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From Finance to Medicine - can I do it?


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A pre-emptive thanks to those of you who provide your advice and opinions.

I currently work in private wealth management, and to be frank, the draw of working in medicine has continued to grow stronger within me over the past few years. I love the client side of my job; working with families, being a trusted resource, and problem solving. Unfortunately, I’m finding the sales aspect of the job to be less appealing. I’ve had great success (top of my class across the nation) but I’m longing for more. My belief is that a career in medicine will allow me to continue to maintain the client-facing portion of the role I love, while reducing the need to ‘sell’, and increasing the problem solving side of my day-to-day that I enjoy. I’m trying to determine if the jump can be made.

I’m 27 years old, not married, no kids, own a home but it’s an income property so it’s self-funding. I am IP for UCalgary, which I have learned is more open to non-trad students. My GPA of my Finance undergrad was ~3.85, so I’m more concerned about the non-academic side of the application. I was a strong sciences student in high school (3.9-4.0) but moved away from that for post-secondary. For ECs, I’ve been a sessional professor at a local university for a few semesters, and I aided a former professor in writing a textbook. I currently sit on the board of two well-known not-for-profit organizations (2+ years at each) and volunteer with each. I was a part of a business club during my undergrad, I am a former junior hockey player, and created and operated an online community of 40,000+ members that involved coordinating with major companies, professional athletes, and logistics surrounding events in 5-6+ major North American cities. I know it is worth noting that I have a semi-rural background and am not opposed to working in FM in that setting, for example. 

Am I crazy? Is it possible? I always thought that the income potential would be a significant draw in my current role (effectively unlimited, not uncommon to earn $250K+), but it seems that I need more fulfillment, and I’ve always been a helper. Any and all honest feedback appreciated. I’m happy to provide more information as well. 

 

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I'll keep this short. But happy to talk further, DM me if you do. 

You have the GPA. You have a tonne of extra curriculars. How you present these is key. Sit the MCAT and see how you do. 

I'm significantly older than you  and just began my first year at UofC. Loving it.

You'll make way better money in finance, like you said. 

Not everyone ends up where they initially envisioned when starting medicine. If you're ok with that, then I think you have a decent shot.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Wealthdoc said:

A pre-emptive thanks to those of you who provide your advice and opinions.

I currently work in private wealth management, and to be frank, the draw of working in medicine has continued to grow stronger within me over the past few years. I love the client side of my job; working with families, being a trusted resource, and problem solving. Unfortunately, I’m finding the sales aspect of the job to be less appealing. I’ve had great success (top of my class across the nation) but I’m longing for more. My belief is that a career in medicine will allow me to continue to maintain the client-facing portion of the role I love, while reducing the need to ‘sell’, and increasing the problem solving side of my day-to-day that I enjoy. I’m trying to determine if the jump can be made.

I’m 27 years old, not married, no kids, own a home but it’s an income property so it’s self-funding. I am IP for UCalgary, which I have learned is more open to non-trad students. My GPA of my Finance undergrad was ~3.85, so I’m more concerned about the non-academic side of the application. I was a strong sciences student in high school (3.9-4.0) but moved away from that for post-secondary. For ECs, I’ve been a sessional professor at a local university for a few semesters, and I aided a former professor in writing a textbook. I currently sit on the board of two well-known not-for-profit organizations (2+ years at each) and volunteer with each. I was a part of a business club during my undergrad, I am a former junior hockey player, and created and operated an online community of 40,000+ members that involved coordinating with major companies, professional athletes, and logistics surrounding events in 5-6+ major North American cities. I know it is worth noting that I have a semi-rural background and am not opposed to working in FM in that setting, for example. 

Am I crazy? Is it possible? I always thought that the income potential would be a significant draw in my current role (effectively unlimited, not uncommon to earn $250K+), but it seems that I need more fulfillment, and I’ve always been a helper. Any and all honest feedback appreciated. I’m happy to provide more information as well. 

 

possible? yes, in fact someone in my class did exactly that (basically similar story). 

Motivations were similar as well. 

your GPA is in the right range - just need to compute it formally and see where you stand. Your ECs are not bad at all either.

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Looks like you're in a good spot. 

Closer to when it comes time to applying you may have to re calculate your GPA based on the different formulas to get a more specific idea of where you stand. The ECs you listed look good too and if presented well and read by the right person shouldn't hold you back. Remember that employment counts too so your wealth management job (and I imagine you held previous internships or jobs  before your full time offer) can all be used. 

