The third Friday in March is known at medical schools across the country as Match Day. It’s the day the graduating fourth-years find out where they have been placed for residency training. It’s a day when dreams are realized—and sometimes, deferred. We talk to seven members of the MD Class of 2014 about their journey to Match Day, and what comes next as they begin their lives as physicians. But future doctors face an uncertain matching process, as medical schools graduate more students than there are residency spots to accept them. Here’s a deeper look at the Match Day experience, present and future.
Nachiketa Gupta, PhD MD’14
31 years old | Emergency Medicine
With multiple degrees in math, computer science, and economics, and careers in missile defense and finance already under his belt, Gupta doesn’t settle on one thing for long. So rather than pick one specialty, he ranked both plastic surgery and EM programs for the match. “I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do,” he says. But ultimately, “I chose breadth over depth.” After earning five degrees in three years at Penn, Gupta spent a year at MIT Lincoln Laboratory before crossing the pond to earn his doctorate; he then worked at a hedge fund in Washington, DC, as he mulled the transition to medicine. “I wanted to see people, to do something that felt better,” he says. The summer after his first year, he gained clinical experience at a small hospital with intermittent electricity in Gombe, Uganda, where he learned to suture and put in an IV, and left his camping lantern behind so the OR would have light at night. “It was really rewarding,” Gupta says. A snowboarder and bass player, he’s thrilled to finally fulfill his lifelong dream to live in New York. He’s certain the city, and the emergency department, will keep him on his toes. “You learn the best way to treat things, you know the health care system,” he says. “You never know what you’re going to see.”