Health Care Consulting at McKinsey

Discussion in 'Med Business [ MD/MBA, DO/MBA, DDS/MBA ]' started by Whodathunkit, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. Whodathunkit

    Whodathunkit Senior Member
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    I've recently applied to McKinsey&Co through the Advanced Professional Degree(APD) program. Overall it seems like a great job opportunity(even more so than getting an MBA it appears.)

    Does anyone have any experience or know of someone who has gone through the application/interview process?
     
  2. bluejay68

    bluejay68 Member
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    Spent a summer with the firm in New Jersey last year as an MBA summer intern. The interview process is pretty rigorous; 2-3 rounds with case-style interviews. You'll need to really nail the cases to move on; as an APD applicant, the bar will be somewhat lower for more technical business issues (they won't expect you to be able to run through a balance sheet like an accountant); but you'll need to have a firm grasp of business fundamentals (how businesses make and lose money, basic business frameworks). Most of this stuff can be found in management consulting interview books (check out http://www.consultingcase.com/).

    In terms of the experience, it was a great place to work. You work very hard in teams of very smart people and learn a lot about business in a relatively short period of time. It's an "up or out" place, so you'll be expected to learn quickly and take on new roles or else move on. I looked at it as an internship or residency in business (except you get your weekends off and you get fed/paid a lot better). If you end up moving on after a couple of years, you would be highly marketable, as lots of industry head hunters love ex-McKinsey people, especially ones with advanced degrees.

    They do lots of interesting health care work; good luck with the interview process.
     
  3. pazzer2

    pazzer2 Member
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    I know three of my friends who were MDs who went onto become consultants at McKinsey.

    The interview process (from what they told me) was quite rigorous and heavy on the quantitative side. They will expect you to know your way around a balance sheet, ROI analyses, and other typical business scenarios.

    I suggest that you take a look at the case scenarios that are presented on the McK website. Also take a look at http://www.wetfeet.com.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Whodathunkit

    Whodathunkit Senior Member
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    Well...got the big old reject. Didnt even make it to the 1st round.

    I have no idea what they are looking for, as the rejection email was rather generic. But apparently I just don't have "it".

    *sigh*
     
  5. beetlerum

    beetlerum Senior Member
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    You know, there are other consulting firms that do interesting health care work.

     
  6. gourman

    gourman Junior Member
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    Does anyone know how much these jobs generally pay?
     
  7. bluejay68

    bluejay68 Member
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    The most competitive firms (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) all start for MBA and APD (Advanced Professional Degrees) with a base salary in the low 100's (like ~110k). They all also include very generous benefits (e.g., retirement plan matching payments) and a substantial potential for performance bonus (~20-30k). The total package winds up in the mid to high 100's in that first year, with substantial gains in each subsequent year (remember it's up or out).

    I also noticed a trend wherein firms with lesser "names" would actually offer a sweeter package to entice top applicants to consider them over the big names (but this was in a B-school environment where people were getting multiple offers). My take was that you got paid very well in comparison to a resident, but you actually work ballpark similar total # of hours (60-80 per week). Big differences are a lot more travel time (could be flying across the country twice a week), long workdays Mon-Thurs 12-16 hour days, a "regular" 9-5 type day on Friday and off Sat/Sun (although you sometimes do need to step up and put in time over the weekends, especially in the tough and campetitive environment of some of these firms). However, if you compare this compensation and work schedule to an attending, the consulting deal does not look quite as sweet (perhaps unless you argue that an attending is 3-10 years post graduation and if you go straight into consulting post graduation, the compensation could potentially be very high that far out).

    The interesting thing about the business route is that you could find yourself on a career path leading to more compensation than any full-time attending would ever make, in any specialty (e.g., consulting for 3-4 years, move on to a hedge fund or VC and hit it big with a 7-figure salary). Obviously this is the exception to the rule, but the odds of attaining this kind of salary in medicine these days are pretty close to zero.
     
  8. gourman

    gourman Junior Member
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    Great info. Thank you!
     
  9. drrushikesh

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    Nice details. Any idea--how many MDs from big business school like Wharton ultimately make into these companies with big names? also do MDs advance comparabely with other graduates like engineers over ,say 4-5 years, or they hit a glass ceiling?

    acconts and balance sheets......my god..........have not seen these during last 8 years of medical education...........
     
