Medical School --> IBanking

Hi everyone,

I'm a 2nd year medical student at a mid-tier school, went to University of Michigan following the premed track with the intent of becoming a doctor. Long story short, I've realized I'd rather pursue a career in investment banking. I know some will probably be skeptical, but I've done my homework and given it a lot of thought. My question is what is the best way to enter/side-door into IBanking while being in graduate school?

I'm having trouble getting internships since I'm not in undergrad anymore, which is a requirement for many of them, and haven't had any luck applying to analyst positions because of the lack of finance experience (most of my experiences are volunteer work with AmeriCorps, club leadership positions, hospital jobs, tutoring, etc.), although I have been taking online courses and reading books for the technical questions and skills but don't think companies will take those seriously. I'm at an awkward in between, and was wondering if anyone had tips whether to focus on full-time analyst positions vs. internships, or even something else.

The only caveat is that I can only take 1 year off from school if I decide to come back for whatever reason, so I haven't been considering getting other financial experience (consulting, accounting, VC, etc) so that I can instead get the true experience of IB. Finishing school with the MD to get into associate programs is an option, but I want to avoid taking on 2+ years of medical school debt if possible.

Would love to hear any thoughts or advice. Thanks in advance.

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Comments (89)

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:40am

I get hours in IB can go 80-100+/week, but residency, which is 3 years minimum with $60-70k salary, see similar hours (not including 60+ hours spent studying in med school). Half of the time is spent writing up notes on your computer, and the other half you can meet some great patients but at least for me, it's not the most amazing work either. Debt will be ~$250k+ after school. 

Are you saying stay in school to become a practicing physician, or moreso to have the MD in the banking world?

Jul 27, 2021 - 9:05am

I've seen people do it (finishing med school and then transitioning). Your best bet might be business school. As you say, internships are required, so the MBA/Summer Associate route might be the way to go. I'd try to connect with those that have done it and alumni from your school (UMich is lowkey a target) and take it from there. But whatever you do, finish med school..

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:42am

For sure, I've considered taking that route and it's still on the table. Not a fan of being in school even longer and paying more, but I know it's a common path especially with the automatic associate promotion. How come the emphasis on graduating med school first though?

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:51am

From a candidate perspective, I wouldn't want to be seen as someone who starts things but doesn't finish them. Raises questions/red flags as to why didn't they finish the MD.Plus, getting an MD is something to be proud off and that you can leverage anywhere. If I'm already in med school,halfway through, and switch I know later on I'll look back and regret not finishing.Money is certainly something to consider, but does the additional ~125k outweigh the prestige/respect that comes with the MD? (Ofc assuming the med school is known)If you truly want to switch, I'd say do it. I'm sure there's other people that can give better advice on the mechanics of doing it, but my advice is to get the MD first.

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  • Business School in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 9:09am

If you can stomach the last 2 years use UMich's network and you'll land something. Some healthcare boutiques (that pay very well, btw) might be interested in your background also

  • Business School in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 2:06pm

You definitely wouldn't be pigeonholed into HC groups but you'd be able to have a major attraction as a candidate at both healthcare groups at BB/EB/MM & healthcare boutiques. You could have some very interesting opportunities if you go this route imo

Also, if you start in healthcare you can just lateral to a different group (ie. tech) if you wanted.

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:48am

VC actually sounds very interesting to me, but I feel like there's a big opportunity cost in terms of salary with physicians or IBankers. Are you saying stay in school just for the MD and then explore options then?

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:51pm

There is a good amount of misinformation on here. To get into these type of firms - look at the credibility of the MDs. Many of them have multiple publications and have top MD degrees with top residencies.  

OP, PM me if you like. Aware of a few people that can relate to you (however I do not know them well enough to link you up with them nor will I give you their Linkedin/contact info).

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:30pm

Haha thanks for clarifying! I think some physicians would say the same about medical school to be honest. Not sure whether to chalk that up as personal preference for their field, which is why I'm trying to get some IB experience to try to make that call myself.

