Alternative Paths

Beyond Patient Care – Other Uses for an MD

There's more to an MD than just clinical medicine

Everyone knows that physicians treat patients. But did you know that your medical degree also has value on Wall Street?

I never worked on Wall Street but thanks to my medical degree, I got to work in research, education and administration at an academic medical center and a business school.

While passion for patient care should be the main reason you pursue medicine, it’s good to know about the other ways that you can utilize a medical degree. And remember: you don’t have to do just one thing. Physicians in academia routinely do clinical care, research, education AND administration!


First, If you were one of those kids who loved science experiments, perhaps you’re a budding Harold Varmus. Areas where you can apply your hypothesis-driven mind include clinical research, laboratory science and health services research. Researchers usually work at academic medical centers, with the government or at pharmaceutical companies.


Similarly, if you enjoy teaching, there are many ways you can continue to do so once you’re a physician. This includes teaching medical school students, training residents and supervising research projects. Educators usually work at academic medical centers that have a medical school and residency programs.


Next, if you’ve always admired the likes of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, maybe you have an inner CEO dying to debut! Physician executives often head healthcare systems, hospitals, medical schools and insurance companies. If you’re particularly interested in administration, you may want to consider a joint MBA (business administration) or MHA (health administration).

Investment Banking

In addition, if you hate sleeping but love money, investment banking could be for you. For instance, Investment banks help companies get funding, provide guidance on mergers and acquisitions and do equity research. With your medical background you could work as a healthcare equity research analyst.


Furthermore, as a consultant you would advise organizations that need help with making sure that their medical terminology is accurate. You could review screenplays, manuscripts, marketing campaigns and advertisements. And who knows? You may have the “it” factor and end up starring in one of those screenplays or ads!

These five areas are just the tip of the iceberg! Other areas where your medical degree can be utilized include medical informatics, public health, journalism, law and even photography to name a few!

And who knows? Some of you may even end up being a MedSchoolCoach advisor too!

Ziggy Yoediono MD

Dr. Yoediono was a Duke University pre-major advisor, and an adcom member for Duke University School of Medicine, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program. Today, he is an Associate Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach.

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