About Alex: Switching from Accounting to Medicine

Hi! My name is Alex and I am a doctor — a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. I was a non-traditional medical student, and it is actually quite amazing how I got into medical school in the first place. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start from the very beginning.

Ten years ago, if you told me I was going to be in medical school, I would have looked at you in disbelief. In a million years, I would never have thought of going into medical school. I wasn’t spectacular in my science classes. (It took me the longest time to figure out which one was bigger: an atom or a cell.)

I went to a high school that groomed me to go into business. I majored in business. I was going to be a businessman. I actually did quite well in my undergraduate study at the business school of Indiana University in Bloomington. One of the reasons is probably because I did not have to take many science classes in IU.

After I graduated, I worked in a public accounting firm for two years. I learned a lot but I realized I needed to do something else. I was getting bored and could not imagine myself doing accounting for the next 40 years.

I thought about going to chiropractic school. But, I did some research and decided against it.

Instead, why not reach for the highest-hanging fruit and apply to medical school?

Since I already graduated from college, I was pretty much on my own when it came to applying to schools. Unlike a traditional medical school applicant, I did not have access to guidance counselors nor peers in the same walk of life as myself. I had to piece together the application process through my research on the internet.

Two years later, by the act of God, I was accepted into medical school. In just two years, I went from a businessman with a limited science background to a better-than-average medical school student. This website will show you how I did it.

Exactly How Did I Get into Medical School?

I firmly believe that it was God who got me into medical school. I had many roadblocks along the way. See how He really came through for me. You can read more about it in my testimony. I would recommend you to start from the first part.

Blast from the Past (Stories of My Medical School Days)

Musings (My Philosophy on Medicine)

  • The Future of Doctors: Adapt or Die – “Based on the collapse of the knowledge barrier and the erosion of the political barrier, doctors need a new role. They are no longer useful as an encyclopedia of knowledge. They are no longer competitive as a mere drug dispenser …”
  • Will You Survive the Real World of Medicine? – “Welcome to the jungle — the medical world — where only the fittest, strongest, and nimblest will survive. Will you live or will you die …”
  • Why Is Medicine the Way It Is? – “So many doctors (and doctors-to-be) are disillusioned with the healthcare system. Do you ever question why …”
  • Is Medicine a Right or a Privilege? – “Basically, I will give care on my terms. Not on the government’s terms. Not on the insurance companies’ terms. Not on the patients’ terms. My terms …”
  • Why Are Doctors So Smart … and So Dumb (A Rant Against Residency) – “Any intelligent person sees that doctors get shafted financially with residency. I’m not saying that we should do away with residency. But make it optional …”
  • My Residency Dilemma (Should I Follow Conviction or Convention?) – “Maverick. Rebel. Dreamer. There are the things that people have called me when I told them about my plan for residency. I don’t think they meant them in a good way …”
  • How to Fall in Love with Medicine All Over Again – “If all the criteria for the right environment match up, you will enjoy medicine. As you enjoy medicine more and more, you will get better and better at it. Eventually, you will be so good at your work, you can make a huge impact in the world. And of course, those who provide the most benefit are also those who receive the most rewards …”
  • Why Doctors Should Ditch the Long White Coats – “For a short while, no one will mistake a doctor for a dietician, technician, nurse, physician assistant, or pharmacist. Nope. You are definitely a grade-A doctor …”

How God Brought Me Back into Medicine (and Back to Him)

I almost left medicine for good. But God intervened and brought me back into medicine … back and to Him. This is the conclusion of my medical school journey and the last posts for Medical School Success.

Comments

  1. Hi Alex,
    I’m a non-traditional med school hopeful, currently studying for the mcat. It was great to read your testimony, and it’s comforting to know that anything is possible with God. It’s great to know there are Christian doctors! Thanks for sharing. Best of luck in medical school!
    Josh

  2. Mona Langham says:

    Hi Alex,

    I love your website!
    Medical school is the passion of my life.
    I wake up everyday 6 am study sunday to sunday, and I am finishing my science classes in a community college.
    I have 3.9 GPA, but it is comunity college, I am transferring for a 4 years school.
    I am very afraid of not being accepted, my English is not as an American. I am happy that there is not writing test more in MCAT.
    I do not mind to study 12 hours a day if i have, but i really want to get into Medical School.

    • Hey Mona,

      Thanks for letting me know you like my website. A 3.9 GPA is very good, even if it is from a community college. If you read my story, I personally went to community college too. I took all my science classes there, the same classes that are required for me to get into medical school. If you keep it up and do well on the MCAT, you should have no problem getting into a medical school in the US. Your English may not be as good, but if you keep practicing (reading, writing, and studying), it will definitely get better. And you have the advantage of knowing another language.

  3. Great website you have here. I find myself in a similar situation as yours. I am 22, completed my business degree with major in finance and am daunted of the fact of doing this 40 hours a week for the rest of my life. I am looking at medical school but probably wouldn’t start until I am 25 or 26 with my current schedule. Do you think thats too old? I’m already thinking 26-30 (med school) and 30-34+ (residency).