  10. DrJosephKim

    DrJosephKim Advisor
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    If you want to advance in leaps and bounds, your best approach is to gain a few years of experience, then look for a new opportunity. Because of corporate HR politics, large internal advances can be difficulty unless you get a huge promotion. Typical annual raises can range from 3-5% per year.

    If you switch to a new company, you can easily get a raise that may = 20% or more. But you don't want to hop around too much. Show some loyalty and stability in your career path.

    The corporate world is an entirely different world. Your people skills and your social interactions will make or break you.
     
  11. theenterpreneur

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    Can MDs from India register for Healthcare MBAs . What is the screeng process like . Is it GMAT . What is the fees for such courses at esteemed universities like wharton or do they pay us some stipend
     
  12. drrushikesh

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    yahh its GMAT.No stipend buddy only loans!!!
    But its worth it still. Fees is around <140000 $ for 2 years of all expenses at Wharton.
    PM me.
     
  13. LADoc00

    LADoc00 Gen X, the last great generation
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    McKinsey consulting is total waste for an MD, unless they somehow got themselves banned from practicing medicine, even then I would rather teach classes at a caribbean med school.

    lets say with bonuses, a Mckinsey MD consultant yanks down 200, working probably 50-60 hrs a week....that is CRAP. that is manure, pure and simple.

    You would would make more working with overtime as a veteran sheriff deputy, a prison guard or nursing manager where I am....all of which doesnt require med school.
     
  14. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time
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    200,000 is what most psychiatrists who work 50-60 hrs a week make. It's more than most primary care docs make.
     
  15. Xardas

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    I understand you have your feelings about consultants (I'm not btw and never have been), but let's remember many people on this board are pre-meds or medical students who may be quite impressionable.

    $200K is still a very high salary, not easily achievable by a tremendous amount of people in the US.

    I hope you were exaggerating, but, show me a nurse manager that makes $200K and I'll show you a hospital that is bankrupt. Same goes for sheriff -- that would be a bankrupt city.

    I don't know what your specialty is or how much you make, but to say that $200K is not good enough is unreasonable at best.
     
  16. drrushikesh

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    THANKS.IT WAS SOOTHING.
     
  17. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......
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    what are you talking about. do you think money grows on trees or something? yeah, you're right, a veteran sheriff deputy makes 200,000. are you high?
     
  18. MOHS_01

    MOHS_01 audemus jura nostra defendere
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    .
     
    #18 MOHS_01, May 24, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  19. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......
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    wow, i stand corrected. thank you MOHS, and I apologize LADOC.

    It is san fran...where you need a little higher wage...but that is news to me.
     
  20. McKMD

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    Why the hate? Consulting firms are stepping stones to other opportunities. Most people leave a McKinsey or BCG after a couple years for better salaries (VC, private equity) or better lifestyle (corporate). I joined consulting after medical school and the financial tradeoff for me was 200-300k as a consultant or 50k as a resident.

    But if you choose to stay in consulting, the payoff is high. The reality is that partners at the top 2 firms start in the mid-six figures and senior partners at these firm start at seven figures. know any deputies pulling down seven figures?
     
  21. LADoc00

    LADoc00 Gen X, the last great generation
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    Nope.



    [​IMG]

    ONCE AGAIN, 200K is chump f-ing change. Period. If that is what McKinsey is paying, I would rather be a sheriff deputy driving a desk for 40hrs/week+OT pay.

    ed-saw someone already linked this. BTW this is NOT specific to just SF city. The neighboring counties are FAR FAR more egregious in terms of public servant salaries. Even places like Fresno have salaries up at 250K for some.
     
  22. LADoc00

    LADoc00 Gen X, the last great generation
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    there is no hate. Compensation in most big consulting firms is pitifully SUBPAR. You would be far better off starting your own consulting firm, getting gigs here and there and forming alliances/partnerships with other field experts than wasting your time being a "good lil ho" at McK or BCG. I wouldnt even hire someone from those places because to me it merely says to what lengths you will spread your butt cheeks for what is a meager paycheck.

    And to your answer your question there are 26 sheriff deputies/police officers (not including firefighters) in the neighboring ghetto county who make MORE than 200 grand. That is public record. The chief of police makes around 450. And has no college diploma.

