What Matters the Most to Successful IMGs Searching for US Clinical Experience Agencies? Spoiler Alert: It’s Trust.
Most IMG agencies prefer a shroud of mystery regarding their rotations. Make sure to choose an IMG agency that will offer you transparent information concerning any rotation you might join. Get a realistic idea of what to expect, either directly from the company by receiving in-depth details, or else by talking to a former trainee and asking relevant questions that satisfy your curiosity regarding normal questions you should ask such as: the type of letterhead you will receive (clinic vs. hospital letterhead), amount of inpatient/outpatient experience to expect, degree of “hands-on” elements to be found in the rotation, how many patients are seen daily, what the transportation options are like for traveling, and so forth. You have a right to know an accurate, realistic description of what to expect.
As a future medical doctor you have already worked your tail off through medical school, and now the next exciting chapter in your professional career is hopefully about to begin. Partnering with the best IMG agency will help your chances to succeed by ensuring that you get the US clinical experience and corresponding LORs (letter of recommendation) that boost your chances of receiving more residency interviews come match season.
But what should you look for in an agency that helps place IMGs in the best US medical rotations for the right clinical experience to further your career? Most IMGs express that trust is the main factor. This article will cover some of the top trust factors that matter the most to international medical graduates and international medical students when it comes to finding a US medical rotation and clinical experience agency.
Trust Your IMG Agency
One of the biggest factors that causes trepidation for IMGs is trust. At the end of the day, your family is investing their money into your future, so finding an IMG agency that has your best interest at heart is another way to honor your family’s investment in your future. When trying to determine how trustworthy the IMG agency is, look for the following:
Communication - How accessible is the IMG agency for phone conversations? Do they provide a WhatsApp number so international trainees like yourself can readily call/text during YOUR work hours, or do they limit their availability? And if so, are they easy to get ahold of? Or do you get the feel they ditch phone calls and instead just push people to use email? And when they do email you, are the emails personalized or just a copied template they send out to everyone? When IMG agencies take the time to speak with you as an individual, you can expect that white-glove individual treatment.
IMG Agency Cost - Cost isn't necessarily the most important factor. However, there are a few things worth noting. Look at their refund policy, and see if they have any reviews from past clients who got refunded with no problem. Your IMG agency should also be priced competitively. Sometimes a more expensive price doesn't even mean you will get better service. A good IMG agency will be priced fairly. Remember, your future is at stake. So if another IMG agency costs a bit more, ask them where the added value is.
Testimonials and Reviews - Any company can provide a few reviews to give the semblance of any desired reputation they wish to create for themselves. That said, look for a large number of verified reviews from real clients. Look for video testimonials as well, as trainees who don’t love the IMG agency that helped launch their careers wouldn't take time from their busy schedules to record a testimonial.
Client-Focused - The IMG agency you partner with should be completely client-focused through every step of the process. This means they need to understand your specific goals and needs, and revolve their services around finding your best solutions. For example, you may need housing in a specific area where you can work with a particular doctor. Ask your IMG agency how they intend to help you - do they have specific, unique housing partners, or will they just send you a link to Airbnb? In addition, if you would like to speak with former trainees who worked with this IMG agency - will the company make an email introduction or WhatsApp group chat immediately?
Once your IMG agency can prove their trustworthiness these areas, you and your family can feel confident moving forward knowing they are a genuine partner honoring your best interests through every step of the process as you head toward residency and a successful medical career.