zogoto

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
 

jamesgatz4

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Not necessarily a direct answer to your question, but I know a lot of investment bankers and traders (I was on that path for awhile), and none have "doing as much good as possible" very high on their list of goals, if on their lists at all. If you do starting out, more power to you, but the hours spent crunching numbers on Excel for deals that never happen tend to beat that out of you pretty quick.
 

194342

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I'd go into finance. Why would you ask this question in a pre-med forum that is pre-dominantly used by pre-meds? Do you not think if you went to a finance forum they'd say pre-med?! Oh, and you have somehow take finance, pre-med classes, and electrical engineering?! At what point did you take organic in order to prepare for the MCAT you are studying for?!
 
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zogoto

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And just to clarify a little more, even though money is nice, I think I realized a while ago that if I'm making $120,000/year as a doctor, $1,200,000/year in finance won't make me any happier, so in other words, the personal money has nothing to do with it.
 
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zogoto

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To tiedyeddog, yes I can do all of it. I took organic last semester and tutor for it this semester. Except for physiology, I'm good for all of the material on the MCAT, and I used to be a physics major so I should be ok for physical sciences. I do not need to take finance classes. Probability is my main area of math interest, and finance companies will teach you all the finance you need on the job if you have the math skills for it. And I'm asking this question in a pre-med forum to get another perspective. At my school, almost everyone that can do so goes into finance, so all my friends are pushing towards finance.

To jamesgatz4, that's actually exactly what I was talking about with someone for almonst 6 hours today. I'm afraid that my good intentions will be beat out of me when I worked so hard for my money and I'll just want to keep it. But is that true? Is that a sign of weakness? I'm judging this basically on what you said, knowing lots of finance people and none of them want to help people. Maybe some of them started that way however, and now they're not like that. What's to say I'll be different? Or can I be?
 

jamesgatz4

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I actually know no one that went into IB to help people. That seems rather ridiculous. Maybe public finance. If you want to do finance and help people, volunteer for some micro-lending NGO in Tonga or something like that.

Identify what interests you and go in that direction. A lot of IBers do it for the money, burn out, and wind up in a corp strategy job they hate at a F500 dedicating their days to selling toilet paper and canned fruit. Point being, you won't be successful if you're not doing something you love. You may think you love medicine and finance, but you're probably wrong and will find out the hard way if you decide based on $$$.
 

SgtDoc

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Would you be happen sitting in a little cube or at a desk in a huge room with a lot of other people and no privacy? Or would you prefer actually talking to people face-to-face, walking around, etc.? Finance and medicine will give you completely different environments and that's something to consider as well.
 
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zogoto

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Obviously anyone would rather help people face-to-face than sitting at a desk all day. However, I think I could like either. I've loved math for years, so I wouldn't mind challenging my mind mathematically. However, I also really love learning about the body and biology, and would really love to help people. This goes along with my notion that you can be happy in a variety of different situations (so money doesn't matter that much).

So I understand that it seems ridiculous to go into finance to help people, but what seems wrong with the idea of making millions and donating it all?
 
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zogoto

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Also, the finance that directly helps people (like micro-finance, etc.) is not the finance that I would want to do/be good at. I'm good at using probability and advanced stochastic tools, which as more applications on wall street.
 

LadyDoc2

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you can do both-
my boyfriend is an IB within the healthcare division. they have MD's consult for them all the time, and they hire MD's as well.
 

jamesgatz4

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IB does not involve challenging math and it will not challenge your mind. It's high school algebra while you're crunching numbers in excel, or making sure your punctuation is correct in word while you're putting together a pitch book. If you're talking about being a quant or trading exotics that's another story, but you'd better be an absolute superstar in a high-level math and consider a PhD.

So many people glorify IB. I'd encourage you to get some experience in both professions. You'll quickly find that they appeal to completely different personalities.
 