    Basically OWNING the hell out of management consultants in my area. And laughing all the way to the bank.
     
  23. Boston1983

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    LADoc00--
    We're all happy that you're making good money and "owning the hell" out of other people (nice maturity btw). However, your attitude just makes you seem like a douchebag. You refer to a consultant as a "good lil ho". What does that make you during your 3+ yrs of training (residency + whatever fellowship you pursued)? Maybe I'm just shallow, but $200k (starting at $120k before bonus and rising) + travelling/staying in nice hotels seems better than $40-50k + staying in hospital filled with MRSA, TB, etc. If you want to do make a legitimate comparison, compare yourself to a McK consultant who did fairly well after the same number of years out of school. Also realize that you may not be the typical case in terms of income for your profession. Based on the way you talk, you seem to have made $1M right out of fellowship so congratulations on that and keep up the good work.

    P.S. Before you call someone out (like you feebily attempted to do to Speed&Strength), you should read the damn thread. He apologized ~7 hrs before you tried to tear him a new one, but you only made yourself look more of an ass (if that's possible at this point).
     
  24. Nilf

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    Boston1983,

    You've awoken a sleeping giant, and you're about to get PWNED...
     
  25. BruceWayne2008

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    Mckinsey is a phenomenal firm. Very talented people with tremendous opportunities. But just know that there are 2 sides to everything.

    Consulting can be very stressful and tiring too. And after a few years of just working for a client and not taking any real ownership.....you can feel burned out and uninspired also. Why do you think the average consutant, even at these top firms only stays for a couple years max? Most don't view it as a long-term career.

    There are actually a decent number of consultants at these top firms who would rather be doctors if they had the choice. I even know a couple doctors at McKinsey who wish they could return to medicine, but can't because they never finished their training. They've lost their window and credibility.

    Consulting can definitely be an awesome careers. But have no illusions. There are no shortcuts in life and whether it's consulting or medicine you still need to pay your dues and sweat some blood. Don't over idealize.
     
    nutritionbuff likes this.
  26. QuinnB

    QuinnB Junior Member
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    Coming from someone who has worked in both places, you have to be absolutely crazy to even compare consulting and medicine. Let's say you do a residency, 3 years. For those 3 years, you're making, at most, 60K a year. That is 180K over 3 years. As a top firm consultant (after medical school), you make (if you're average or below average): 120K year 1 (constant across the firm), 150-170K year 2 and around 200-220K year 3. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE ANNUAL BONUS and ~10% of your salary matched into a 401K. Conservatively, you've made 470K (before bonus). By year 4 and 5, you're moving up rapidly and year 7, on average in the US, you've made partner (with profit sharing) and commonly make 700-1200K a year. This would be equivalent to be an attending 4 years out after a 3 year residency and you'd probably be making 150K - 250K (max, even in favorable environments given that 3 year residencies are IM, peds, FM, EM, etc...).

    All of this salary talk doesn't even include the insane expenses, eating at top restaurants, traveling the world, staying at 4-5 star hotels, etc...all as a bonus. These firms have offices around the world. The additional perks, like miles from credit cards/flying/hotels are ridiculous so that even when you take vacations, they're basically free. Yes, you work hard, but it was no more than a hard working attending (60-65) on average.

    Furthermore, when you leave these firms, your foot is basically in the door to top companies in the world. If you want to "do good" you can also work with the top NPOs/NGOs around.

    This conversation is insane.


     
  27. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......
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    then why are you a medical student
     
  28. LADoc00

    LADoc00 Gen X, the last great generation
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    I can be a giant douche, its my right as an American, thankfully.

    Aside from that, management consulting is a dead and dying animal. At least large firms like McK/BCG. My point is anyone erroneously believing that man con. is the path to riches is very uninformed. My response about public servants owning them is merely one example of how someone, with far less education/opportunity cost, could do financially much better with more perceived benefit to society.

    Personally, doing McK after medical school is idiotic. Doing it after undergrad, I dont really care.
     
  29. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......
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    what would you suggest then? doing your own consulting isn't really realistic with no experience.
     
  30. countthestars

    countthestars Resident
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    So what about recent graduates from Osteopathic Medical school? How do they fair with landing a job at McKinsey after they get their DO? Oh, I went to an ivy for undergrad (neurobio major), graduated with honors (Magna Cum Laude).
     
