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  #1  
Old 12-17-2009, 12:40 PM
Accountant Accountant is offline
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Default Career change advice - Accountant to Doctor

Hello everyone.

I have been lurking at this and a number of other sites for some time as I consider a very serious career/lifestyle change. I am an accountant with an MBA and have decided to pursue med school. More specifically I have chosen to pursue Dalhousie Medical School. I am a family man with strong ties to my family in the Dartmouth area. Dalhousie is the only choice that I can make.

Being a numbers guy I have already forecasted my cash flow for the program. With financing my wife and kids will be able to maintain the quality of life they have now while I quit work and attend med school. This was the most important consideration that I have had to make with this career change.

What I must do now is asses what I have and what I will need to do in order to get in to medical school. In this thread I am not asking what my chances are. I have already decided my chances are 100%, so long as I do what I need to do to meet this goal.

So this is what I have. I have a B. Comm where I earned a triple major (accounting, finance & management). Unfortunately I did not focus on earning a high GPA and finished with a 2.5. I was focused on another goal and that was to get the most diverse education possible. I worked hard with 6 to 7 courses per semester (while working as a TA and another pt job) to graduate in 4 years with three majors. This perspective does make me unique, but does hurt me now that I have decided to go to med school. After that I earned an MBA and accounting designation where I graduated with a 3.67 GPA. This was not an easy program to get into as there was a 75% attrition rate getting into the program. I am hoping that my graduate work can show that I do have the ability to study and succeed at a high level. I am now in my early 30s and have a number of years working in accounting, including in management roles.

What I am missing is a background in science. I do not have a single science course outside of high school. I am looking into taking a couple of classes in the sciences part time. But at the same time I am hoping I can research some subject areas myself without taking a formal class. I fear that taking formal classes part time for each subject would take too long.

I would love to get any feedback about what I need to do, or from other Dalhousie students about non-traditional approaches.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:55 PM
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I commend you for your ambition, but your climbing an incredibly steep, uphill battle.

1. Your GPA is quite low, even for an in-province person, but you do meet the minimum IF they look at your grad marks at all.

2. Your lack of science background will prove cumbersome when studying for the MCAT. I would not be surprised if you need to dedicate an entire year to learning the sciences to even write the MCAT, let alone do well in it.

3. Although you are mature and experienced, your experiences have nothing to do with medicine specifically. Have you done any volunteer work that demonstrates compassion or caring for the community? Most adcoms I believe would be biased against your background as someone who is unfocused and ill-prepared for medicine.

4. Putting all your eggs in one basket (one med school) is never a good idea, even for the strongest of applicants which you are far from being.

My suggestion: I don't mean to discourage you, but to tell you my honest opinion. If this is seriously what you want to do, a second undergrad in science (3-yr degree) would help your case a LOT assuming you do well. Loading up on medically-related extracurricular activities will also help. You need to convince adcoms that you're actually serious about being a medical doctor, and that your not just some shmoe accountant who wants a safer career. That's not an easy task.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountant View Post
Dalhousie is the only choice that I can make.
You're really limiting yourself by making this choice. There's an old saying that says 'you'll catch more fish by casting a wider net'. In the Canadian medicine applications game, casting as wide net is often the only way to catch anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountant View Post
Being a numbers guy I have already forecasted my cash flow for the program. With financing my wife and kids will be able to maintain the quality of life they have now while I quit work and attend med school. This was the most important consideration that I have had to make with this career change.
Being a numbers guy, I'm sure you've looked at the numbers required to get into medicine, and how you compare to them (averages: 30 MCAT, 3.8 GPA). As the poster above stated, you're going to have to do another undergrad to make the minimum standards for GPA cutoffs, and this will likely take at least three years. If you haven't factored those three years of lost wages + costs into your calculations, it would be worth your while to revisit them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountant View Post
In this thread I am not asking what my chances are. I have already decided my chances are 100%, so long as I do what I need to do to meet this goal.
Unfortunately, this is a decision that's far beyond your control. If you're going to pursue this ambition, you should allot for three application attempts, and realize that it is a very likely outcome (in fact, the most likely) that you will never be accepted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountant View Post
So this is what I have. I have a B. Comm where I earned a triple major (accounting, finance & management). Unfortunately I did not focus on earning a high GPA and finished with a 2.5. I was focused on another goal and that was to get the most diverse education possible. I worked hard with 6 to 7 courses per semester (while working as a TA and another pt job) to graduate in 4 years with three majors. This perspective does make me unique, but does hurt me now that I have decided to go to med school. After that I earned an MBA and accounting designation where I graduated with a 3.67 GPA. This was not an easy program to get into as there was a 75% attrition rate getting into the program. I am hoping that my graduate work can show that I do have the ability to study and succeed at a high level. I am now in my early 30s and have a number of years working in accounting, including in management roles.

