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Right now I am trying to decide between going into business or going into medicine. I am leaning toward medicine because a) good average salary b) good job security and c)you can go home with the knowledge that you saved someone's life today, or at least improved it

I like the idea of business because there is no ceiling on your success.
What I don't like is that there seems to be low job security. Also, in business, do you mostly have to live in NY to make the big bucks? I know there are exceptions, but don't most of the rich investment banker guys ($500k+) live in NYC?

What I am worried about for medicine is the health care bill. I know salaries will probably decrease by 20-30%, and some specialties will still make 200k+, but no one knows for sure. I know you shouldn't go into it for money, but I am worried that after going to school for 8 years and 4 years residency, I'll only be compensated for a middle class life.

If you go to a top business school (top 10 or so), are you mostly guaranteed to make a higher salary than in medicine? Is going to a bschool with a great reputation very helpful?
 
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If you want money, go business. Sure you get less job security, but you'll make a hell of a lot more.
 

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I think the OP summed up the pros and cons of each field pretty well. The problem is that whenyou come down to it you have to choose which you want to do based on your own preferences and the weight you give each of those elements.

I will say that there are a lot of people, smart people, who go the B school route and don't make what a doc makes. At least they don't make it early in their careers. Now that said they get what they get after a much shorter time period and less debt.

While the current health care bill should be a cause for concern I wouldn't let it be the primary issue when deciding to go into medicine or not. Remember that they're screwing with the business folks too, eg. executive bonuses.

As for B school I didn't go so take this with a grain of salt but all of my friends who went say that the name is important. A buddy of mine who went to Columbia B school even said it's way more about the networking than the education. So it sounds like it is way more important than it is for med school.
 
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Right now I am trying to decide between going into business or going into medicine. I am leaning toward medicine because a) good average salary b) good job security and c)you can go home with the knowledge that you saved someone's life today, or at least improved it

I like the idea of business because there is no ceiling on your success.
What I don't like is that there seems to be low job security. Also, in business, do you mostly have to live in NY to make the big bucks? I know there are exceptions, but don't most of the rich investment banker guys ($500k+) live in NYC?

What I am worried about for medicine is the health care bill. I know salaries will probably decrease by 20-30%, and some specialties will still make 200k+, but no one knows for sure. I know you shouldn't go into it for money, but I am worried that after going to school for 8 years and 4 years residency, I'll only be compensated for a middle class life.

If you go to a top business school (top 10 or so), are you mostly guaranteed to make a higher salary than in medicine? Is going to a bschool with a great reputation very helpful?
These are good questions and your own analysis is indeed correct. I did my undergrad in business-finance but now I'm taking my pre-reqs and will be starting med school in August 2012 at the ripe old age of 28. I was premed in college, then switched to business, then switched back. No matter what, it is okay to change your mind a lot if you aren't sure of what your life's calling is. Pick one or the other, it doesn't matter which. You will wind up doing what you love as long as you are willing to keep both options open long enough until the choice is clear. Attitude is most important. I could be happy doing either; but, at the end of the day I need more satisfaction from life than crunching numbers and pursuing 'success'. I need adventure, autonomy, respect, and challenge. Most importantly, I feel like I want the world to really miss me a lot when I retire, instead of being thankful I'm gone!

You are a lot smarter than I was at age 18. You'll answer your own question some day and it is good to be open and honest with yourself as you have done in your OP. Good luck! :luck:

_____________________
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." --artist
 
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thanks for the great responses!
another question: is most of the money to be made in business in nyc? i know there's all the internet trading now, but if you want to be in business, isn't wall street the place to go? or does it not matter as much?
 

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thanks for the great responses!
another question: is most of the money to be made in business in nyc? i know there's all the internet trading now, but if you want to be in business, isn't wall street the place to go? or does it not matter as much?
It's the place to be for investment banking (which is a very small segment of the business world) and to a lesser degree general finance. But there are investment banking operations elsewhere.
 
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If you decide to do business, follow these rules:

-Go to a top 20 business school. If not that, dont drop below top 30. Name is EVERYTHING in business. Who you know is better than what you know. Those big name schools attracts businesses and firms for internships, recruiting, etc.

