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Pharmacy Residency Podcast: Residency Interviews and Advice


Mar 23, 2021

We bring in Tim Ulbrich, CEO of Your Financial Pharmacist (YFP) with a discussion of side hustles that work for pharmacists and some financial planning resources and tips. 

Transcript:

All right, welcome to the pharmacy residency podcast a member of the pharmacy podcast network I am going to have the CEO of your financial pharmacist on Tim Ulrich who I will let him introduce his details or where he is currently but I’ve met him a couple of times and just somebody who has dedicated really much of his outside work life to helping students and pharmacists and residents to have a great financial life so Tim welcome to the pharmacy residency podcast thanks tony for having me appreciate the opportunity um could you tell me just a little bit about yourself any background that you want to share especially as it relates to residency most of those that are listening to us are going to be future residents current residents or maybe our pgy2 and or looking for a job right now and then how you've had residency in your life and then some of the residents that you've talked to on your podcast yeah absolutely so short bio is a pharmacist by training I graduated from Ohio northern university go polar bears did residency in community ambulatory care at Ohio state and have been in the academic world for about 12 12 years now after falling in love with teaching during my residency experience and really having an opportunity to explore many different things during residency which is one of the great advantages of doing a one or two year residency program um and have kind of evolved that that career to pursue some entrepreneurial interest both on the academic side entrepreneurial interests and growing programs starting new initiatives and then in the work of starting uh your financial pharmacist why I serve as a co-founder and CEO and we're really on a mission as you highlighted to help as many pharmacists as we can pharmacy professionals student pharmacists pursue their path towards financial freedom however they would define that and we can certainly get into more of that as well and for me you know residency really personally was an important year of exploration you know one of my mentors uh recent Remington uh medal award winner Mary Alice Bennett my residency program director uh was really instrumental in my experience as a resident but also in my nudge to go into residency you know I had found myself my final year of pharmacy school burned out like many uh students might especially during this year right with the covet pandemic and what those students are experiencing and I had just finished an international rotation opportunity in Kenya uh had just gotten uh married had had a uh variety of apply experiences that really pushed and challenged me and I just got to a point of like I’m ready to graduate I’m ready to be done with this whole thing and thanks to some good mentors and others said hey Tim I really think you should think about residency and this was much later in the process and I would recommend any student consider it this we're talking like late November December you know last minute decisions and um which is partly why I’m so passionate about advising people to be early on in this process and be prepared long story short landed at a great program at Ohio state had some great mentors really explored clinical practice got to explore teaching progressive ambulatory care models but that year of exploration really led to the next step which was okay I love teaching and I want to explore that further which led to the next step of I really love more of the academic administrative work and so I think that year of exploration was so critical for me and I think so critical to what I hear from many residents or those pursuing residency and many of whom we've had as guests on the YFP podcast okay well let's talk a little bit about the finances of being a resident and my experience was quite a bit different where I uh matched with my wife at the same time but I was a decade out of school uh and that's when uh I did it and it was during the financial crisis so any job was actually a good job at the time but that residency allowed me the time to kind of explore if I wanted to do teaching and I ended up teaching at a community college but what I wanted to ask you first was the very first thing that I think many of them think is look at the student debt load yep look at what's going on and you know everyone right now who has stock that has anything to do with the Dow Jones is a genius as the markets continue to rise every single day the green line is just there every single day uh people are getting loans forgiven or there might be some loans forgiven and they might have this FOMO fear of missing out by actually being in residency where they'll exponentially grow as a clinician but the rest of the world will seem to be passing them by uh tell me a little bit about you know maybe investing for the long term uh in terms of residency yeah and I appreciate tony the investing uh example here in reference as we think about career investments and you know I think back to my experience thirty one thousand dollars was my resident salary in 2008-2009 uh so they've come up right we've seen an increase uh and you know I would actually argue today that divide is not as significant as we have seen you know salaries uh remain somewhat stagnant in some cases decrease and resident salaries come up right so that that FOMO is certainly still there but I think it's perhaps not to the same degree it was I remember feeling that in a significant way and I think a couple you know words of advice here would be you know really thinking about the long play the long picture the long-term goal in mind and there's lots of good information resources I’ve done some research in this area looking at the value of a one year of a community residency which was my background and what does that mean for career opportunities and goals and what does that open up and it opens up a whole lot in terms of opportunities but also it opens up a lot in terms of you know folks looking at things like career satisfaction and upward mobility of their you know degree over time and I think one of the challenges we have as pharmacists is that generalizing here is that often we see folks come in at an entry level position and the upward mobility of both role opportunities and of salary may not be there and uh you know one of the advantages I think of a residency program depending on which path you go is that you're beginning to open up other doors and even within those doors you're opening up some options of where you may be able to grow and one example I think of is you know I serve as the program director for the MS HSPAL program at the Ohio state university and that's a two year combined PGY-1 and PGY2 MS degree and you know those graduates certainly a big investment of time right two years pgy1 pgy2 master's degree a couple hundred thousand dollars of debt you know not making you know significant salary but what we see of their career paths is really significant and so of course this is an individual decision for everyone and I think that pressure you know student loan debt is real what we saw a class of 2020 median debt load of 175 000 that's a big number you know and obviously we're in this time period right now with administrative forbearance which has lightened that load a little bit we're seeing some glimmers of hope with loan forgiveness and other things that are out there but I think that if we can tie the career plan and really keep the long-term plan in mind and also match that up with a good sound financial plan which is more important you know important for everyone of course but especially those that are pursuing residency where you have a lower income time period that we've got to be