harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

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member112233
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harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by member112233 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:55 pm

Hey bogleheads,

I've been a long time reader on these forums and I want to say thanks very much for all of the useful info you guys have contributed. I know that there are plenty of physicians on these boards and would love to hear some advice from people who have had to make the decision of choosing between different medical schools.

Right now I'm in a very lucky position and I'm deciding between Harvard Medical School and the Perelman School of Medicine for med school.
I have received no financial aid from HMS, so I would be looking at about 200K+ in unsubsidized loans (ranging from 6.8-8% interest)

I received a full-tuition scholarship from Penn Med, and since my parents will be helping me with living expenses, will graduate with no debt.

I am unsure as to which specialty I will pursue, but I am fairly certain that I want to pursue a career in clinical/translational research, and hope to be involved in biotechnology and biomedical device development. The networks of both these schools are very strong, but I am trying to decide if the connections I can make at HMS will be worth more than the scholarship from Penn. I've read from a couple articles that Boston is on the rise as a hub for biotechnological companies and startups.

Right now I would say I'm leaning towards Penn because the prospect of graduating med school with no debt would be pretty hard to pass up!

Thanks very much for the help.

Valuethinker
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:55 pm

I don't know anything about the medical field.

And prestige in grad school really counts.

But I have to say graduating with no debt opens up so many other possibilities as to what you do in your life, what job you take, where you go.

Interested to hear what other BH say.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:05 pm

Both are excellent medical schools, and with good grades you'll get into excellent residency programs from either school. With constant pressure to reduce health care costs the future of physician salaries is far from certain. Take the $200K of scholarship. Also, the fact that you got the scholarship will look good to residency programs. Best of luck in medical school!
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Dulocracy » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:18 pm

As someone who had a similar choice in law school, I will say that I went with the state school (still a solid school) and no debt over a fancier school with debt. Were my opportunities lessened? Maybe, but I did not notice. Graduating from a really good school with no debt is better than graduating from a top of the top school with debt, in my opinion. Would I choose a solid school over a bottom ranked school? Absolutely. The cost difference would not be as much, however. Graduating from law school with no debt allowed me to do things that many other attorneys I know could not do. I opened my own practice, and I have been very happy. I would not have that chance if I had debt. I have friends in law school that took on debt for things like flashy cars in addition to school costs. They found themselves limited in jobs afterwards. They were stuck with well paying jobs, many of which they hated. I would rather have no debt and a happier (and what has turned out to be more financially rewarding) path than to give myself the proverbial "golden handcuffs."
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.

chaz
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by chaz » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:22 pm

Penn Med is excellent. You must be a very good student, and you are on a great career path.

Good luck.
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Retread » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:25 pm

Your choice is between two of the top schools in the country. As a Penn graduate I'm a bit biased, but I'd go for Penn in a heartbeat. Sorry it's now called the Perelman School of Medicine. It took $225 million to buy that name. :x
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medstudent2013
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by medstudent2013 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:26 pm

Greetings!

I also am a regular reader of the forum and next to studentdoctor.net, its my most visited website on the net. I finally pulled the trigger on creating my own account just to respond to your situation.

I am a 4th year med student, graduating in 3 weeks and the debt among my colleagues is astounding. I also am enrolled in a private med school.

1.) The national debt among medical students has skyrocketed, grossly disproportionate to inflation, cost of living index or any other metric. Its insanity. My class' median debt, not including any graduate school or undergrad or personal debt, is 210K, and we are in a very low cost of living Southern town, unlike Boston. It is not at all unheard of for harvard med students to graduate with 300K in loans PLUS graduate school and undergrad debt. I personally know one friend, in emergency medicine, with 400K in loans and is a first year attending. I personally have 300K at 6.8-8%, as I went to grad school and got married in medical school.

2) The federal government limits' the amount of your medical education greatly that can be funded by subsidized loans. This changed a couple of years ago and not for the medical students benefit. In other words, the vast majority of your loans, unlike prior to 2010 or 11 (cant remember when the law changed), will start accruing interest IMMEDIATELY, not years down the road.

