From Medicine to Business – A Unique Journey

Minahil Kamran

My journey is not that of a typical MBA student. Figuring out what I wanted to do in life in terms of my career was challenging at times, but the experiences that I have had in life up to this point have all been part of the learning process and taught me who I am and what kinds of skills I possess. Seven years ago, I joined a combined Bachelors/MD program at The University of Toledo where I completed my undergraduate studies in three years and went to medical school right after. Prior to starting college, I received the Toledo Excellence Scholarship for having a high GPA and ACT score in high school. During college, I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. I was featured on the President’s and Dean’s List and was involved in several organizations including the Jesup Scott Honors College, International Students Association, Financial Management Association, and Alpha Epsilon Delta.

After college, I attended medical school for two years. During my journey in medical school, I realized that I didn’t see myself working as a clinician in a hospital setting for the rest of my life. One of the reasons why I came to this conclusion was because of the research project I worked on during the summer between the first and second year of medical school. As a Clinical Research Assistant at the University of Toledo Medical Center, I presented the common factors among patients younger than 18 that exacerbate their condition of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I collected and analyzed data on patients seeing the physician I was working with, Dr. Blair Grubb, using Microsoft Excel, Athena, and Clinical Portal. I created a poster presentation and pitched the results of the study to physicians and medical students. I also recommended preventative measures POTS patients can take to alleviate their condition. Along with having an appreciation for the research side of healthcare more than the clinical side, I also came to the realization that I wanted a degree that would give me the option of moving from one function to another during my career path. With medicine, I felt restricted as I had to choose one kind of specialty and stick to it for the rest of my life. I did not want to stay in one type of industry and environment, which in this case, would be a hospital or a clinic. Furthermore, I wanted to pursue a degree that would be long enough to teach me all of the skills and information that I would need to know for my full-time job, yet short enough where I could start working right away instead of undergoing training after graduation. With medicine, training and exams don’t stop after a medical degree is obtained. There are 3+ years of additional schooling that each student has to undergo, known as residency. Taking all of these factors into consideration, I took a year off after my second year of medical school to explore other graduate degrees and career options.

After doing a lot of research, I decided that obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree would be the right choice for me due to a number of reasons. I was able to learn and develop an appreciation for the fact that an MBA program teaches students in detail about the different functions of business in order to be successful leaders at their respective companies. I also admired the flexibility that an MBA program allows students to have in terms of switching functions and/or industries in their career path by customizing courses based on what they want to specialize in. I wanted to further my experience in data analysis from my time as a Clinical Research Assistant and apply that to my full-time career in an industry other than healthcare. Additionally, along with science, I have always been skilled in mathematics. I applied to a number of MBA programs across the US but ultimately decided to come to The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business for my graduate education. I chose this particular school’s program because of its high ranking, small class size, world class professors, and a resourceful team of career coaches in the Office of Career Management. I received the Joseph A. Alutto Scholarship upon entering into the full-time MBA program for having a high undergraduate GPA and other positive credentials.

At the beginning of the first semester, I decided to specialize in finance. Relevant courses that I am taking include Finance, Investment Strategies and Philosophies, Valuation Analysis, Corporate Finance, Corporate Financial Reporting, Fintech, Derivatives Markets, Investment Theory and Practice, and Real Estate Valuation. These courses have taught me how to use Microsoft Excel effectively, build a variety of financial models, and perform quantitative analysis. I have had the opportunity to be a part of finance case competitions such as the ACG Cup, in which the team I was on presented a pitchbook to private equity and mergers and acquisition professionals. During the spring semester of my first year, I was a Research Assistant in the Department of Management and Human Resources at Fisher College of Business where I determined the top reasons why employees left their most recent workplace. I obtained employee data from the Federal Workforce Database and used Microsoft Excel to categorize it based on how many people left the company they were working at and for what reason. During my first year, I was the First-year Leader for Fisher Graduate Finance Association and the Multicultural Center and Campus Liaison Lead for Fisher Graduate Women in Business. At the end of my first year, I was selected to serve as a leader for the Fisher Graduate Finance Association and the Fisher Graduate Women in Business student organizations, and my mission is to encourage diverse students, especially women, to learn about the field of finance. Currently, I am working with my fellow board members to design a finance bootcamp for incoming MBA students to help career switchers prepare for a career in finance. This summer, I became certified in Bloomberg Market Concepts and Wall Street Prep, a course that teaches financial and valuation modeling.

Earlier this summer, I worked as a finance and strategy intern for a startup company based in Columbus, Ohio called GhostWave Inc. This company creates radar technology to prevent automobile accidents and to monitor the health of honeybees, an endangered species. During my time with the firm, I had the opportunity to work on various projects. One of these projects was developing and presenting a three-statement model for their latest honeybee radar monitoring project, which was included in the company’s commercialization plan. I forecasted the income statement and balance sheet and completed the cash flow statement. I was able to analyze and validate the overall profitability of the project, allowing GhostWave Inc. to receive funding from the Small Business Innovation Research Program. I also calculated a set price for selling radar technology to honeybee hive renters by performing radar industry market research and conducting interviews with hive owners to assess pricing appetite. I was able to create a competitive pricing model and apply it to the income statement to ensure profitability of the product and mitigate the risk of overcharging. Another project that I worked on was assembling a capitalization table for current and future projects. I organized financial data including authorized shares, outstanding shares, and shares owned by each shareholder. By creating this table, I was able to display the company capital structure in order to forecast how future investments will dilute ownership percentages and the value of each share. Additionally, I advised the company on how to increase cost margins and improve overall profitability. I presented information on the composition of each of the five basic indirect cost pools, acceptable allocation bases and methods, proper calculation of indirect rates, tips for full cost recovery, and the requirements for advanced indirect costs after taking part in multiple training sessions. I calculated indirect costs for general operations and activities of the company, which led to improving cost control measures including reducing overhead costs. Lastly, I authored an official employee handbook for GhostWave Inc., which outlined its values, policies, and benefits. I prepared all sections of the handbook including how to set up direct deposit accounts, travel reimbursements, payroll deductions, paid time off, and insurance benefits. Creating this handbook clarified the responsibilities and expectations for employees in order to maintain a well-functioning and professional environment.

Recently, I accepted a second internship with Oak Moon Consulting as a Consulting Analyst which will become my part-time job through the second year of my MBA program. In my current role, I will continue with what I did for my first internship, which is building financial models, analyzing financial data, conducting market research, and performing data analysis. My work for my summer internships has ignited my passion for developing actionable insights about companies’ current and prospective financial performance. I am able to use these insights to craft business strategy to further optimize the performance of firms for clients. I aim to foster this passion even more in my full-time role in corporate finance within the banking industry My ultimate goal is to become a finance executive at a multinational bank.

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