The greatest wealth in the world has not been created by inheritance – but by investing! It is only this generation that can make this comment. We are lucky to be living in times when we can make this statement. Let us take examples of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, L N Mittal, Azim Premji, Ambani, …and I could go on.

If you are wondering what this means for doctors, read on!

Very rarely do doctors seek advice on investing in their own ‘profession’ – and try to make it a business. They seek outside investments. Clearly wealth creation from your own ‘profession’ – being converted into a business is a great thing to do. Is it possible for a doctor to do so? I think yes. Ask Dr. Prathap Reddy – the founder of Apollo Hospitals.

If you are a doctor earning well it is time you tried converting the profession into a business. This means you are earning not only on your skills as a doctor, but also on the ability to leverage the skills as a doctor-cum-businessman. What are the steps required for this metamorphosis from a larvae to a butterfly?

Well the following steps would be nice:

1.    Decide on how to grow the business – geographically (chain of small clinics with your brand name?) or by creating a hospital.

2.    Once you decide to set up a hospital – look for a good location where you can one day grow to be a really big hospital.

3.    Make a business plan – make your strategy, invest in resources, work the strategy and just do it!

4.    Be ready to let go of non medical functions to a partner with good management skills. Such a

person should be brought in early in life so that the business can grow.

5.    Spend time on good systems, people, marketing, brand building, etc.

6.    Keep in mind funding sources – angel investors, venture capital and then listing. It is clearly the best way to create big wealth.

7.    Creating a big business has to start with a nice idea, perhaps a couple of like minded people to team up with you and the guts to launch the business.

stop listening to people who ask doctors to do SIP, ULIP, PPF,…..that is for employees. You have a choice of where to invest – make that choice wisely. Stop buying properties and some stupid shares just because you got some advise. The adviser needs to be changed, that is all.

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  1. Subra,

    No arguments regarding financial sense in your advice.

    But medicine is a profession, not a business (at least it should not be).

    We could argue endlessly regarding whether medicine should be a business or profession.

    I am a doctor. Whatever the financial wisdom of your advise, if you have headache, fever or pain in abdomen – go to a doctor who invests in PPF / SIP (not to somebody who is buidling a business empire).

  2. Dr. Sachin

    I was lucky that I went to a Doc – Dr. Dhawale – a homeopath who has kept me off medicines for the past 27 years (no medicine, means no medicine no homeopathy pills, no headache ..nothing).

    Having said that medical education done well costs at least Rs. 30 lakhs (Manipal). You cannot take Afmc or other subsidised colleges as an example. Now a 30 year old who has spent Rs. 30-35 lakhs on his education has to earn enough to have a decent life, repay loans with interest, etc. So to me a doctor has a RIGHT to charge a rate that the client can (and should) pay. In a country where people do not crib about a theater charging Rs. 450 for 3 hours, when will we learn to pay a doctor /CA/lawyer/ financial adviser decent fees? I know docs who charge very low and doctors who charge very high rates. Nothing wrong with either. Each person decides what he wants to do with his/ her life.

    If Dr. Prathap Reddy is in the business of making India free of diseases, frankly I am happy as his shareholder :). Ultimately even for doing charitable work, some portion of your business has to earn enough profits.

    If you are a movie buff hear the dialogues of Ramesh Deo and Amitabh Bachhan in the movie ‘Anand’. (Old Hindi movies of the 1970s

  3. Honestly I could never understand this series on Docs. Why docs ?? I mean what’s so different about them ?? Don’t tell me they save people’s lives and the rest all professionals are….

  4. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    I think its because its usually docs who are the most ignorant when it come to money management issues.. Maybe docs is a generic term for any professional who earns well but does not know how to manage the money so earned.. Anyhow Subra ( & God ) knows better!

  5. Every business has to be good to its customers, employees, shareholders, etc. So over a long period of time it adds a lot of value. However service / profession die when the person doing it dies or retires.

    I think Subra means doctors should render good service, but build it like a business – brand building, educating people, open many centres where Goodwill gets generated…and then take the company public. This is what is called growing a service to a business. There is no negative connotation to the whole thing…

  6. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    Dear Subra
    The cost of medical education should not cost 30 – 35 lakhs..

    A student needs books , teachers, lecture halls, a few labs and patients to become a doctor.. None of which is capital intensive..