3) Think about this in the boglehead mindset. When someone plugs a loaded mutual fund with outrageous fees and says "its only an extra 10 bucks a year," that is completely the wrong attitude, because 10 dollars in extra fees that arent growing at an average 7% return in a Roth IRA compounded over 30 years is a HELL of a lot of money. Now multiple this to 3 or 400K loans at 6.8-8% interest and its NOT just 300K in loans, because keep in mind, youre only going to be able to put a very, very small dent in your loans as a resident for 3-8 years of residency and fellowship...which means, again, yes, they will be accruing more interest.

4) Federal law states the only way to discharge graduate student loan debt is to die or become permanently disabled for life. You cant declare bankruptcy, you cant say I dont want to be a doctor anymore, if you take out those loans, you are truly committed to them.

5) I highly advise, very strongly in fact, reading White coat investor.com's blog for physicians. http://whitecoatinvestor.com/the-econom ... mary-care/
His blog is specifically geared to doctor issues and recommend you spend HOURS reading it cover to cover. He wrote one very eye opening post comparing just how hard it is for a physician in certain specialties to pay off loans that amount to MORE THAN MOST PEOPLES MORTGAGES, save for retirement, have kids, fund college funds, etc. That's a lot. Don't get me wrong, even the very low paying doctor specialties could live a very good, solid, upper middle class life if they DIDN'T have 250-400K dollars in student loans at 6.8-8% interest. Heck, email him at his website, I have before, I'm sure he would have a lot to say on this.

6) On a daily basis, I encounter someone who has a total lack of understanding of doctor salaries. There just arent that many doctors that make mega bucks anymore, and its limited to only a few specialties. Again, I encourage you to have an honest heart to heart about just how challenging it is to pay off 300K in student loans AND accomplish life's major goals. Run the numbers. Assume a salary of 250K (which is low for some specialties and very high for others) lop the chunk off for taxes, state taxes, payroll taxes, then a couple thousand dollar a month student loan payment....plus malpractice insurance, disability insurance, etc, etc AND what if you choose to settle down in a very high cost of living area like Boston? You mentioned that you are interested in research jobs after med school, and as a GENERAL rule, academic medicine pays l a good bit less than private practice until you become a big name or tenured. It is not unheard of in my state (VA) for an academic Emergency medicine doc who does a mix of clinical and research to make 1/3 of a private EM doc.

STRONGLY encourage you to take the full scholarship.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by greenspam » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:34 pm

hmmmm, choosing between the #1 and #4 med schools in the country:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... int=85a732

i'd pocket the $200k...
as always, | peace, | greenie.

tired
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by tired » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:45 pm

Without a doubt take the money and graduate debt free. "Prestige" of medical school is already a minor point at best when applying for residency and Penn is a very good school. If you want a research career (slightly lower paying) it will be especially nice not having to worry about debt. If there is some sort of research you are interested in being done at HMS, you can always go to one of their hospitals for residency.

Congrats and good luck.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by DTSC » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:45 pm

Take the money and run!

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LH
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by LH » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:50 pm

Interesting.

I went with a full tuition academic scholarship to my home state med school, and also, governments being what they are, the state government gave me a full tuition disability scholarship as well, but only if I went to my home state. so double tuition scholarship in state medical school.... or apply out of state to schools I was competitive in, but may not have received academic scholarships to, and certainly would have then passed on the disability full tuition scholarship.

I only applied in state.

Sometimes I wish I went to a top name med school, but not very much or very often.