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zogoto

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This is not IB. This is quantitative strategies. They use very complex probability models and forms of calculus that most people have never heard of. But yeah, I wouldn't wanna do IB.
 

jamesgatz4

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Definitely different than IB, but your situation doesn't change. Those two careers are so disparate, and while it may seem like you're interested in both, I guarantee that with some experience in both areas you should have the ability to decide what you want to do. I have a couple colleagues in PhD programs that want to be quants, and the following forum is supposed to be a great resource...

http://www.wilmott.com/index.cfm?NoCookies=Yes&forumid=1
 
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zogoto

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So I have a little experience in the medical field at least. I went to India for a month and participated in a 1 month medical camp, shadowing some doctors, volunteering, and also helping the hospital set up a computer system. I don't know if this is too short of an experience to really see anything that I wouldn't want in the career, but I liked what I saw and want to do it.

I have nothing in finance.

Thanks for the link btw.
 

Perrotfish

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Medicine is also definitely more of a sure thing if you´re a good applicant. In finance lots of talented, motivated people get culled, sometimes for awful reasons, sometimes all the way into their 30s, 40s, or even 50s. Medcine, on the other hand, is so chock full of standardized scantron tests and certifications that an intelligent, motived person is almost guarenteed to end up with good career opportunities with lifetime security. Wouldn´t it suck to go into finance for the money and then end up working in banking branch system at 40K because the intern competing with you for the IB job belongs to the same country club as the Vice President?
 

pride4jc727

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So which of these is the most important to you:

a. money
b. self-fulfillment
c. helping people

If you pick a, finance is your more likely route. If you want self-fulfillment and/or helping people, go with medicine.
 

Quadratic

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I'd do finance man. Totally.
 

Quadratic

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IB does not involve challenging math and it will not challenge your mind. It's high school algebra while you're crunching numbers in excel, or making sure your punctuation is correct in word while you're putting together a pitch book. If you're talking about being a quant or trading exotics that's another story, but you'd better be an absolute superstar in a high-level math and consider a PhD.
A Ph.D really isn't necessary. A Master's is good enough (for what anyone would be doing using math anyway).
 
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zogoto

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Maybe not 500k after 5 years, but it's not uncommon to make that much if you're lucky enough to get into a hedge fund right after graduating, which plenty of students from here do.

So I don't really care about money that much, and fulfillment and helping people are obviously more important, but I just have a nagging feeling that donating millions that I made in finance when I'm 80 will do more than practicing medicine myself. What do you think about it? Something sounds fishy about the idea, probably because I don't know anyone in finance who's doing it to help people in the end, but that's not really a reason why I can't be someone in finance who's doing it to help people.
 

Quadratic

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Maybe not 500k after 5 years, but it's not uncommon to make that much if you're lucky enough to get into a hedge fund right after graduating, which plenty of students from here do.

So I don't really care about money that much, and fulfillment and helping people are obviously more important, but I just have a nagging feeling that donating millions that I made in finance when I'm 80 will do more than practicing medicine myself. What do you think about it? Something sounds fishy about the idea, probably because I don't know anyone in finance who's doing it to help people in the end, but that's not really a reason why I can't be someone in finance who's doing it to help people.
You shouldn't go around "unhappy" so that others can be happy. That doesn't make sense. The point of philanthropy is to share what you have, not create what you don't have. That said, do what you want to do. You seem to like finance so go into that.
 

SaveThisLabRat

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So which of these is the most important to you:

a. money
b. self-fulfillment
c. helping people

If you pick a, finance is your more likely route. If you want self-fulfillment and/or helping people, go with medicine.
I hear what you're saying. However, I think if he picked b he can still get into finance. Self-fulfillment can come out of any career.

I'd do finance man. Totally.
But yeah, I'm so with Q on this.
 

Wylde

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Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?
So, when you say you want to "help people" you mean, you want to make as much money as possible?

Usually people say they either go into medicine to help people or to make money. I don't think i've ever seen someone use the logic that making more money for yourself is the best way to help other people.

Well, if you want to be rich (which is obviously your real goal) then going into finance is probably the better idea.
 
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Doctor

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Laugh out loud. Good luck with that one. Go into finance.
Maybe not $500k, but my girlfriend is in IB (switching to PE now) and she made more than the average doctor this past year ($200k+) at an age (24) when she would have been only halfway through medical school. She also has no debt, of any kind, and will have no residency to endure.

