Medical student Lucas King is working from home as he pursues a combined MD/MBA degree. (Submitted photo)

Why did I choose the MD/MBA program?

When I started medical school on August 8, 2018, I was a proud member of the Class of 2022. Throughout the next two years, my classmates and I often talked about how we couldn’t wait to get onto the wards to start working with “real patients.”

By Lucas King

Two years later, the Class of 2022 stepped foot into hospitals across the province eager to begin the next leg of their journey, but I wasn’t with them.

Instead, I decided to pursue an MBA through the Edwards School of Business here at the University of Saskatchewan.

Traditionally at the University of Saskatchewan, students apply to the MBA program after receiving their acceptance into the MD program and complete it before beginning medical school. I remember considering it in 2018, but I was far too excited and ready to join the medical community to defer my acceptance.

Over the next year, I attended a few presentations discussing a new option where students could complete the MBA between the second and third years of the MD program. I still couldn’t picture myself waiting another year to get into the hospital and leaving my cohort I had grown close with, so I wrote it off.

At the same time, I was beginning to enjoy the leadership, policy, and non-profit governance work I was doing as I became more involved with the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) and the Saskatchewan Weightlifting Association.

Then last summer, I found out a good friend and mentor was in the process of completing a master’s degree before entering clerkship, so I took the opportunity to quiz him about his experience.

When I told him I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave my class and take a year off, he shared something his dad had told him before he started his master’s. He said, “you have your whole life to be a doctor” and “your good friends will still be your friends forever.” This message stuck with me and helped me overcome my thoughts on why I shouldn’t pursue an MBA.

Now the question I needed to answer was, “why should I pursue an MBA?”

There were many reasons, including the birth of my second son in 2020 and the ability to spend more time at home with him this year. With the university-wide move to virtual delivery, I can work and learn from home without needing to be on-call, other than for my own kids, which allows me to experience more of my son’s infancy than I would have in clerkship.

But ultimately, it came down to the same reason why I chose to pursue medicine: making an impact on the world through the work I do. I believe completing this MBA will help me grow as a medical student, parent, board member, and as a person.

Over the past two years, I have realized how valuable leadership and administrative experience can be to a physician’s career and the impact they can have. To make the most significant impact I can in my career, I need to continually improve myself and learn from others who are more knowledgeable than me. I believe the Edwards MBA program offers me that opportunity and will help me make a meaningful impact on the world.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the hospital, but for now I couldn’t be happier to watch my kids grow and learn new skills that I can bring back to the medical community.

Lucas King is a medical student at the USask College of Medicine and the Director of Student Affairs (Dir. SA) for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS). Learn more about the combined MD/MBA program.