Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Medicine vs. Non-Clinical Careers Like PE/VC & Biotech Consulting

Collapse
X
Collapse
First Prev Next Last
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Medicine vs. Non-Clinical Careers Like PE/VC & Biotech Consulting

    Hey everyone, I'm still in medical school but I'm considering a path in the biotech world on the business side. The more and more I get exposed to clinical medicine, I feel I can make a bigger impact using my engineering, medical, and problem-solving background to bring new treatments to market that could help thousands of people. I don't want to be a surgeon or work in a lab, and clinical medicine doesn't seem as problem-solving focused as I initially thought it was seeing how everything is evidence-based. My concern is giving up the guaranteed salary of a clinical career. If I stick with medicine, I expect to do an IM residency with fellowship which should put me in the 300-500k salary range starting at age 32. What is the career outlook for me in the biotech business side (PE/VC, consulting, pharma) if I dip straight into it or get an MBA? How likely/unlikely is it that I'd reach the 300-500k salary, how long would it take me to get there, and what would be my job stability? My primary motivator is intellectual stimulation and impact, but this decision has big financial implications so I want to make sure I know what I'm getting into.

  • #2
    You are committing to medical school and residency. That is at least a seven year commitment. Where are you in training? You could try out clinical medicine as an attending physician for a couple of years before making the leap to fellowship / PE / VC / biotech. These are 3 very different career paths. Academic medicine has more challenging cases and allows you to get involved with research although it will be hard to get that salary in academic internal medicine.

    Comment


    • #3
      personally, I would complete your residency before you try to get into the business world. Your MD will be useless without that additional training. I don't know too much about the business world, but my impression is that the job market is very unstable with people routinely moving jobs from company to company all the time. I think that an MBA would be helpful if you were going to go into business, but my impression is that it is mostly about connections and being able to sell and raise capital to succeed in that world. You might consider going into a low stress academic physician job and get your mba for free.

      Comment


      • #4
        Medicine offers the guarantee of a pretty good income. Outside of that it sucks.. especially after your training is over. Once you find yourself 40 living in some random town, answering to your admin bosses, getting written up by 23 year old nurses, having the only professional interaction be a 60 year old MA and hearing the same complaints over and over and over as you try and please the Walmart crowd in basically a front line service job, you’ll quickly realize you made a huge mistake.

        Go big. Do something exciting. Interact with cool and interesting people. Travel around a bit. Live in Los Gatos. A little riskier but she sounds a lot more exciting.



        Comment


        • #5
          I'm in my first year of medical school. I did a biomedical engineering degree in undergrad, I've worked for a start-up, have internship experience at a pharma company, and I know I enjoy that space. Part of the reason I went to med school is because everyone high-up in those industries have a terminal degree, and I knew I'd like an MD more than a PhD. I'm more of a thinking and strategy person than a use my hands in the lab or OR person, hence why I'm picking IM subspecialties if I stick with medicine or deal-making or strategy side in biotech. Is it worth sticking it out all the way for the next 7-10 years to get all the training to be have a more marketable knowledge base and have more career safety? I could also take 2 years off in between 3rd and 4th year and get an MBA at an ivy, but that comes at a 200k cost. How could I get my MBA for free through an academic job?

