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Advice on extracurricular

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Advice on extracurricular [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2014, 00:20
I am two years (almost) out of college and spent a year in investment banking and a year in a top business development team. Neither had anything to do with healthcare (IBD was M&A, the company is a media company), but I want to show admissions officers that I am really interested in healthcare / biotech. It's too late to pick healthcare IBD and go work for a hospital instead of the media company, so I guess my only option would be to show my interest in healthcare in other ways outside of work...

To be clear, this isn't a new interest at all. I've been interested in medicine since I was in high school through most of college, but decided against medical school at the last minute because I wanted to help people in a big picture way instead of patient by patient. I really always wanted to be a leader in healthcare, but I got sucked in to wanting to do the whole PE buyside thing and decided to pursue finance and get the best exit opps possible (so I did M&A instead of healthcare). Now I know PE and finance isn't for me, and I'm learning business strategy at this media company (again, I chose the company based on the strength of the team/experience instead of the industry). And now I have to backtrack a bit since I'm not in a job remotely related to healthcare. So what can I do over the next 11 months to show that I am truly interested in healthcare? Or is my only option to retake the MCAT and do the MD/MBA thing? (I'm kidding - I really don't want to memorize medical textbooks, and I'd be much more inclined to do a JD/MBA).
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Re: Advice on extracurricular [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2014, 00:44
First, this is exactly what your personal statement is for. You've managed to convey that passion even in a posting here; when you write it up, don't hold back and that will come through clearly and authentically.

In the meantime, I would find a local biotech incubator or venture capital association. Go to their mixers and networking events. If you can't find that, talk to people you know at a nearby med school. They will know about the local biotech community. Once you start going to those networking events, try asking if you could help out on weekends at a place. Tell them about your IB background. While you might not be an expert in your area, they might still have use for your skills. Also, you could make some great contacts.

And then make sure you write about that in your statement -- the networking, what you learned, and how it has informed what you want from the program you apply to.
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Re: Advice on extracurricular [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2014, 09:54
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It’s a great question. Here are some suggestions:

• Research the healthcare field intensively, and identify what segment you’d like to pursue and then research companies in that segment to show close familiarity with the field and informed decision making.
• Do some informational interviews with people in that segment (they don’t need to be long – you can get a lot of info in 10-15 min).
• If possible, take a course related to the healthcare area of interest (even if you’re not done when you apply, being enrolled shows commitment).
• Volunteer in a related healthcare setting – most hospitals and many community clinics have volunteer opportunities.
• In your application essays, discuss these proactive steps you’ve taken to demonstrate commitment and passion for the field.
• Develop a compelling goals path; also think about how your current and previous work experience has given you relevant skills to apply in the new career. This is an important step for a career changer.
• Also, think about how you’d market yourself to your target companies for MBA internships and employment, and make that clear in the essays.

I’m sure there are more steps you can take, but these are the ones that come most readily to mind --
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Re: Advice on extracurricular [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2014, 18:35
Thank you guys for your valuable advice. I will definitely reach out to some biotech startups to see if I can do some weekend work (this is actually a great suggestion, definitely the optimal way to go). I will also take a look to see if I can volunteer at a nearby clinic in some sort of operational way (most volunteer opportunities listed are for clerical work or menial labor - stuff that I did in high school and college but now that I'm a professional I would rather not do). Taking another course related to healthcare also seems like a great idea. And I will bookmark this thread to keep your application advice for when I apply next year!

Thanks again!
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Re: Advice on extracurricular [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2014, 12:31
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Your plans sounds great! I agree about the one type of volunteering being not on a helpful level. If you do the other things, it should well suffice. Good luck!
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