If you have to pick a position (IM) at either Cleveland Clinic or Mayo (then apply for cardiology fellowship) vs. a 7-year fast track with a guarannteed cardiology fellowship at Albert Einstein or Univ. Ill at Chicago, what would you do?
The question becomes do you want to be a research physician or not? The research pathways are designed for people who have a STRONG interest in academic medicine and who wish to run their own labs. Is that what you want to do? If not, then a regular residency and applying to fellowship maybe a better option for you. Both Mayo and CCF have extremely strong Cardiology placement rates. Good Luck in your deciscion.