-If you want a "safe"(by safe, I mean relative to business majors. Nothing is safe in business) career choice, do finance or accounting. Management/Administration is handed out like candy now. IT/MIS/ISDS has a bad job market and gets outsourced like crazy. Marketing is a joke. Accounting arguably has the best job security of business majors and Finance has the best flexibility of the majors.

-You can minor in life sciences/biology/chemistry to do a business major as a premed.

-Try to figure out what you want to do as soon as possible in college. That way, you can concentrate on either going to medical school or getting a good job in the business field.

-If you are going to start your own businesses, an MBA/MPA wouldn't be necessary to make a lot of money; just stick with the degree. But if you want to be a salaried employee and make alot of money(manager, analyst, etc.), I'd recommend graduate business education.

These are absolute rules are anything, but this is what my mother(accountant) and my stepfather(general manager) told me.
 

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Business is like this at the top there are some people who do amazingly well, at the bottom there are people doing accounting starting out at firms for 35K. On average physicians do a lot better. However even the best off physician I knew who did strictly medicine was making $5,000,000, a lot certainly, however he was A) one of the most successful I know in his specialty B) Amazingly efficient C) Practicing when reimbursements were higher. $1,000,000 can be achieved with some luck, skill, business accumen and correct specialty with some regularity. However the average is probably closer to 300K. The truth is that a salary merely provides a vehicle for investment and that's where real money is made. Even if you go to a top B-school you have a poor chance of making it to the top. In other words med is better on average, however you will never be truly rich.
 
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I've also heard that the people that can get in to med school would be in the upper portion of businessmen and would've been likely to do well in business too if they worked as hard there as they did in med school. Is this true? In other words, is the difference in average salaries between business and medicine due to the fact that most anyone can get into business, but it takes the really smart and determined people to become a doctor?
 

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Business is like this at the top there are some people who do amazingly well, at the bottom there are people doing accounting starting out at firms for 35K. On average physicians do a lot better. However even the best off physician I knew who did strictly medicine was making $5,000,000, a lot certainly, however he was A) one of the most successful I know in his specialty B) Amazingly efficient C) Practicing when reimbursements were higher. $1,000,000 can be achieved with some luck, skill, business accumen and correct specialty with some regularity. However the average is probably closer to 300K. The truth is that a salary merely provides a vehicle for investment and that's where real money is made. Even if you go to a top B-school you have a poor chance of making it to the top. In other words med is better on average, however you will never be truly rich.
A physician who makes $5 million a year only practicing medicine? Are you talking about David Silvers? Even so, I think that's extremely rare, and no one going into medicine should expect to end up making that much a year. I also don't think the "average" is 300k. In some of the most competitive specialties, maybe.
 

FutureCTDoc

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A physician who makes $5 million a year only practicing medicine? Are you talking about David Silvers? Even so, I think that's extremely rare, and no one going into medicine should expect to end up making that much a year. I also don't think the "average" is 300k. In some of the most competitive specialties, maybe.
No I wasn't referring to him. This guy was a beast and was probably 1 in 100,000 who was at the level. I am referring to mid-career numbers, the averages bandied about seem exceedingly low. Anybody can make 300k, even in FM if they're doing a modestly procedure oriented practice.
 

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I've also heard that the people that can get in to med school would be in the upper portion of businessmen and would've been likely to do well in business too if they worked as hard there as they did in med school. Is this true? In other words, is the difference in average salaries between business and medicine due to the fact that most anyone can get into business, but it takes the really smart and determined people to become a doctor?
While I do not have hard data to back this up, I highly doubt this is true. While there may be some skills that work well in both arenas (determination, the ability to handle large amounts of data, etc), these two arenas are quite different in most ways.

Many medical practices fail because your average physician is a very poor business person. The physicians who do well in business either learn on the way or they brought existing skills with them. I formerly did a lot of healthcare consulting in my previous career, and the average physician wanted little to nothing to do with the "business" side of things...they just wanted to practice. Of course, those handful of business savvy physician can make bucketloads of money if they do it right...but most private practices can eek out a decent living.

As for MBA program...there are the Top 5, and then 6-12 or so, a handful of school after that (if you are looking at a speciality area)....and then everyone else. B-school is mostly about the network. Many of the C-level people at Fortune 500 companies made their connections in B-school, and it is a surprisingly small network of people. There are outliers, but the biz world is even pickier about "pedigree" than medicine.