Its a fascinating thing to reflect on again. But I have no answers for you. My dad went to Harvard for a masters in law. Harvard is Harvard : ) Its something people will recognize you for for the rest of your life, if that means anything I dunno. If you want to go academic, Harvard would help. If you want to end up later in a medical policy think tank, harvard would help I would posit. If you just want to practice medicine, harvard may help you get into specialty of your choice possibly, but comes at a cost. But if you excel at local med school, you will still be able to get in residency of choice anyway. So if just practicing medicine is it, then likely Penn....... If you just want to be a family practice MD, pediatrics, other lower paid specialties then Penn, Penn, and Penn. Nothing wrong with FP, etc. but the money is the killer, and you can be a FP with Penn or Harvard equally. Once open paths converge rapidly to the one you pick as your get out of school heheheh. Marriage kids mortgage....

good luck,

LH
Last edited by LH on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Calm Man » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:51 pm

OP, I was in an identical situation in 1973. Except it wasn't such a dramatic difference. Free rides offered at every ivy league med school and Harvard offered half in cash and half in loans. I was doing research at the time as a college senior at University of Rochester Medical School (I was undergrad at U of R). U of R actually offered me all sorts of goodies -- at the time I was thought to be a future great (how little they all knew). The guy I worked with had spent his career trying to get into Harvard and did manage to at some point but didn't stick there. He said: Go To Harvard. He reminded me of this when I visited him 5 years ago. I can tell you that Penn is excellent as are about a dozen others. I can tell you that having a Harvard Med degree exposes you to the future leaders (not all as many come from elsewhere) but immediately puts you right up at the top for anything. Those who did not go there will obviously disagree. So I repeat: Go to Harvard. Live in Vanderbilt hall and maybe you will be in my old room.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by ks289 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:59 pm

I vote penn + the cash.
Congratulations!

kitteh
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by kitteh » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:01 pm

I'm not a doctor.

I got a full financial ride to grad school at MIT, and an offer for half at Harvard. I chose MIT because of the debt issue, but in retrospect from years down the pike, I wish I'd gone to Harvard. The people in the department there were just more impressive and I think I would have enjoyed grad school more.

A question is, how long will it take you to pay off $200,000?

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by greenspam » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:04 pm

and keep in mind, this is 'basic training'..... you will obviously want to go elsewhere for residency, and then fellowship.... consider harvard again then...
as always, | peace, | greenie.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by BogleNamedSue » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:14 pm

Before you make your final decision, it's worth calling up Harvard, telling them about the full ride at Penn, and asking if they won't throw some money your way. I doubt they'd give you a full ride, but they might give you a partial scholarship that could sway your decision.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Ella » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:16 pm

Just so you know that I know of what I speak, I'm an MD with Ivy League credentials who works at a highly regarded academic medical center in a highly competitive specialty, and I can tell you that this is a no brainer. Go to Penn. It is one of the best medical schools in the country. The difference between Penn and Harvard is meaningless at the med school level. You can find great translational research mentors at either place. And later in your career, no one in a position to help further your career will be any more impressed by Harvard being on your CV.

The value of graduating debt free cannot be overstated. Medicine is rapidly changing and going forward the salaries (especially of academic MDs but really of almost all MDs) will not justify or support repayment of huge debt loads. Your life options will be severely circumscribed by the need to pay off your debt, for years and years.

Furthermore, if you do well in med school you can always do your residency at Harvard. Best of both worlds. And your real network and contacts will come from your residency, especially if you choose a specialty that has lab time built in (surgery, medical oncology, etc.).

Lastly, if you are truly motivated for translational research, you may want to consider a combined MD/PhD program or at least obtaining an MSc. Alternatively, consider doing a "postdoc" in a good mentor's lab during or after residency. If you want lab space/time as an attending, you'll have a hard time getting it without the credentials and experience to make your employer believe you can get your own grant funding within a few years. (Graduating debt free will give you the breathing room to do something like this, BTW.)

Best
Ella
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by HardKnocker » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:18 pm

I think you should pay the $200k and go to Harvard.

When I picked the doctor to do my colonoscopy I chose the Harvard man.
Last edited by HardKnocker on Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by xrvision » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:19 pm

I went to a state med school (MUCH less prestigious than Penn). Had a full scholarship (reason I chose the school), lived at home with my parents. Finished 10 years ago. I got into a pretty prestigious residency program and fellowship. Since I had no debt, I saved a little money in residency and was able to afford vacations, nice dinners, etc (unlike most of my friends).

