Advice for an MD/MBA prospective student

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Jun 15, 2004
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Hey everyone,

So I'm taking a year off currently before going to med school and right now I'm trying to decide what to do with my year off. I originally wanted to work in the business field and received offers at some pretty big consulting companies back east... but none of them would let me work only for a year.

I'm in LA, CA now and I would still really love to get some business experience under my belt before medical school, but I'm not sure where to look or what I can do that would allow me the flexibility to still interview in the fall and leave next summer. I'm pretty open to doing whatever, so long as I'm learning something.

As far as lying to a company... I'm not really into that... so any other type of advice would be greatly appreciated.


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There's no reason for a firm to hire you if you only want to stay for a year. It typically takes a year just to know what you're doing. That said, call them out on their BS because most large consulting firms hire interns who work seasonally or less than a year. They usually do this on the expectation that they can make an offer if they like you for when you graduate.

A couple of approaches:
1) Ask to work on a project by project basis and either be paid by the project or by hours (billable or not billable). You work basically as a sub-contractor to the project. I would start with the companies gave you the offers out East to see if this is doable.

2) And/or, work as an intern. Meaning they staff you on a project when it comes up but you're on payroll. The only difference is that you're an hourly worker and don't get full benefits as a full-timer would. You'd still give them good work for less total pay.

From a company's point of view, they don't want to invest the time to train you if you're not going to stay. However, if you lower your price, it may offset their loss of time. The other approach is if you decrease your training time by only working on a project by project basis. The only problem here is that you might get stuck with a crappy "project" typically reserved for temp workers, like moving files to storage.
I say, don't tell them you're only going to stay for a year. Work your ass off and make them miss you when you leave. This is definitely not the time to feel guilty.
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It's fairly common practice to keep your career goals hidden from your employer. I know of several people working as professional account types right now, who have plans to quit after a few years of experience and then go to law school to do tax/estate planning work.

I'm under the impression that their bosses wouldn't like to hear that they are leaving.
Hey everyone,

I guess its not clear from the get go, but I couldn't really keep my agenda hidden given the nature of the work. As an associate consultant I would be on site with my clients (all over the country) four out of the five days of the week. This would make taking time off to interview VERY difficult and furthermore I need to use my alotted vacation time to go back to Bangladesh for a family reunion...

Thus, it wouldn't be feasible to hide my med school plans in that line of work... however I was hoping some of you might have some suggestions of work in the business field that would give me the flexibility to interview and take a couple weeks off in January for my personal use....
Again, it's not an uncommon practice. I did consulting and was onsite, interviewed etc and it was not a problem nor did I compromise my work, the client or anything else. However, I did feel very guilty about doing it. I do know several other people that were in the same boat and they too pulled it off well.

With that said, you are obviously looking for something different. One possibility, especially depending upon your background is to go to local employers i.e. Hospitals, Insurance companies, Large healthcare groups to see what they have available. You probably won't get as good of an opportunity as you would with a consulting firm, nor get paid as much, but you can still get a good opportunity. You'll have to network a bunch so you can get your foot in the door, that way, if you don't see an advertised job, they may know of a position that is not generally advertised.

Another possibility is to speak with the MD/MBAs at your school (or even just those in your community) whether they are in Med school or currently working to ask about opportunities that might be available in healthcare business. I did this when I was an undergrad and got a very good response. You can also ask them for advice about med school and applying as well.