digitallion

5+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2012
37
12
Status
Medical Student
This thread is for the exchange of information and opinions about these two excellent medical school programs. I imagine that many of you may find yourselves in a similar position as I am in, having been accepted to Ben-Gurion a couple months ago and in anticipation of the high possibility of being accepted to Sackler in the coming months, have been debating the benefits of choosing one over the other extensively. I am well aware that these are two very different programs that offer completely distinct experiences, nevertheless, I find them both very appealing and predict that I may end up having to make a touch choice. I have already scoured through the internet and every possible forum, source of information and every video about these two programs and so wanted to create a place for discussion between various prospective students and (hopefully) current students and alumni that can offer insights, information and personal experiences that may aide those of us who are trying to come up with their preferred program. I will start by outlining the pro and con lists that I have been weighting in my head for months already.

Ben Gurion - The Medical School for International Health

Pros:
- Really unique curriculum that includes specific training in global health and cross-cultural medicine (although this field has not been a lifelong passion for me, I am certainly interested and believe attending Ben Gurion could have the potential to turn the interest into serious enthusiasm)
- As a Canadian, the possibility of being able to do a Canadian residency following graduation (it seems every year a couple students are landing residencies at the University of Toronto)
- 2 month clerkship in a developing country
- 4th year clerkships at Columbia hospitals
- Seems like it would have a very diverse and passionate student body
- Excellent track record of residency placement
- Great student life in Be'er Sheva
- Month long ulpan during orientation and mandatory hebrew classes during first 2 years
- Overall, the program seems very genuine and student oriented.

Cons:
- Be'er Sheva, while providing an excellent student life, is not exactly the most exciting place on earth. It is a dull desert compared to Tel Aviv
- A large portion of the graduates end up doing residencies in primary care (while this may just be a reflection of the student body's interest, it is probably more difficult to get into competitive specialites than Sackler)
- Exposure to fewer hospitals and specialties in clinical years than Sackler
- While the global health curriculum will be fascinating, I worry it could be too much on top of the already heavy load that is medical school
- Smaller class size than Sackler (while this definitely has benefits as well, if you don't happen to click really well with many in your particular group, you might be out of luck)

Sackler

Pros:
- Tel Aviv is one of the best cities on the planet (I have lived there before and would absolutely love to again)
- Incredible track record with students ending up in many different types of residencies including competitive ones
- Many hospital affiliations and exposure to more specialties during clinical years
- Slightly larger class size (I think 60-70 is perfect, greater chance of finding people you connect well with, also seems to have a bit more of a party atmosphere if that's your thing)

Cons:
- No history of graduates landing Canadian residencies
- Class seems a bit more homogenous (American Jews who are there because they didn't get into US schools)
- No unique global health curriculum or clerkships
- Program comes across as a bit less genuine, student oriented and I can't help feeling like its mostly about that American tuition money to fund the University (and not necessarily the Sackler program)


Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or shed light on some of the differences that I have brought up. Also, good luck to all as we await hearing back from Sackler in March/April
 
Last edited:
Aug 16, 2012
337
5
Status
Medical Student
One complaint or issue I have heard from sackler students is that they have had trouble getting good clerking positions in NA. Its not that they don't get them but they have a lot more hoops to jump through.
In contrast the BGU students seem to have less trouble 1. because they have columbia as a fall back 2. at least where I am the collaboration with columbia seems to help students get spots outside of columbia.

On the other hand Sackler seems better known for getting residency spots and the physicians I work with tend to know of "that medical school in Israel associated with NY... you know the one in tel aviv i think". They tend to not know as much about BGU although when you give the full name of the program they all nod and go oh columbia thats a good program then

regarding the life in the city. Bersheva is much more of a college town then Tel Aviv but my friends in bersheva love it and many prefer it over Tel Aviv for school