10 years later, I'm debt-free, in a great job that I like, building my first home, and am in a much better place financially than most of my colleagues.

Take the scholarship! Congrats!

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by stlrick » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:59 pm

You are choosing between two distinguished medical schools. The options available to you when you graduate will depend entirely on what you do while you are there. There is absolutely no residency program in the country that would hire you because you are a Harvard grad rather than a Penn grad. Both are elite. Take the scholarship.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:15 pm

I got to choose between the twelfth or so ranked med school for $6500 per year or the eighth or so ranked school for $25,000. With some unusual situations having to do with living arrangements, cost defrayal, etc., the difference was probably about $30,000 per year. I chose the cheaper option and have never regretted it. I graduated with about $7000 in total debt 14 years ago, and without the albatross of debt I've been able to live my life pretty freely, we could probably retire by age 45 if we wanted to.

I agree that banking on a big salary in medicine going forward would be extremely risky.

That said research is a different animal and I don't know your field. If you know your particular interest, is one school obviously stronger such that you could find the best mentor? Have you interviewed in the translational research departments?

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Calm Man » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:27 pm

stlrick wrote:You are choosing between two distinguished medical schools. The options available to you when you graduate will depend entirely on what you do while you are there. There is absolutely no residency program in the country that would hire you because you are a Harvard grad rather than a Penn grad. Both are elite. Take the scholarship.
You cannot make this statement definitively and it is not true. Look at the resident rosters at the Harvard teaching hospitals. Half or more are from HMS. I could have predicted for this thread that many non-HMS people will poo poo the difference. They are not correct at every level as being there is a gigantic step in staying there and for going anywhere else literally a punched ticket.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by FlannerND » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:36 pm

HardKnocker,
WIth all due respect, you clearly aren't a physician. The last thing I would look at when deciding on surgeon or doctor for a procedure is their Med School. Residency or Fellowship training might be mildly intriguing (yet a lay person might think somewhere like "Harvard" is great at all specialties (which it most certainly is not)). There are lots of TERRIBLE doctors/surgeons that graduated from Harvard. They certainly tend to be very book smart, but that doesn't always translate to clinical and surgical medicine.

OP,
200K isn't that much in the grand scheme. If you really want to go to Harvard...then go. It is certainly a wonderful opportunity for a great education and a diploma that will impress people/open doors. If you already have a "big Name" on your undergrad diploma than I would skip or you can always get a "big name" to light up your CV from residency or fellowship.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by matjen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:46 pm

HardKnocker wrote:I think you should pay the $200k and go to Harvard.

When I picked the doctor to do my colonoscopy I chose the Harvard man.

I just spit my wine out all over my screen. I think this was meant as sarcasm. At least I took it that way and found it hilarious!

OP, congratulations on the fine options you have earned. I would take the free ride. In the legal world Top 5 is Top 5. Medical may be different but it doesn't sound that way especially since you would have later training when you could attend Harvard if you do well.
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by kitteh » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:49 pm

FlannerND wrote:HardKnocker,
WIth all due respect, you clearly aren't a physician. The last thing I would look at when deciding on surgeon or doctor for a procedure is their Med School.
I moved to the boonies. After a few experiences with doctors from the University of the Third World or the University of the US Where We Take Anyone, you can bet I looked up where people trained.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by FlannerND » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:59 pm

matjen,
Now I feel bad for picking on HardKnocker. You must be right. Clearly it was in jest.
Just to clarify...I think Harvard would be a great opportunity.

kitteh,
Certainly you want someone from a reputable Med School, but I would argue undergrad/medschool are much less important than residency/fellowship...which are less important than surgical skills/outcomes.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by penumbra » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:04 pm

I wouldn't want to do his colonoscopy anyway, no matter where I was from. :happy

I had a similar choice, coming from an ivy college. I took a full scholarship from UCLA. And that was when school was much cheaper than it is now.I've never regretted it. Economics of medicine are so poor going forward that you'll be 50 years old before you pay off your debts. I can see your issue, but I doubt it will make sense.

moneywise3
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by moneywise3 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:07 pm

Congratulations!!

