Two recent Penn graduates created a podcast to educate medical students on the importance of soft skills and networking, aspects they say lack emphasis in the medical school curriculum.
2018 Wharton graduate Aaisha Gulani and 2018 College and 2019 Masters in Public Health graduate Swathi Raman launched The MS5 Podcast this summer. They have since hosted six episodes and featured seven medical professionals and students as guests, many of whom spent their undergraduate education, graduate education, or residency, medical training pursued after graduating medical school, at Penn.
The name of the podcast is a play on words, as medical school does not have a fifth year. The founders said their podcast aims to cover networking and communication skills lacking in the four-year medical school training through a platform that medical students can access during their busy schedules.
Gulani and Raman pointed to Penn's pre-professional culture of networking, which they said drastically differs from medical school's environment and curriculum, as inspiration to create the podcast.
While Raman said her Penn pre-med classes did not focus on teamwork, presentation skills, or forming connections with peers, the pre-professional campus environment helped her to reach out to others for career advice and coffee chats. But in medical school, Raman found a lack of emphasis on networking.
"Students are so focused on school that they have forgotten about fostering relationships, networking, and developing themselves as professionals,” Raman said.
Gulani added that her undergraduate Wharton courses focused more on people and collaboration while her pre-med and medical courses were more competitive and individualized.
“It became evident that the skills I learned from my business undergrad were not things that could be learned everywhere,” Gulani said.
After identifying topics in professional and personal development pertaining to medical training, the hosts did their own research and consulted professors, authors, and other experts to prepare for their podcast launch. The podcast has so far covered topics such as effective leadership and public speaking.
2015 Wharton MBA graduate Lindsay Kuo discussed leadership in the third episode, which she said she learned about at Penn and has since applied to her career and life.
To recognize September, the American Medical Association's Women in Medicine Month, Gulani and Raman released two special episodes on Sept. 27 that invited four medical students to share their journeys as women in medicine.
The MS5 Podcast is available on all major platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. New episodes are released every two weeks.
Gulani and Raman said they hope to reach a broader student population in the future. They also hope to invite students from medical schools across the country to raise awareness about soft skill training and provide the students with a platform to learn.
“We have realized a common message from all the interviews," Raman said. "Don’t be afraid to make time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to foster what makes you unique and what makes you whole in this medical grind."