To the OP, if you are smart enough to get into MIT and you are equally skilled at Finance and sciences, you will probably max out at $500k in Medicine or $5-$10mil in Finance without being the "best of the best". If you like both fields equally, it makes sense to go with the higher paying profession and be an i-banker.
 

bozz

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Well, here's my take on it.

You believe in division of labor right? What are you great at? Math. What are you good at? Biological Sciences. So to help the world, do what you're great at.

You are needed elsewhere. This is "my view" of how you could help the world in the most efficient way possible.

Again, it boils down to personal preferences in the end. I'm sure you've seen Good Will Hunting. Why not get an MD/MBA and go into Health Care Management?
 

-Goose-

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
Thats probably a bigger if than you realize.
 

jamesgatz4

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A Ph.D really isn't necessary. A Master's is good enough (for what anyone would be doing using math anyway).

Maybe so ... I spent time on the IB path during college and never considered becoming a quant. However, most of the friends I still keep in touch with on that path seem to think a PhD is the way to go. I'm sure there are plenty of successful quants and traders with an MFin from top programs like Princeton, though.
 

JaggerPlate

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Maybe not $500k, but my girlfriend is in IB (switching to PE now) and she made more than the average doctor this past year ($200k+) at an age (24) when she would have been only halfway through medical school. She also has no debt, of any kind, and will have no residency to endure.

To the OP, if you are smart enough to get into MIT and you are equally skilled at Finance and sciences, you will probably max out at $500k in Medicine or $5-$10mil in Finance without being the "best of the best". If you like both fields equally, it makes sense to go with the higher paying profession and be an i-banker.
It's my understanding that you have to be the absolute best of the best to get into I-Banking, work 80 hour works weeks, and that most people burn out within 3-4 years. It's a poor example in my opinion. 99% of people wouldn't be making 200k at 24 or get a great I-banking job without an Econ degree from UOC, an MBA from top 10 and then being handpicked from a firm to do it.
 

Quadratic

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Maybe so ... I spent time on the IB path during college and never considered becoming a quant. However, most of the friends I still keep in touch with on that path seem to think a PhD is the way to go. I'm sure there are plenty of successful quants and traders with an MFin from top programs like Princeton, though.
It certaintly can be an advantage if one chooses to do research in financial math...but again, for the majority of what one would be doing, it's not necessary (IMO). More than likely the person pursuing a Ph.D. in financial math would want to find some type of relationship between one aspect and another. I think a master's in financial math would be good enough to accomplish 98% of what needs to be done.
 

JMedical08

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
If you think engineering wasn't fulfilling, finance is certainly not going to be your answer.
 

JMedical08

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Well, here's my take on it.

You believe in division of labor right? What are you great at? Math. What are you good at? Biological Sciences. So to help the world, do what you're great at.

You are needed elsewhere. This is "my view" of how you could help the world in the most efficient way possible.

Again, it boils down to personal preferences in the end. I'm sure you've seen Good Will Hunting. Why not get an MD/MBA and go into Health Care Management?
In my opinion, medicine needs far more doctors who are analytical and mathematically oriented.

As far as math in finance, read The Black Swan, Misbehavior of the Markets and about LTCM. I am of the opinion that math, as it is applied on Wall Street is bull****. I have an advanced math/engineering degree and thought about all of these career options. Those books changed my outlook.

What sealed the deal is that I discovered my passion lies in medicine. Think a lot about what you want to do day in and day out, not just the end goal because we'll all be spending half of our lives doing the day-to-day activities of whatever career we choose.
 

135892

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
Just go into finance and make that "easy" 500k
 

Quadratic

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Jmed makes a good point. Math isn't "math" on Wall Street. By the time one gets through the red tape it's not "math" at all. Certainly what's caused the current mortgage/sub prime crisis. It's more like risk and luck instead of mathematics.
 