You'll have to take the MCAT so make sure you do your research on how to prepare in your situation and what sections Calgary (or other schools) focus on. A couple years ago when I applied I think Calgary focused more so on 1 of the 4 Sections (called CARS). 

 

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On 12/17/2020 at 3:20 PM, Wealthdoc said:

A pre-emptive thanks to those of you who provide your advice and opinions.

I currently work in private wealth management, and to be frank, the draw of working in medicine has continued to grow stronger within me over the past few years. I love the client side of my job; working with families, being a trusted resource, and problem solving. Unfortunately, I’m finding the sales aspect of the job to be less appealing. I’ve had great success (top of my class across the nation) but I’m longing for more. My belief is that a career in medicine will allow me to continue to maintain the client-facing portion of the role I love, while reducing the need to ‘sell’, and increasing the problem solving side of my day-to-day that I enjoy. I’m trying to determine if the jump can be made.

I’m 27 years old, not married, no kids, own a home but it’s an income property so it’s self-funding. I am IP for UCalgary, which I have learned is more open to non-trad students. My GPA of my Finance undergrad was ~3.85, so I’m more concerned about the non-academic side of the application. I was a strong sciences student in high school (3.9-4.0) but moved away from that for post-secondary. For ECs, I’ve been a sessional professor at a local university for a few semesters, and I aided a former professor in writing a textbook. I currently sit on the board of two well-known not-for-profit organizations (2+ years at each) and volunteer with each. I was a part of a business club during my undergrad, I am a former junior hockey player, and created and operated an online community of 40,000+ members that involved coordinating with major companies, professional athletes, and logistics surrounding events in 5-6+ major North American cities. I know it is worth noting that I have a semi-rural background and am not opposed to working in FM in that setting, for example. 

Am I crazy? Is it possible? I always thought that the income potential would be a significant draw in my current role (effectively unlimited, not uncommon to earn $250K+), but it seems that I need more fulfillment, and I’ve always been a helper. Any and all honest feedback appreciated. I’m happy to provide more information as well. 

 

I agree with everyone that you have a really great shot at getting into med school.

But I'll be honest: Why do you want to do this? If you think when you're 65 you'll end up regretting not being a doctor, then sure, do it (though I'll point out that research on people's regrets at the end of life show that career regrets are few and far between, with most people actually regretting that they didn't spend more time with their loved ones). From a financial perspective, this is likely not going to help you that much (see my post history). From a wellbeing perspective, you'll find that much of your life will go on hold and you'll lose your autonomy for at least the duration of med school and residency (i.e., 5 years minimum, assuming Calgary MD + FM 2-year residency; much longer for any other specialty). The training to be a doctor is necessarily very demanding, so you may end up missing your regular hours and life outside of work.

I think whether what you're looking for from medicine will be somewhat contingent upon which specialty you choose. Most non-trads and older students go for FM, and in there, you'll be doing just as much "selling" and negotiating as any other career. Patients will demand things of you that you don't think are appropriate (e.g., expensive MRI imaging for run-of-the-mill low back pain), they'll refuse things that you think are appropriate (e.g., vaccinating their kids), and they'll request things that seem borderline unethical (e.g., notes to get time off work for reasons they may be lying about or exaggerating). In any hospital-based specialty, you may deal with demanding and stressed-out family members (who can even be antagonistic), and you'll be dealing with toxic hospital politics. Coming from a different field before medicine, I've come to recognize that there is no occupation that is immune to the biases and downfalls of human nature. Whatever you dislike about human social interactions in finance, I'm pretty sure you'll run into the same, just in a different form, in medicine. It's just human nature.

Note, I'm not saying that FM (or medicine in general) doesn't have meaningful outcomes, it obviously does, but I'm not sure whether the outcomes are any more meaningful or impactful than helping people with their finances. A lot of medicine, whether FM or not, also involves algorithmic thinking and following pre-established guidelines, so it becomes pretty repetitive rather than engaging your critical thinking for problem solving. Problem solving and critical thinking does happen, but from what I see, much of it is doing the same thing day in, day out, without much creativity required.

The nice thing about medicine is that there are many specialties that can suit many different types of people. So if you do decide on medicine, it would be a good idea to do detailed research on the different specialties (including talking to people in those fields) to understand whether what you want from medicine will actually be what you get. I don't mean to discourage you, because medicine is a pretty good career, but I think you're already in a good place and should think very hard about this decision.

