Engineering in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing to Medical School

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irishforever182

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Not sure if this is the right place to put this but…
When applying to college, I knew out of high school I wanted to be premed. However, I ended up picking the OOS, more expensive school which meant loans and because I would be exiting undergrad with debt, my family encouraged me not to enter medicine but instead do engineering. The summer before my senior year of college, I took an internship with a big pharma company doing engineering on a manufacturing line. I liked the internship as I had a front line role in drug product formulation but realized I am not passionate about this. I knew through that experience that I don’t want to be just assisting in medicine, I want to be the one delivering the medicine and ensuring it gets to the patients in need. By senior year, I was set on med school but knew it would still be a long journey as I needed to gain clinical experience, volunteering hours and finish pre Med classes. I finished all the required pre recs in addition to my engineering courses and graduated with a 3.79 GPA in chemical engineering. I took my return offer at the pharma company I interned at to start to pay off my undergrad loans (and I wanted to at least use my engineering degree that I worked hard for) and have been working while volunteering at a hospital 3h/week and hospice 1h/week. I am currently studying for the MCAT and will pick up non clinical volunteering and shadowing when that is over. By the time I (hopefully) matriculate to medical school I will have taken three gap years. Would my experience in engineering potentially be a red flag to adcoms since it is not directly patient centered? What else can I be doing to increase my chances?

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Not sure if this is the right place to put this but…
When applying to college, I knew out of high school I wanted to be premed. However, I ended up picking the OOS, more expensive school which meant loans and because I would be exiting undergrad with debt, my family encouraged me not to enter medicine but instead do engineering. The summer before my senior year of college, I took an internship with a big pharma company doing engineering on a manufacturing line. I liked the internship as I had a front line role in drug product formulation but realized I am not passionate about this. I knew through that experience that I don’t want to be just assisting in medicine, I want to be the one delivering the medicine and ensuring it gets to the patients in need. By senior year, I was set on med school but knew it would still be a long journey as I needed to gain clinical experience, volunteering hours and finish pre Med classes. I finished all the required pre recs in addition to my engineering courses and graduated with a 3.79 GPA in chemical engineering. I took my return offer at the pharma company I interned at to start to pay off my undergrad loans (and I wanted to at least use my engineering degree that I worked hard for) and have been working while volunteering at a hospital 3h/week and hospice 1h/week. I am currently studying for the MCAT and will pick up non clinical volunteering and shadowing when that is over. By the time I (hopefully) matriculate to medical school I will have taken three gap years. Would my experience in engineering potentially be a red flag to adcoms since it is not directly patient centered? What else can I be doing to increase my chances?
Welcome to the forums.

Aside from killing the MCAT, it's too difficult to gauge your chances as if it were a quality control experiment. if you have patient-centered and health-systems exposure in other activities, the engineering work you did to support yourself and pay off educational debt is just employment. If it helped you define your purpose as a physician, great, though I don't know if you have articulated it above. How do you know you are "passionate" about medicine, and what happens when that enthusiasm wears off with the daily grind of seeing patients and writing up documentation... which probably isn't going to feel much different than what you had been doing with your pharma company. Is there a reason you wouldn't go into Medical Affairs, or maybe you want to do that after you get your medical credentials?
 
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I think your engineering + pharma background is interesting. The experience you've gained will be valuable. I don't think its a red flag. The adcom will want to know that you understand the daily grind of being a physician. In pharma you have weekends and holidays off, a 9-5 job. Being a physician is generally not like that.

I've worked in pharma for over 20+ years. Many physicians are leaving clinical practice to join the pharma industry.
 
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I think your engineering + pharma background is interesting. The experience you've gained will be valuable. I don't think its a red flag. The adcom will want to know that you understand the daily grind of being a physician. In pharma you have weekends and holidays off, a 9-5 job. Being a physician is generally not like that.

I've worked in pharma for over 20+ years. Many physicians are leaving clinical practice to join the pharma industry.

For my current job - I work on a 24/7 manufacturing line. We are on call and expected to provide off shift support on nights, holidays and weekends when necessary. I know that supporting a line of medicine is different than supporting a patient, but I am hoping to convey to adcoms that through this experience, I understand the daily grind of being a physician and also am providing this support to ensure that life saving medicine gets made for patients. Does this sound reasonable?
 
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Thanks for the context. Being on call for a manufacturing line is not exactly the same as being on call for patient care. I can understand why you'd want to emphasize this. But they will still want to know that you have other clinical experience (shadowing, volunteering, etc). You can probably turn this into an interesting essay.
 
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No one will really care that you are making medications. What you are manufacturing is not likely to give you any traction with regard to admissions. Don't try to make this into a significant clinical experience. You could be making shampoo or dog food for all the relevance that the product being manufactured has to the adcom.

The point is, you tried out engineering, you had an aptitude for it but it just doesn't scratch that itch. You do need to do some shadowing (at least 50 hours, but not more than 100) to be sure this is not just a "grass greener on the other side" situation.

The insider information regarding manufacturing processes can be useful as when supply chain issues come up , you might be the one to say, "I can see how that could happen".
 
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