    Most of the capital is invested in the approval process which itself involves massive amount of corruption as the case of Dr.Ketan Desai clearly shows

    In a free market, if a medical college is run like a business with competition and profit motive, the cost of turning a 17 year old student into a 22 year old doctor should not cost no more than 5 – 10 lakhs..

  7. Agreed Dr. Mohammed,

    I think in fact the high cost of medical education is probably turning away lot of potential brilliant students(future docs) away from this profession. I remember the times when i as a PUC student rejected all such education lines which were very high cost like medical and MBA simply because my family could no away afford them.


  8. India is a fantastic arbitrage market – there are medical schools with fees as low as afmc and also there is a Manipal. Many students go to Australia, Singapore, Russia and USA to study further. Maybe it is an international education mafia at work that they make the education very complicated and expensive. This keeps the no. of doctors low. Maybe there should be a para medical study which can be done by some clue. However all over the world there is a HUGE shortage of doctors and nurses. Golden opportunity for Indian doctors willing to travel 🙂

  9. Dear Dr. Khan

    20 years ago, in a government medical college, the cost of medical education was very low. But then almost all colleges were government run and heavily subsidised. Now private medical colleges outnumber govt. colleges. A few students at the top of the merit list get admission to govt. colleges. A private medical college education is prohibitively expensive. Subra’s figure is closer to the reality. That is just for MBBS. Postgraduation is another story. If anything, the cost is going to increase.

    Thank you Subra for considering and thinking about my comment. I did not expect such a prompt and detailed reply. I agree with you when you say that a doctor should charge for his services. It is natural. I am against soliciting, which is an inevitable fallout of running a medical practice as a business model.

    Dr. Prathap Reddy is Atlas from the Atlas Shrugged. Very few people can manage what he did. I will happily work for him, practicing my speciality. But I will not (and shoule not) try to do what he did.

  10. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    Dear Sachin
    How much does a DNB seat cost?. Take the case of DNB surgery for example.. It is equivalent to MS surgery.. And DNB Surgery seat is practically free.. Less than free,in fact, for they pay a stipend of Rs 10,000 per month..( No wonder the private medical colleges are itching to outlaw DNB seats )

    If DNB surgery can be had for practically no cost, why should MS Surgery cost 35+ lakhs ?

    I repeat.. Medical Education is NOT capital intensive, for example, like Pilot Training.. The cost of medical education is unnaturally high.. In a free market the cost of an MBBS seat should cost no more than 5 to a maximum of 10 lakhs..

  11. That Doctors are well versed in their profession, and yet profoundly ignorant about Financial management can be easily observed by the comments above.
    Dr M. Khan has aptly observed “its because docs are the most ignorant when it come to money management issues.” They think because they are earning well, they shall continue to do so all their lives!
    I am already working on a book on Financial advice for doctors – Subra – you are welcome to join me in. I already have an INVITED lecture series from several cities in U.P. including at IIT Kanpur.
    Dr Sachin, unfortunately most of the doctors think like you do, focussing on trivial issues – cost of education and the typical middle class mentality things. Among our own group, the most PROFESSIONALLY successful of us ones are also the most financially successful. Because besides being GREAT Docs, they have FINANCIAL Wisdom – which should be taught to us from school days. Earning & making yourself rich is not a crime. Using wrong means to do so IS. THAT is what Subra is trying to say – you are NOT Middleclass – but your financial wisdom SURE is.

  12. i am struggling naming my book for doctors. I originally thought it should be ‘Hey Doc, get rich’ then realised that all doctors are RICH, but very few make the next grade to be called WEALTHY.
    that is the gap. so maybe I will say ‘Doctor YOU can get Wealthy!”

  13. Make it: “Make Wealth & While you Work Less for Doctors”
    🙂 We maybe rich or wealthy, but that is often with the hardest possible work among technocrats, & that too under the maximum possible stress, as being probably the only answerable citizens in the country! 🙁
    Dr. Eugeene

  14. @ all
    nice comments guys!

    doctors r ignored class- we r so busy helping paitents n updating our medical knowledge that we 4get our personal finance!
    i know many dr in their %)-60s who have taken ULIPS! one of the most stupid/worthless product in INDIA at present!

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