    #30 countthestars, Jun 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  31. countthestars

    countthestars Resident
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    No I did no go to brown. Out of anonymity I do not want to disclose my undergrad university that I went to since I am on a waitlist at one school that is very small (if I was to disclose the school I went to, they could put two and two together and know it was me). Magna means different GPAs from school to school. And my school only gave honors based on a research thesis you did, not based on your GPA.
     
  32. ramonaquimby

    ramonaquimby I'm a PGY3?! WHAT?!
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    i hate to say htis, but "top 15 ivy" is kind of an oxymoron. if you're not harvard, yale, or princeton, the point is moot.

    lol...wow - htat was obnoxious...even for me.

    just telling it like it is, dude ;)

    you were a neurobio major though, so i know you must be smart as H E L L, so pride yourself on that my friend, and don't get all cuaght up in brown, columbia, dartmouth, or upenn being an ivy.

    i'm in rare form tonight...let me stop before i offend everyone.
     
  33. countthestars

    countthestars Resident
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    whatever, I went to any Ivy, does that make everyone happy? Now does anyone have an answer to the original question I posted before?
     
  34. mk8

    mk8
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    yea, the pwning in this thread is delicious :corny:.


    there are threads all over sdn about how MD is NOT the best route to riches. but once you've invested the ridiculous time, energy, and money, there's no point in doing anything else.

    so why go into med? financially, i think its a way for socially awkward people to break into an income bracket usually reserved for good networkers. and the prestige is better than "parole worker"; premeds all have huge egos.
     
  35. M. furfur

    M. furfur Junior Member
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    Has anyone attended (or planning to attend) Insight Healthcare?
     
  36. supman

    supman New Member

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    because i wanted to? strange question. there are plenty of is ivy grads in osteopathy. not as many as the allopathic field, but that is also because osteopathy is a smaller field.

    and i agree that this thread has gotten a bit ridiculous. i haven't worked in consulting, but i have worked at the most profitable wall street investment bank through the credit crisis, and now am a osteopathic student by choice. many of my undergrad classmates have done the McK, BCG, Bain route, and i can easily say that their lifestyle since the 20's and onward has easily trumped the lifestyle of a medical student for 4 yrs, resident for 3-8 years, and attending etc...

    and the salaries you make after spending a few years at a top 3 man con firm easily rivals, if not bests, the top physician salaries in the US.

    so if you dont like clinical medicine, or feel that you like strategic thinking even more than practicing medicine, then why not consider working at McK? just remember that their recruitment process can be at least as demanding as the top medical schools.

    sweeping statements that claim man. con. is a 'dying breed' sound rather unfounded, especially if there is no data or analysis to back it up. which seems fitting for someone who shuns that sector as a whole. these are global firms that have existed for a long time.

    and in terms of the whole argument that was brought out by the sf table. please. you're talking about such a small percentage of people in each of those fields (physicians being one of them (the ME). and even then you're only really proving that the top 1% of those professions make the same amount as ~50% of physicians. and to say that making $200k is chump change is simply narrow minded. there are brilliant people from everywhere from the big 3 ivy's (although princeton shouldnt really count...ha!) to the common (yet still respectible) state schools choosing professions such as teaching, ngo work, public service, music performance, religious ministry, etc.... that make far less than $200k and seem to handle it just fine. $200k is far more than chump change.

    and finally, the whole point of working for the rest of our lives isn't just to make as much money as possible, its also to do what we want to do. if its just to make money, then all of us should've gone into fields such as investment banking or private equity to name 2.
     
  37. AndyHall

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    Oh my god,

    Was browsing the forums since my sister will begin pre med soon and stumbled across this thread. I work for one of the Top 3 Consulting firms (I am not from a medicine background) and I cannot stress how wrong Mr.LADoc00 is.

    His lack of quantative and analytical skills is plain for all to see (besides his obvious immaturity).

    Firstly, as med students, all of you will eventually be well compensated. Sure the road is hard along the way and you will burn the midnight oil often but if you are stressed and disillusioned, do realise that there are pitfalls in every other profession as well.

