How important is leadership experience?

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by coco11, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. coco11

    coco11 will settle for roses

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    I'm finishing my Med 1 year, and am interested in going into anesthesia. Is leadership experience during med school as important as everyone makes it out to be? A lot of the "leadership positions" in the groups at my school seem like a bunch of BS and I've felt like it was a waste of time. I'll be working on a research project in the field this summer, and have been doing a bit of volunteering. Is this sufficient for the residency app? (plus the obvious like board scores, grades, evals, etc). Thanks for the help! :)
     
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  3. SleepIsGood

    SleepIsGood Support the ASA !

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    Hey Coco

    Listen I think you're doing the best thing right now! You're on here looking/asking around!

    I think those leadership positions are a nice thing to have, and you've got atleast 2 years to get that on your CV if you want. I think right now though you're doing the right thing. Get to know Anesthesiologists at your program. Volunteer (Iknow time is tight but you really should to get an idea of what anesthesia is all about). Definitely do some research. No one will ever fault you for doing research, plus it's 'hard evidence' that you did do something and that you ARE interested in our field.

    Finally like you mentioned it all comes down to the numbers game. Work on test scores and grades. Seriously, you have no idea what a good test score on a USMLE Step 1 will bring you. On the contrary a mediocre score will still get you noticed, but you have to work harder.

    Goodluck!
     
  4. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    If by "leadership" you mean president of the Anesthesia Interest Group. then yah, that's pretty much BS.

    If you mean organizing a free clinic, or a missionary trip, or taking a leadership role in politics, then it is worthwhile.

    EIther way, leadership for the sake of bolstering your app is not the same in med school as it was in PreMed. No one expects it, so when you do have it it's only another feather in your cap.

    I'd say 95% of folks match w/o any true leadership experiences.
     
  5. Jeff05

    Jeff05 Senior Member

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    as the president of my med school's anesthesia society i got a lot of face time with the chair planning various activities - he wrote me a phenomenal, personal letter. it wasn't the position that helped me, it was getting to know key people in the department.

    as far as planning missions to lord knows where, etc...no one cares about that in residency. maybe all that was important for med school, but in residency, as far as they're concerned - you are relatively cheap, politically powerless labor used to staff the ORs and make hospital money. so they want smart, hardworking people who keep their mouths shut. not philanthropists.
     
  6. jetproppilot

    jetproppilot Turboprop Driver

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    I respect your assertiveness.

    But your avatar would look better premiering JAVARRIS JAMES.
     
  7. jetproppilot

    jetproppilot Turboprop Driver

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    Someone please give Jeff an award for THE USEFUL VIEW OF THE WEEK.
     
    #6 jetproppilot, Jun 1, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  8. lane

    lane Passing gas

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    indeed.


    grades and Step scores >>>> your CV.
     
  9. 2win

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    DO it buddy - politics is a part of our life. Don't like it - but get involved in it...if you character will stay clean and u don't have to kiss hairy (...), put it in your CV. get a rotation in a good ( I mean the best) program. Show them your integrity and willingness to work hard. Learn and show that.
     
  10. cchoukal

    cchoukal Senior Member
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  11. amyl

    amyl ASA Member

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    can't second this enough.
     
  12. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    I know you know what I'm talking 'bout.

    ;)
     
  13. lane

    lane Passing gas

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    :oops:
     
  14. scotchnwater

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    Everyone else previously has spoken the truth: you have to have some level of decent, acceptable grades and board scores to get interviews at reputable programs. However, I will say with 100% CONVICTION from personal experience that your activities can certainly put you over the edge and get you interviews that you would not have otherwise have received.

    Certainly - without a doubt - the biggest bang for your buck when applying is your USMLE Step 1 score, followed closely by your clinical grades. After that, though, having some significant, meaningful leadership experiences can definitely enhance your resume and translate into a better application.

