Internships can help you better understand a job entails.


There are many ways that internships could be a great first step for someone looking to transition out of medicine. Internships can be short term or part time to allow you to try out a different career and see how you like it. Internships also give you business experience that gives you extra credibility when you eventually talk to people about full-time jobs. 

Internships can be formal established and structured experiences, or can also be ad-hoc and created just for you. You should try to find an internship in a field that you are interested in first and foremost, as graduate school is the perfect time to try out something new. There are several resources to learn more about well-established internships, but keep in mind that these typically are more competitive and have equally established timelines.



Many consulting firms have short term (under a week) workshops where you get a brief taste of consulting work. In these workshops you will work with other candidates and employees on an example case. These can be purely educational, just walking you through something predetermined, or can be an exploratory exercise - where your problem solving skills will be tested. Some links to those are here:

Additionally, McKinsey offers a ‘MD fellow’ program which is a two year long experience, intended to be done between 3rd and 4th years of medical school. The benefit of the McKinsey fellowship is a ~$100,000 salary and working for one of the most prestigious companies in the world. The trade off for those benefits is extreme competition and a two year long program. One thing to note is that an alternative to the MD Fellow track is to join McKinsey after graduation (instead of during 3rd year), where you would be compensated ~1.5-2x the fellowship salary. It is not clear which is more competitive, but is something to consider.

Venture capital

Many VC firms have internships throughout the year, and they often can be part-time experiences. Unfortunately these opportunities are not easy to find, typically unpaid, and are very competitive. It can be worth your time to reach out to VC firms focusing on healthcare for biotechnology investments, who would value the medical experience an MD would bring. The experience of working at a VC firm is widely valued and always a good conversation topic during interviews.


These are often not truly internships and more similar to a part time job. Many startups could use an extra hand - especially if that extra hand has the medical knowledge and insider experience of an MD. Researching startups in your field of interest and reaching out to them directly can be very successful. These opportunities might be paid, unpaid, or paid in equity (called sweat equity). Check out these resources to search for startups that might interest you, and then send cold emails asking for time to chat with someone at the company to see if you would be a good fit. This can require a solid amount of work (but I think it is well worth the effort), during my experience I emailed ~75 startups, got conversations with 10, and ended up working with 3.


Figuring out the timing for internships can be a difficult balance. One decision point is if you want a full time experience, or if you want to have a part time experience. For the former, often you will need to plan far in advance to stay on top of applications and opportunities for officl and established internships. With the latter you will be navigating a much less structured environment.

With enough foresight it would be possible to set up a full-time internship opportunity during a summer break or during a gap in rotations. Alternatively, it is not unheard of for people to take a gap year to work on at a company. If you wanted to participate on a part-time basis, you could also plan to contribute while in school or in residency (similar to how some people do with research) and learn how to juggle multiple priorities at once. Balancing an internship and school/work comes at a significant risk though, because you should be participating in an internship to give a good impression to (and have a good experience with) the company you are working for, which could be difficult to do while performing in the hospital.

You should consider internships as soon as you realize that you are interested in leaving medicine, partially because internships would be a fantastic opportunity to discover if you would enjoy a career outside of medicine and partially because it would allow you to build a resume which is a vital part of making the switch.