Behind the Scenes of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


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This month, we interview Graham, who gives us a brief tour of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Graham is an MD MBA student at Vanderbilt University and Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard Business School in May 2018 and will be applying for a medical Residency this fall. Prior to his postgraduate studies, Graham graduated from MIT in 2012 as member of the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society (the Engineering Equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa) with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. While at MIT, Graham was selected to be a Burchard Scholar (30 MIT students who have demonstrated excellence in the humanities, arts, or social sciences) and worked in the lab of Professors Michael Cima and Robert Langer developing microelectromechanical systems for drug delivery. In addition to his time in the classroom and at the lab bench, Graham completed multiple internships with boutique investment banking firms, the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), International Business Machines (IBM), and most recently McKinsey and Company.

If you could describe your medical school in three adjectives, what would they be? 

Supportive, rigorous, energizing!

What's one thing that the average applicant would be surprised to learn about your medical school's curriculum?

VMS was one of the first programs in the country to implement an accelerated curriculum. Unlike a "standard curriculum", VMS's exposes students to the the clinical environment starting in their 1st year and schedules core rotations during the 2nd year. This directly benefits students by providing extensive clinical exposure prior to the Step 1 exam, more time for elective rotations, and a formal ability to research.

What is something unique or different about the admissions interview process at your medical school?

VMS is very transparent in all aspects of their interview and learning processes. My classmates and I found VMS to be open and professional and interviewees should be prepared to have an honest conversation about him or herself as an MD candidate.

What's a tradition that you've enjoyed at your medical school that most prospective students don't know about?

Vanderbilt Medical School has a great “college” system! Every member of the incoming class is placed into one of 4 houses— much like Hogwarts, minus an actual sorting-hat. These houses serve as a smaller community for students where you can seek guidance and advice from older students, as well as peers and college faculty. One of my best first year memories is competing in our College Cup – which takes place every year. It’s a competition which combines creativity, cooking, sports, and numerous other skills into one, very fun weekend.

What's one thing you wish you'd known when you were applying to medical school?

It’s all right to be nervous about interviews. A little bit of nerves (not too much!) can make you sharper. One way to optimize this for yourself is to submit your applications as soon as possible and to schedule your interviews as early as possible. This really helps to combat some of the fatigue and jitters that can often come with multiple city travel for multiple interviews.

What kind of doctor do you want to be when you grow up? :)

Emergency Medicine – I have come to appreciate the expression that ED doctors are, 'the Swiss Army knives of physicians.' I enjoy all aspects of medical school and found that this type of medicine allows practitioners to employ everything they have learned—sometimes in a single shift!

Want to work with Graham as you prepare your MD applications?

Contact us!