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  • DMFA
    replied




    Some background: I started undergrad (fall 2011) as a music major and underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy that year I dropped 200lbs. This event shifted my interests into nutrition & fitness and lead me to change majors (and schools twice) to Nutrition. Fast forward to Fall 2013 where I start my journey at Rutgers. I knew I liked an active lifestyle but wasn’t sure what I could do with it. This lead to 4 semesters of stagnant drive (and very mediocre grades) until my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IIIb NSC lung cancer. This family event, in conjunction with a growing interest in science, lead me to pursue the pre-med track for my degree. But because of my poor grades the first 2 years, a sharp upward trend at the start of junior year only left me with a 3.1 cumulative GPA at graduation. I still havn’t taken the MCAT and was planning to but now entering this job I’m holding off since the score expires in 3 years. I have all of my extracurriculars in place (research, shadowing, volunteering, TAing, etc) but I’d realistically need a masters to get my GPA in line, which to me is more betting with time and money.

    I’m very happy about landing this job right out of school. It is with Stryker and I have a love of orthopedics. I’ll still be immersed in healthcare and it will be a good test of if I’m still eager to be the surgeon or if I’m perfectly happy as the sales rep, all while paying down some debts.

     

    My finances: In short, my family lived a very middle class life. While they gave me a great upbringing, they tended to live close to their means and this hurt them in 2008 when my dad was laid off and didn’t get back into his field until 2011 (at a lower salary than he had). 6 years of undergrad combined with no money saved for my college career lead to this number for undergrad (and thats just the amount in my name). This background, combined with my credentials being out of line has lead me to pursue a career-path job rather than continuing on with school. Throughout the interview process, many of the reps I met talked about the salary figures in this field and it seems like a successful rep can make just as much as an attending.

     

    If I went back it would be to pursue a surgical specialty. I feel I have a fantastic opportunity ahead of me and having a successful sales career would definitely make it very difficult to leave for another 5 years of school (masters+MD), 5 years of residency and 1 year of fellowship (assuming I went with ortho). the 6 year number is arbitrary but to me it represents a time frame to pay off undergrad, save up for medical school, evaluate where my life is at that time (marital status, kids, mortgage, etc), and decide if a career as a physician is still for me.

     

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Click to expand...


    So you're throwing a master's in there, too?  I think the most difficult thing here (and p much for life in general) is figuring out what exactly it is that you want.  Unless you're counting that master's as a 1-year post-baccalaureate program which a lot of med schools have as a "bridge" course, taking folks who didn't or wouldn't get into med school on the first try and basically doing the first year of medical school and taking the MCAT to try to get in.  Many programs have an automatic admission if you can get a certain GPA.  My school had the post-bacs do lectures and anatomy labs directly side-by-side with us.  Several of my friends have gone through these programs to good effect, and several of the top 10 in my med school class went through one.

    Your 3.1 undergraduate GPA is going to be problematic.  However, it doesn't rule you out.  I got into med school with a 2.94 GPA and my brother in law got in with slightly less than that.  You're going to be asked to explain your shortcomings on your personal statements and in any interviews you get, because prospective med schools have to evaluate your liabilities as a potential student there.  If they think it's not something that would be repeated - and your story indicates that it wouldn't - then they might look past it *if* your work experience, MCAT, and other activities are particularly strong.

    Also consider DO schools as their application review tends to be a bit more "holistic" in that they seem not to weight solid metrics (GPA, MCAT) as much.

    The world is yours...

    Leave a comment:


  • mjf244
    replied
    Some background: I started undergrad (fall 2011) as a music major and underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy that year I dropped 200lbs. This event shifted my interests into nutrition & fitness and lead me to change majors (and schools twice) to Nutrition. Fast forward to Fall 2013 where I start my journey at Rutgers. I knew I liked an active lifestyle but wasn't sure what I could do with it. This lead to 4 semesters of stagnant drive (and very mediocre grades) until my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IIIb NSC lung cancer. This family event, in conjunction with a growing interest in science, lead me to pursue the pre-med track for my degree. But because of my poor grades the first 2 years, a sharp upward trend at the start of junior year only left me with a 3.1 cumulative GPA at graduation. I still havn't taken the MCAT and was planning to but now entering this job I'm holding off since the score expires in 3 years. I have all of my extracurriculars in place (research, shadowing, volunteering, TAing, etc) but I'd realistically need a masters to get my GPA in line, which to me is more betting with time and money.