What I am missing is a background in science. I do not have a single science course outside of high school. I am looking into taking a couple of classes in the sciences part time. But at the same time I am hoping I can research some subject areas myself without taking a formal class. I fear that taking formal classes part time for each subject would take too long.
While this background is diverse and is above average, it doesn't make you stand out in the crowd. You should realize the level of competition that you're up against. It is some of the smartest and most ambitious undergraduates that pursue medicine, so although you're far above the average, you're not far above the premed average. I have a BSc Kinesiology, and I'm currently doing a BSc Chemical Engineering degree with a Biomedical option and a History minor. I have a 3.7, extreme amounts of ECs (Canada Games Athlete, Engineers Without Borders VP, Autism Specialist, Medic in the Army, Hospital Volunteer, etc. etc.), as well as strong references. I was initially waitlisted, and ultimately rejected last year.

Realize what you're up against, and don't for a second think that medicine is a certainty. If you can accept that, as well as the other things I've listed above, then I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit .
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Last edited by w8kg6 : 12-17-2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:35 PM
doc2B doc2B is offline
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The first thing I would suggest is to request a meeting or phone meeting with someone from admissions to see what you need to do and what would be suggested. The way graduate grades are looked is: all masters grades will be combined together and taken as "1 year" and then they will look at the best 2 consecutive years of undergrad, the average of the "3 years" will give you the GPA to be scored. Of course, this is converted to an OMSAS GPA also, on a 4.0 scale. Each year must meet requirements which for GPA for in province students is 3.3 so graduate school seems good but do you have any 2 consecutive years in undergrad that will also meet this?

The science part I think will be personal preference. There are people that do med school never having taken a university level science course at all. If you think you can learn it on your own for the MCAT then go for it. A lot of people like taking the MCAT prep courses, they don't really teach all the sciences but they review them, and give you a person that will answer questions that you have if you're having trouble understanding. I would recommend the prep courses. But some people feel that they need more science help than that too.

Anyway, like I said first step is to talk to admissions, they do set-up times to assist people with applications and discussing requirements for people applying to this particular med school.

Good Luck!
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w8kg6 View Post
Being a numbers guy, I'm sure you've looked at the numbers required to get into medicine, and how you compare to them (averages: 30 MCAT, 3.8 GPA). As the poster above stated, you're going to have to do another undergrad to make the minimum standards for GPA cutoffs, and this will likely take at least three years. If you haven't factored those three years of lost wages + costs into your calculations, it would be worth your while to revisit them.
Solid advice given here. While I'm never one to rain on any parade, one does need to accept the stats. The OP doesn't have the stats to put the odds in his favour. The need for a second UG degree seems to be clear: it will boost the GPA and (assuming he follows a "pre med" type degree) he will be properly prepared for the MCAT. If he just does a few science courses, he really is putting himself to the back of the crowd. No short cuts to success.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:27 PM
astudentis astudentis is offline
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Its a relatively long road, what does your family have to say?
1) Increase that GPA to at the bare min of 3.7
- ~2 Year commitment at Uni again (maybe minor in gen sci)... you may apply after the 2nd year is completed for the two years to count towards your ability to get an interview (though the logistics should be discussed with ADCOMS)
2) 1 will help with MCAT, but I would recommend buying PR/Kaplan Review Books (dont take the course=waste of $) and do practice tests
- studying for MCAT can vary between 2months to 8months depedning how comfortable you are with the material/how much time you can dedicate/day to studying (maybe you can write the MCAT after the first year of your science classes)...
3) Once you know you have the bare min for MCAT (I would say 27) then I would apply of Med school...then hope you get an interview and do REALLY well at the interview (major chunk to determine if you have what it takes)
- applying usually happens in fall after summer you wrote the MCAT and if went well, interview in the winter term... you will know by april/june.. later if waitlisted

During 1-3: volunteer/work to support family/research(optional, but good to have)