There are some B-schools outside of the top 20 worth considering for regional work (if you plan to stay in the region), but most of them really don't hold a candle to the top programs. If you want to make serious money, you'll need to put in your time at a consulting firm/financial firm/etc for a few years, and beat out thousands of other over-acheivers for a spot. If you think the gunners are bad in pre-med, you haven't met a b-school gunner. Everyone has connections, and unless you are literally 1 in 100,000+ and have a ridiculous resume of experience....you need a connection to get into a top program. I had that connection way back when, and I still had to "prove" myself...and this was before I even took a single class.

As for cities and big bucks...NYC is king for finance and investment banking, though most other areas can be had other places too. Friends of mine pull down $500k+ /yr doing investment banking, but they work crazy hours and it is very stressful. The bonuses are often 1-3x their salary, but there is no such thing as "vacation" or "personal" time. Oh, and our current economy isn't the best climate for this type of work...though ya'll are young enough that by the time you have to make the decision our economy should at least be marginally better.
 
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You know, I've thought about business vs. medicine, and I decided medicine. Business would be cool and all, and I'd love to some day open my own pharmacy, but the whole networking and having to need to know people to be successful is, to me, dumb and I personally don't want to spend my life doing that. Plus, I don't think I'd be able to get into a top 20 business school, lol. I like the idea of only relying on myself and my skills to make decent money, not who I know. I, like everyone else, would love to be rich, but I think I'll be content with a pharmacist's salary. :)
 

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You know, I've thought about business vs. medicine, and I decided medicine. Business would be cool and all, and I'd love to some day open my own pharmacy, but the whole networking and having to need to know people to be successful is, to me, dumb and I personally don't want to spend my life doing that. Plus, I don't think I'd be able to get into a top 20 business school, lol. I like the idea of only relying on myself and my skills to make decent money, not who I know. I, like everyone else, would love to be rich, but I think I'll be content with a pharmacist's salary. :)
That's needed in medicine, too. Medicine really isn't something you only rely on yourself to succeed in either, but you really don't need to go to business school to open a pharmacy.
 
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That's needed in medicine, too. Medicine really isn't something you only rely on yourself to succeed in either, but you really don't need to go to business school to open a pharmacy.

Lol. That's why I'm not going to business school. :)
 

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Business would be cool and all, and I'd love to some day open my own pharmacy, but the whole networking and having to need to know people to be successful is, to me, dumb and I personally don't want to spend my life doing that.
That's needed in medicine, too. Medicine really isn't something you only rely on yourself to succeed in either,
schrizto is right. Medicine has a ton of networking in it too. For example if you are a specialist you depend on referrals. You have to be networked to get those referrals.
 
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schrizto is right. Medicine has a ton of networking in it too. For example if you are a specialist you depend on referrals. You have to be networked to get those referrals.

Ok, I see your guys' point. Thanks for pointing this out. I guess to be successful in any career you have to network, I was just pointing out that it was more so for business careers. :)
 

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I agree w/ most of the above responses. A few more things to consider.

Risk is a key factor to success in business, and much more important than how "smart" you are. The few people who are crazy successful in business have taken big risks and those risks have paid off. Do not be fooled. The vast majority of business majors end up working in firms or other offices making 5 figure salaries. And quite a few end up working entry level jobs with colleagues who don't even have a degree.

Someone talked about investment bankers in NY making 500k. That may seem like a lot more than the "average" 300k a doctor would make. But an online cost of living calculator shows that a 500k salary in NY is comparable to a 300K salary in Texas.
 
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thanks for the input
i've decided to go with medicine for the time being, although that may change. i may end up doing something completely different, who knows. what i do know, is that i do not want to go into business anymore, haha.
thanks again everyone
 
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I agree w/ most of the above responses. A few more things to consider.

Risk is a key factor to success in business, and much more important than how "smart" you are. The few people who are crazy successful in business have taken big risks and those risks have paid off. Do not be fooled. The vast majority of business majors end up working in firms or other offices making 5 figure salaries. And quite a few end up working entry level jobs with colleagues who don't even have a degree.

