UTMB Outcome; UTSW Invite

I had my first medical school interview today at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and much to my delight, I’m very confident about my performance. The day started off with a breakfast and a brief presentation about the medical curriculum, extracurricular activities, etc. Some students had their interviews in the morning and a tour in the afternoon, and others had the two flip-flopped. I was in the latter group.

My first interview was scheduled to begin at 1:15 PM, but I arrived at the secretary’s office by 12:50 PM. This is where I ran into trouble. My interviewer had called in sick earlier this morning, so after finally calming myself down, I feared one thing – time. Come to find out, this was indeed a problem. It took half an hour to reschedule my interview with another doctor (who happened to be across the campus), so my first interview ended up actually starting around 1:35 PM. This pushed my second interview (scheduled for 2:15 PM) back even further. Throughout all this mess, the interviewers I did have were very understanding and reassured me that it wasn’t my fault.

My first interview was with a previous member of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) who now ran an infectious disease department at UTMB. Since she was my rescheduled interviewer, she had no idea she would have to interview me until ten minutes before the event. Consequently, she hadn’t read over my application at all (it was still sitting on her printer). UTMB conducts “blind” interviews which basically eliminates any type of academic bias since the interviewer is not aware of our GPA or MCAT score. This allows them to analyze our personalities to assess how compatible of a “match” the campus and the student are for each other. Anyways, some of the things we discussed:

  • Why do I want to be a doctor?
  • Biggest obstacle I’ll face in medical school?
  • My biggest flaw?
  • How do friends describe me?
  • Why should UTMB pick me?

We also discussed a lot about her research and medicine in general. Infectious disease is a really interesting field (especially with UTMB’s Galveston Laboratory opening later this year), so I enjoyed discussing current issues regarding the field.

My second interviewer seemed even more nervous than me. His fingers were shaking uncontrollably causing him to drop his page of questions numerous times throughout the duration of the interview. He works as a medical physicist in radiology, so we had a lot to discuss regarding cancer in the brain and noninvasive treatment methods.

Some issues we discussed:

  • Based on your application, you could have easily gone to graduate school and pursued research. Why did you choose medicine?
  • How would you tell the parents of a four year old terminally ill patient that their son/daughter is going to die?
  • If a patient asked to be euthanized, how would you handle it?
  • What’s a hospice?
  • How should we go about handling the current state of Medicare/Medicaid?
  • Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
  • What’s the biggest obstacle you’ll face in medical school?

Last but not least, I received an interview invitation from the University of Texas Southwestern medical school in Dallas scheduled for September 13th. Looking forward to it!

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10 Comments
  1. Erin says

    I am incredibly horrible at talking about myself. On one hand I know that I am a pretty great individual, but on the other I hate to sound like I’m better than anyone. Did you have these problems when the interviewers asked you questions pertaining to yourself? If not, what is a good way to answer questions such as these without sounding like I am full of myself?

    1. Rishi says

      Ask your best friends or mentors how they would describe you. What do you come off as to third parties? What do they perceive to be your greatest strengths, and more importantly, your weaknesses. Then focus on how you’re trying to improve those weaknesses.

      Receiving an interview means that you already look great on paper. When I interviewed applicants, I didn’t care about their GPA, MCAT, or extracurriculars all that much. I wanted to get to know more elusive traits – their fears, their ambitions, their foresight, and their personality as a human being (compassion and laid back or self-centered?). Although I’m sure you’ve accomplished a lot, understand that EVERYONE who interviews for med school has incredible achievements from different walks of life.

      Practice humility above all else. Do mock interviews with classmates and focus on things which others could perceive as snobbish or naive. Practice! 🙂

  2. Eric Lin says

    Hi Rishi, Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Eric lin says

    Hi, could you please share what would be a good answer for: 1) what is the biggest obstacle you will face in med school? 2) what is the biggest flaw? Thanks a lot!

    1. Rishi says

      Hey Eric,

      These questions are extremely dependent on the individual. My obstacles/flaws are not necessarily shared by other applicants. Self-reflection is difficult, but it’s an important skill to develop early in your training, as you will be evaluated by countless residents, attendings, and most of all, your patients.

      Some of the common obstacles verbalized by applicants I interviewed were getting used to a new city, making new friends, having to adjust study habits to the rigors of med school, finding time for extracurricular activity, having to be away from home, finding a career path, and maintaining a “life balance.” Biggest flaws are often discovered by your closest friends or family members, so ask them! =D Personally, I used to have trouble delegating tasks to other individuals in a group setting and preferred to undertake entire projects by myself. I’ve significantly improved this over my involvement in professional organizations.

  4. JCousteau says

    Nice entry, thanks for providing insight into the interview process. I’ve been curious about what kind of questions we should ask when the interviewer says “So, do you have any questions for me?” I always feel like I would freeze up, haha.

  5. Rishi says

    I take it that though your interview was canceled, you’re safe and sound. 🙂 And thanks for kind words about BCM! Keep me posted about your interviews, and remember, you’re not the only one who has to reschedule their interview. I feel bad for the MCAT test-takers who were planning to take their exams on Friday but now have to refocus for a few more weeks. *Sighs*, everything happens for a reason.

  6. Shani says

    So it looks like UTMB is closed indefinitely & I probably won’t have an interview this week. Thanks for the info. though. I’ll save it for later. I was totally joking when I mentioned Ike preventing the interview, but it did much more damage than we all expected. Good to hear your interview went well at UTSW. Sounds like you’re in. I’m sure it will be the same at BCM. I have a professor that still hasn’t sent out my LOR so BCM won’t review my supplemental app. 🙁 I should have told him it was due sooner! Good luck at BCM!

  7. Rishi says

    Hi Shani! Yeah, this Hurricane really is messing up people’s plans. I have my UTSW interview this Saturday, and I’m trying to convince my parents that I’ll be done with my interview before, what will be, Tropical Storm Ike catches up. Anyways, to answer your question, my experience with Houston traffic says that people like to wake up late on Fridays. Hence, the morning traffic starts a little later than normal. I live in Katy/Richmond, so I woke up around 5:00 AM, left the house around 6:10 AM, and got to UTMB around 7:30 AM without running into any traffic. Best of luck on your interview, and let me know if you have any more questions!

  8. Shani says

    Hello. I have an interview at UTMB next Friday (if it survives Ike) & I’ll be driving from Houston (Galleria area). I think you did the same… I was just curious how long the drive in the morning was with traffic. Good luck at UTSW this weekend!