Tired of Medicine? 20 Nonclinical Career Options

Leigh Page


March 14, 2018

In This Article

New Challenges and Shaping the Industry

7. Work at a Management Consulting Company

A management consulting company helps organizations—including hospitals, government, and insurers—improve performance by looking for improvements in operations.

This could be fulfilling work for ambitious physicians who like problem solving and working in teams, but expect to put in long hours and being away from home a lot. Many doctors work for such companies as Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, and Milliman.

The work involves making in-depth studies on behalf of clients. Salaries at the top firms start at around $150,000, with the chance to earn raises each year.

Consulting firms often recruit doctors directly out of medical school, but also hire them in mid-career. McKinsey has a web page to answer questions from physicians and other people with advanced degrees looking for jobs there.

Dr Fork says that assignments can last months, and usually consultants work on-site for most of the week. "In many cases, you're traveling 4 days a week and putting in long hours," she says. This makes it impossible to work in clinical practice even at a minimal level.

As a fourth-year medical student in 2001, Michael P. Ennen accepted a position with McKinsey. Physicians attracted to this work often cite a "fear of reaching a professional plateau," he wrote in an articlein JAMA, just after accepting the job.[7] They like "the challenge of continually working on new problems and shaping new industries as a source of professional satisfaction."

Ennen emphasized the need to adjust to a team approach. "To be successful, physicians must modify their expectations about their role in a hierarchy, their individual input, and the service being provided to clients," he wrote.

Pros: The work is challenging, and the pay is good.

Cons: You'll work long hours and travel a lot.

8. Get Involved in Venture Capital

If you want a chance to earn millions, consider a second career at a venture capital company. These companies provide financing for start-up companies and small businesses that are thought to have impressive potential for long-term growth.

This work involves great risks and the potential for great rewards. The fortune of the venture capital company depends on its predictions that the companies it invests in will succeed.

The work is best suited for those with strong analytical skills and an aptitude for finances and statistics. You would closely analyze start-up companies in healthcare—in such areas as software, drugs, and medical devices—and help determine whether the venture capital company should invest in them.

Companies are often looking for young physicians with MBA degrees, but they also hire physicians who have proven their chops as consultants. Doctors can work full-time directly for the venture capital company or be hired as a freelance consultant.

Physicians even start their own venture capital companies. Marlene R. Krauss, MD, left an ophthalmology practice and worked for 8 years at an investment bank before starting KBL Healthcare Ventures in Manhattan, according to the company website.[8]

At KBL, Krauss helped launch several groundbreaking healthcare companies, including Lumenos, Candela Corp, Summit Autonomous, and Cambridge Heart Inc.

Dr Fork says physicians consulting with venture capital firms earn $300-$500 per hour. Working directly for a firm pays about $150,000 a year for entry-level positions, whereas some in the upper echelons can potentially earn millions.

Pros: Competitive physicians with strong analytical skills can earn as much or more (way more) than they could in medicine.

Cons: It's hard to break into this field—and it's a real pressure cooker once inside.


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