    Firstly, Ladoc00 is completely of the mark with compensation. He cites the most successful of public servants (~0.001% of all public sector employees) and shows how they are making 200-400K a year. If that proportion of successful ex-consultants is taken, the average compensation would be in excess of 10 million (the top 0.001 consultants are all fortune 500 CEOs and or investors/entrepreneurs). The fact is that average public sector salaries are quite low. Sufficient but not sky high, 100K + is rare. Please realise that all of those high earners in the table have massive "other pay" columns distinct from their base and overtime pays. This is quite misleading as it quantifies all of the govt. benefits they receive. If a consultant was to calculate his "other pay" apart from base and bonus, it could well exceed a millions which the company considers company costs (This includes the 100 flights a year, massive mobile bills including intl calls and internet, car, house allowance, gazillion frequent flier miles, hotel miles, credit card points, restaurant coupons, 100 nights of hotel stays in club rooms of top of the line Hyatts, Four Seasons, Sheratons etc).

    There are pitfalls too, the work is demanding and challenging, either you are cut out for it or you're not. Everyone in the top 3 firms is a somebody with an Ivy league education and crazy extra curriculars. It's hard to stand out, the working hours are long and can get worse during crunch time. Of course the positive side is you get to tell CEO's they don't know what they're doing from a young age and the superb firm employees means you learn a lot and make excellent networks. Firm culture is excellent and it's not as cut throat as law firms or investment banks. People are nice to you and extremely helpful. Politics and back biting is unbelievably low. The extreme competition mainly comes from the nature of the work itself. Once again with regards to Mgmt consulting as a dying industry, LADoc couldn't be more wrong. All of the top firms have shown average growth rates of 20ish % over the past three years and my own firm turns down upto 8 clients for every 1 we take on. The American market is not as rosy of course but the growth and profit from elsewhere in the world is insane.

    As for med students, I haven't seen a single one in my office or anywhere for that matter and they are quite rare, the field are very different obviously. You would almost definitely hit a glass ceiling because of the skills needed. (Just like if an Investment banker or consultant tried to do surgery? get the picture...........). The employees come from a VERY wide variety of backgrounds but usually never medicine (also, not a lot of med grads want to be consultants). I would assume that med grads are used as specialists for health care consulting rather than being at the core.

    Having said that, the switch from med to consulting is not extremely wise UNLESS you never really liked med or WANTED something else. Sure you might get more money but medicine isn't exactly devoid of money. Doctors have a lot of respect in society and you perform a very vital and extremely skilled function. Attrition in consulting is very high (I myself am looking to quit as soon as I start a family) due to a range of factors. Those who make partner by 35 though have it set out since they can manage their work the way they like it whilst swimming in the dough. However this is life in the top 3 firms NOT in the whole industry. Do not expect anything like this in the IT consulting firms(Accenture, Capgemini, Bearing point) or large diversified firms(Deloitte, PwC consulting arm, EY consulting arm).

    Mk8 is bang on target. Think long and hard before making a switch because if you stop practising or get out of med, it is very hard to get back in. Besides medicine is a professional field with professional and not generalist degrees, most med students are given little business, finance, economics, engineering, arts or generalist education. To throw away such specialised skills (in medicine) for a field where you have little advantage over people who have trained for it (most consultants are top of the class in Ivies) their whole lives is not very wise.

    Fact of the matter is you are blessed to be a doctor, you are obviously smart, make great money. So why bother with anything else? (200K is in the top percentile of american incomes for individuals, a family of 2 docs making 400K would be an extremely rich american family). Sure you hear about billionares, hedge fund analysts, lawyers, Venture capitalists, investment bankers and stockbrokers all the time from TV, Hollywood , popular culture and idiots like LADoc but statistically only a very small percentage of these people make it big. On the other hand, statistically, doctors and engineers have a more consistently high pay pattern and will inevitably end up with a comfortable salary.
     
  38. M. furfur

    M. furfur Junior Member
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    While you have made some valid points, I think you are understating the value of trained MD's in management consulting, and overstating the level of prior preparation necessary to be an outstanding consultant.

    McKinsey is the only firm I am aware of that actively recruits MD's (I assume you are at BCG or Bain--both have MD's, but considerably fewer). McK recruits MDs because they recognize that selecting associates on personal attributes yields a higher return than selecting on specific acquired skills.

    This is true across many fields--not just consulting. Surgical residencies do not select interns on the basis of manual dexterity. They select interns that show characteristic signs of dilligence. The Boston Symphony does not select cellists with the most innate talent, they select cellists with the greatest endurance for practice...and so on. Few endeavors require the type of directed focus and protracted dilligence as medical training.
     
