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Soul Searching

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Soul Searching


Most people find it difficult to identify what is that what they really want to do in their life. Often finding your calling takes a lot of trial and error. Internships, personality assessments tests, shadowing, informational interviews are all great ways to help you in this process. (Actually, we are lucky to live in this age, just imagine a century or so ago you would often have no choice and would work just to make ends meet and often do most boring and repetitive job).

So you are not sure what you really want to do... Well, that's extremely familiar to me, so here are some of the resources I found useful while trying to answer this question for myself.

Do you think about becoming  a doctor?

First some facts: most of the American Medical Schools do accept foreign student.  The major problem is money, since foreigners who do not have a green card are not eligible for most loans. You need approximately $120k for four years of medical school. The only way to get a loan is to have an American citizen (or a green card holder) to co-sign your loan. Most schools promise to make their decisions without consideration of financial situation, whether it is true or not is hard to say.
There are some pre-requisites, which are very important. First, you have to study in US for at least one year prior to admission and preferably have a degree (BS or MS or other) from an American college/university. Second, prior to matriculation you must complete required "pre-med" classes (schools require these classes to be completed in US, only few exceptions are possible):
-- one year of Inorganic Chemistry with the appropriate laboratory courses
-- one year of Organic Chemistry with laboratory courses
-- one year of Biology with laboratory courses
-- one year of Physics with laboratory courses
some school also require one year of English & one year of Calculus.

Alex' Illicit Guide to Medical School Admissions
Student Doctor Network

Virtual Family Medicine Interest Group (especially this section)
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Osteopathic Association

Do you think about getting an MBA?

Do you have an undergraduate degree, entrepreneurial spirit, good work experience and want to work in leadership positions? Then getting an MBA might a good idea. In order to apply you need to take TOEFL and GMAT. There are no formal course prerequisites. Getting an MBA costs >$100k, but usually it is possible to get a loan (much easier than for med schools).


The MBA Program Information Site

Do you think about getting PhD and staying in academia or maybe going to work in the industry?

If you like science and are not afraid to spend 4-6 years doing research projects, studying, teaching, writing papers, etc. and hardly earning any money, it is definitely worth it since the benefits of having a PhD are numerous. Foreigners are very welcome to apply, there are only few universities which do not except international students. Most students get funding that covers tuition and pays stipend of approximately $20k a year. In order to apply you need to take TOEFL and GRE, there special course requirements for each field. Extensive info is presented on my website.

Next Wave Career Resources for Scientists
Next Wave Postdoc and Faculty Issues

PhDs.org Science, Math, and Engineering Career Resources

Do you think about working in management consulting?

Consulting is one of the best ways to switch from academia to the business/entrepreneurship world. This field has suffered financial problems and lay-downs in the recent years, but still hold many possibilities for those who have enough interest, persistence and stamina. To get a job in consulting in US, you need to have a degree from one of the top American universities.

Careers in Consulting
Vault.com Consulting