Jul 27, 2021 - 11:16am

Lol at monkeys a year out of school giving OP career advice when they've only been in the seat themselves for a few months. OP - no point of wasting two additional years of your life finishing up education (plus incurring a ton of additional debt) in something you know you're not passionate about. Whether you pull the plug now or two years down the road, the end result is the same. Is a MD title really worth the ROI (time and money sunk) if you end up working in a sector where your education is completely irrelevant? No one in IB is going to call you doctor even if you finish med school.

I can't speak on your behalf, but my gut feel based on the OP is you haven't "de-risked" what a career in IB means for yourself yet. To be completely candid, your post doesn't ooze passion for finance, which leads me to believe the compensation is the primary underlying motive (feel free to interject if I'm incorrect in my assumption). Nothing wrong with that - just know that there's tons of precedents that suggest focusing on money alone doesn't provide career longevity in the industry. There's a lot of "BS" in the day to day life of a junior, and it's up to you to thoroughly sniff that out (and either choose to accept / reject that from the outset) before taking the leap of faith. Do you know what analysts and associates do? Have you spent all of your waking hours for weeks on end creating charts in Excel, aligning tables in PPT and moving around logos while being sleep deprived? Have you ever turned comments for lawyers at 2am because your footnotes are missing periods? If not to any of those (just to name a few), full stop and figure out what the job actual entails before jumping into the deep end. I love IB from a senior perspective as much as anyone (in it for the long haul), but I'd be lying if I said some of the stuff we deal with as a junior is completely superfluous and adds zero value.  

If you are truly set on IB, I'd suggest mastering accounting / finance concepts on your own time, and trying to find a HC focused boutique (not the EVRs of the world - literally 10 man boutiques) that is willing to offer you an internship, paid or unpaid. Once you get some relevant experience under your belt, bigger firms will start taking you more seriously and hopefully you'll be in a position in 6 months - a years' time where you can interview for top IB roles. If all of this sounds tedious to you and not worth the opportunity cost, I'd say the switch into IB probably doesn't make sense for you.

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:42pm

First paragraph, reading my mind on where I'm at. The MD can be a good signal for hiring, but beyond that I'm not looking for the clout/respect from my colleges. Maybe the MD is a safe baseline to have, but if I can find a good opportunity now, I think it wouldn't make sense.

Second paragraph, I totally get it. Compensation is a big factor, given I have 100k in loans now with no income and have to rely on my family which I really don't like. Yes it's temporary, but have to live the lifestyle for at least another 3 years then earn 60k for 80 hour weeks. I do genuinely enjoy finance and entrepreneurship though! My experience is limited, but I enjoy reading about it, listening to podcasts, taking courses, etc. As for the lifestyle, being a medical student I know the long hours of bitchwork on meticulous things like in research, studying, volunteering, so that's not foreign to me at all. I like grinding and hustling, as long as I'm in my 20's (23 rn) and don't mind it as long as what I'm doing sets me up for a good future.

Third paragraph, I think that's what I'm trying to go for right now. I feel like it's not very credible to say on your resume "hey i read these books" or "I took these online courses from WSO, CFI, WallStreet Mojo, etc.", but it has been helping me understanding the technical skills needed for the job and interviews. Looking at local IBanks nearby for internships too, but I think that's probably my best bet. 

Really great feedback, I appreciate the input!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 12:06pm

Umich alum here who made the transition from pre-med to banking during senior year. Don't have any opinions outside of what others have said but just wanted to say best of luck and go blue!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 28, 2021 - 2:28am

I ended up staying an extra year to make the transition. Banks definitely care abt the lack of experience and I was fortunate in that I was Ross/pre med so I had some (but not great) experience. Main reason was as I kept shadowing physicians I realized you really have to be passionate abt the science and the human interaction aspect of medicine to have a sustainable and enjoyable career. Banking gives me a lot of optionality and flexibility to carve my own path, whereas medicine in the traditional sense of practicing as a physician, is very rigid and you are essentially locked in once residency starts

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:46pm

Haha I'd be happy with even $1m! Money isn't everything but it's definitely a part of the conversation. I think in either route I'd be financially well off, but the question's moreso what's a better use of my time for these next 5-10 years.