  39. AndyHall

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    Possibly, McK does a lot more Health Care Consulting than anyone else. Besides I don't work in USA so I got 2 things mixed up. Firstly MD here (Aus) means a specialised doctor (and is your 2nd medical degree) as oppossed MD in America which may be your 2nd degree but is your first "medical" degree after a general program and all doctors are MDs (as oppossed to MBBS here). But now graduate entry 4 year programs have begun. PG education is even more complex with multiple routes. So far Canada, UK, USA and Australia all differ with respect to medical education.........phew. It's definitely one of the courses that is NOT standard across the world unlike engineering or business etc. So yeah MDs in USA are probably better prepared than elsewhere.

    All the top 3 recruit people for personal attributes irrespective of type of degree, having an MD in theory is not going to hurt OR help your chances.

    In reality though, natural selection ensures some degrees are excluded, few medical students ever apply (why would they?) and even fewer get in. The vast majority at the graduate entry level (associate for McK) are MBAs, JDs, PG Engineers, PhDs etc and at the lower undergrad level (Business Analyst for McK) are usually fresh grads from commerce (Economics, Finance, Marketing, Actuaries etc), law, Engineering (any discipline) or Arts (always with commerce, engineering or law, never alone hehe).

    The way this happens is an outstanding business student has been president and co-ordinator of 100 different conferences and socities, interned with top financial or professional services firms and is a gun at the current affairs of the business world. So even though in theory anyone can get in, in practice it is very difficult to compete with that. The outstanding medical student would probably not have the same kind of internships or as much of a deep rooted understanding of the business world. So in the actual interview, people will outshine you. Hence the chances of an MD being recruited as a specialist or when they are selectively targetting MDs are far better than when you are competing with Business, law, engineering grads. I too am from a non business background and despite filling my course with finance, marketing and economics electives, it was pretty uphill in the beginning. There was a real and apparent difference in what I knew and what the business background peers knew. In the end though, it did was change my industry focus. I do not do much of Banking, Finance, securities or Insurance. I do operations, automotive, tavel & tourism, hospitality & liesure, media & communication.
     
  40. Xardas

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    I believe so... the salaries at many VA, county hospital, and state type jobs are actually fairly competitive. They do not reach rarified air but they are solid and respectable.

    The greater worry many attendings like myself worry more about with universal is how heavy-handed would the government try to run healthcare? Will physicians lack freedom to practice and essentialyl become robots?
     
  41. winstonm

    winstonm Senior Member
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    Do you get all your info on the economic "consequences" of universal health care for physicians from Fox News? Do you think that in every industrialized country in the world but the US doctors are starving? Come on :rolleyes:

    I know family doctors in Ontario 1.5 hrs outside of Toronto who gross >$600000. Ortho reconstruction easily bills >$500K, spine billing can approach a million, average ophtho billing in Ontario last year was >$600K.

    If you are smart about your practice, and realize that in medicine you will work >40hrs a week, for most specialties you can easily make more than $150K in Canada. It can be a bit more difficult in urban family medicine or general paeds, but that is an exception.
     
  42. balladevil

    balladevil New Member
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    Hey all,

    I am an MD/MBA and I will be working for one of the big three during the summer. I am wondering whether anyone here knows of people who were able to do part time attending work while working for one of the big three... during the interview process I was told of people who were given that flexibility but wanted to get more people to corroborate that. Second, if I were to get a full time offer from my firm (contingent on completing medical school), do they give me the option to take it after I do residency so that if the part time attending option is available, I can try to do both upon joining the firm. Any opinions welcome!
     
  43. ReformedHF

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    The grass is always greener.

    I spent 2.5 years at a top-tier boutique MC (partners broke off from McK). I left to start my own company, went to a hedge fund after that and am now considering starting post bacc. Maybe I'm insane; if so, tell me.

    It's not as selective as you think

    First off, some of these posts seriously overstate the level of credentials necessary to get a top consulting gig. What is true is that the undergrad credentials of consultants is more impressive (generally Ivy+) than those of the MBA candidates. Let me give you some numbers:

    There were 700 students from Wharton's 2008 (let's use this year for now, because it feels fairly representative of good times, but not the best times for consulting) class looking for employment based on their employment report.