Someone talked about investment bankers in NY making 500k. That may seem like a lot more than the "average" 300k a doctor would make. But an online cost of living calculator shows that a 500k salary in NY is comparable to a 300K salary in Texas.
Couple of things I want to point out. Yes, the vast majority of business majors only make 5 figures, but thats because most business majors are practically blow off degrees and/or saturated job markets. Marketing and Management degrees are jokes. You can get any job they can get with almost any other degree. I don't have any statistics on it, but I've seen plenty of finance people move up into the 6 figure range with time.

Also, even though that investment banker makes an equivalent of 300K in Texas, they don't have malpractice insurance and student loans to pay. Also, most business salaries don't include signing bonuses and incentive based bonuses. Also, with an MBA and/or good connections, you can be making money earlier than physicians. Remember, the average physician doesn't earn 300K out the gate either. As a matter a fact, the average physician doesn't even make 300K, period.

So its almost balanced in overall.
They both have:
Risks:
-In business, you might not hit 6 figures, your security doesn't exist, etc.
-In medicine, you might not get into med school, you might not end up in a specialty you like, etc.

Pay:

-There is NO cap on the amount of money you can make. No malpractice insurance. Most don't have graduate loans.
-A practically guaranteed 6 figure salary, but malpractice and loans belittle it.

Education:
-There is no residency for business, and an MBA is not necessary, so you can be in and out in just 4 years. Starting pay for upper half majors is like residency pay, but you also have bonuses AND you work less as an entry level major AND you don't have to study after work.
-Everybody knows about this.

Free Time:
-Trust me, if you ever want to make 6 figures in the business field, you'll be working attending type hours.
-Yes, doctors work more hours than the average population, but they work about the same as other professions with similar wages. Well, until you include call schedules.

IMO, the risks and rewards are about the same for both professions, so I'd suggest doing a business major as a premed and doing a life sciences minor to fill the prereqs. That's what I'm doing anyways. That way, you can explore career options in college and if you don't want to go the medicine route, you can ditch the minor and concentrate on your business career.
 
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in business....it is not about what you know....and despite what some have said, not even WHO you know...but rather....who you know AND what they can do for you. that's the trick.

this is why going to a top 10 school, maybe 20 (emphasis on the maybe) is extremely important. but there is more to it than that. you need to ACE business classes (which really arent hard; i took a few in college with the business major and got A's no problem) and graduate in the the top couple of people in your graduating business class....doing all of these will help you (not guarantee you) a more promising financial future in business.

i would say that graduating, say, top 5 at Penn's Wharton School of Business or Harvard is probably similarly as difficult as preparing yourself for medical school. The MCAT and medical school are more difficult at that point.....but like some have said, you have job security. you make a nice salary....and if you invest wisely, you can still be financially very well off.

business....there is greater chance of not landing that top job. so less job security. my high school economics teacher explained it like this: "Would you rather eat well (business) or sleep well? (medicine). With more risk (business) comes more failures.....but additionally, more risk, can result in more reward.

And if anyone is interested in medicine for money.....there are easier ways to do it.....don't choose medicine.
 

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i would say that graduating, say, top 5 at Penn's Wharton School of Business or Harvard is probably similarly as difficult as preparing yourself for medical school. The MCAT and medical school are more difficult at that point.....but like some have said, you have job security. you make a nice salary....and if you invest wisely, you can still be financially very well off.
This is completely false (no offense). As someone who prepared for both, the B-school requirements were much more intensive because of the work required AFTER I was an undergraduate. Business classes in undergraduate have little to nothing to do with success in B-school.

I know it seems like the pre-reqs are difficult for med school, but they pale in comparison to even being competitive to apply to Wharton or HBS. A competitive candidate will have 4-5+ years experience at a top firm in his/her industry, and that is after being an over-achiever at a top undergrad, with amazing internship experience, etc. If someone really wants to aim high, then they apply to the Executive MBA program, though that is more of a mid-career aspiration for someone who is already accomplished in his or her field.
 

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A couple of comments:

1. A typical physician salary/income is approx 200k. If you are looking at specialists only, 300k would be an appropriate average to use, although there is a wide range (many cardiologists, dermatologists making more; many psychiatrists and neurologists making less).