          Comment


          • #6
            My brief thoughts are this: 1) The advantage of an MBA is to make business contacts that can help connect you to jobs that make you good money or provide with with a pedigree to successfully solicit money for investment, if it does not do those things it is not worth it (and that depends on where you get the MBA and the focus of the program/who you meet there). 2) Clinical medicine will always have a job for you somewhere and as you mentioned, it's likely far more stable than tech which seems high risk/high reward vs failed significant effort with no great payout. 3) PE/VC/biotech is all about money and profit, and how science and technology can be leveraged for profit. You may have an insight into how the physical science of things works but that may be, and frequently will be, useless in the larger setting of business. 4) There is a middle ground if you want to hedge both ways, you can work in an academic center and try to develop ideas while there (some places have a path for this and take a significant chunk of your earnings but provide an infrastructure to start) or you can use it to make business connections/ leave and do less clinical work to pursue more of a business/tech role while still keeping it as a base but lessened income. Most tech roles, unless senior board in establish companies, do not compare to clinical salaries (Apple pays around $80/hr (ish) for physician consultants and it's rare to my knowledge it goes about 125. I've looked into tech/bio part-time and they always drop their jaw when I tell them my hourly from clinical work which isn't high comparatively in medicine). 5) Most important, clinical medicine is hard and challenging and while it is a great teacher and can inspire ideas and perspective others can't touch, it is also extremely demanding and more often than not people pursue business as an escape or side hustle (me!) as they realize the longevity of caring for patients may require more than you can keep giving when personal financial planning and work-life balance become increasingly out of whack. I say this because unless you have a passion for caring for the sick or a fascination for a medical specialty (and even then) you may find yourself wishing you just pursue a more life balanced career in business.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sundance View Post
              Medicine offers the guarantee of a pretty good income. Outside of that it sucks.. especially after your training is over. Once you find yourself 40 living in some random town, answering to your admin bosses, getting written up by 23 year old nurses, having the only professional interaction be a 60 year old MA and hearing the same complaints over and over and over as you try and please the Walmart crowd in basically a front line service job, you’ll quickly realize you made a huge mistake.
              Wow! This is brilliant. Cynical, but brilliant.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by biotechdoc View Post
                Hey everyone, I'm still in medical school but I'm considering a path in the biotech world on the business side. The more and more I get exposed to clinical medicine, I feel I can make a bigger impact using my engineering, medical, and problem-solving background to bring new treatments to market that could help thousands of people. I don't want to be a surgeon or work in a lab, and clinical medicine doesn't seem as problem-solving focused as I initially thought it was seeing how everything is evidence-based. My concern is giving up the guaranteed salary of a clinical career. If I stick with medicine, I expect to do an IM residency with fellowship which should put me in the 300-500k salary range starting at age 32. What is the career outlook for me in the biotech business side (PE/VC, consulting, pharma) if I dip straight into it or get an MBA? How likely/unlikely is it that I'd reach the 300-500k salary, how long would it take me to get there, and what would be my job stability? My primary motivator is intellectual stimulation and impact, but this decision has big financial implications so I want to make sure I know what I'm getting into.
                First, you missed out on leverage and growth whatever that happened recently.
                /s

                What you are describing is another career. Think for a sec (or read sdn forum in pre-med section): people there have similar fascination and wide-eyed optimism for MEDICINE. What I'm saying is this - that "career" will turn into a 'boring' slog as well if it is repetitive, and you 'master' it.

                After starting multiple business and being successful at it, I can confidently say that if you start your own business and if successful then it beats medicine. Otherwise, I think Medicine is in a rarefied field of having great pay, flexibility (yes, it is flexible if you look around other similar paying 'jobs' that can be attainable with coursework/school), and mission that none can rival.

                Further, for you to reach 500K outside of medicine in consulting or engineering would require you to be in VP position or some such senior position which will easily take 5+ years unless you are the second coming of Elon Musk. Understand that engineering doesn't pay that much; engineering management would. Greatest/smartest engineers I have met who PROBLEM SOLVE (code/design/process/tech etc) work in teams and make like 150K may be. They stay there and be happy problem solving for a corp/startup or eventually move to management where they make more but are less hands on. Consulting I have less experience with but its all hustle and flights in the beginning (see any new position at Mckinze or Bain)

                Comment


                • #9
                  “Consulting I have less experience with but its all hustle and flights in the beginning (see any new position at Mckinze or Bain)”