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Ella » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Calm Man wrote:
stlrick wrote:You are choosing between two distinguished medical schools. The options available to you when you graduate will depend entirely on what you do while you are there. There is absolutely no residency program in the country that would hire you because you are a Harvard grad rather than a Penn grad. Both are elite. Take the scholarship.
You cannot make this statement definitively and it is not true. Look at the resident rosters at the Harvard teaching hospitals. Half or more are from HMS. I could have predicted for this thread that many non-HMS people will poo poo the difference. They are not correct at every level as being there is a gigantic step in staying there and for going anywhere else literally a punched ticket.
Calm Man,

It is true that Harvard is insular - it is likely to take its own students into residency and to hire its own residents on to faculty. But most great institutions ARE insular, partly because they know and "trust" their own trainees. If the OP goes to Penn, he/she will be more likely to be able to get into residency at Penn. Etc. But this is hardly the only path to residency. All the spots at great institutions that are filled by "outsiders" will most certainly be open to the OP if he/she does well at Penn. Which is, not to beat a dead horse, one of the very best med schools in the United States.

As for attending Harvard being a "punched ticket" -- not if you are annoying or come off as a lot less spectacular than you think you are. Which, surprisingly, a fair number of HMS grads do. No one else is as star-struck by their pedigree as they are, and not all of them get that they have to be able to bring more to the table. The residency program tied to my job is one of the top 3 in the US for its kind, and we routinely choose (gasp!) residents from diverse schools because they stand out as individuals. Does a graduate from UMDNJ have a higher hurdle to to jump than a graduate from Harvard? Yes. Does a graduate from Penn have a higher hurdle? Absolutely not. In medicine, the end-all-be-all primacy of Harvard exists only at Harvard.

Best
Ella

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by tudpop » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:10 pm

My 2 cents as a young physician....
I wasn't in a similar situation by any means as I was planning on my home state school all along for med school (U of Maryland), but I will say that it seems that the "last" place you spent your time is the most important. When a patient or fellow physician asks you where you trained (or, I imagine, a hiring establishment), they don't really care about your high school, college or med school. It's residency (and fellowship is applicable) that grabs their attention.

A caveat to this is that I am not sure what factors the biotechnical world would view as important, but remember, you may change your attitude once in med school. I was planning on pediatrics and chose anesthesiology. I imagine many med students may have their eye on a certain career, and find that is not their end point. I would vote on being debt free as well.

Good luck in the future and great work on getting yourself into such a nice predicament!
T

michaelsieg
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by michaelsieg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:32 pm

Take the 200 K and if you want to go to Boston, do your residency at one of the Harvard affiliated hospitals...

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zzcooper123
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by zzcooper123 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:33 pm

I don't understand why to get an MD to do research.

Your Harvard debt will be crushing requiring you to actually work like a dog to pay it off. No options.

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drbagel
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by drbagel » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:37 pm

You are an accomplished student to have such choices.

Go to Penn. There is nothing you will learn at Harvard that you won't learn at Penn, except how to read an amortization table. Penn has an amazing reputation. Your residency matters far more than your medical school. Penn will allow you every opportunity for an excellent residency. Learn to love cheese steaks and don't look back. You can train in any city in America after you leave Philly.

lwfitzge
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by lwfitzge » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:06 pm

I'd go to Penn. I'm a Pharma/biotech executive and entrepreneur (now consultant to same customers) in the Boston/Cambridge area. Boston area truly is becoming the primary biotech hub in the US with South San Francisco now reserving second place. If you see yourself going biotech/entrepreneur path, there is an advantage being inside the VC/academic bubble w HMS affiliation from a purely networking perspective. So..while it's not crazy to consider HMS for the entrepreneurial path, I don't think any benefit of the network outweighs the $$$ advantages by going to Penn. On the other hand, if you see yourself going academic/translational faculty path, it's a no brainer, I'd go w Penn and also pocket the $$. Then I consider doing a residency/postdoc at HMS if you want. It's great that you will be debt free w Penn option...remember, going the faculty or biotech route for much of your early career will reward you with good compensation but not great "specialist/surgeon" type of compensation. Congrats on being in such an ideal situation!