able to set that plan so that we can in the long run be able to succeed and take advantage of the career progression that we hope to see tony I’ll say I have a theory I have no evidence to support this so you can you can debate me on this but I have a theory from personal experience and talking with many pharmacists that even though you're sacrificing income for a year or two I would make a case that many of those folks end up financially better in the long run not necessarily because they are going to out earn peers in the long run although that may be true because of the comment I made around upward mobility but because I think it forces you to begin to learn some behaviors and patterns that have a long-term benefit right because if you go from zero income to 100 120 000 of income you know that that's a big jump and there can be challenges with learning how to manage that expenses can go up quickly if you go from zero to 45 or zero to 48 from a p4 student to a pgy1 you know you're forced on some level hopefully to figure out like things like hey I’ve got to set goals I got to work on my budget you know I’ve got to really hunker down on this emergency fund and so I think there's in some level it can feel overwhelming I think the more opportunistic way to think about that is this is a time period where I can really begin to set some important behaviors and habits that will benefit me long term with my financial plan you have always been a glass half full person and I think you would call yourself that that's right and I think that you hit the nail on the head which is all right well let's stop thinking that I lost this money from uh what I’m going to get versus uh what I’m getting in the future and both my wife and I did the community route and I ended up with I’ve been uh an uh professor for over a decade uh and then she's been with the VA and is now in academic detailing so I don't I think that you're absolutely right in terms of mindset and those kinds of benefits that come from residency well let's talk about actually affording the residency itself we'll start just very briefly about the actual cost I have seen too many times students submit four residency applications because that's what comes with it and I guess if we were going backwards like okay so we start at the very beginning with a 200 000 budget and then we spend 199 600 on the schooling and 400 on the residency application process and it just kills me to hear well I applied to four I was like why did you apply to four well because that's what we were allowed good gravy you know the average pays the average student applied I think to 11 or 10.5 something like that last time can you talk a little bit about investing in that first process you had a show episode 175 about reducing costs during the residency application but maybe at least reducing the cost so you can get a couple more applications in yeah absolutely and then on the episode you mentioned we had Dr. Sarah Cummins a pgy2 emergency medicine resident at University of California Davis medical center who had some great input pre-pandemic input on you know some strategies that any one of them may not seem very significant but when you're traveling you're going to events like mid-year lots of interviews you know some small things and hacks that you can do to help control that cost and I will say tony I’m a big fan you got to invest in and of course to pursue that opportunity and you know I think this is an area where folks might be somewhat short-minded short term-minded in terms of you know 400 versus 600 when what that could mean in terms of opening up more interviews and opportunities but we also have got to keep the finances in mind and so we've got to find the balance of these and I see too often the financial rails fall off in the fourth year or in the final year and lots of reasons about you know for this we see often uh tuition and fees go up in that final year people are moving for rotations yeah exactly you know moving other things so you know I think even anticipating some of that the reason I mention that is anticipating some of that and being ready for that and trying to budget for some of that I think can then allow you to be able to plan for some of those residency experiences and making sure you're making in the investment in that as you're suggesting yeah I’m with you know the four applications that come with the forecast process you know I know from my work for several years working with students to be competitive applicants while every student is different and part of this is you've got to really do a good self-assessment get some good mentors understand you know what your position is as a candidate uh what are the types of programs that you're applying to how have you done in terms of networking and making connections you know obviously somebody that had a really strong APPE rotation at a site versus somebody that is you know cold calling if you will that site very different right in terms of what that one application means um and same thing on the networking side you know I often tell folks that like the application as I’m sure you've talked about on this show the application should not be the place in which they learn about you as a candidate if that is true we have missed opportunities along the way in terms of being able to network and build some of those connections so I think there's a whole lot of strategy that even comes before the applications before it comes in the investment but once you get to that point I know from personal data working with them that you know on average and I don't know what the latest data tony is but you know eight to ten applications in some cases more uh in terms of folks that are going to have to have enough in the queue to yield enough interviews which then obviously increases the likelihood that somebody's going to match and match at a position that is a good fit for them I’ve worked with students that have submitted two uh as high as 21 22 and success has you know been different for the reasons that I just mentioned but your point is a good one you know if we look at 200 000 of debt this is not the time I think where we say oh we're going to save you know 50 bucks or 100 bucks but how can we really invest to make sure again if we're thinking about where might this open up the doors for the long run so what are you seeing tony you're in this more than I am today in terms of like average number of apps yielding enough interviews what is that data today um it actually I’m going to do the Tim baker it depends it depends but no it there's actually a little formula I put together where you look at the person's college of pharmacy match rate um versus for interviews or for uh the actual match and then you kind of look at where they are so if the average is 11 and you're right at the average you know with the 100 and let's just say there's 150 schools there aren't but um so like in Ohio state a student would probably only have to put out six or seven applications to get maybe three or four interviews because they have a little bit over a seventy percent match but if you're in maybe one of the lower quartile then you would really be looking at those 20 applications uh to get that but many times it's not just stamping out as many as you can it's like you said you have to do the research to say okay well let me just go look and see where people were accepted before and the one tip I would give uh you know your YFP listeners is um that it is very regional and it is absolutely you'll look at some places and you're like wow they only took from a single college of pharmacy and that might be because they only have APPE relationships with those colleges or you look like at Hopkins who says we only have these six schools that we bring into our you know longitudinal program and then half of the residents are from those schools so it I hate the Tim Baker depends but it depends it totally depends