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Aaron,

      Thanks for the kind words. I don’t think you’re too old just yet. Starting medical school in the 30’s is pushing it. I’ve seen people in their 50’s who are in medical school. I definitely don’t recommend that.

      I mean that’s just my opinion. But before you make the jump to medicine, think long and hard. Because once you go down this path, it is very hard to get out.

      • Thanks, mind if I ask how old you were when you started? You mentioned you worked for 2 years in accounting.

        • Hey Aaron,

          I started when I was 26 years old. I spent 2 years working in accounting, 1 year working in another field, and 2 years preparing for MCAT / taking my prerequisites / working part-time.

  4. Dea Kaneus says:

    I read this and I need hope as well. I’m 27 still waiting. I have my fears and I think why there are the delays. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I pray an lev it at t feet if God. I know he has a plan.

  5. Hey Alex,

    I just want to say thank you so much for writing this blog. It really helped me and reminded that God he can do all things and is HIS WILL not my WILL. Congrats getting into Medical School! I am applying to dental schools and my GPA is lower than a 3.0 and my DAT on all the sections are lower than a 20. I am stressing out and I had applied to many schools and got rejected to many of the schools. Now I only have two schools left. I pray and hope that God can do the same like he did for you. P.S: If you can also pray for me that would also be great! Thank you my friend!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Ly,

      I’m glad my site could be useful to you. You are correct. It is His will. So when things seem impossible, a bit of prayer and faith could make it possible.

      God bless!

  6. Hi Alex,
    It’s a comfort to know that there are other Christian doctors and. Even though I am young I really want to go to medical school. I have searched online and have read so much on medical school trying to catch a glimpse of what it is like. It seems that a lot of people have only written negativity and that certainly is not very encouraging. Perhaps everything is true, but I love challenges and conquering them. The only website that tells the truth and inspires me, is your website. I will be attending college soon and I wonder if you have any advice for a future medical student. Thank you.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Krissi,

      I’m glad you found my site truthful and helpful. But in the spirit of honesty, I do write negatively about the medical environment in the US. Still, if it is God’s plan that you become a doctor, do not let me hold you back.

      So what advice would I give you? I would like to say work hard in school to keep up your GPA and get involved in extracurricular activities, but that is not the path I took. I slacked off big time.

      But still, if you can get good grades in college, you’ll have an easier time getting into medical school. And try to get as much exposure to medicine as you can. Since it is a very, very big commitment, you wanna make sure you love it. It will be a very long and tough journey.

  7. Thanks!

  8. Dima Jalbout says:

    Hey Alex,
    Could you please help me? I’m a 20 years old girl who’s studying accounting(2sd year in college) and I’m hating it like sooo much, although I am a honor list student in my college. You can’t imagine how much I need and want to be in medical school, this is a dream of mine that i can’t stop thinkin of all day long! I want it to become true soo bad. I think of suicide every day because I am finding it impossible to switch into medical school specially that my parents aren’t supportive and don’t believe in me . I really dnt want to be an accountant for the rest of my life, this is not my thing, I dnt want to live a life that is not mine. I panic everytime I see one of my friends/people I know got accepted I medical school and think in my head: “heeey you this is MY dream not yours 🙁 ” it’s getting really serious, I dont know what to do. Please reply Alex, you can’t imagine how much I need you to answer this comment. Don’t disappoint me please, I still can’t believe that I just found someone with the same experience as me. Much love♥

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Dima,

      You still have time to make a switch.

      1. Fulfill the prerequisites.
      2. Take the MCAT.
      3. Get letters of recommendation.
      4. Get medical experience.
      5. Apply to and interview at medical schools.

      Done.

      • I am Chritian btw, from an arab country though and i dnt want to start my studies here .
        In your opinion is it possible to be accepted in a med school in your country? and could paying my learning fees without the help of my parents be an option?
        One last question i need an answer for: You think i should drop my courses this year or hold on till i get my accounting and finance degree next year?
        Thanks in advance
        P.S: I’m supposed to be studying for an exam and an other quiz next week or at least get some rest to wake up early tomorrow (It’s 2:42 A.M now where i live), instead am here chatting with you, i feel that my dream is getting closer more than ever!

        • Alex Ding says:

          Hey Dima,

          Medical school in the US is very expensive. So unless you have $300,000 lying around, you’ll need to get money from someone.

          It is a bit difficult to get into a US medical school if you are not an US citizen.

          If I were you, I’ll recommend getting your accounting / finance degree. Most people in the US go to medical school after finishing college.

          • Hey again,

            This is when u know you’ll never get what you want!

            Thanks for your time, best of luck in what you’re doing .

          • Could you please remove my previous comments? I feel embarrassed rereading them now, thank you

  9. Great blog!

    • Thanks, Matt. I took a brief look at your blog and it seems quite interesting. It seems like you certainly got the lifestyle down of psychiatry right.

