Show Leadership

Here's the story of an IMG who failed to match 2 times and never gave up:

Dear Dr. Barone, here is my story:

I went to medical school in Europe starting 2006. Was there from 2006-2008. I took a year off from 2008-2009 to take step 1(bad idea) and failed step 1 in June of 2009. Was devastated but took the exam 3 months later and passed with a meager 188. Started rotations in NYC for almost 2 years, which should have culminated in me graduated May of 2011. I had another set back and decided to postpone the last 2 rotations in May until January of 2012. I took step 2 ck July of 2011 and passed with a meager 197. (I had already passed CS during rotations). I applied to all family medicine for 2012 match, 200 programs, 5000 dollars, 3 interviews and NO MATCH! Again I was devastated.

Fortunately I had a connection at hospital in LA. I knew a friend who said that one of the program directors is a foreign grad and has brought in FMG’s to observe. I did just that. I emailed him, met with him and he brought me along from Mar 2012-July 2012 and wrote me a great LOR.  I applied to match and he even called a program director to help me get an interview with his support.

March 2013 came around and AGAIN I did not match, despite even getting an interview because of his phone call! Again I was devastated. I even cried hysterically to my girlfriend about this because I was so sure I had it this time. I mean I am very confident, easy to get along with, personable guy and I interview VERY well!

Well I knew I had to do something to set myself apart. June of 2013 I took step 3 and passed with a 191. I kept in contact with the program director and he had an opening on his clinical trials research team this past July 2013. I worked with him and I coauthored 2 abstracts during this time period.

I had only 2 interviews this match season. During my first interview (which is my first choice) I was told the letter of recommendation he wrote was the reason why I was chosen for the interview along with my apparently great personal statement. During the interview they had all the applicants come together, read a case and discuss it amongst each other. I took the lead, read the case out loud, and gathered everyone together. I guess they saw the leadership qualities they want in a resident. I told them that the ability to know your limitations and when to ask for help is essential to becoming a family physician. Moral of the story is stay persistence, never give up, TAKE STEP 3, have a great personal statement and LOR’s, and show the confidence and leadership qualities that programs want in a resident.   And now I have matched at my number one choice!

-F. K.  03/25/2014

1. How important do you think connections where in your success? Connections helped me to get my foot in the door. The guy wrote an amazing LOR which was the reason why they took me in for interview as they said, He hired me as a paid employee for his clinical trials program which also helped and I coauthored 2 abstracts during that time and poster presented them. He also advocated for me in a phone call + email to the program coordinator and director. But mainly I think it was my interview. So it was helpful indirectly.

2. Tell me about your person statement?

My personal statement spoke about my rough upbringing and how it formulated me to pursue family medicine. I had a friend with a Masters of English edit/polish it for me. Personally I think it was very well written, great diction/vocab, but most importantly it was honest/sincere and really expressed why I want to do family medicine.

3. Do you think having step 3 done was very important in matching?

Since I failed step 1, I think passing step 3 (especially for family medicine) did make a difference. They asked me during the interview about my step scores and I began to explain about my step 1 failure. The program director interrupted me and said "its ok but you passed all steps now" and I replied "yes I’m done with all 3." I think programs are concerned with people failing step 3 during residency if they had failed a previous step so they see it as a good sign that the applicant passed step3 while not in a residency.

"An strong interview can make or break you - Show Leadership" - Dr. Barone


Category: Success

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