finance, something involving valuation of stocks if they have it )via a local university.

At that point I would say you're good to go in terms of pursuing ER or buyside roles. To maximize your chances you need to do more work on which sectors specifically you're interested in. I'd then come up with a few good pitches/ stock ideas and a very solid story about how your experience as a doctor makes you better qualified than Joe Schmo healthcare analyst.

Sell-side loves your type of background because its an easy selling point (he's a real doctor!) and what they do is sell. Assuming you can prove the finance fundamentals you should have a great shot. For buyside you will probably need to prove more expertise/ deeper knowledge of a specific field of interest.

More for the clowns above than for you: doctors make a lot of money but the work (in many specialties) is actually one of the places that compares to finance in terms of share stress/brutality. Ultimately, you still have more upside in finance (can cross 1M/yr under 40 in finance; doesn't really happen anywhere else) so its actually not crazy to want to pursue this path instead.

May 30, 2017

The grass is always greener on the other side....

Jun 4, 2017

Michael Burry.

Jun 11, 2017

Why would you want to complete your residency? Just start looking for work now and have a good story for why you decided to finish medical school despite wanting to go into ER.

Gimme the loot

Jul 15, 2017

Hi all.
I am in a very similar situation, since I finished my emergency medicine residency, and Ph.D for clinical pharmacology. I am now working for a small pharmaceutical company, making M&A deal , IP investment research or co-development of specific new drugs. The problem I got is that I am not in US. I was born, graduated med school and got job in Asia, not stayed in other country for a long time.

I would like to ask for a career transition advice, for investment banking jobs in Hong Kong or Singapore. It is hard to find out jobs like that in my country, so I need to relocate in order to get those opportunities.

Would this be a good career path? with my experience as a business development manager in a biopharma company, what would you guys suggest more?

thanx.

Jul 20, 2017

Why dont you and OP consider management consulting? People here seem to be quite anti-consulting but I'm pretty sure you guys will have an edge going into Healthcare/biotech consulting at MBB as an Associate/EM/Implementation Specialist given your strong background in science. Solving pharma cases should not be an issue for you guys! Finance is going to be a long uphill battle.

But if Finance is really what you want to do then the easiest path would probably be Masters; MBA/MSc Finance somewhere reputable in UK/US would be great.

Jul 21, 2017

I started my study for CFA, since MBA/MSc finance would be time-consuming, as I need to work for my family.
Anyhow, my final goal is to be a partner for VC or PE, management consulting may be a good option for it.
But I think IBD would be more to learn from, and when I try to jump up for VC or PE, finance background would be better considered than management consulting. Isn't it true?

The problem is language barriers and relocation. How do you think of it? Not a native for english nor mandarin...

Jul 21, 2017

Take and pass CFA level I. I swear it's how I stuck out on the pile of applicants. Also -- really sell that research experience. You have neither an MD or a PhD, and applicants for those positions have dozens of MDs and PhDs applying. Also, a lot of biotech analysts prefer PhDs over MDs anyways, so your best bet to get a chance when in a head-to-head comparison with those applicants is to make sure your application sells that clinical research experience as best as you can.

If the CFA level I doesn't make it work, you may want to consider level II and maybe even III. I can name a few MDs (have the degree, never did residency) working on biotech sell-side that took AND passed all three levels before they landed a job.

Jul 21, 2017

What made you re-think medical school?

Jul 21, 2017

~350k of loans at 7% and not being in a realistic position to start paying it down for ~10 years. Chances are I would be crawling out of debt in a fee-for-service environment with pervasive supplier-induced demand when I'd finally become an attending. Most hospitals operate on 3-5% margins. Most of their service lines are cash negative year after year. What keeps them above water? Maximizing cath lab and other outpatient procedure volume. Actively discriminating against medicare/medicaid patients plays an important role as well.

I genuinely wanted to go to medical school to help people. Learning these things convinced me I'd probably do more harm than good.

Jul 21, 2017

I'm a former Pre-Med who went into IB recently.

Leverage your research and analytical experience (data analysis and technical skills are a big differentiator). Express the difficulty of the course load when explaining what extra-curricular activities you took part in.
Show familiarity with the subject and be prepared to talk about biotech industry trends.

Also be prepared to answer,"Why Equity research?"
Working out a transition story ahead of the interview helps dramatically.

Jul 21, 2017

A good amount of Pharma, Biotech, and Life Sciences analysts have medical degrees.

Jul 21, 2017

ER guy here.

Short answer is, most definitely. Biotech is a hot space right now and a good number of BB / boutiques are hiring. You'll have to be able to demonstrate at least a passing understanding of the market (preferably more than just that though). I personally know of PhD / MD types with no formal prior finance experience who got into BBs for Biotech and healthcare ER.

Jul 21, 2017

Agree with the post above - most definitely a need for PhDs/MDs in equity research. PM me, we can talk more.

Jul 21, 2017

Michael Burry did it!

Jul 21, 2017

Leerink Swann looks for guys with medical backgrounds. i see their job posting on OneWire often.

Jul 21, 2017

Pass CFA Level 1 to show you have an understanding of Finance, and you'll be an asset in Biotech ER

Jul 21, 2017

Hi, I'd like your advice, I'm in a similar position.
Have a degree in Biomed, currently working in risk at a BB, taking CFA level 1 in December, what's my best bet for working in ER in this field?/Anything else I should be doing.

Thanks.

Jul 21, 2017

Whatever happened to this thread?

Jul 21, 2017

Get ready for accounting questions. How are financial statements combined/how do they flow together. They will definitely ask why are you planning the change in your career.

Jul 21, 2017
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My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jul 21, 2017
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"It's very easy to have too many goals and be overwhelmed by them... The trick is to find the one thing you can focus on that represents every other single thing you want in life." -- @"Edmundo Braverman"