    When I applied, I had a slightly above average Step I. I fretted about this for months. I figured I didn't have a snowball's chance in getting a "prestigious" residency. I had, however, spent my first and second years in medical school being significantly involved with a lot of key activities (leadership in AMA, chaired my schools board of directors for the free clinic, nationally involved in the AAMC, etc., etc.).

    Once it came time to apply to residencies, I got almost every single interview I applied for (save one) and matched at my top choice to a program that (I believe) will be a fantastic fit for me. Would I have got there on my scores/grades alone? Never in a million years. In my case, it was the "total package" of decent (but not stellar) board scores, above-average clinical grades, and then some great extracurriculars that carried the day.

    The main caveat here is that you actually have to do something meaningful. I posted this previously, but (in my opinion) to have an extracurricular carry some weight you need to have the following components:

    1) Show an ongoing, dedicated interest in the activity (not just one year of school)

    2) Have actually done something (i.e. organized an activity, made a difference - not just attended meetings and paid dues)

    3) Hold a leadership position of some sort (this doesn't have to be an elected spot, just take the initiative to do something - this goes along with point #2)

    Like I said previously, everyone here is correct in saying that your scores and grades generally go much further than your extracurricular persuits, however I would add that having significant extracurricular experiences can lower the "threshold" for how good your grades/scores need to be to get a second-look from the PDs when applying for residency.
     
  15. lane

    lane Passing gas

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    and i would disagree :) they may lower the threshold to a very minimal extent. time would be much more wisely spent on grades and step scores.

    preparing a residency application is like the Iron Chef - you only have so much time and so many resources to create something that has to impress a bunch of hoity toity higher ups who are all looking for something a little different. the grades and scores are the main course, while the extracurriculars are the garnish. sure, some interesting experiences can raise some eyebrows initially. however, they're mostly graded on the quality of the meal. if the food isn't up to their standard, no amount of decoration can make up for it.

    as someone with a vast array of colorful garnishment adorning a bowl of hamburger helper, i would advise any students to focus on preparing a gourmet meal and worry about the extras when time permits
     
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  17. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    :laugh:

    Iron Chef rocks :horns:
     
  18. scotchnwater

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    In my post I agreed that the "biggest bang for your buck" was a good Step 1 followed closely by clinical grades. I am not arguing that extracurriculars are more important than grades/scores.

    The tone of this thread, however, is minimizing the role of extracurriculars to too great an extent (in my opinion). Solid, meaningful extracurriculars can and WILL help out an application (sometimes quite a bit), provided you have met some basic thresholds (which I also said in my earlier post).

    There is no way I would have had the interview season/match outcome with my scores/grades alone. I think anyone who knows me would agree. I can only then infer that my extracurriculars made a significant impact on my application. To say they only help "to a very minimal extent" is a bit pessimistic and misleading.

    Iron Chef analogies aside, I think it's important for students and prospective applicants to know that it's ok to have a life outside of the library and to invest time in doing work that is meaningful to them - and also that, perhaps, they will be rewarded for doing so in the end.
     
  19. lane

    lane Passing gas

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    obviously we'll have to agree to disagree, as our personal experiences have led us to different conclusions :)

    go outside, have a ton of fun with good friends, stay in shape, volunteer time and energy to worthwhile charitable causes, get involved around campus, do some research... they're all great ways to network and maintain your sanity. however, a leadership position involves more time than it's worth when you consider everything else you could use it for.
     
    #17 lane, Jun 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  20. BlueJasper

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    I know this has probably been addressed ad nausem, but for those of you fresh off the interview trail, what is considered a "stellar board score" that may trump everything else? That is, for the competitive programs..
     
  21. scotchnwater

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    I would say around >230-235 will likely get you interviews most everywhere you apply, assuming your grades are good and there are no other "red flags" on your application.

    I'm not sure what you mean about "trumping everything else", but if you are alluding to a blemish on one's record, I'm not sure that there really is such thing as a "magic number" - those things would tend to be on a case-by-case basis.

    Just my opinion, based on my experiences...so I'm sure other people will have different advice :).
     

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