    I'm very happy about landing this job right out of school. It is with Stryker and I have a love of orthopedics. I'll still be immersed in healthcare and it will be a good test of if I'm still eager to be the surgeon or if I'm perfectly happy as the sales rep, all while paying down some debts.

     

    My finances: In short, my family lived a very middle class life. While they gave me a great upbringing, they tended to live close to their means and this hurt them in 2008 when my dad was laid off and didn't get back into his field until 2011 (at a lower salary than he had). 6 years of undergrad combined with no money saved for my college career lead to this number for undergrad (and thats just the amount in my name). This background, combined with my credentials being out of line has lead me to pursue a career-path job rather than continuing on with school. Throughout the interview process, many of the reps I met talked about the salary figures in this field and it seems like a successful rep can make just as much as an attending.

     

    If I went back it would be to pursue a surgical specialty. I feel I have a fantastic opportunity ahead of me and having a successful sales career would definitely make it very difficult to leave for another 5 years of school (masters+MD), 5 years of residency and 1 year of fellowship (assuming I went with ortho). the 6 year number is arbitrary but to me it represents a time frame to pay off undergrad, save up for medical school, evaluate where my life is at that time (marital status, kids, mortgage, etc), and decide if a career as a physician is still for me.

     

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Leave a comment:


  • DMFA
    replied
    Stryker reps can make more than the orthopods.  Seen it.

    If you want to kill it at sales, you've got to work a lot, like doctor hours (60-80/wk).  You would go from that to working just as much in the classroom for two years and in the clinics/wards for 2 years without getting paid.  Then you would go for 5 years for ortho residency (another one or two if you want to do fellowship, spine, joints, sports, hand, etc) while getting paid a pittance still to work 60-80 hrs/wk.  Then you would finally get to be an attending surgeon, 9 years older, making a bit more than you made as a rep.

    Now, if being a doctor is something you're considering, you have to want it...like, REALLY want it, more than anything, because it's a giant mental, physical, and financial undertaking.  Then you have to consider whether you'd rather have a time debt (work and save) or a money debt (loans).  Loans can be structured, but money isn't everything, and you can't get your youth back.

    If you're wanting to put this money somewhere while you're building it, then you have to decide how badly things would suck if you lost it.  If you want to take on market risk with the chance of needing some loans, then you *could* try equities (I wouldn't).  Over that time frame you could consider the credit risk and interest rate risk of individual bonds or *maybe* short-term bond funds to earn a couple percent, but again, I wouldn't...gains would be high enough and not worth loss of principal without time to gain it back.  So I'd probably just do high-interest savings unless you're OK with possibly needing some loans near the end.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kamban
    replied


    I’ll be starting as a sales associate earning a base salary with a potential for some bonuses. Once I complete the training as an associate (1-2 years), I’ll be promoted to a representative and given my own territory and it’ll strictly be commission-based.
    Click to expand...


    This is think is your biggest hurdle. You are going to be earning a low pay for a couple of years before the big bucks come in, just like being in residency and then having attending salary. By the time you save you earn money to clear the $114K debt and pay it 3-4 years would have passed. So would you want to quit a relatively high paying job at age 28-30 to start medical school with no income and during the 8-10 years have very little income and a $400K debt at the end. If you try and save for medical school while in sales, you will add another 4+ years to your job and delay the start of a new career.

    And who knows what your life will be in the meantime. Will you have a spouse and children to support. Would you be able to quit and have no income and have more expenses than an average medical student. So make the decision to go to medical school now and if you decide to, don't delay more than 2 years, max.

    Leave a comment:


  • VagabondMD
    replied
    It is my opinion, and others have touched upon this, is that you are not asking yourself the right question. The question is: "Do I really want to go to med school?" and the related question, "Am I realistically going to get into med school?"

    My impression is that you are pursuing the sales career as a hedge because you are not sure if you have either the commitment or the credentials for the medical career. If you have both, I see no reason not to move forward. If you are unsure, pursue the sales career and see where it takes you. In the mean time, work on getting your debt balance down as aggressively as you can.