    Of those:

    50 went to McK
    43 went to BCG
    36 went to Bain
    Total to JUST THE TOP 3 CONSULTING FIRMS:
    129 students or 18.4% of the graduating class. THAT'S A LOT!

    Keep in mind Wharton is a finance feeder school. So you have to figure that many people don't even want to work in consulting (choosing Finance instead -- 29 people went to Goldman).

    Those don't seem like super-selective numbers to me. Sure, Wharton is hard to get into, but it's not THAT hard (avg. undergrad GPA ~3.5 -- less than that of Med School). And you've got a pretty good shot of getting a job at a top firm after that. Sure it may be harder to get into right out of med school (if you're not getting recruited, it's MUCH harder to get through the process), but don't think you have to be some genius. Which leads me to my next point:

    People in consulting aren't as smart as they think they are

    This is probably true in every profession. Except the hedge fund I work at -- those people are super smart. In my experience, consulting had a whole faux-intellectual air about it. Projects are called "studies," consultants use fancy frameworks developed at HBS, regressions were run, etc. It's overdone. Much of this is simply a way to justify the massive fees firms charge to clients. Now don't get me wrong, you will think -- a lot, but you won't necessarily find that the thinking gets you to some eureka moment. In my experience, the consultants that were most successful were the super-organized managers -- NOT the super bright students.

    The work isn't really as interesting as you think

    The ideal of consulting is that you are a superhuman called on by a helpless executive at a Fortune 500 company. "Help me! My sales are up, but my profits are down, and gosh darn it, despite my 30 years of experience, access to all the data on my company that I would want, and a team of executives who previously worked at your firm, I have no idea why this might be!" You sit down in your team room (btw, consultant team rooms -- offices that clients give consultants on site -- suck), crack open your Thinkpad, build a fancy model, realize that it's an issue of product mix, tell the executive to start selling more higher-margin projects, give him the bill and go home.

    This is not what the projects are about. The industries and companies you want to serve are run by smart people with fantastic backgrounds. They're not morons and they know more about their companies than you do. While you could be working on some really cool strategy projects, you could just as well be working on a massive layoff (consultants get hired for this all the time because then the executive is less accountable for the choices the consultants make). At the end of the day, 98% of the day-to-day is execution and the 2% is strategic thinking.

    Plus, you don't get to stick around (usually) to see the work get implemented. You drop off a fancy binder and that's it.

    I'm exaggerating, but it's really not as intellectually stimulating as I expected. Nowhere close. And as you get more senior, there is more an more emphasis on selling the work vs. doing the work.

    It's not a piece of cake to get promoted

    Up or out means up or out. VERY few people make it to Partner. Don't assume you will. You may be a great analyst, but a terrible salesman. You may not be able to get great connections, you may be a bad project manager -- there are many DIFFERENT reasons that you will not make it.

    But even if you're a rockstar performer, why would you want to get promoted?

    Here's where I think consulting really fails: the lifestyle. A previous poster mentioned that the salary really goes into the millions because of the wireless phone bills, hotel stays, etc. DON'T THINK THESE ARE GOOD THINGS. THEY ARE TERRIBLE!

    Travel sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. It's exciting at first, but projects can be long and you do the same thing every week, week after week. You do not get to travel the world generally. Many Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters at surprisingly boring locations.

    Staying at the top Sheraton is a joke. Sheratons suck. At their best, they are adequate -- not getting in the way of you getting rest. They are nice, but otherwise unbelievably boring corporate hotels.

    The hours are better than banking, but expect to travel 75% of the time. That means 3/4 weeks a month, expect to be gone at least M-Th. You will leave at the crack of dawn on Monday and get back late on Thursday (midnight-ish).

    It's a terrible lifestyle that doesn't get much better as you get older. As a partner, you're still traveling a lot. Instead of the same place every week, you'll have to make stops at all your clients. It's not easy, unless you find a niche in an industry that is around where you live.



    It's not a terrible job, but it's not nearly as interesting as the literature makes it out to seem. There's a reason the VAST MAJORITY of consultants leave their firms after a couple of years, often for lower paying corporate jobs.
     