Personally I think the global health is a great addition and I think the roations at Columbia hospitals is amazing
just my two cents
 

md2016

5+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2013
9
1
Israel
Status
Medical Student
Cons:
- Be'er Sheva, while providing an excellent student life, is not exactly the most exciting place on earth. It is a dull desert compared to Tel Aviv
First-year MSIH student here. As a medical student your schedule isn't exactly overflowing with leisure time. There is plenty enough to do in Be'er Sheva, and whenever I want to go further afield, tel aviv is an hour by train and Jerusalem is 90min by bus. Many classmates spend most weekends in TA, but, again, be'er sheva grows on you
 

danrubi

7+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2011
4
2
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Did you end up hearing back - what way are you leaning? I'm in a similar boat and both have impressive pros that are important for me (BGU for international flare; Sackler for Tel Aviv). However, I keep hearing pushback from BGU students that they enjoy their time in Be'er Sheva even though it isn't the most interesting of cities. It's a tough decision for me so I'm curious where you're leaning!

P.S. Two people from Sackler matched to U of T last year
 

JCaesar

5+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2010
21
5
Status
Medical Student
Hi Guys!

I'm a 4th year student at BGU-MSIH. I just wanted to quickly write a few things that were on my mind. By the way, I wholeheartedly loved my time at BGU-MSIH!! While I know a little about Sackler, I obviously know a lot about BGU and I want to make some comments about my school and a bit about what I know about Sackler.

1) Neither Sackler nor BGU has any problem with rotations in North America. I've spoken and rotated with several Sackler students in the US and they have no problem (strong group of students by the way!). At BGU, the Columbia collaboration allows us to do all of our electives there.

2) Both Sackler and BGU will have a similar chance of residency matching in Canada. I don't think either school will have any advantage/disadvantage. The number of matches from each school to Canada will depend on the number of Canadians in each class that go through CaRMS.

3) BGU matches more primary care fields because the student body here leans far more heavily to these fields. At least half of most of the classes lean towards FM and Peds. This means that our alumni network consists more of primary care fields compared to Sackler's and this 'could' presumably make a difference at match time. Alumni can certainly have an influence if they are at a particular institution and in a particular specialty. So, if Sackler has more people in Radiology and you think this may be an option, then Sackler may help you get there more than BGU. Having said that, BGU seems to get students to the specialties that they want. We had a Rad-Onc match this year and we had a person interested in Derm a few years ago and he matched. Also another point about specialties at BGU, there is usually a small number of students that are really interested in EM here as well and they seem to do well in the match.

4) Your choice of city will depend on your individual taste. Beer Sheva is awesome for me! It's a nice college town and there are several student bars near campus. Beer Sheva has a really nice comfortable feel to it. We all live near the university and walking distance from one another which is nice when we all want to hang out. There is a great multicultural patient population and every little section of the city has something really unique and intriguing about it. It's truly an amazing experience to live in this city and it suits my interests far more than Tel-Aviv ever could.

5) The student bodies of each school are very different. It's like night and day really. I love the student body at BGU. BGU tends to draw a lot of really adventurous, humanistic people to the class (not surprising since it's an International Health program in the middle of the Negev desert :D )

Overall, both programs attract a very talented group of students. The match lists from both schools show a long track record of success. Both schools have different guiding philosophies and are widely different experiences so you must pick the one that you gravitate towards. People with a choice between these 2 programs are in a very good position! I hope that helps and good luck!!
 

IzzyMD09

10+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2006
417
7
Everywhere
Status
Attending Physician
Hi Guys!


Having said that, BGU seems to get students to the specialties that they want. We had a Rad-Onc match this year and we had a person interested in Derm a few years ago and he matched. Also another point about specialties at BGU, there is usually a small number of students that are really interested in EM here as well and they seem to do well in the match.
Please don't use my success in matching Derm from BGU-MSIH as a promotion for this Medical School, while I agree with most of the other things you wrote, this program did not help me in any way achieve a successful match into Dermatology, it messed up my medical transcripts giving me pass grades in clerkships I honored, it aided me in no way in getting electives in Derm my fourth year, the current head of the program wrote a mostly inaccurate MPSE, and aside from Dr. Mick Alkan (awesome) the entire faculty spent three years attempting to dissuade me from attempting to match in Derm...despite its tremendous and overwhelming implications in Global Health. I was given one interview in Dermatology secondary to the aforementioned errors and had I not taken a full calendar year off to complete a Junior Research Fellowship with publications/presentations in Derm, I would not have matched.
 