You are looking at two to three years to even get yourself to be ready to apply
If you are lucky and get in first try, GREAT!, if not wait another year to apply (be ready for applying atleast two times)

Then after you get in, be ready for 4 years of studying, then another at least 3 years of training (family med)//(5 years if you want to specialize in anything else)

Total Min time you are looking at until you become a doctor: 9-10years, with a debt of 75K (med related) + undergrad tuition for those science courses (~20K ?) on top of whatever you are currently balancing
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:46 PM
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To say, especially to your family and to yourself, that your "chances are 100%" means you are dreaming in technicolour and/or dillusional! You need to face a strong dose of reality! There are no guarantees with respect to entry into med school - far better candidates than you or I have bitten the dust and not gotten in.

You are receviing great advice here. Just don't give yourself and your family a false sense of security and know what you are getting into. Believe it or not, this is a lottery - and luck plays a critical role, in addition to be being an excelloent candidate. Just be preapred for non-acceptance in the end and then hav e a plan to re-integrate yourself into the commercial world or elsewhere should this happen. I wish you the best of luck in the world in this lottery of life.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:51 PM
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iwh333 iwh333 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Accountant View Post

What I must do now is asses what I have and what I will need to do in order to get in to medical school. In this thread I am not asking what my chances are. I have already decided my chances are 100%, so long as I do what I need to do to meet this goal.
nothing is ever certain especially gaining an acceptance into medicine, and ESPECIALLY when you are only going to apply to one school. don't believe you are more competitive on the basis of diversity and maturity or whatever.

my advice would be to do an undergrad degree in science and then apply after that. that way, you will gain some science pre reqs and some basic science knowledge to do well on the MCAT.

it's not as easy as you put it "my chances are 100%", getting into med. nothing is ever certain.

what's so good about medicine anyways?
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2009, 01:55 PM
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+1 on everyone else's advice about the second degree.

I am currently working on my second year of a second degree via Athabasca University. If you have not already, you should look into this option, as it offers much flexibility for the 'adult' learner, albeit with the cost of less support structure.

Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to finish this degree, but you will need to do two full course load (5 courses/semester) years. As per the admissions page, one of these years may be accepted at 3 or 4 courses per semester, if you have a good reason-- such as full time work / family responsibilities.

Also +1 on what others have said about casting a wider net.

One thing I will disagree with: you have been told by others that your 'stats' are not really up to par and no one can consider their chances of admission to be 100%. While this is probably true in the strictest sense, if I may quote the Boondock Saints:
"How far are we going to take this? The question is not how far, the question is, do we have the constitution, the depth of faith, to take it as far as is necessary?
If you want it, you can have it. The question will be whether you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary.
More specifically in response to the 'stats' issue, this message board tends to be quite preoccupied with 'stats'. While achieving certain baselines of academic performance and outside experience is required, beyond that there is the largely unquantifiable aspect of interview selection-- designed to identify candidates who would make good physicians. Sometimes this may be in contrasts to the 'hard' data on a candidates resume. Bottom line: if you get some good, incisive, feedback from current physicians, med admissions committee members, med students, etc. that you would make a good candidate, then keep working hard at bring up the 'hard' data and don't fret too much about the internet comparison of boob measurements.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:27 PM
A-Stark A-Stark is offline
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It's good to be encouraging, I suppose, but I will comment that a med admissions committee member has already provided some feedback here. "Stats" or not, an undergrad GPA below 3.5 let alone 3.0 will not be acceptable, and I don't think the greatly improved performance in the MBA program will be sufficient. The issue is not whether the OP could, conceivably, gain admission, but whether he understands and can devote the amount of time and money to preparing to apply. He's looking at a year or more of coursework in all likelihood and I'd say that next fall would probably be too early to apply.

There are two main obstacles:
1) Ensuring that the OP meets at least the minimum GPA requirements at Dal. Note that simply satisfying the minimum requirements is not a guarantee of receiving an interview much less admission.
2) Preparing to write the MCAT and, of course, meeting the minimum requirements. With enough time and resources to study, it can probably be done.

The simple fact is that no one's chances are 100% and it is naive to think otherwise. How many of us here applied more than once, failed to receive interview invites, or never got off a waitlist (or two)? It's not easy, it's very competitive, and the OP is already very far behind most applicants, to say nothing of successful ones. If he's committed to this path, then I think it can happen, but not without a lot of time and effort, and I really think it's debatable whether it's realistic.
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