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Artsdoctor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:11 pm

112233,

I can't speak about Harvard, but I can tell you that going to Penn Medical School was one of the best experiences of my life. You will do fine at either school, I promise. If I had to choose between a free Penn experience and a full-cost Harvard experience, there would be no contest.

Artsdoctor

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by fsrph » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:14 pm

It sounds like you are a great student. Harvard is certainly a great school but Penn isn't exactly chopped liver. I'd go to Penn and be debt free.

Francis
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by burgrat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:16 pm

I would go to Penn in a heartbeat. I loved living in Philly and Penn is a wonderful school. Remember that those loans at Harvard will be gathering interest from day 1. Save the money and stress associated with that huge debt.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by linuxizer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:40 pm

Penn.

Look into the MTR (http://www.itmat.upenn.edu/ctsa/mtr/) or Wharton MBA dual degree programs. Generally easy-accepts as internal applications. But even without doing one of those, Penn. The curriculum is one of the best-structured in the country, the faculty are top-notch, the resources and support given to med students are superb, and in short it's just an amazing place to be.

Bfwolf
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:47 pm

These college comparison threads can be kind of interesting when the free ride school is a notch academically below the expensive school. They could be REALLY interesting if the free ride school was two notches below the expensive school (have yet to see this kind of thread yet). They are not at all interesting when the free ride school is on the same notch as the expensive school.

Go to Penn.

twocavaliers
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by twocavaliers » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:55 pm

Penn + scholarship would be my choice. Right now, medical school seems like it is really important, even splitting hairs between two top 10 schools. Kind of like when in high school the undergrad choice was so important. But soon, it will all be about residency and perhaps fellowship.

Great problem to have, congratulations :sharebeer

northstar22
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by northstar22 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:01 pm

Money and rankings and prestige aside, where do you think you'll be happiest? I think this is a huge factor. I turned down less expensive and more prestigious med schools to go where I thought I would have the best experience, and would make the same decision again.

staythecourse
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by staythecourse » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:04 pm

Dear God I didn't even know they gave sholarships to med. school. You must be one [heck --admin LadyGeek] of a student.

The true boglehead answer is control what you can control, i.e. how much debt you take on as any advantages of one vs. the other is unknowable as it is in the future.

The one gaurantee is that physician salaries will be lower in the future (10 years or so is my guess) AND tax brackets only seem to go up on the wealthy so a double hit for physicians so you better have a GOOD reason not to choose full ride through med school.

A no brainer.

BTW, I trained at the Brigham for residency and must say I was never impressed with the caliber of HMS kids. Great personalities and all wanted to change the world which was admirable, but not overwhelmed by their pure medical knowledge.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by czeckers » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:16 pm

Hmmm. $200,000 seems cheap for four years of medical school, but you did say living expenses will be covered.

The $200,000 can easily become $300,000 at today's interest rates by the time you finish 4 years med school and 3 years residency since you probably won't be making any significant payments until after you finish training. The debt will be even greater if you do a longer residency and/or pursue MD/PhD. I suggest you play around with a compound interest calculator for a bit. At 6.8% you're looking at $3500/month repayment over 10 years or $2000/month over 30 years.

Both are excellent schools. The financial stability and resulting peace of mind, that comes with being debt free cannot be overstated... Especially in this time of decreasing physician reimbursement.

You will have far more freedom in looking for a job in the city you want, with the terms you want if you are debt free. As a physician with 24 years left to pay on his loans, I strongly urge you to consider Penn.

