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Information for people contemplating
a career in emergency medicine and
other medical specialties

By Kevin Pezzi, MD


What pre-med courses to take besides ones in science

planning for medical school

Q: I was wondering if you could give me some advice on some things to do to increase my chances of getting into med school. I'm 17 and will be a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (pre-med) in the fall. I plan on volunteering in the university hospital once I start school (I currently live in California). What are some good courses to take aside from the requirements for graduation? Everything I have read up to this point has said not to take too many science courses, things that will be required in Med School anyway. Any advice would be great! Thank you for your time!


Answer by , MD: Hi Anna,

First, let me congratulate you for having the wisdom to think ahead. On another page, I explained why medicine is now a more desirable career. That will inevitably lead to more people, and better qualified people, applying to medical school. As the competition becomes more intense, pre-medical students will have to work harder to get into med school.

Consider taking undergraduate business and economics courses, and perhaps even pursuing an MBA after you complete your residency. Having an MBA along with an MD will put you on the fast track to success.

The undergraduate business and economics courses will come in handy even if you don't pursue an MBA. Fallout from our current economic crisis will plague us for the rest of our lives. Almost everyone could benefit from knowing more about business and economics—even President Obama! A few days ago (in early March 2009), he startled people by saying, “What you’re now seeing is, profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you've got a long-term perspective on it.”

Ahem. Even folks who received a D- in Economics 101 know that P/E ratios refer to price-to-earnings ratios, not profit and earnings ratios! This degree of ignorance is like a doctor not knowing what penicillin is, or a builder not knowing what a 2x4 is—it's simply unfathomable!

If Obama doesn't know Econ 101 basics, do you think he knows enough to end our economic crisis? I don't. Imagine that America was ravaged by a terrible disease epidemic and the US Surgeon General was spearheading our efforts to combat it. If the Surgeon General said something daffy to indicate that he didn't know basic medical facts, seeing that we had an ignorant leader would give us all good reason to worry.

History has convincingly shown that we cannot rely upon our politicians to safeguard our economy or to quickly undo economic problems. Fully recovering from the Great Depression of the 1930s took a quarter century! I don't want to wait 25 years to solve our current economic crisis, so I wrote From Bailout to Bliss that explains how we, individually and collectively, can sidestep much of the fallout from this crisis and hence go from bailouts to bliss now—not many years from now. That book is free for personal use. You can download it from this page or read more about it.

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