I got this email from J recently. Apparently I have gained some notoriety in my alma mater and some of the students still follow my blog (despite what they said, I did NOT pee in that SGL room!!) :
"What I wanna ask is what are the chances of an IMG from Seremban to enter to for residency program in US? I am currently in sem 4, and I am doing IMU-Seremban"
There is no short answer to this, and certainly the answer will vary for every individual. There will be program factors, and individual factors. And there is something called luck.
Program factors may include:
Specialty (how competitive, how popular)
Location (big city vs small town)
Academic vs nonacademic institution
Ranking/reputation of the hospital
Individual factors include:
USMLE Scores (and despite what one might think this is not the only thing programs consider. I've had many readers tell me they were going to give up applying because their scores weren't good)
Letters of reference
Medical school performance
Ranking of medical school
Obviously, being a 'young' medschool, the many private medical universities in Malaysia (IMU included) are unheard of. And it's true that to an extent this may affect a candidate's application, since the residency programs may not trust the quality of the product (ie student), or the letter of reference. But having said that, being an IMG does not mean one is inferior. I am very involved in the medical school teaching here, and let me put it this way: There are good and bad IMG applicants; likewise there are good and bad US trainees. I have worked with some final year medstudents here who have impressed me (well, perhaps only 3), while many have induced episodes of spontaneous hematemesis and thoughts of suicide by poking my eye out with my pen.
So, to all the IMG (especially IMU) students out there who are fearful of trying to get into a residency in the USA: Unless you try, you won't know what you might get.
It's a fact: I applied for my residency at Mayo almost as a lark. I needed one more program to complete the list, and didn't think that they would ever even consider my application. But I thought, what the heck, since I had one more spot...
And yes, I know of at least one IMU-Seremban grad who got a residency spot here and is paving the way for the rest.
To those out there nervously counting down to March 19th (Match Day), my dear sister included, good luck with the match, and do look forward as the next few months will mark the start of the next, exciting chapter in your professional lives.