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Igor4sugry

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At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.
Your Options:
[1] Go straight into Finance
[2] Become an engineer, get an MBA and get a finance job.
[3] Become an physician
[4] Become a physician, get an MBA and do consulting
[5] Become a physician, and help start a company (if you are lucky you will make $$$$)

You are right about the regular engineering work being not rewarding or fulfilling. I can personally say this from actually working as an engineer after graduation. But you have to also realize that there are a number of paths you can take in companies. You can choose to be a hardcore engineer, but you can get an MBA and go into management, which in my opinion is more interesting. You can even make it into finance from being an engineer. Here is how to do it:
[1] Get a job at a large company that will cover your MBA tuition.
[2] Specialize in Fiance while doing your MBA
[3] Get a job in finance sector and leave your company.

I also agree with other people who are saying that finance will be just as unfulfiling b/c you will just be a number cruncher. Also in medicine these days you can only make a lot of money by being in specialized fields (anesthesiology, surgery, radiology, etc.).
 

Doctor

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It's my understanding that you have to be the absolute best of the best to get into I-Banking, work 80 hour works weeks, and that most people burn out within 3-4 years. It's a poor example in my opinion. 99% of people wouldn't be making 200k at 24 or get a great I-banking job without an Econ degree from UOC, an MBA from top 10 and then being handpicked from a firm to do it.
Looking at her experience I can say she was lucky even relative to most who go into i-banking. She works less than 40 hour weeks these days, sometimes getting home at 3 or 4 in the afternoon because the IPO market has stalled out. She (and all of her co-workers invited back for a third year of being an Analyst) made that 200k without having an MBA or even taking the GMAT. Now she's moving up to PE Associate without an MBA... and her new boss says he'll eventually let her get it at Columbia while continuing to work for him on the weekends, paying for the MBA and then some.

To the OP, your mileage may vary... but the one girl I know in IB out of MIT has been very successful as well, and also made Associate (at the i-bank) also without even getting an MBA. The i-banks are much more open to letting you advance sans MBA these days.
 

MichaelG17

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And just to clarify a little more, even though money is nice, I think I realized a while ago that if I'm making $120,000/year as a doctor, $1,200,000/year in finance won't make me any happier, so in other words, the personal money has nothing to do with it.
I agree completely, right on pal
 

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I'm not even going to pretend to know anything about jobs in finance. So, my thought here is a naive one. What about investment management or some kind of position working for philanthropic funds?

Just trying to think of ways to get the warm fuzzies from "helping people" while working with numbers and money.
 

Doctor

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I'm not even going to pretend to know anything about jobs in finance. So, my thought here is a naive one. What about investment management or some kind of position working for philanthropic funds?

Just trying to think of ways to get the warm fuzzies from "helping people" while working with numbers and money.
Not a bad idea for down the road. The OP could start with hedge funds and make the big bucks, and then offer to manage MIT's endowment or a state pension fund or something.

Then again, he could just manage the hedge fund forever, and then donate $20 billion to MIT's endowment... more than doubling what it is today.
 

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From what I know about working at hedge funds, the people there tend to burn out very quickly. Most only last a few years, as far as I can tell. So here is my idea: make a lot of money at a hedge fund for a few years, then start a charitable trust fund.
 

Gut Shot

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
If you're having this debate in the first place, the answer is finance.
 

JaggerPlate

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Looking at her experience I can say she was lucky even relative to most who go into i-banking. She works less than 40 hour weeks these days, sometimes getting home at 3 or 4 in the afternoon because the IPO market has stalled out. She (and all of her co-workers invited back for a third year of being an Analyst) made that 200k without having an MBA or even taking the GMAT. Now she's moving up to PE Associate without an MBA... and her new boss says he'll eventually let her get it at Columbia while continuing to work for him on the weekends, paying for the MBA and then some.

To the OP, your mileage may vary... but the one girl I know in IB out of MIT has been very successful as well, and also made Associate (at the i-bank) also without even getting an MBA. The i-banks are much more open to letting you advance sans MBA these days.
Definitely a good situation. She must have great business skills (which a lot of people don't think exist/are important to the financial world when asking these types of questions). I would definitely say (from what I've heard) that she is the exception and not the norm. Good for her though!! :thumbup:
 

Zyvox

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In my opinion, medicine needs far more doctors who are analytical and mathematically oriented.