  44. kash_711

    kash_711 SDN Donor
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    I worked in consulting for 2 years before deciding to go to medical school. Travelling for business sucks period. I was fresh out of college and travelling to India, Ireland, London, and all over the US. I was able to buy a nice car and had a great apartment but I COULD NOT ENJOY any of it. People think you are cool though and give you a whole lot of more respect than you deserve.
     
  45. bronx43

    bronx43 Word.
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    This.
    I challenge anyone to find a consultant who actually enjoys traveling. I think the traveling aspect of management consulting is the biggest misconception about the field. Anyone who says otherwise has never done consulting, know a consultant, or even talked to a consultant.
     
  46. StevenRF

    StevenRF Senior Member
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    Just started my first year of B school during the combined program. Thinkin of consulting still, but significantly less so.

    A funny story though. During orientation they told us to explore our options given the recent economy instead of the usual banking/consulting. They had all the consultants stand up (~100) in the audience of 350. Then they said stay standing if you want to stick with it. There were literally three people. Then they said stand up if you want to get into it. About 50 people jumped up. The funny thing is though, when exploring medicine everyone told me not to do it who had taken that route, but I was foolish and naive not to listen, as I hate it just as much as they did. Now I have the same response staring me in the face with consulting. My close friends who were all in top firms hated it as well.

    The thing is though I don't know if I'd still consider it if I didn't have so many loans to pay off. If you can't stand medicine/patients what else are you supposed to do when you're stuck in a ditch with no way out. I'm considering trying to find a spot in a medtech or biotech firm and just trying to climb my way up the ladder, maybe strategy/operations, R&D, or acquisitions. It's gotta be better than 24 patients and a cot every day.

    BTW, recruiting for consulting is a nightmare. Now that banking is screwed, its like lambs to the slaughter at these company events. After an hour presentation by some Dbag low seniority partner who doesn't want to be there on how their firm gives "results," how they have "passion," and how they're "intellectual," you get to shmooz with the grunts. Just watching 6-10 people surround a consultant and make these forced conversations where both sides pretend to actually give a crap is hilarious. Oh and then there is the case prep... its like combining the worst of pbl with doctoring.
     
  47. bronx43

    bronx43 Word.
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    IBD is still that screwed? Several of the people I knew from BBA (Ross) just got into a couple of bulge brackets.

    Yeah, I'm thinking of going the corporate route too. How is the pay in those positions?
     
  48. Taurus

    Taurus Paul Revere of Medicine
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    This is a pretty accurate portrayal of consulting.

    Except I must have been one of the few who actually enjoyed traveling.
     
  49. skyline42

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    ReformedHF's post should be stickied for any pre-med or current med student/resident thinking about "chasing the dream."

    I also worked in mgmt consulting before, and while I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, everyone should think about how any career path will provide for their needs, not just now but in the future.

    Some things to consider:

    1) Traveling is fun in your mid-20s, but exponentially less fun for most us with each successive year, and a downright source of family stress in your 30s/40s.

    2) Does your work week end after XX hours? For many clinical fields, yes, you leave the hospital and you have the option to compartmentalize work. For many business jobs, after the office you're still expected to be on the BB, selling projects, or constantly networking to preserve your value.

    3) Job satisfaction, and with it life satisfaction, becomes less about salary/perks bragging rights as you mature. No matter how ridiculous healthcare reform will get, doctors will remain upper middle class. Is that enough for you? In your decision, don't forget to think about the other things that matter to you too outside of the paycheck.




     
    #49 skyline42, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  50. Lonestar

    Lonestar Senior Member
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    you know i always wondered what a life as a consultant would be like?

    Now i don't have any delusions as I hear these stories.

    I am practicing physician making 350K + bennies. Although my life is not perfect and I hate my job when i am called in for a case, I am content with my decision to continue with medicine.

    Why don't you guys finish med school and residency, make some money as physicians and then start a small business???

    Thats the way I am going. Work for 15-20 yrs, save money, pay off debt, pay off house, start a business, fund 36k/yr for retirement, then quit when you have a sufficient nest egg saved up.

    For me, its all about having the freedom to do what you want when you are in your mid 50s. I am perfectly ok with living off 100k/yr.

    $crew consulting. stick with medicine, work/study hard, get into a good specialty, and you are much more likely to be successful.

    I am 1.5 yrs out in practice. Have 13 wks of vacation. And there are many physicians that can have this lifestyle.

    Go study medicine....ok.
     

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