Jul 27, 2021 - 1:40pm

If you can't see yourself living anywhere but NYC or SF, ***and*** you don't think you can get into one of the more lucrative fields of medicine, then do not do this. You can be a doctor anywhere, outside of a handful of very high cost of living cities your income will provide you with an excellent lifestyle, you'll have way more control over your time, far fewer people breathing down your neck, and marketable skills that will pay you well for as long as you want to keep working. 

At the very least do some homework on what percentage of people who start careers in investment banking wash out of them. It's a lot. Way, way more than in medicine. And yeah, some of those people end up (and actually stay) at a megafund or whatever, but far more end up in corporate roles that might be fine, but not preferable to the $, quality of life, and stability that a medical career affords. 

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:53pm

Exactly. I don't this website realizes how depressing medicine can be in training (and for some as attendings). I'd say 30-40% of the ones I know suffer from depression to some extent (younger doctors I know who wish they chose different professions = about 40% of these ones I know very well straight up admit it). COVID may have worsen it but still.

Jul 28, 2021 - 9:42am

Yeah right now I'm in a boat where I'm not married to the idea of medicine and could be happier in another profession, and am afraid if I stick with medicine I'll just have regret down the road. Would've been nice to consider earlier, but better now than 5-10 years down the road.

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:53pm

This is exactly what I'm concerned about, since exit ops are a big part of IB but the question is are they really worth it. PE sounds like a great gig with great pay, but not sure how likely it is and if it's as great as it sounds, especially 10 years down the road. I'd love to be in NYC, especially now in my 20's but it's not like I can't live anywhere else. Right now, I'm looking into Emergency Med which on average is about $300-350k which is very comfortable with manageable shift work. I wouldn't make that for another 6 years, whereas if I were to go into Ibanking, and whether I stay in IB or go to PE, usually seniors can make more than that, and even more 10 years down the road. Of course IB isn't sustainable, but you're on a good trajectory. 

Side note that although I'm framing this in terms of time and money, I do genuinely like finance as much as or even more than medicine. I figured at that point I would do one that gives me more financial stability and reward.

Jul 27, 2021 - 5:43pm

How are your networking efforts going? Have you found any bankers with similar stories to yours? You need to network, network, network. It's a sheer numbers game; all it takes is 1 person to buy your story. Also, networking will give you a solid glimpse into IB.

The opportunity costs of finishing med-school to ultimately recruit in IB are quite large in terms of income. If you're already set on doing IB, then you need to make it happen sooner rather than later. Another option would be switching to an MBA at UMich and look to get an MBA Associate stint with a bank. In addition, you could look at getting an internship as a healthcare consultant that helps on transactions in some capacity to leverage that story.

Overall, if you know medicine is not what you want to do, you need to accelerate your process for alternative career paths, which it seems like you already are.

FYI - I didn't come from med-school; however, I did go from a healthcare strategist role with no finance experience to an M&A banker associate from leveraging the things I learned in healthcare.

Jul 27, 2021 - 7:01pm

I've networked with about 15-20 bankers so far, have hit a slump since school picked back up but am trying to continue on reaching out to more. I haven't really found any bankers with a similar career-transition stories aside from a doctor who switched to consulting then insurance after regretting practicing medicine after 10 years. The story is key, but I feel like no matter how well I sell the story, they often point to my lack of experience and say it'll be tough to actually get hired. I know it's a numbers game, but it seems like I keep getting stuck in the same situation with every call.

I'm trying to get the switch going as soon as possible, because if I don't find anything in a year or two, I might as well get the MD and then go associate or maybe just end up practicing if it makes more sense. Hoping to lock in something by summer of 2022.

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:31am

15-20 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. You should aim to do about 10+ network calls per week; this gives you 2 per weekday. This will quickly get your network solidified as well as learning the banker lingo, the skillset needed, etc.