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I agree that you'd be a good candidate for medical schools, especially if you were able to set aside some time to study and do well on the MCAT.

Like gogogo said, the issue is really trying to figure out whether medicine and medical school is right for you which is really hard to do.  It's not your lack of ability or potential - but just simply realizing like any career, medicine has its downsides as well.  Although these upsides/downsides do vary by specialty, medicine is idealized in media etc.. but day to day to work can be quite different.

Financially, I think you'd be making a lateral move at best - up to 250K+ (or more) including benefits without call is a deal many physicians would take.  There are some specialties that do earn more, but usually take longer training and have heavy work-loads.

The training time/opportunity cost is non negligible.  You'd be looking at at least 3+2 years if not 3+5(+0/1/2) training before you'd reach the coveted "staff" position.  Those years of training, especially residency, can be demanding.  Yes - residency is paid, but probably well-under the level of income you could expect by continuing in your current role.  

It's impossible to give a breakdown of every specialty, but I'll just try to give a couple quick examples.  It seems you enjoy working with people/families which is great which means you'd probably enjoy the clinical side of medicine especially.  

Family medicine, the largest specialty, often involves following patients for long-term chronic health problems, but on a day to day basis may not involve that much problem solving - for example seeing patients for a prescription refill and doing routine follow-up on their known conditions.  Emergency medicine is a lot more dynamic with more pressure and problem-solving, but shift-work can be tiring and there's sometimes medico-legal work dealing with patients that may be from marginalized populations.  

I could keep going, but I think it's just important to realize that like everything medicine has its downsides as well.  Yes it can be very rewarding, but it's just a matter of finding what works for you.  Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/17/2020 at 12:20 PM, Wealthdoc said:

A pre-emptive thanks to those of you who provide your advice and opinions.

I currently work in private wealth management, and to be frank, the draw of working in medicine has continued to grow stronger within me over the past few years. I love the client side of my job; working with families, being a trusted resource, and problem solving. Unfortunately, I’m finding the sales aspect of the job to be less appealing. I’ve had great success (top of my class across the nation) but I’m longing for more. My belief is that a career in medicine will allow me to continue to maintain the client-facing portion of the role I love, while reducing the need to ‘sell’, and increasing the problem solving side of my day-to-day that I enjoy. I’m trying to determine if the jump can be made.

I’m 27 years old, not married, no kids, own a home but it’s an income property so it’s self-funding. I am IP for UCalgary, which I have learned is more open to non-trad students. My GPA of my Finance undergrad was ~3.85, so I’m more concerned about the non-academic side of the application. I was a strong sciences student in high school (3.9-4.0) but moved away from that for post-secondary. For ECs, I’ve been a sessional professor at a local university for a few semesters, and I aided a former professor in writing a textbook. I currently sit on the board of two well-known not-for-profit organizations (2+ years at each) and volunteer with each. I was a part of a business club during my undergrad, I am a former junior hockey player, and created and operated an online community of 40,000+ members that involved coordinating with major companies, professional athletes, and logistics surrounding events in 5-6+ major North American cities. I know it is worth noting that I have a semi-rural background and am not opposed to working in FM in that setting, for example. 

Am I crazy? Is it possible? I always thought that the income potential would be a significant draw in my current role (effectively unlimited, not uncommon to earn $250K+), but it seems that I need more fulfillment, and I’ve always been a helper. Any and all honest feedback appreciated. I’m happy to provide more information as well. 

 

You seem to have a good chance and look like a full package! I think you would have no issue getting in considering a good MCAT score and a normal interview. As far as salary, I think medicine has a better job security compared to corporate-level jobs. I have friends who are software engineers and earn just shy of 200K but they are always anxious about the next economic distress and risk of getting laid off. Also, personally, I don't think I really would care about a salary of 400K or 500 K. At some point, more money doesn't bring you more happiness necessarily. If I earn a 300K salary someday, I will spend the rest of my time doing research and publishing stuff rather than trying to maximize my earnings.

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Lots of other posts here with support, and I’ll add my agreement that certainly it seems achievable with your stats and it’s not crazy.

If you do decide against applying for medicine (or aren’t successful), I’ll add that there are financial jobs that have a lot of the perks you mention enjoying (like working with families, problem solving, etc) where you don’t have to sell anything. For example, look into fee for service financial planning - my financial advisor charges more than I will make as a doctor by the hour, and I keep going back because the advice has been excellent and I am seeing great results. And they don’t/can’t sell anything. 

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