2. Job security in medicine is overrated. Job security is pretty good IF you complete residency (see the multiple threads in the general residency forum about residents being unable to get positions after being fired from residency) and IF you are then able to maintain a clean license (ie, not too many malpractice suits, and no adverse actions by your state board of medicine, no action taken against you by a hospital med staff committee).
 

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Right now I am trying to decide between going into business or going into medicine. I am leaning toward medicine because a) good average salary b) good job security and c)you can go home with the knowledge that you saved someone's life today, or at least improved it

I like the idea of business because there is no ceiling on your success.
What I don't like is that there seems to be low job security. Also, in business, do you mostly have to live in NY to make the big bucks? I know there are exceptions, but don't most of the rich investment banker guys ($500k+) live in NYC?

What I am worried about for medicine is the health care bill. I know salaries will probably decrease by 20-30%, and some specialties will still make 200k+, but no one knows for sure. I know you shouldn't go into it for money, but I am worried that after going to school for 8 years and 4 years residency, I'll only be compensated for a middle class life.

If you go to a top business school (top 10 or so), are you mostly guaranteed to make a higher salary than in medicine? Is going to a bschool with a great reputation very helpful?
If you are having difficulty deciding between business and medicine, pick business. In fact if you are having difficulty between anything and medicine, pick that other thing. Medicine is a very long, very hard road, and if it's not your goal purely on an "it interests me the most" basis, it won't be worth it to you.

Average salary and job security are perquisites, not reasons to choose a field. Meaning you go into a field because you enjoy it, and if it comes with perqs, so much the better. Lots of us career changers jumped from good secure jobs and nice salaries precisely because these are among the less important things to focus on. You are going to be doing this job for 60-80 hours per week for about 40 years, once you finish residency. So you really have to like it. You can't just suffer through something that is going to encompass your life from 6am-7pm six days a week (when you factor in things like call) . It's effectively your whole life. The dude working 40 hours a week has time for other things to be the major things in his life, a professional really doesn't. This is the biggest % time drain you will have in your life for the rest of your life. Enjoy it or do something else. No paycheck is worth doing something you hate. Just like no bank robbery is worth the high likelyhood of spending a life in prison. Really the same analysis. A fools play.


In business there is no ceiling on success precisely because to have upside there has to be risk. If you are risk averse, you will generally fail in finance. Too risky, and you will fail as well. The good businessmen live in that in between -- sort of like tipping back in your chair to the point just before when you topple. The "big swinging dicks" as that term was coined in Liar's Poker (a must read for future business school attendants) live for the high rewards that come with calculated risks.

Graduate business school is not an entranceway to business the way that med school is the entrance to medicine. Most people attend business school after having worked at their first job. Business school is thus an education that enhances existing skills, not providing a skillset. Most people in the better business schools have their employers fund their MBA education. And yes, pedigree in business is hugely important. If you cannot attend one of the top 20 business schools, it probably won't be much of a resume enhancer. Not really the case with med schools where any can lead to a solid residency which can lead to a great job. Hope this helps. I think you need to pace yourself, learn a bit more about what you truly enjoy doing, rather than trying to set yourself up for a risk free, secure, lucrative but time consuming job you may hate. What you want to do matters. Figure that out first and the rest will fall into place.
 

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This is completely false (no offense). As someone who prepared for both, the B-school requirements were much more intensive because of the work required AFTER I was an undergraduate. Business classes in undergraduate have little to nothing to do with success in B-school.

I know it seems like the pre-reqs are difficult for med school, but they pale in comparison to even being competitive to apply to Wharton or HBS. A competitive candidate will have 4-5+ years experience at a top firm in his/her industry, and that is after being an over-achiever at a top undergrad, with amazing internship experience, etc. If someone really wants to aim high, then they apply to the Executive MBA program, though that is more of a mid-career aspiration for someone who is already accomplished in his or her field.
i was referring to the undergraduate business programs....not graduate programs. for some reason, i assumed (not sure correctly or incorrectly) that the undergraduate business program at UPenn is still through Wharton. i'm well aware of the rigors of getting into those MBA programs...which is why i never mentioned anything about an MBA in my post. i have a friend who is one of the only individuals to go straight from undergrad into harvard business to get her MBA.....top undergrad business student in the country can do that