Are you sure you want to do IB? Your statement of, "or maybe just end up practicing if it makes more sense" is a bit troublesome. If you're currently doing something as rigorous and time-consuming as medicine, then you should strive to know with 100% certainty that you want to switch to IB. I may be preaching to the choir here, as you know yourself/situation better than anyone, but you need to work really hard at this process because you come from a unique background.

A few ways you could get "experience" would be completing a modeling course, starting a corporate finance club at your school, starting a IB blog talking about healthcare transactions, etc. You need to get creative and have a compelling story.

Yes, the story is key. Don't get discouraged; you must endure and adapt your story. Ask bankers, "what would you be looking for in someone coming from medicine?"

What banks are you targeting? Your best bet is focusing on regional boutique banks focused on the healthcare industry as this will open up more opportunities.

I don't mean to disuade you of any career decisions you make; however, these are things you really need to hear. Unpleasant truths > Comforting lies.

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:43pm

I've seen a couple of IB kids move to Med School. Don't leave Med School. You've already done so much work to get there. Don't do this to yourself, you have ZERO clue what IB is about not having worked in it.There is too much risk with not enough of a return. You'll make good money as a doctor, particularly if you're entrepreneurial. Maybe you can still join finance with your MD degree. Ive seen it happen a lot, particularly with healthcare focused funds and equity research group. Just please please don't be naive. I know both sides of this wall.

Jul 27, 2021 - 7:21pm

Good to know people flow from IB to med school too, since I've never seen it myself. I have a good idea of what to expect in IB, med school isn't 80-100 hours but it's not easy either. I don't want to think in terms of sunk costs, just what's best moving forward. I'm trying to make a play where I can take 1 year off from med school with an internship in IB to get the feel for what it's really like and make a better decision then, but that's the part I'm struggling with. 

I appreciate the heads up though and good to know sticking to med school can still be a good move! Just a lot of opportunity costs to consider.

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:58pm

why do you want to pivot? are you interested purely in finance or would you be open to a more general business experience?

honestly, if it's the latter, you should consider consulting. we happily recruit MDs and if youre not sure, you can try it out with the internship program. caveat is, to get hired full time, you do need to finish your MD, so it isnt a situation where you can just take a year off and return to med school if you dont like it

Jul 27, 2021 - 7:05pm

Given that I'm not a finance expert, I'm not tied to a pure finance role but want something that is a bit more intense since that's the pace I'm used to in medical school. I've talked to a few people from BCG and Deloitte and it sounds great, but not sure if I'm settling by going into something not as ~prestigious~ as investment banking. Maybe that's the totally wrong way to view it, but I wouldn't say it's off the table. I'll take a closer look into that internship program, good to know there's options. Thanks for the feedback!

Jul 27, 2021 - 8:18pm

not that im the arbiter of prestige, but you should know that MBB (mckinsey, bcg, bain) are as competitive and prestigious as goldman, morgan stanley, and jpm, especially given the general decline of banking over the past 10 years and the incredible growth that consulting has seen (MBB have tripled revenue over the past decade)

as a general rule, the top firms are equally prestigious, but consulting will open a greater variety of exit opps, while banking is better for finance-specific exits. that's why i asked if you were tied to finance - if this isn't the case, consulting will let you explore more options. also keep in mind these are fairly different jobs with different expectations and work styles, so continue doing your due diligence on what fits your interests best

Jul 29, 2021 - 9:20am

Recommend throwing out that prestige factor out the window. Having friends across BBs and EBs and outside of this small group of friends literally no one cares.

