12 questions to for an MD/PhD interview

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Perhaps you’re nearly finishing your MD/PhD interviews.  Or perhaps you’re getting ready for a busy January and February visiting potential schools.  Either way, preparation is key. As my basketball coach once said, “Prior practice prevents poor performance.” So, here are some sample questions that you are likely to encounter on the interview trail.  Preparing for these questions with mock interviews with your friends, graduate students in the lab, or a career counselor will certainly help you prepare for the big interview.  Remember, it just takes one school.  Good luck.

1. Describe your research.
2. Why are you interested in a combined program, versus one or the other?
3. Describe your solution to the US Health care crisis.  Is Obama/McCain’s solution likely to work?
4. What can physician-scientists do to contribute to your solution for the US health care crisis?
5. Have you had any leadership positions? Please describe your experience.
6. Do you follow or learn more about cancer biology through texts or primary literature?
7. Please tell me about 2 articles in the past year that were most exciting to you.
8. Tell me your knowledge of the research I am currently involved in (rare: only if you chose the specific investigator). 
9. Role play: Act like I am a 5 year old child who has cancer and explain what is wrong with me.
Explain it as though I am the child’s parent. Alternate: explain to an adult patient they have a terminal disease.
10. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
11. Why would you convince someone not to pursue medicine? Despite these reasons, why are you
pursuing medicine?
12. Why are you interested in our MD-PhD program, in particular? Alternatively, tell me everything you know about this program.

P.S. We are interested in comments from blog readers about other good questions that interviewees could benefit from. Comment posting requires registration (in order to prevent boat loads of spam–sorry).