IzzyMD09

10+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2006
417
7
Everywhere
Status
Attending Physician
Wow, the last post was a slap to the face. But thanks for sharing your experience
I guess, I just don't appreciate giving credit where it is not due, additionally, I agreed with the remainder of the post, but my scenario is far from standard, and the level of disorganization I experienced with credentials and documents that essentially dictate the rest of your professional career, to me was a culmination of my 4 years with BGU-MSIH, hopefully things have changed since then...
 

josephf1

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2006
148
5
Status
i graduated sackler
i certainlly feel there is a big QOL difference in tel aviv vs ber sheva. think LA vs roswell NM.
overall though MS is really just a bump in the road to the real training
the 1st 2 years of MS wherever you go is really just to jam lots of info in you head and get a good USMLE 1 board score
a 99 from a rural school in pakistan will get you just as good a residency as sackler, ben gurion, st george, ross, etc.
in the US no one really cares in the end where you went to MS, just that you are reliable, smart, consistent, and good at being a resident
personally i would pick sackler primarily to live in Tel Aviv, it really is a good mix of beach, clubs, culture, etc, but not cheap at all
further advise to you up and comers is keep your loans to a minimum. i remember people in my class taking out massive loans, hundreds of thousands
of dollars to live it up in tel aviv and eat out every night. this all has to be payed back. every $1 you borrow you end up paying back at least $3
by the time you finish residency or more training you could be almost 40, married, kids, trying to pay for so many things, a massive monthly
loan payment over your head will be a real bummer, no one really gets this so early in their training, they are just desparate to be doctors
and yes the salries are going DOWN, in my specialty, people used to start 500-600, now its 200-300 and after taxes, a mortgage, and some kids in jewish school, to also pay down big loans doesnt leave much room for the good life
thats my 2 cents
peace out
 

Dochopeful13

5+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2013
503
122
Status
Pre-Medical
Does anyone know how Israeli schools calculate class retakes in your overall gpa??
 
Nov 10, 2014
20
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Please don't use my success in matching Derm from BGU-MSIH as a promotion for this Medical School, while I agree with most of the other things you wrote, this program did not help me in any way achieve a successful match into Dermatology, it messed up my medical transcripts giving me pass grades in clerkships I honored, it aided me in no way in getting electives in Derm my fourth year, the current head of the program wrote a mostly inaccurate MPSE, and aside from Dr. Mick Alkan (awesome) the entire faculty spent three years attempting to dissuade me from attempting to match in Derm...despite its tremendous and overwhelming implications in Global Health. I was given one interview in Dermatology secondary to the aforementioned errors and had I not taken a full calendar year off to complete a Junior Research Fellowship with publications/presentations in Derm, I would not have matched.
I don't know anything about MSIH as promoting their schools in residency. However, I worked for awhile at Harvard's derm program a long time ago. A girl in our lab had a similar experience at BU. She didn't have perfect grades or unlike you board scores. They often take who they know and like. She did a year there. They liked her and she matched there. I think that is a lot of specialties. It is a lot of who you know and if they think you have potential. Another guy that teched at wellman at MGH before med school matched at MGH in derm. At my med school, there was a person with a 205 that matched derm ucla. They knew and liked her. Specialties can be like that. If at your school the students do their extra curricular in primary care, that is who they will know and tend to match there. Good job though. Derm is hard to get and if you bucked the system and did it on your own awesome. I know at my med school where they pushed derm three at the top of our class went family practice and psych. Many with less MPSEs got ortho and derm. That is what they wanted. To be honest even though their grades weren't as good, I think they were better on the floors. I am glad they got derm and ortho.
 
Last edited:
Oct 29, 2014
16
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey guys, I was wondering if as a Canadian there is any difference in the competitiveness of the places you match at compared to American counterparts. I mean come match time if you're a Canadian trying to match in the US you will have to deal with J1 vs H1B visas, so my question is what do people end up doing? Do they take an extra year for H1B or take the J1 and do the 2 year requirement?
 
Feb 9, 2017
1
0
Hi
Im esfand and in 2 years i will finish medical school
( 7 years including internship)
I wanna know how can i studdy residency in israel
( im jewish)