I'd also like to point out the impact of taxes and investing the money. If you're in a NYC or SF you're being taxed at high rates (I'm sure you know this) so imo it is important to keep that mind when you're look at these figures 250k-350k as an IB associate/VP etc. same as a high earning doc but from my interactions physicians you could get a role in part of the country compared to IB you're mostly in financial hubs

Second is the investing part. Since you'll be FINRA registered you have to abide by their and the bank your employed at rules. Most don't allow you to freely buy and sell stocks when ever you want and there are compliance rules around setting up LLCs/investing before you invest a single dollar. At the end day… we all know you become wealthy(not rich) by growing your money way ahead of your yearly salary

If I was looking to these two career options on paper and I am passionate about both I'd really have to do a deep analysis on my long term happiness. If it were me, I'd much rather sacrifice the next 3-5 years to become a gastroenterologist or endocrine doc make $300k-500k a year in a tier 2 city and be able to freely invest my money (without a ton of restrictions) in anything I'm passionate about Including starting your own VC/PE firm and getting that finance itch scratched

Jul 27, 2021 - 7:59pm

The only person I have seen do it finished med school and reset with a top tier MBA. That being said, I think he was a lot further down the med school path than you and that's definitely not the only way to do it. You are in a hyper competitive environment at the moment and not having any finance at all does not bode well for you unless your dad is a CEO/CFO of a significant company. If I were in your shoes, I would look into MSF programs that would be shorter and cheaper than a full blown MBA. Perhaps you'll need to take care of some pre-reqs first given your previous curriculum and then start your full 1 year MSF, get some sort of internship in between those years. Honestly just trying to come up with ideas off the top of my head because this is more than just a non-traditional path, this is about as close to a 180 as you can get. You are doing the right thing by asking here. I would also make an effort to connect to many of your alum as you can that are already in the field, you never know where some good networking could help you get your foot in the door. Good luck and stay in touch with members on this board. 

Jul 28, 2021 - 9:50am

Unfortunately I don't have the family ties to something like that haha, but I like the idea of MSF, I hadn't thought about that. I'll explore what the timeline and prereqs look for that and see if anyone's had a similar path. Definitely going to keep up the networking since I think that's one of the golden rules around here. Thanks for the comment!

Jul 27, 2021 - 10:59pm

Look up the blog "medicine sux" on Wordpress. He was a reasonably informed (by law school scam blog standards, which are high) resident who regretted entering medicine and had a game plan to leave. Should have decent advice. 

Jul 28, 2021 - 9:52am

Definitely, I feel like I've decided to leave the profession more or less, but I'll take a look to see if I'm missing anything from the equation. Thanks for the tip!

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 28, 2021 - 2:29am

I'm only commenting since most (not all) of the other comments here are between questionable and bad, and I want to give you good advice.

First, I'm afraid you're going to shoot yourself in the foot if you quit medical school. You're going to be in debt no matter what you do, so just accept that fact and move on. Get through MD and learn as much as you can along the way.

Next, really ask yourself: are you trying to get to IB, or are you trying to leave medicine? I'm going to assume you're trying to leave medicine and IB seems cool but you could do just about anything since it's more about leaving medicine. If you're solely focused on getting into IB, this is a diff discussion as you may find out you hate it and you've made a grave mistake. But if all other options to you > being a doctor, then read on.

Overall tip for you: Don't do an MSF...that's bad advice. The only thing you need to do is get an MBA. It's the easiest path to break in. I said you'd be in debt right?

You actually have a great path ahead if you exercise patience and willingness to take on debt and wait for the prize. You should take 1-3 years (starting now) to figure out what you want to do with your life. You can't go work at GS today...fine. And I'm guessing you can't join a top MBA now...fine. Go do stuff that'll build your business acumen, orient you well for an MBA, and orient you well for a IB job. Use your summers to take a business-type internship in biotech/pharma. Or after graduating with an MD, have a full-time job lined up with a major biotech or pharma company that will give you exposure to business (maybe try BD or even corporate venture if you can get it, or at least something to build your acumen). And make it clear that you, at some point, want a job that gives you big picture perspective (so not just lab work). Rotation program would be ideal, though not sure if those are available to you. You should also talk to as many people as you can to get them to describe their jobs to you.

