Saturday, September 20, 2008

The value of an M.D.

I've recently had some interesting discussions with college students interested in the healthcare industry. Some want to go into pharma marketing while others want to work in hospital management. The question often comes up: "Do I need to get an M.D., or am I better off pursuing a different degree like an M.B.A. or an M.P.H.?" The obvious answer may seem like "get both" - but I tell them that it really depends on what type of long-term goals they have for themselves.

For instance, if you mainly want to work in pharma marketing, you certainly don't need an MD. Having an MD may open certain doors and provide unique opportunities, but the vast majority of people working in the marketing arena are not physicians.

The road to an MD is a very long and expensive one. The time investment is huge. The financial commitment is significant. Think about your long-term goals and make sure that you know what you're getting yourself into. If you're interested in medicine, learn about the business of medicine and the healthcare industry. Understand how physicians work and live. Consider all the practical ramifications and then evaluate whether you should pursue medical school.

1 comment:

  1. I saw your entry and it made me think about some of my coworkers who started and ran biotech companies or were executives in pharma, etc. Many were PhDs or MD/PhDs or MDs. What was interesting is with many of the MD/PhDs you had no idea they were MDs. They would not use the credential on any document, email, etc.... not even discuss it. They said that the PhD was much more valued and an MD was not. To have more credibility in "science" (focused areas) they spoke of their PhDs. I'm not saying that is good or bad... your blog just reminded me of that.