As far as math in finance, read The Black Swan, Misbehavior of the Markets and about LTCM. I am of the opinion that math, as it is applied on Wall Street is bull****. I have an advanced math/engineering degree and thought about all of these career options. Those books changed my outlook.

What sealed the deal is that I discovered my passion lies in medicine. Think a lot about what you want to do day in and day out, not just the end goal because we'll all be spending half of our lives doing the day-to-day activities of whatever career we choose.

medicine needs far more doctors who are analytical and mathematically oriented.
--- yeah i have to go ahead with negative on this one. Not to say that we don't need doctors who are analytical and mathematical, I would say the gears of our medical system already churn out doctors like these. We like to believe medicine to be a science with "rights" and "wrongs". We place the traditional American model of medicine on a pulpit above let's say Europe's medical system, while life-expectancy rates are similar if not higher overseas. There are ways of looking at an illness that might seem folkloric or unconventional to us, but in reality have strong basis of merit for treating the well being of a patient. Our American biases sometimes do more harm than good. Right now it's hard to document these differences, there are few studies focused on improving healthcare by comparing medical systems and taking into account the very nature of how international medical systems are set up, language barriers, cultural barriers etc. Ask a doctor how many French medical journal they read or have even heard of? While we are more likely to read British medical journals over say German medical journals, due to cultural barriers. Therapeutic recommendations can be sometimes based out of cultural practices and not necessarily medical treatments. Example, in France the liver might seem incredibly over-emphasized to us, the French always talk about their livers and have 200 different medications alone for the liver. There are so many variables that come down to making a diagnosis beyond simply using analytical/mathematical (as you put it) ability.

As for the question on this [email protected]$?>!#J

peace
 

Quadratic

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medicine needs far more doctors who are analytical and mathematically oriented.
--- yeah i have to go ahead with negative on this one. Not to say that we don't need doctors who are analytical and mathematical, I would say the gears of our medical system already churn out doctors like these. We like to believe medicine to be a science with "rights" and "wrongs".
Math doesn't have parameters like "right" and "wrong." Right and wrong are "man-made."
 

AUD

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Math doesn't have parameters like "right" and "wrong." Right and wrong are "man-made."
Very true. Math only deals with what "is." Hell, it deals with what "isn't" as well. In my opinion, physicians could more of these skills, because they lend themselves to complex, logic oriented thought. After all, medicine is based on chemical interactions, which is math.
 

unsung

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Obviously anyone would rather help people face-to-face than sitting at a desk all day. However, I think I could like either. I've loved math for years, so I wouldn't mind challenging my mind mathematically. However, I also really love learning about the body and biology, and would really love to help people. This goes along with my notion that you can be happy in a variety of different situations (so money doesn't matter that much).

So I understand that it seems ridiculous to go into finance to help people, but what seems wrong with the idea of making millions and donating it all?

Are you worried that practicing medicine won't be as intellectually stimulating as doing more # crunching stuff in a financial modeling position?

Why not go into research? Certainly intellectually fulfilling. And if your concern is "how many people will your actions be able to help", that seems like the obvious path. That's certainly a much more direct way of impacting people's lives, rather than the "make a bunch of $ and donate to charity" idea.
 

radi0headfan

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I'm new to this forum so here goes...

So I'm a math and electrical engineering/computer science double major sophomore at MIT. At the beginning of this year, I decided to be pre-med. I did an internship last summer at an engineering company and saw that even though the work could be interesting, it was not rewarding or fulfilling, because at the end of two years of work on a project, all you have to show for it is a slightly faster way to hook up computers to the internet. My main goal is to really help people, and I thought medicine is the way to go.

However, I was recently offered a summer internship offer at a financial firm, which got me thinking about whether or not it is possible to do more good from finance. Granted, day-to-day, a doctor does a lot more good than anyone in finance, but if my goal is to help as many people as possible, and I can make $500,000/year in finance after the first five years or so (if I'm lucky enough to take the right turns), isn't it best to work in finance, save up a lot of money, and donate it all to charity or something at the end of my life?

