(1) As an IT software engineer (strong on the MATH) and with no financial/accounting experience how can I survive in a Top business school
What are my options and which area of expertise will suit me?
MBA != Finance only.
There are a lot of programs that are more general management oriented. Behavioral sciences, marketing, entrepreneurship, etc. These are all slightly quantative, but not as much so as finance. Also, don't forget, even finance, at an MBA level, while quantative, isn't going to be insanely difficult stuff. You aren't going to derive black scholes, you just need to understand it. As someone who is already good in math, you have a HUGE leg up on a lot of people.
You should not be concerned that your math background does not fit well with an MBA program. MBA programs look for strong analytical skills, and ideally, strong quantative skills. I imagine your undergrad/grad courses have things like "statistics" and "calculus" - you are absolutely fine, and in fact, maybe even slightly better off.
(2) IF I manage to get a very good score in GMAT and with my education qualifications will I be able to get into the top business school?
Very difficult to say. It depends on a million factors. Your GMAT, your work experience, your extracurricular activities, your undergrad GPA, your grad GPA, your essays, your recommendations, your short and long term goals and how realistic they are. While I can't promise you that you would get in, I see no immediate reason you wouldn't.
(3)If my admission to top business is a long term plan(in the next 2 years) due to family responsibilities, what should be my course of plan to prepare for that. Do I have to take up a job on the management side and understand more about business management?
No, you don't - its perfectly OK to want to go get an MBA because you want to change industry. I'd venture at least half of those who get an MBA end up doing something different afterwards. A knowledge of business is NOT a prerequisite to getting an MBA. Go look at Kellogg and Chicago and other schools and look at their student profiles. A large percentage of their incoming classes are ex-engineers. No worries here.
That having been said, since you do have 2 years, you have a tremendous advantage.
Ask yourself - What extracurricular activities do I have to date?
These should be either personal in nature or philanthropic. You should have at least one where you take a leadership role. Donating money to charity DOES NOT COUNT. MBA programs want "socially responsible well rounded capable" people. This means dedicating some kind of time to your extracurriculars, not just writing a check to a food bank.
Here's what I would suggest, since you have so much time, you have a huge advantage.
1. If you are not actively involved in your extracurriculars, or if you dont have any, get 2 or 3 now. Become a leader in one of them, or maybe 2. Sometimes this is as easy as asking the President of the club.
2. Go online, and look at the applications for this year. Don't bother filling them out, but start to think a bit about what they seem to be looking for.
3. Start studying for the GMAT a year before your deadline. So if your deadline is Oct 2008, start studying in October 2007. The reason for this is that the GMAT will take you - probably - 2 to 3 months, to really study for and nail.
This means that by Jan or Feb of 2007, your GMAT is done.
In Feb of 2007, do the logistics:
Revamp your resume.
Write outlines for your recommenders to help them think of good examples to use in your recommendation letters.
Identify and approach your recommenders. Let them know it'll be a few months before it happens, but you wanted to have them write the recs by Sept 1.
Call each of your schools and get transcripts mailed to you.
Calculate your GPA for each year you were a student.
Call all of your previous employers and confirm Title, salary, # of employees, address, dates of employment, etc.
Confirm dates of attendance for each school.
Identify any awards you have received.
Call all of your extracurricular activities people and get a contact ph # for each, someone you can refer to if asked.
Rewrite your resume to include these extracurriculars.
Identify key analytical courses you took at a grad or undergrad level and include these in your resume.
Identify dates of class visits at schools BEFORE THE SUMMER STARTS.
Go visit and attend classes at each school.
Keep track of dates you went to what, and what class you went to. You'll want this fodder for your apps.
Answer the following questions as if they were a real essay:
Why do you want an MBA? (200 words)
Why do you want an MBA from this school? (300 words)
What has been your career progress to date and why is this meaningful? (500 words)
Tell me about a leadership experience of a personal nature (300 words)
Tell me about a leadership experience at work (300 words)
What makes you different (500 words)
Doing all of this stuff will likely take you about four months. There's a lot of logistics work here, and visiting campuses and classes takes time to organize and complete. But, by June you will have prepared 98% of the logistical non-essay oriented stuff for your apps, and you'll already have given the tough questions above some serious thought. You will be forced to really think about your application and by the time the real application rolls around in August/Sept, you will already be prepared to write similar responses for each school.
This was my single biggest mistake - I underestimated how hard these questions can really be. They are not easy, and I should have done this excercise earlier. Much earlier.