    For the record, I have never heard of one leaving the medical sales arena to get an MD (though I am sure it has been done), but I do know of a few people who have left medicine to go into sales or marketing for pharma or medical devices.

    Leave a comment:


  • hightower
    replied
    I think you should decide now if you want to go to medical school or not.  You're already 24, so you're slightly older than traditional students.  If you wait 6 years until you're 30 as you mention, you'll be 34 before you finish school and at least 37 before you graduate residency (and that's if you go into primary care).  You could easily be as old as 40 if you go into something else.  Though it can definitely be done, do you really want to start a new career at that age if you don't have to?

    I encourage you to not worry about paying for school right now and first determine if medical school is what you want or if you could be happy doing something else.  If you feel like you won't be happy unless you give it a shot, then go for it now.  It makes no sense to delay it 6 years just so you can save up for it.  That is lost opportunity.  You could make 300k+/yr for 6 years as an attending and easily pay that tuition with lots left over.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hatton
    replied
    I am under the impression that medical equipment sales reps do very well.  If you have the right "sales" personality then you probably do better than a primary care doc.  You would also not have as much debt.  Not everyone is successful with sales however and the jobs seem to change salesmen frequently.  One might also ask why you ran up so much undergraduate debt?  Did it take you more than 4 years?

    Leave a comment:


  • adventure
    replied
    Welcome!

    To better answer 1 and 2... you need to better know your timelines. How long until you could apply for medical school? Do you need to take any classes? MCAT? The application process is many months, even if you have all of the prereqs completed. Put another way, if you found $114,000 on the sidewalk tomorrow, are you ready to go to medical school?

    Some of this depends on timing and liquidity needs. If you need the money for medical school tuition in 12 months, a "high interest" savings account is a good choice. If you need it in 10 years, you could consider some amount of exposure in the market (index funds mixed with bonds, etc).

    For this goal (and/or any life goal, really), you should have a plan (read: excel spreadsheet) at this point. You need to know what your goals are. It's okay if they change, but you have to put down some goals.

    Budget, and goals: rent is A/month, utilities are B, student loans are C, "med school" is D, retirement is E, emergency fund is F, etc. (Make sure you have these accounted for!!)

    You clearly had planned to go to medical school, then changed, that's fine, but did you not go because 114k "felt like a lot" or because you calculated the cost of 114, plus medical school tuition (where is 250 from? A local state school?) , plus compound interest, plus residency and fellowship, and potential future earnings and then determined this was a proper course of action. No judgement from on what you choose or chose, but you owe your self to be honest about how you usually make decisions. It'll help you be more reflective on your next decision.

    So, to answer:

    1. Technically, depends on cost of debt, and potential gain/interest rate on savings.

    2. Depend on timeline.

     

    Good luck with the new gig!

    Leave a comment:


  • mjf244
    started a topic Planning for the Future

    Planning for the Future

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm fairly new to the WCI but I've been loving the great information I've found through the website and podcasts so far.

    A brief introduction: I just graduated from undergraduate and I'm starting a job doing orthopedic sales. I initially planned on pursuing medical school after graduation but after seeing what I owed just from undergrad my priorities shifted.

    My situation: I'll be starting as a sales associate earning a base salary with a potential for some bonuses. Once I complete the training as an associate (1-2 years), I'll be promoted to a representative and given my own territory and it'll strictly be commission-based. My financial goal is to pay off undergrad and save up for medical school tuition. Once in that situation, I'll reevaluate if I want to go back or if I love the work and want to stay. I currently owe $114,000 from undergrad and I'm estimating $250,000 for medical school tuition.

    My questions: 1) Would I be better off investing every free dollar into paying off the undergrad debt before starting to save/invest for medical school tuition? 2) when it comes time to save/invest for medical school tuition, where would be the best place to put it? A high-yield savings account? An index fund? I'm currently 24 and would like to accomplish this within the next 6 years. Is that short of a time frame worth sweating interest rates between index funds/high-yield savings or is it simply ideal that the money is going to one of the two?

     

    Thanks for reading! Any input is greatly appreciated.
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