I ended up turning down the internship to instead do part-time research at school and study for the MCAT (taking in August), but I'm still wondering, if I want to do the most amount of good possible, is medicine the way to go?
hey i felt like i was in the same shoes as you not too long ago...i graduated elec. engr'ing w/ a minor in math..i figured everything out after graduating though..after my internship during my senior year, i too felt that engineering was not what i wanted to do...so the summer after i graduated i started thinking back to high school when i had volunteered in a hospital...i definitely liked it that experience in high school but the physics/math side of me took over by the time my senior yr came around...in high school, l i never thought what i wanted to do with my life after college- just kind of went with what i was good at...so upon graduating, i started doing a bit of volunteering and took classes the subsequent fall semester at a comm. college near home..i was lucky b/c the job offer i had was for january '06 (i graduated may '05)...so i had some time to figure things out and taking classes at the comm. college was affordable (i also was lucky to have AP credits from high school)...i actually had an offer at a financial firm as an analyst upon graduating, but i ended up going with the full-time engineering job b/c i just didnt get good vibes from the strictly-business environment..just wasnt for me..and even though i chose to work for a great engineering company and i had the chance to really live it up for a while, i still wasnt happy...i think ppl may have thought i was being overly greedy w/ the amount of happiness i wanted, but i think it was the "type" of happiness that i hadnt found...now, after going through the classes, mcat, and getting into school, im really happy w/ where my life's going ...so i definitely hear where you're coming from and think i felt some of the same things you did while working as an engineer

i think you're doing the right thing by feeling this out, and you're only a sophomore now, so you definitely have time on your side...i wouldnt listen to what anyone has to tell you, except yourself...its good to hear advice from other ppl, but ultimately you'll have to answer to yourself...i did the same you were doing when i was stuck in indecision, and some of the advice helped, but most of the burden still lay on me to answer my questions...eventually i did and i realized that asking other ppl never clearly answered the things i wanted to know...you should keep doing the volunteering you're doing, keep looking into the finance field, and try to focus on what you'll be doing on the job as a physician/finance guy...i dont think anyone will like everryyything they learn in school or like everrryything they do at work...weigh it out best you can and try to make a decision after some time..since you seem to have done a lot of the pre-reqs, taking the mcat is def. a good move

sorry for the rambling- i thought id lay out my story since i noticed a lot of ppl looked at your situation, and then went on to tell you that you should go w/ either finance or medicine...my point is that regardless of what anyone says, the experiences you're having right now and the your future classes/volunteering/work will help give you more clarity..at least thats what happened in my case...in the meantime, get as much info as you can from others who work or have worked in the finance/medical fields ..even look on the nontrad forum- theres a good # of stories from ppl that switched to medicine from engineering/finance/etc. ...feel free to PM me if you have any q's and gluck w/ everything :thumbup:
 

JMedical08

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medicine needs far more doctors who are analytical and mathematically oriented.
--- yeah i have to go ahead with negative on this one. Not to say that we don't need doctors who are analytical and mathematical, I would say the gears of our medical system already churn out doctors like these. We like to believe medicine to be a science with "rights" and "wrongs". We place the traditional American model of medicine on a pulpit above let's say Europe's medical system, while life-expectancy rates are similar if not higher overseas. There are ways of looking at an illness that might seem folkloric or unconventional to us, but in reality have strong basis of merit for treating the well being of a patient. Our American biases sometimes do more harm than good. Right now it's hard to document these differences, there are few studies focused on improving healthcare by comparing medical systems and taking into account the very nature of how international medical systems are set up, language barriers, cultural barriers etc. Ask a doctor how many French medical journal they read or have even heard of? While we are more likely to read British medical journals over say German medical journals, due to cultural barriers. Therapeutic recommendations can be sometimes based out of cultural practices and not necessarily medical treatments. Example, in France the liver might seem incredibly over-emphasized to us, the French always talk about their livers and have 200 different medications alone for the liver. There are so many variables that come down to making a diagnosis beyond simply using analytical/mathematical (as you put it) ability.

