Advice to a medical student entrepreneur

Dear Susan,

Congratulations on your recent graduation. I’m sure you are thrilled to start medical school in August and are looking forward to taking a break this summer. Given your interest in building the company you started in college,however, you  might want to rethink that vacation in Europe.

You see, while things are gradually changing for budding medical student entrepreneurs like you, don’t expect that you will have neither the time nor support to pursue your entreprneurial endeavors. Medical school is all consuming, so you’ll need to squeeze in any extra time on your own. Here is some advice:

1. Do an internship with a startup this summer before you start medical school in the Fall. 

2. Network as much as you can and find a mentor

3. Be sure to use social media aggressively to find like minded students around the world.

4. Take advantage of free MOOCs being offered in bioentrepreneurship, medical innovation and digital health

5. Identify others in your class who are interested in biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and start a special interest group or student club and invite members of your local cluster or ecosystem to speak at lunch and learn sessions.

6. Focus on getting education, access to resources, networks and mentors and experiential learning.

7. Keep your head down and focus on medicine. Don’t tell faculty or other students about your entrepreneurial endeavors lest they think you are not taking medicine seriously enough.

8. Factor in your entrepreneurial career objectives when it comes time to choose a specialty or employed or independent practice arrangement.

9. Be sure to complete a residency and several years of practice to understand the problems beguiling sick care and possible opportunities to fix them.

10. At this stage of the game, stay fixed on being a problem seeker, not a problem solver. 

Again, congratulations on your achievements. Hopefully, when you complete your residency and possibly fellowship training 10 years from now, the environment will be less hostile and more supportive of your initiatives. Please send my best regards to your parents, who, I’m sure are very proud of you.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the  Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at