Zoe Sansted ’16 is pursuing a joint MD/MBA program at Columbia. Read on to learn more about her experiences in both programs as well as her career goals, and don’t forget to take her recommendation and get your Follies tickets this week!
Why did you decide to pursue a joint MD/MBA program?
I’ve always loved science and I became fascinated by the healthcare system in college. I want to be a physician and that is still my primary goal, but in medical school I also became frustrated by the systemic issues facing the healthcare industry. I found myself unable to help patients the way I wanted to given the current broken system. I realized that I want to make a broader impact than just treating one patient at a time. I hope to use my MD/MBA to make healthcare more efficient as well as more egalitarian.
What are the biggest differences between Medical School and Business School?
There are, of course, a LOT of differences: there’s no weekly happy hour in medical school and the work is a little bit more rigorous. But I think the biggest difference is that in medical school the gender ratio is 50:50. This creates a completely different dynamic and makes it feel like a much more equal environment for women. Before coming to business school I had never really worked in an environment that was dominated by men, and I had had many positive female mentors in medicine. Many of the women I’ve met at business school have spent their entire careers as a token woman or one of a small minority. I think we forget to take a step back and reflect on how much of an effect the gender ratio has on the CBS environment and the business world in general. I feel privileged to be going back to an industry where this is less of an issue, and I feel lucky to have been able to work with CWiB to try to increase the presence of women at CBS.
What has been your most memorable class or professor either in the Medical School or the Business School?
In medical school we have a class during first year called Tutorials where we work with patients for the first time. We interview them and practice the physical exam. And for most students it’s the first meaningful patient experience we’ve had, and the first time we’re really thinking like a doctor. I will never forget the patients I interacted with during that class.
How has CBS helped you advance your career goals (either in the medical or business field)?
Being in business school has completely changed my outlook on medicine and healthcare. Doctors see things in a very particular way, and if you never step outside the medical community you can forget how the rest of the world thinks. Simply interacting with people from so many industries and with so many perspectives will have a huge impact on my ability to do what I want to do. And I think I won’t even be able to appreciate how different my perspective has become until I start working in the hospital again.
What advice do you have for students looking to pursue MD/MBA programs?
Getting an MD is a huge time commitment and takes a tremendous amount of effort, so you should only start the process if you at least intend to become a doctor—it’s just not worth it otherwise! For medical students who are considering getting an MBA, I would say absolutely do it! I think we’ll need more people in the future who have both medical and business expertise. I would also say to consider the Master of Public Health degree, and specifically one with a Health Management track.
What has been your favorite CBS moment so far?
Going to Iceland with my cluster was really a highlight of CBS. Björg (CWiB’s VP of Careers) organized it and it was incredible!
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Follies!!!!!! Tickets on sale this week! December 3rd .