As for the question on this [email protected]$?>!#J

peace
Medical policy is built on mathematical models, if you don't know this, you need to do some more research. We have a long way to go in medicine to get people to be able to understand these models and use them appropriately, we are not optimizing our evidence base. Read medical journals (for example the journal of medical decision-making, but really any journal), learn about risk models, then realize that policy is based on diagnostic and risk models. If doctors better understood these, better decisions could be made for individuals.

Medical decisions are getting too complicated to make without aid of a model or other analytical ways of incorporating evidence.
 

JMedical08

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Very true. Math only deals with what "is." Hell, it deals with what "isn't" as well. In my opinion, physicians could more of these skills, because they lend themselves to complex, logic oriented thought. After all, medicine is based on chemical interactions, which is math.
There are a lot of opportunities to use math in medicine, so if you love math, medicine has no shortage of opportunities.

(Sorry, quoted the wrong post, but you get the idea
 

Zyvox

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Medical policy is built on mathematical models, if you don't know this, you need to do some more research. We have a long way to go in medicine to get people to be able to understand these models and use them appropriately, we are not optimizing our evidence base. Read medical journals (for example the journal of medical decision-making, but really any journal), learn about risk models, then realize that policy is based on diagnostic and risk models. If doctors better understood these, better decisions could be made for individuals.

Medical decisions are getting too complicated to make without aid of a model or other analytical ways of incorporating evidence.
Any trained monkey can read a lab chart. "if you don't know this...you need to do more research" lol that's all I'm doing right now. Actually I'm writing a thesis on this. "we are not optimizing our evidence base" pretty big words you got there. Maybe you need to do some research, here's just a few for you,

1. The diagnostic methods of ADD and ADHD, in America, Britain and France why is there such incredible discrepancy between them? How does "analytical" medicine, as you like to call it fit into all this?

2. The varied surgical practices of lumpectomy plus radiotherapy in Britain vs. radical mastectomy here in the States

4. American doctors use higher drug dosages than other european countries, even when recommendations drop, e.g. when the recommended dosage of anticoagulants was lowered, doctors still used the higher dosages, putting the patients in danger of bleeding

5. This one is from Medicine and Culture, "And when an (American) twelve-hospital study of the treatment of premature infants found that those at one hospital had been treated more gently and had fewer complications (interestingly, their treatment was supervised by a Chinese doctor) than those at the eleven other hospitals, the author of the study did not recommend that the gentler treatments be adopted nationwide but called for further research. Further research is always commendable, but one wonders whether it would be called for had the result shown more aggressive treatment was associated with a better outcome"

Your view of medicine being aggressive and optimized to the max on so called "evidence" is actually a well studied part of American medicine. I have nothing against mathematical models, or analytical based medicine, but in truth that is just a part of what medicine should really be about. There are no standardized measurements right now that compare international medical systems, which is a shame because some medical treatments and procedures in countries like, Germany, France, Britain have higher success rates. Medical practices that place more importance on the whole well being of a patient and not breaking down a human body into parts that can be separately treated and fixed. I realize that as a doctor you don't always have enough time with a patient to make the best possible diagnosis, but nevertheless why is it acceptable in our society?
Even with medical studies there are so many biases that go out into reports and get filtered out through drug companies. Think of all the drug recalls, think of all the contradicting studies. Type in "mechanisms of action drug unknown" into Google and realize that we don't know exactly how most drugs work. Is this what you mean by analytical?

It's not that we don't need more doctors who are analytical, but we need doctors who place importance on other aspects of the patient, analyzing not just diseases in terms of numbers, but more abstract thought patterns, like hypochondriac patients, cultural perceptions to diseases (ADHD, ADD) even simple colds, where patients go see the doctor expecting a prescription or their office visit wasn't worth the time spent, not realizing that your body can sometimes be the best defense mechanisms against minor colds and not heavy doses of antibiotics which can make colds worse for you and then next person you pass it on to. (antibiotics aren't proper treatments for a cold, yet so many patients still receive them, just an example of how something so basic in medical practice can't be solved just by being strictly "analytical")
 
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