Should I matriculate this fall or defer for a year in consulting?

Slip236

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    I have been accepted at a good MD program in Chicago as well as a good healthcare consulting position in Chicago, both starting in August. I took two gap years working in orthopedics. I am deciding between going to med school this fall and deferring for a year and going into consulting. Can anyone give advice/opinions/considerations on how I should decide between the two?

    Considerations: Consulting has always been something I wanted to try. I could finish paying undergraduate debt with consulting. This MD program has been my dream school. I'd be going into med school at either 24 or 25 years old.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     

    Slip236

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      I doubt the school lets you defer because of a job offer. But if you defer, that's one less year you won't be working as a doctor. That's ~$250k of opportunity cost.
      Certainly something to consider, thanks!
      Would the Covid pandemic affect my medical school education as far as classes and extracurricular opportunities such as research and clubs?
       
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      iHawk_MD

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        (Assuming you can get the deferral) Just gauging from my friends who went into consulting (mostly management rather than healthcare), projects can last a long a time, and you may not be able to get out what you want from it in just a year. However, if you really feel like you would gain some good experience and feel like you might regret not giving it a try years down the road, I don't think it will really be bad. It will give you time to move to Chicago and get comfortable, assuming you don't already live there, and explore the city before you have the stress of medical school. You're still young, you're still able to use a year to pursue something for pure joy.

        If you can swing the deferral, I think it just comes down to personal preference, I don't think it will end up making a change in undergraduate debt long term unless (1) the consulting gig pays super well, like really really well, or (2) a lot of your debt is high interest credit card debt and you don't have a way to pay it off.
         
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        paradoxic_toxic

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          Certainly something to consider, thanks!
          Would the Covid pandemic affect my medical school education as far as classes and extracurricular opportunities such as research and clubs?

          It's hard to say for certain. Some schools have moved towards online classes (which is fine since most students watch recorded lectures at home anyways). Rotations are up in the air. Definitely expect ECs to be difficult to come across for the time being.
           
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          Engrailed

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            I personally don’t think trying consulting is an issue since medicine is a life long endeavor anyway. Can’t imagine taking an extended break to “try” consulting after medicine school if you want to continue with residency.

            Schools seem very firm on deferral terms this year especially since people are asking left and right due to Covid. If you can somehow get the school to accept your request, it might turn out to be an interesting life experience and allow you to develop people skills, grow your network before delving into academia.
             
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            KnightDoc

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              Certainly something to consider, thanks!
              Would the Covid pandemic affect my medical school education as far as classes and extracurricular opportunities such as research and clubs?
              Well, yeah. If school is online next fall, that's going to significantly detract from the social aspects of school. Don't you think everyone realizes this? I think it's highly unlikely your school, or any school, is going to be as liberal with deferrals this year under these circumstances as in the past, and most schools were never particularly thrilled about accepting you and then having to reserve a seat for you next year while going to the WL to fill your seat this year.

              Allowing everyone like you who wants to ride out the crisis away from school would require the schools to allow all the people like you to displace many top candidates next year, and to replace them with WL candidates this year. I don't work in admissions, but I wouldn't make that trade if the alternative was forcing you to stick to whatever you wrote in your application and allowing me to make your dreams come true now. I'm pretty sure you didn't write an essay about using next year to get a little consulting experience before starting med school, and they found that so compelling that they accepted you with their eyes wide open.

              Also, the opportunity cost isn't really anywhere near $250K. You'll certainly make a helluva lot more as a consultant than you'll make in 2024 as a resident, and you're making it now rather than in 4 years! You're not losing $250K -- you're pushing it back a year, and replacing it with $100K+, or whatever you'll make as a consultant in 2020. Probably close to a wash, not to mention the experience. I just think you're taking the availability of the opportunity for granted, and, like some others, I'd be a little surprised your school will be so cavalier about indulging it.
               
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              lumya

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                I can't speak for all firms, but the consulting company I work for has basically put a limit on who is allowed to travel for the foreseeable future, so if you take the consulting position it's likely it won't be what you expected. So it might end up a choice between if you'd rather sit at home and watch medical lectures or sit at home and attend Zoom meetings.

                Edit: I mean you'll also make money working which is definitely not a non-factor but it shouldn't be your largest motivator.
                 
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                DokterMom

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                  Well, yeah. If school is online next fall, that's going to significantly detract from the social aspects of school. Don't you think everyone realizes this? I think it's highly unlikely your school, or any school, is going to be as liberal with deferrals this year under these circumstances as in the past, and most schools were never particularly thrilled about accepting you and then having to reserve a seat for you next year while going to the WL to fill your seat this year.

                  Allowing everyone like you who wants to ride out the crisis away from school would require the schools to allow all the people like you to displace many top candidates next year, and to replace them with WL candidates this year. I don't work in admissions, but I wouldn't make that trade if the alternative was forcing you to stick to whatever you wrote in your application and allowing me to make your dreams come true now. I'm pretty sure you didn't write an essay about using next year to get a little consulting experience before starting med school, and they found that so compelling that they accepted you with their eyes wide open.

                  Also, the opportunity cost isn't really anywhere near $250K. You'll certainly make a helluva lot more as a consultant than you'll make in 2024 as a resident, and you're making it now rather than in 4 years! You're not losing $250K -- you're pushing it back a year, and replacing it with $100K+, or whatever you'll make as a consultant in 2020. Probably close to a wash, not to mention the experience. I just think you're taking the availability of the opportunity for granted, and, like some others, I'd be a little surprised your school will be so cavalier about indulging it.

                  QFT

                  I think @KnightDoc nailed it. There are going to be a lot more people looking for deferrals this year due to COVID-related anxieties, concerns about the quality of online education, illness for self or loved ones... I'm expecting schools will take a much tougher stance than previously.

                  And for what it's worth, it takes a year just to get up to speed as a consultant. You'd do your prospective employer no favors by taking a consulting gig and quitting the second you start to become productive and begin to pay off your training costs.

                  In short, if you want to become a physician, do that, and do it now. I don't see a one-year deferral being a real option.
                   
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                  HouseJC

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                    I have been accepted at a good MD program in Chicago as well as a good healthcare consulting position in Chicago, both starting in August. I took two gap years working in orthopedics. I am deciding between going to med school this fall and deferring for a year and going into consulting. Can anyone give advice/opinions/considerations on how I should decide between the two?

                    Considerations: Consulting has always been something I wanted to try. I could finish paying undergraduate debt with consulting. This MD program has been my dream school. I'd be going into med school at either 24 or 25 years old.

                    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

                    You can always continue as a consultant when you are a MD right? Or do consulting on the side during medical school (although this might be hard to balance, as I've done pro-bono consulting before as a graduate student to test it out).

                    And hey, congratulations on getting into the MD program. I'm applying for medical school after completing my PhD in Neuroscience and hope to enter as a 28 year old. You are 24/25, so definitely fine, young blood!
                     
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