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There are many reports out there that say you should not go get an MBA or JD unless you are going for the Top 5 or Top 10 schools respectively. The rationale is that the lost salary and tuition does not make up for the expected NPV difference (get a professional degree vs. do not get a professional degree).

I have never heard this about medical schools. It seems reasonable to assume that most patients do not inquire about their doctor's alma mater and that there is a lot of standardization in the final board exam. Also, most medical schools have an extremely low dropout/failure rate (<5%). However, there is huge variability among the selectivity of medical schools, ranging from an average undergraduate GPA and MCAT score of 3.35 and 20 respectively, all the way up to 3.89 and 38.

What advantages does a Duke M.D. have over a Marshall University M.D.? Am I correct in assuming that the average salary distribution over all US medical schools is relatively flat?

closed as off-topic by Fomite, scaaahu, Enthusiastic Engineer, Wrzlprmft, Davidmh Nov 8 '15 at 10:41

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    In the case of surgery, maybe its not common, but I for sure look up the CV of a someone who is going to drug me and cut me open. – user-2147482637 Jan 6 '15 at 12:53
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    Can you please clarify how this relates to academia? Right now, it sounds like just a question about the salaries of practicing doctors... – jakebeal Jan 6 '15 at 13:43
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    The differences between medical schools are going to be equivalent to the differences between undergraduate schools, i.e. going to a state school like UMass vs. Harvard, you get the brand name from one school, but chances are, the quality of your education should be about the same. All American med schools are certified by the same group to teach med students. Whether or not you're a DO or an MD matters little in most point of care situations as well. – Compass Jan 6 '15 at 15:09
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    @jakebeal I think of it as academia.stackexchange.com/questions/90/…, but for an MD instead of a PhD. – StrongBad Mar 29 '15 at 20:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because while there is possibly a question to be had about research careers in academia and the quality of your med school, this doesn't appear to be that question. Instead, this focuses entirely on practicing doctors. – Fomite Nov 8 '15 at 6:07
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I disagree. There are very little differences between medical schools so long as you do well on your STEP I through STEP III exams. Basically what really matters is how you rank compared to the national average. I have interviewed residency candidates from around the country-their alma mater means very little to me. Their STEP scores and extracurricular activities matter as well as their personal statements. Don't worry about medical school ranking-just worry about Step exam scores-that will really help you get into any residency program you want.

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The consequences of rank apply to medical schools just as they apply to undergraduate or graduate education. A more highly ranked medical school can make it easier to get a residency that you want or acceptance into a better quality residency. It may also make you better prepared to pass board exams.

If you want to do medical research, then you should look for schools that are performing similar research, just as you would for a non-professional graduate program.


Update per comments --

I don't have any experience with medical schools (I knew at 5 I didn't want to be a doctor), so I contacted my resident expert, a relative who both graduated from the Ohio State University School of Medicine and was a professor there. In her words:

Harvard and Yale grads can be more picky about the residency programs they apply to. But the other comments are true also [that I sent to her]. If they almost flunk out of school, have an abrasive personality, have poor test scores, etc., they will need to set their sights lower for residency.

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    This is wrong (except for the last sentence), and based on your profile you seem not to have much experience with medical schools. School choice matters much less for medicine because (1) there is a shortage of doctors, every single MD gets a job and (2) there is only 141 accredited MD granting institutions and (3) if you don't get an MD you can't be a doctor (not the same thing as an MBA for an example). School choice is one small factor in securing the top residencies. – WetlabStudent Mar 29 '15 at 20:36
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    @WetLabStudent some of us lowly PhDs (along with Dentists, Vets, and anyone else with a doctorate) might object to "if you don't get an MD you can't be a doctor". – StrongBad Mar 29 '15 at 20:43
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    @StrongBad This seems like a pretty obtuse misreading of WetLabStudent's comment. As a Doctor (of Mathematics), it doesn't both me at all. Does s/he really need to say "if you don't get an MD, you can't be licensed to practice medicine (for humans)"? Using "doctor" to mean "medical doctor" is normal parlance in the US. – Ben Webster Mar 30 '15 at 21:57
  • @BenWebster I think outside academia doctor means medical doctor, but when medical doctors and academics work together, everyone generally tries to be a little more careful about language. – StrongBad Mar 31 '15 at 6:20

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