So you go work for a biotech/pharma for 1-2 years. In the meantime, at night, study for the GMAT. You might even knock out level 1 of the CFA if you are that interested in finance. Then apply for a top MBA (top 10 or bust). You'll have a good application (an interesting background, presumably good grades, differentiated corporate experience, a trajectory into finance through a CFA if you do that, or work experience that makes you want to pursue IB, and a clear story to become a HC banker). And with an MD, you'll be wanted by a lot of groups during recruiting if you want HC banking, which you will.

Go intern during your summer, get the offer, then decide if you wanna continue in HC banking (where you offer the most value and have highest demand) or if you go do something else (another banking industry, or consulting). 

Two reasons why I'm prescribing this to you: first, what I just laid out is your highest path to success in terms of getting an IB job, creating options along the way, maturing your understanding of jobs outside of medicine, and developing a clear story that will bring you success. You might like working at a big pharma/biotech and want to stay on, or you may change to consulting, or you may be headhunted by an investment firm. But all along the way you build a network, marketable skills and experiences. Second, I'm just afraid your long-term rewards and happiness will not be as high if you take the first seat that opens to you (like joining a small regional boutique where it isn't as easy to move up to the big banks) vs. if you take the MBA and land a good bank. You can aim for a smaller seat and save years and lots of money, or you can position for a bigger seat and pay up in time and money...but ultimately put yourself on a better trajectory.

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:10am

Love this comment, lots of great stuff to unpack. 

Completing the MD is where I'm unsure if even I don't go to residency/practice, will the ROI still be good? It sounds like from your perspective of being able to enter these biotech/pharm companies it will be, but it's still a bit of a risk since I could just grab the MBA instead like you mentioned (assuming things go according to plan), or land a job that gets good experience.

I would say it's more so about leaving medicine, but IB seemed like a good fit because of the ~prestige~ and high-paced environment I'm used to in medicine. I don't mind the grind for the next few years, as long as it's worth my time in terms of salary and exit ops. 

Like I mentioned, I'm at a mid-tier school that actually has an MD-MBA program I can still apply for, but unsure if for consulting, IB, biotech/pharm care where that title is coming from or not. You even said top 10 or bust haha, so I'm guessing it does, but it's an option. I know networking is a key piece of it too, but the MBA program here is only an additional year and medical students have a very high acceptance rate into the program.

Just to synthesize: Try for an internship in biotech/pharma, IB HC, or maybe consulting in the next year, land a position while studying for GMAT/CFA, then apply for MBA and get an IB job (or other opportunities). Or #2 is to stay and get the MD for 3 years, then go into HC banking. Does this sound right?

I'm all for investing the time and money, as long as in 5-10 years it's worth the sacrifice. Money now would be great, but I don't want to sell myself short and instead have a better trajectory like you mentioned.

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 28, 2021 - 2:03pm

The world is horrifingly stupid. That's why brand names matter. Being able to tell people you're an MD will help you get a job (easier to know what to do with you) and MBA.

I'm saying you should first complete the MD, then line up a job in biotech / pharma where you work for 1-2 years (you can figure out how to get there...can't imagine biotech/pharmas don't want to hire MD's with an interest in business), then after 2 years get a top 10/15 MBA and use that degree to move into IB or consulting. 

I have a feeling you're gonna have a better resume and experience following my steps than if you take the first open IB HC or consulting seat that opens up to you without getting an MBA. There's an ocean of difference between a banker at GS and a small regional boutique, so to maximize optionality, you should focus more on taking the most interesting jobs that you can get rather than taking whatever job is willing to open a seat to you. 

Last thought: maybe you should talk to professors to see if they can connect you to people who could be helpful to you, for side work experience or a conversation or something else.

Jul 28, 2021 - 9:08am

I was pre-med in college and spent some time in healthcare so I'll try to add to the discussion. I just finished up my MBA and I'll be headed into banking. I recruited for IB and networked with healthcare groups across most banks.  Interestingly enough, I met a bunch of people from juniors on up that were pre-med in college, had some epiphany, and are doing banking. 

