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Research for MSM CaRMS!!


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Hello, I'm a MSI4 whos doing a little planning ahead for MSM. My school has a research block in 4th year so it would make sense for me to try to seek research opportunities for the sub specialty I want as I am thinking of IM. Since medicine subspecialties are much smaller field I assume the "who you know" factor plays into it a lot more than matching to IM. I found two potential PIs that I am interested in. One is a young staff who is extremely qualified, hired on as an associate head role at a very young age and leading trials. Other one is one of the most influential individual in the department, world-class leader whos research I may be slightly less interested in.

Young staff: probably more productive given his point in career, probably will care about me more & have more time to support me, but will not have been in the department/field long enough for him to sway the departments (esp OOP programs) for me.

Older staff: probably less productive and not support me in research as much as I will need/want, but his opinion will matter a lot more in this subspecialty across the country.

 

For those wiser than me that have gone through this game, is who you know as big of a factor as I'm making it out to be? I already have done a bit of research in this field and have few 1st author publications. At this point is it wiser to find the biggest name that can support me?

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I think you are asking 2 Questions. Which one will have more influence in my selection as an Interviewee? And can either of them sway the Interview Panel (let's assume it will be a Panel of 6) in favour of my selection? A subsidiary question might be, Would either of these doctors be a member of the Interview Panel?

It is difficult to read the tea leaves in responding to you. There is no doubt that the older staff would have greater influence. Having said that, given your contribution, how likely is it that he will support your Application? 

For CaRMS, I applied for a coveted spot where the Head of the Dept knew of me and my profile. There were 3 residency positions, 80 Applicants and 40 Interviewees. I became one of the 40 Interviewees. I learned that the secretary of the Head of Dept made that selection, she has been there for many decades, know what they are looking for and I believe she was swayed in her selection of me at that stage by a stellar LOR of an esteemed colleague of the Dept for decades, the older person did not involve himself in my favour. In the end, I was not selected.

I also applied to a surgical specialty with the same profile, i.e., 3 spots, 80 Applicants, 40 Interviewees. An attending gave me a stellar LOR. I was one of the 40 Interviewees. There were many gunners who were Interviewees whose profile in this field were superb, while I was an outsider with only a 2 week elective under my belt. On the Panel of 6 Interviewers was the resident for whom I worked, who knew me to be a hard and enthusiastic worker, collaborative and easy to get along with. In other words, he knew I would be a good fit, notwithstanding my otherwise less than ideal profile of experience and knowledge in the field. My interview lasted 10 minutes, I fielded all questions well and I learned much later that all 6 were unanimous in my selection. Go figure. It was my soft skills that were the determining factor.

It is impossible to give you any definitive advice. My gut is that I would follow my interests and go for the younger staff and let the chips fall where they may. You cannot count on any particular school dept selecting you at each stage of the process. There are too many factors that come into play. I applied to 3 different fields where I was confident that I could be happy practicing, got all my interviews and let the chips fall where they may. I also realized that I might not be selected for any of them. As it happened, the surgical specialty selected me and I am so, so happy with the outcome.

May The Force Be With You!

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Normally I advise people to stick with the productive young mentor. If your purpose was research for the sake of research I'd tell you to do that. But you're doing this to help with carms. For farms, you can get two things out of research:

1. A check box in the "can this guy do research" 

2. Networking/impressing interviewers.

Since you've got publications, you've got # 1. As much as I hate to say it, I think (in your specific case) you've got more to gain from working with the older influential researcher.

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How much older is this researcher, because if they are a big name, but will still be around when you apply, then probably the older one. Also, if you've met either of them, ask about your fit with either. You should always choose the person who you think will actually get along with you as well. 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/12/2018 at 5:57 PM, Edict said:

How much older is this researcher, because if they are a big name, but will still be around when you apply, then probably the older one. Also, if you've met either of them, ask about your fit with either. You should always choose the person who you think will actually get along with you as well. 

Haha I actually don't know if the older physician will still be around. He looks like he can retire at any point.

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On 8/12/2018 at 7:40 AM, PhD2MD said:

Normally I advise people to stick with the productive young mentor. If your purpose was research for the sake of research I'd tell you to do that. But you're doing this to help with carms. For farms, you can get two things out of research:

1. A check box in the "can this guy do research" 

2. Networking/impressing interviewers.

Since you've got publications, you've got # 1. As much as I hate to say it, I think (in your specific case) you've got more to gain from working with the older influential researcher.

Thanks for the input! Do you have any idea on what I should look into for seeing whos "influential" for lack of better words?

I.e. does being a program director of a fellowship program put them at a higher on a "influence meter" versus someone who has been on the faculty for a longer period of time?

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9 hours ago, Economist said:

Thanks for the input! Do you have any idea on what I should look into for seeing whos "influential" for lack of better words?

I.e. does being a program director of a fellowship program put them at a higher on a "influence meter" versus someone who has been on the faculty for a longer period of time?

Yeah in terms of carms influence, people involved in the program/selection take precedence. Next are high impact people in their field. Sucky to pick your supervisor like that, but thats kind of how it works.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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