-K
The Espresso portfolio: | | 16% LCV, 16% SCV, 16% EM, 8% Int'l Value, 8% Int'l Sm, 8% US REIT, 8% Int'l REIT, 20% Inter-term US Treas | | "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Bill Bernstein
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Bill Bernstein » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:36 pm

I'll address the one thing not mentioned by the other posters, which is that what *really* matters is where you did your residency, not where you went to med school, and at the level of elite residencies, very, very little precedence is given to the home med school in terms of who they take; ie, if you're really good, you'll get an MGH, Mayo, Moffit, or Hopkins residency no matter where you went to med school--even a lower ranked state school, let alone Penn.

So take the money and run.

Bill

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member112233
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by member112233 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:39 pm

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread! All of this information has been very useful.

I am definitely interested in pursuing either the masters of translational research or MBA track and I think paying for a masters degree as well as a medical degree would be too much debt to take on if I were to go to HMS.

I totally agree with posters who mentioned the power of compound interest. I can see how a 200K debt can easily balloon up to 400K after 8-10 years of of accrued interest while training in medical school, masters programs, and residencies (and maybe even fellowship).

After reading these posts I would say I'm even more convinced about Penn Med. I visited Harvard last weekend for the accepted students weekend and it was pretty incredible, but the peace of mind of being debt free would be a wonderful feeling.

I have until May 15th to make a decision but at this point I'm heavily leaning towards Penn. I will be visiting the school for Penn Preview next weekend and I'm sure that I'll love what I see as well. If others would like to contribute more for other members who may be in similar positions I'm sure they'd find it helpful.

That being said, I will absolutely reach out to the financial aid office at HMS and see if they can reconsider my aid package. They emphasized during the financial aid talk that they do not give out merit scholarships, but it's worth a shot!

THANKS AGAIN!!
Last edited by member112233 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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arthurdawg
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by arthurdawg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:42 pm

I went to my state med school with full tuition and living expenses covered. I followed with another 6 years of medicine and hematology/oncology training.

I was debt free when I finished and started practicing 7 years ago - I still have good friends that owe 250k worth of loans ten years out from finishing their training!


Take the money and never look back. From Penn, if you work hard, do well, and have a good personality - you can go anywhere you want for residency, fellowship, and post-doctoral training, which is what you will be looked at for.


TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!!! :sharebeer
TSM / SCV / FTSE Big World / FTSE Small World / REIT / TBM / Int Term Tax Exempt

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6miths
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by 6miths » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:50 pm

Ella wrote:Just so you know that I know of what I speak, I'm an MD with Ivy League credentials who works at a highly regarded academic medical center in a highly competitive specialty, and I can tell you that this is a no brainer. Go to Penn. It is one of the best medical schools in the country. The difference between Penn and Harvard is meaningless at the med school level. You can find great translational research mentors at either place. And later in your career, no one in a position to help further your career will be any more impressed by Harvard being on your CV.

The value of graduating debt free cannot be overstated. Medicine is rapidly changing and going forward the salaries (especially of academic MDs but really of almost all MDs) will not justify or support repayment of huge debt loads. Your life options will be severely circumscribed by the need to pay off your debt, for years and years.

Furthermore, if you do well in med school you can always do your residency at Harvard. Best of both worlds. And your real network and contacts will come from your residency, especially if you choose a specialty that has lab time built in (surgery, medical oncology, etc.).

Lastly, if you are truly motivated for translational research, you may want to consider a combined MD/PhD program or at least obtaining an MSc. Alternatively, consider doing a "postdoc" in a good mentor's lab during or after residency. If you want lab space/time as an attending, you'll have a hard time getting it without the credentials and experience to make your employer believe you can get your own grant funding within a few years. (Graduating debt free will give you the breathing room to do something like this, BTW.)

Best
Ella
Totally agree.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

bayview
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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by bayview » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:32 pm

member112233 wrote:Hey bogleheads,
...I am unsure as to which specialty I will pursue, but I am fairly certain that I want to pursue a career in clinical/translational research, and hope to be involved in biotechnology and biomedical device development. The networks of both these schools are very strong, but I am trying to decide if the connections I can make at HMS will be worth more than the scholarship from Penn. I've read from a couple articles that Boston is on the rise as a hub for biotechnological companies and startups.