As one of the comments mentioned above your best bet to move into IB or any commercial side of healthcare is through an MBA. If you go on LinkedIn and search for MD, MBAs you'll see people who've made a similar switch as you desire. I would try messaging them to get their perspective on going to business school.

Here's the part where I'll offer my thoughts: as an MBA Associate you'll spend a lot of time receiving directions from analysts, associates, and VPs, making content (i.e. PowerPoint) for the senior bankers on your team, doing some analysis and other tasks as required. I actually tried re-recruiting for consulting because I didn't really enjoy my summer. The job market was tough in the fall so I decided to stick with IB. T

Talk to as many people as possible who have done IB so you're well informed heading into your program. The MBA is truly the last time you can make a full career switch and typically the more interesting opportunities show up when most people have stopped looking.

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:26am

I'll have to look out for the MD-MBA's, I haven't seen any so far but I'll be more proactive on that search.

Are you saying completing the MD then doing MBA is the route, or just try to snag an MBA now and leave med school? Or I can do a MD-MBA 5 year program at the mid-tier school I'm at, too. 

I get that I'd probably be tasked with a lot of Microsoft Office content with coaching/directives from everyone else. I think that's just part of the trade. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 29, 2021 - 10:34am

Stay with med school.

You will have SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER job satisfaction than banking. Most people in IB are miserable because the work is not rewarding at all and it's honestly a huge rat race. By choosing banking, you would be giving up perhaps the most rewarding job on the planet to one of the least.

Also, you can earn just as much money being a doctor when its all said and done (if you want).

Yes, MDs in IB CAN clear $1 mil but it's super high stress (quarterly revenue quotas, still 50-60 hour work weeks, probably higher probability of divorce). Know a doctor in Pittsburgh that works in internal medicine, he earns $1 mil per year but works IB-esque hours so comp is definitely equal if you compare hours to hours.

BUT at least with being a doctor, you have better control over your hours so if you want to clear a million you can but if you're fine having a life you don't have to work that many hours (and still make more than 99% of Americans). Being in IB or PE, you're constantly competing with other people which leads to extra hours and the work is nowhere as rewarding as being a doctor. Not even going to discuss the corporate politics that come with recruiting and promoting within IB…

Med school is a no brainer. Stick with it

Jul 30, 2021 - 8:59am

Very true points with the work-life balance with flexibility down the road, I suppose I keep thinking in these next 6 years (3 school, 3 residency), I'm paying $150k+ and then working $60k salary rather than making $120-300k+ over the years, which can be invested rather than accumulate debt interest. $1m salary is probably top 0.1% of doctors to be honest, unless you have some other successful side hustle. Yes, 6 years of banking can be stressful and time consuming but so is medical school and residency, to a slightly less degree. In 6 or even 10 years down the road, which would you have a more comfortable lifestyle with and freedom in terms of deciding to career switch or start your own business, given you're working somewhat similar hours and stress levels?

Both professions pay more than enough to live a great life, which perhaps when it comes down to it when raising a family, etc. WLB is more important. I just keep wondering does the IB path just have short-term benefits, or can it set you up for a healthy long-term financial situation and career freedom?

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:58am

Hey man - my background was pre-med in UG (all the way through senior year) and decided to make the switch to finance post-grad. I currently am a strategic finance (or corp dev whatever) associate at a health tech startup, and I had an opportunity to go into banking so I can definitely chime in. To start, definitely just finish your MD, even if you don't actually want to practice clinically. My brother in law was at top UG, medical schools, practiced for a year and is a now a VP on track for a CMO role at a near billion dollar startup. The biggest hurdle is getting your first bit of experience. What I would say: learn modeling and be technically sound. From there, try to source any type of internship experience. Start with smaller organizations. This experience just needs to be finance related, not even IB. Get some finance experience on your resume, finish your MD, and recruit straight for associate positions. At your med school, if you are in good standing with administration try to see if you can add an MBA to your degree. This will open up resources for you that will prove to be invaluable. I would say the biggest thing is do not drop out now. You've made it so far - I imagine you aspired to do this since high school or before. For your past self, future self, and family just follow through with this. At the end of the day, even if you aren't practicing medicine, no one can take away the merits that come with traversing the journey of med school from start (UG) to finish (graduating medical school). No matter what career path you pick, money is going to be there so don't let a few more years of tuition be the deciding factor. Ideally, of course you would have realized this earlier but guess what you didn't and that is perfectly okay. Please, for people beyond just yourself, finish medical school and then figure it out. Completing medical school also gives you a runway to tactically game plan what this next chapter is going to look like. I got super lucky and landed at a pre-revenue startup, but to get my current role it took me 1.5 years out of UG. Please do not walk away from med school. You've endured plenty and I'm sure you can handle this last chunk as well. 