  10. We’re pretty much on the same truck =) Great blog btw

  11. Hi Alex
    I love your blog and insight. As someone who’s been in medicine for almost a decade now, it’s disheartening to see the plight of our colleagues. Doctors have no autonomy and most feel stuck! It’s hard to find physicians who sti have their passion. Burdened down with debt, inundated with so much paperwork and clueless about money…
    I LOVE medicine but I have a responsibility to my family. I’m in search of the work life balance that will allow me to be What God wants. I’m currently down clinical research and per Diem urgent care. My long term goal would be cash based alternative and precentive medicine. It’s in Gods hands. I’ve asked Him to open the right doors. God bless your endeavours.

  12. Hi Alex,

    From a patient care perspective, and from a Christian perspective, could you see any reason for going the physician (M.D./D.O.) route versus the physician assistant route?

    Thank you and would love to see an article updating your current situation.

    – Luke

  13. Hey Doctor Alex!

    I have read the majority of the writings on your website here and am going to bookmark it. I find it to be greatly helpful! I am currently a brand new Paramedic in northern California (licensed, accredited, and running solo 911 as of 12/4/15), and worked as an EMT for a few years for the same company beforehand. I absolutely love Emergency Medicine and my ultimate dream is to become an Emergency Physician. I find myself drawn to Osteopathic medical schools, as I greatly admire the mission and generally more Holistic way of thinking, as opposed to Allopathic medicine. At the end of the day however, my dream is to become a Doctor and the letters after my name or the salary I make is of zero consequence to me. I plan to apply to both. If I become a Doctor and am stable, I am happy. I have looked into the PA-C route, but I would much rather just go all the way. Its the type of person I am. All or nothing.

    As of now, I am a non-traditional applicant. I am 27 and will finish my associates this year, which unfortunately won’t be transferable (proprietary Paramedicine degree). I have kept my grades well above 3.5 the last few years while working full time, and have never failed a class. The worst grade I have ever received in college is a C, one in photography and one in cultural anthropology back in the day. I spent a good amount of my life partying and slacking off (hence the pending degree at 27), but at least I have a fair amount of life experience. I have no children, but am in a serious relationship with a very supportive lady. I will likely be moving to Southern Oregon soon and will possibly soon after be working for a company that provides ground and fixed wing ambulance services. I want to broaden my horizons and experience, but keep working toward my ultimate goal. I would, in a perfect world, like to go to a medical school somewhere in the western USA.

    Any advice you would have for someone of my background and experience would be greatly helpful. I would be greatly interested to find out how admissions boards look upon someone with prehospital emergency medicine experience, and non traditional candidates who are around 30 at the time of application to medical school.

    Thanks for the amazing info here!

    -C

  14. I am from another country, really small country and I still processing the information here. Yet, I am really amazed by how you transformed from a businessman to a doctor! seriously I always thought that I like Mathematics so much that I am afraid losing it and worse my Science isn’t being well enough for me. But here, I found a bit strength and motivation, and I hope now I can be a good doctor in future 🙂

  15. First and foremost, thank you for sharing your experiences. I congratulate you for achieving your goals and dream.

    I have a 2.8 overall GPA and a Bachelors in Accounting at the age of 29. I was not serious about education a couple years back when I graduated. I am now planning to make a switch. Self-motivation is making learning seem easier, fun, and interesting to me. I want to get into the medical field after some experiences that gave me a better understanding. I want to make this move even though I am doing really well similar as you were.

    Looking at my poor past academic performance is it something that I should even consider at all?

  16. Hey Alex,
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it is VERY useful. I’m still going through the website, but your story is a relief, at least for me. I graduated last year with an accounting degree, and I really don’t see myself now doing accounting for the rest of my life. So I applied to Washu pre medical program (to satisfy the prerequisite courses). I’m giving it more thoughts, as you have mentioned there is no way back. I truly have the passion and the desire to be a medical doctor. Again, thanks for sharing your story, it gave me the needed support at this stage.

  17. Hey Alex! Like you, I’m also a business major (worked in management consulting, then marketing) considering making the switch to medical school. Due to debt and other factors, I’m only able to attend community college for my prerequisites. Do you think doing your prereqs at a community college made the fight for medical school acceptance to be a super steep slope? How did you overcome this? I’m interested in osteopathic over allopathic schools, and I hear they’re a little more open to CC classes?

    • I think community college made more challenging. But if your GPA and MCAT score and the rest of your application are strong enough, it shouldn’t be too bad.

  18. Hey Alex. I really enjoy your blog. I myself thought about medical school during my undergrad years, but I decided upon dental school instead. I think professional schools in general are a pretty crappy time. I consider the 4 years of dental school to be the 4 worst years of my life due to the intense stress and pressure. I felt like I aged 20-30 years in the span of four. Now that I have been practicing for awhile it’s a bit better, but I oftentimes wonder what it would have been like to have gone the MD route. What are you up to now? Did you end up leaving medicine? Did you do a residency? Hope to hear from you. RD

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey RD,

      I plan on writing about my progress after medical school sometime down the road. Here is a teaser: beach, looking good, money, and wondering at the meaning of it all.

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