Right now I would say I'm leaning towards Penn because the prospect of graduating med school with no debt would be pretty hard to pass up!

Thanks very much for the help.
I think you've already figured things out, but my comment would be that med schools are there to get you into the residency program that you want, and residency (and fellowships) are where you actually get your experience in specialized stuff and make your contacts that will help you grow in your interests. Although there might be residency programs that would blow off Penn grads in favor of HMS grads, I'd guess that in most cases, you're going to be able to pick from multiple programs in your future field.

(Not to mention that your interests might change, but I don't want to be a wet blanket. :D)

'grats on the rewards for all the hard work in HS. I hope there are some classmates who might have given you a hard time in the past who now see what's what. (Not that I hope that you were given a hard time, but that if it happened, they might be enlightened now. Hope that makes some level of sense.)
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:54 am

I think the important thing (and you may not realize wbern is William Bernstein, an accomplished writer of finance books (see efficientfrontier.com) but also a ?neurologist? (cardiologist?)- the former one of the more accomplished medical specialities (in B School, a colleague was a top neurologist from the UK).

So that bit is key, that your RESIDENCE counts, not your undergrad medical school. So that's a strong steer towards taking the money.

I entirely understand your desire to do an MD before stepping off into a research or policy career (MBA etc.).

- I have been encouraging 'mid life crisis' MDs here to do an executive MBA and commence careers in administration, executive leadership etc.
- I am a big fan of Phds *if* it is on the career track (teaching/ research)

The thing about being a Medical Doctor is:

- it lets you in on the club. The government constructs a panel on a medical issue, there *have* to be doctors on that panel. Ditto an insurance company. Since Dr. Koop, the US Surgeon General is a potentially powerful individual. So being a 'Doctor' lets you into shaping things. I have no idea who President Kennedy's Surgeon General *was*, but I know that he warns me that cigarettes are hazardous to my health

- in medical research, there are things that ONLY a doctor can do with human patients, conversations only a doctor can have, protocols that only a doctor can sign off on. Even if you are not doing that work, the doctors in the process will accept your input because you are a fellow medic

It's also the old story that being a DOCTOR gives you respect in the world, and not just the USA.

It carries with it its responsibilities. Woman goes into labour on a plane, (this happened to a friend of mine, and the child lived and is a healthy little child, despite being born 3 months early), it's your job to go into the cockpit and tell the pilot to abort London to Rejykavik and land at Glasgow- -despite the anger of the airline, air traffic control and fellow passengers. Someone starts choking in a restaurant, or has a heart attack in the shopping mall, you've got to drop what you are doing and intervene.

The 4th bomber on 7th July 2005 could not get on the Tube, the previous 3 bombs had led to a shutdown of whole system. He tried to reach his 3 co-bombers, but they were already dead. So he got on the Number 30 bus, diverted, and detonated himself on the top deck. Outside the British Medical Association, where a conference was going on. There were pits all over the wall for months, and there's a plaque to the dead on the fence outside.

And so the doctors of the BMA stepped out of their conference, put up picnic tables in the quadrangle, and conducted triage on casualties there and then. Who knows how many lives were saved because doctors were *there*.

So become a doctor. That you got these opportunities tells you how good you are, and how hard you have worked. But 'You are coming into great power, Peter. And with great power, comes great responsibility'. Wear the responsibility lightly, and use your power well.

It would be nice to be debt free as you begin that journey.

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Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

Post by SGM » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:25 am

I graduated medical school without debt. It is very comfortable feeling to have no debt. It sounds like you will pick Penn and the scholarship. That is a good choice. You will have the opportunity to pick your specialty based on what you really want to do rather than be hamstrung by debt. I also agree that your residency will supply a network more so than medical school. I still talk to my residency director and he asked me to work for him last spring. :D

Your own hard work, intelligence and compassion will get you much farther than the school you attend. You have a great, exciting future ahead of you.
"Let us endeavor, so to live, that when we die, even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain

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