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:13am

Really like this post, glad you have a similar background to relate to. Lots of great tips and little comments that resonate with me haha.

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I'm at a mid-tier school that offers a combined MD-MBA program I can opt into that adds 1 year for the MBA. Is it worth if it's not a T15 MBA school? 

Thanks again for all your tips and suggestions!

Jul 29, 2021 - 4:21pm

Are you just starting M2? I was in your shoes 2 years ago. Opinions may vary if you are that early, but definitely finish medical school.

With respect to my colleagues on here, I would take what you hear on here with a grain of salt. I'm not sure everyone on here fully understands the route to become a fully licensed physician or how miserable residency and clinical medicine can be if you are not 100% passionate about it.

I am now an M4 at a mid-tier med school and started networking in earnest a couple of months ago. I've had positive responses from the buy-side and healthcare/biotech ER.  I will not be entering the match.

If you are persistent, the opportunities are out there.

PM me if you have questions.

Jul 31, 2021 - 4:08pm

I'm trying not to think in terms of sunk costs, rather what's the best path for me going forward. I still value everything I've learned so far, but after some realizations and goal shifting, I'm not so sure a career in medicine's ideal for me. I would love a career switch into business/finance, and figured IB is a great use of my time with great compensation and competitiveness. There's more to the story, but that's the overview.

Jul 30, 2021 - 3:55pm

Haven't read all the other comments but you're not gonna make that much in finance like you think in the early years either.Tax and COL eat up a big chunk. For the fact that you've already done a decent amount of the legwork (getting in, and even completing a bit), itshonestly better to finish it and stay in the career for money and WLB.It's likely going to take a year+ to break into an IB to learn the technicals network and even get a position. Which by the way wontbe a top name in the industry, who hire mostly their MBA associates at MBAs. You'll compete for very few spots with no traditional background (not necessarily bad but you'll need a lot of faith and trust from who you network with).Ultimately, you might not even break in because analyst roles might seem too Junior for you and associate roles might be too senior. I think it'll be really rough and you're in for a multi year process with more stress than you're realizing, that may exceed residency (because even if you get a local IB job and want to move upward, you'll be worrying about lateraling while doing the job along with CONSTANTLY THINKING YOU MIGHT HAVE MADE THE WRONG DECISION). You will constantly feel med would have been the more straightforward route and honestly be miserable.Take it from most of the people in the thread and realize that 90% of people in banking are miserable, but at least with your medical path you can choose routes where you work 20 hours a week for 400-600k (200-300/hr in ER for exampleh

Even then, there are tons of options after for people WITH MEDICAL degrees in finance whether that's VC or HF or maybe even HC banks would like to have you. If you want to jump ship try HC Banks but I wouldn't even know what role you'd be good for. Associate?

Jul 31, 2021 - 4:13pm

I think that's the general sentiment I'm getting from this thread, which is a fair point. I'm trying to avoid being too naive and thinking the grass is greener, which may or may not be true, which is why I was trying to get some first hand experience. But like you said, at this point with my experience and level, I'm going to have to compete for maybe an analyst position and have a lot of faith in networking. There's several associate programs for medical graduates, so if I do still want to make the switch that might be the move.

The medical path seems too straightforward imo, but I can easily see myself missing that haha. Thanks for the input!

Jul 30, 2021 - 8:09pm

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