                  One thing about consulting, the primary goal is “business development”. Create a project, lots of hours, sell more work, put in more hours, collect as much as possible. Client satisfaction and success is a metric only if it hinders future “business development”. To move up the pay-scale, you are measured as a professional salesman. The technical or complexity are of value only in completing the current project. Career progression is based upon your ability to generate new business.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The way I look at is that every job has its boring parts. In medicine, it's paperwork & billing, and in business / PE / consulting, it's sales. I find sales much more interesting than medical paperwork because I like talking to people, networking, negotiating, and playing that game. To me, that's a form of problem-solving. I'd take that over medical paperwork any day. Medicine as a pre-med was very problem solving heavy because I had to think about why these patients had these symptoms. As a doctor, I'll know most things I see and will essentially regurgitate that knowledge to my patient. I'm quickly realizing there's no problem solving, no game, no strategy, and it's a lot of monotonous, non-glamorous work. I've done enough to research to know what other industries entail. My first step is going to be trying to get my foot in the door at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, but obviously it's tough. I think I don't want to be a doctor anymore, but I also realize this might just be immaturity. If I leave medicine, I leave a guaranteed career that a lot of people enjoy and that pays 300k behind, and I want to minimize my risk of regretting leaving as much as possible without wasting too much time. If anyone has insights on how to balance those thoughts and forge a reduced-risk career path, that'd be very helpful. Does it sound like I will ever truly enjoy medicine, or probably not?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You’re only in your first year, which is, in my opinion, the worst. All basic science, on a very short leash when you actually see patients. I think clinical medicine has more problem-solving and intellectual stimulation than you may realize.

                      Having said that, you may not be happy as a physician. You wouldn’t be the first to realize that in med school. Biotech and VC are higher risk/ higher reward but they are just as demanding. The only way I know to be wealthy without a lot of very hard work and some luck is to be born that way.

                      I would suggest you take some time to explore the business side of medicine, even if it means taking a year away from med school. Talk to everyone you can, find mentors, try on different fields. You don’t have to come up with the answer right now: you have many options open to you and you can afford to let them reveal themselves.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CrockettsRiver View Post
                        You’re only in your first year, which is, in my opinion, the worst. All basic science, on a very short leash when you actually see patients. I think clinical medicine has more problem-solving and intellectual stimulation than you may realize.
                        I really hope that's the case! But not expecting it given what I've seen so far. That's why I like heme onc, because it seems like the most intellectual clinical specialty.

                        Originally posted by CrockettsRiver View Post
                        Having said that, you may not be happy as a physician. You wouldn’t be the first to realize that in med school. Biotech and VC are higher risk/ higher reward but they are just as demanding. The only way I know to be wealthy without a lot of very hard work and some luck is to be born that way.
                        I'm 100% willing to work hard; I legitimately enjoy working hard and get a rush out of it if it's something I enjoy. Just have to find what it is within the greater healthcare world while minimizing risk.

                        Originally posted by CrockettsRiver View Post
                        I would suggest you take some time to explore the business side of medicine, even if it means taking a year away from med school. Talk to everyone you can, find mentors, try on different fields. You don’t have to come up with the answer right now: you have many options open to you and you can afford to let them reveal themselves.
                        This is correct, and that's all I can do at this point. I think at the very least, getting the MD sets me up for a variety of opportunities later, and I have 3 more years to explore my interests.

                        Thanks for the advice!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I didn't particularly enjoy med school, nor intern year. But things got much, much better once residency started and I was spending my days in my desired specialty. Things got exponentially better as an attending. There's a lot of time for changes in perspective through training

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 8arclay View Post
                            I didn't particularly enjoy med school, nor intern year. But things got much, much better once residency started and I was spending my days in my desired specialty. Things got exponentially better as an attending. There's a lot of time for changes in perspective through training
                            Can you speak more as to what was going through your mind as a med student and intern, what specialty you picked and why, when you started seeing your perspective change, and how you feel now? I'm really hoping my current feeling is immaturity and that it will change, but I'm not sure how long I should anticipate waiting before that changes. Like at what point will I know I've waited enough, and it's time to try business? I know I can still do biotech business as a dual career when I'm an established attending, but I can also jump into that and climb earlier if I leave right after med school as a 25-year-old.

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X