"There is nothing so stupid as the educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in."
Does anyone really need multiple graduate degrees?
I always thought it was interesting to analyze the type of people that get into medical school. A few people went to medical school because everyone in their family for the past 4 generations have been doctors. Some go becasue their parents said that they would pay for the education plus living expenses. Still others got into medical school because it was just something to do. While the vast majority of people get into medical school for the right reasons, I think it is the last group that is the most interesting.
Picture this, a smart undergraduate student, who also has considerable foresight, realizes about the end of their sophomore year of college that they are about 9 months from having to know what they want to do. Many students harness this fear to do some serious soul searching and decide upon a career choice such as going into business or becoming an accountant or teaching high school. Then there is the small but definite minority that decides to finish up their undergraduate degree and then decide on some graduate school ad hoc.
But, you might say, medical school has so many hoops that you have to jump through (MCAT, ACGME etc.) . How could someone decide to spontaneously pursue a career in medicine? I think that there are two ways that it is done. First, someone takes classes to get a Masters of Basic Medical Science (read: I couldn't get into medical school the first time I tried). Or you could have someone who takes an extra semester or two in order to squeeze in the requisite year between taking the MCAT and getting into medical school.
The long and short of it is this. A definite percentage of students in medical school are only in it for either the prestige/respect factor, or because they had nothing else to do. Which gets back to my first point: there are very few exceptions where someone could justify the need for multiple degrees.
1. MD/Ph.d: I have asked those who should know on multiple occasions why someone would want to do this. Generally, the response is some mumbled "I just don't know exactly what..." At the very least it means 10 years of combined schooling/residency, and for what? So that you'll be a better researching physician? Why not just take two years during residency and do some research, then you can develop your own goals rather than piggybacking on the work of someone else who probably isn't doing something that you're that interested in. I can almost guarantee that it would be 1000 times more valuable to do research as a resident because you would have much more freedom to do exactly what interests you and because you would have much more experience at that time. By that time you will have a much better idea of what you want to do with your medical life. I just don't get this one--maybe I'm just not smart enough to. The one benefit is that instead of paying for school you get paid ~14k for 7 years, but I wouldn't trade two less years of professional life for 28,000.
2. MD/JD: This is the only one that I can see reasonable people doing. If you want to spend the rest of your life suing doctors, you might as well get an idea as to the innerworkings of the medical machine. Seriously though, if you wanted to devote your life to the service of mankind both medically and legally, e.g. working with the poor, then this would absolutely be a noble calling.
3. MD/MPH: I'll be honest, I really know nothing about an MPH other than it stands for Masters of Public Health. But just the same, I can't imagine that you learn more about public health by sitting around in lecture halls than you would be spending the same amount of time following around those who work in public health.
4. MD/FACS I just found out that FACS stands for Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, this would actually be something I think should be strongly encouraged.
So in summary, I think that multiple graduate degrees are ridiculous and I realize that a CPA is not a graduate degree. I apologize for the rambling nature of this post--but at least I'm the only person that has to read it ;)