I have a 740 with 5 years of management consulting experience (big 4). I also have a decent academic profile with supporting qualifications (CFA, FRM). However, I feel that my lack of managerial experience (leading teams, having direct reporting employees) combined with no history of rapid promotions (jumped jobs twice for considerably higher pays) might be a major impediment to gaining acceptance into top programs such as Harvard and Wharton. Are my fears justified?
Also, how much does social work count? Or rather, does lack of social work hurt your application if you have strong extracurriculars?
Leadership is less about title and responsibility and more about impact and leadership. Just because you don't have a formal leadership role that doesn't mean you don't have leadership experience at work. Have you led a specific project? Have you helped a team overcome a challenge? If you can find a way for people to follow you, to buy into your ideas, and to give give you their very best, then that's leadership. Use stories that show these traits. Also you can use stories from leadership experiences outside of work
Contrary to popular belief you don't have to be out feeding the homeless, starting an NGO, or (my personal favorite) building orphanages in Africa. While it's nice, I honestly don't think "social work" really matters. Schools simply want to see that your interests extend beyond yourself (basically that you do more than just work, eat, and sleep). You don't have to do "social work" to show this. If you're active in organizations that pertain to your interests and they can add color to your application then you're fine. Adcoms want people who will add to the school's community and be active participants outside the classroom. They get evidence of this through your EC involvement.
The Brain Dump - From Low GPA to Top MBA (Updated September 1, 2013) - A Few of My Favorite Things--> http://cheetarah1980.blogspot.com