Round 3 at top-10 schools gets extremely competitive so it is best to apply in one of the first two rounds. You may hear a lot about submitting when you feel your application is the strongest but ironically, you are evaluated relative to other applicants. With a significant number of admission offers going out in the first two rounds, Admissions Committee are naturally more selective in the third round looking for the last few to sculpt the class or for the exotic concert pianist whose profile would go on their brochures the following year.
Your GMAT is not abysmally low but it falls below your target schools' average. If you can bump it up to anything 720+ adcom shouldn't have any concern on your academic aptitude. Bear in mind that if you are looking to recruit for consulting firms, you will be asked to put down your GMAT score on your application so retaking the GMAT may help you in more than one ways.
If you execute your essays well (very clear, solid immediate and long-term career goals, a good personal story and the potential to contribute to the school's community) and have powerful recommendations, you should be fine.
Happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have.
I have taken my GMAT a couple of days back and scored a 680. V 35, Q 49. Still awaiting my AWA score.
I am an Indian and working in Dubai, UAE for the past 2 and a half years since I have graduated. Working in one of the best oil and gas construction firms in the middle east. Have very good extra curriculars.
I did my graduation in Civil Engg with 79% from top 20 colleges in India and was the class topper of my university. Did my masters in Structural Engg with a CGP of 7.8/10 from India's top 3 engg Colleges.
My dream is to get into the top 3 US Bchools H W & S and do General Mngmt. I believe my score is not par with the median score of the above 3 schools. So I am planning on retaking the exam and applying in the third round. But I have been told by a couple of friends that R3 is very dicey and not to take chances. They have advised me to take up the GMAT in a months time and do my essays in parallel.
I can manage doing both in parallel, but given a chance,I wouldn't choose that.I would like to take my time on the essays and give a good shot at the GMAT one more time by giving it around Mid Jan and then apply in R3 for the top 10 US B schools, leaving Kellogs and MIT.. This time I am pretty sure of getting something above 730.
Would love to have some suggestions and answers to the above questions on R3 applications,retaking the GMAT and may be a brief evaluation of my profile assuming that I get a GMAT score of 730.