Considering the fact that you'll go into an interview process at pretty much all top programs, it will certainly hurt you if you can't create a compelling story of why that school will benefit you. From my understanding and personal research, these programs want to minimize risk and choose applicants they feel will have the highest chance of succeeding post-grad. With that being said (in their eyes at least), they're looking for someone who knows exactly why their program will help the applicant excel. In addition, why the applicant would be a good bet for the program to take.
I'm in a very similar position as you. Currently, I'm working with people to create the best and most feasible story. It seems like the best applications have a sensible goal that is challenging yet feasible whether or not the applicant truly intended to follow route. Hope this answer helps.
Stats by August 2014
28, Asian-American, Raised in the Bronx, NY. Moved to Houston by myself to graduate HS.
2.64 (downward trend) Economics degree from UT-Austin in Dec. 2009. No excuse, I spent 100% building a student organization that I'm still very active with today.
GMAT Goal: 710+, exam scheduled for September 14, 2013 at 8AM CST
WE: Sales Team Manager at Apple - business development and strategies for the Apple Online Store, Australia. I've also built my own consulting practice working with a successful Startup in Austin, TX, managing their online brand and helping them with analytics.
Past WE: Financial Services advising at Northwestern Mutual Financial, Equities Trading at Kershner Trading Group
Post-MBA Goals: Strategy Consulting or Brand Management in Tech/Fashion
EC: 3 years of National Council on Fraternity (VP, President), Current Chairman of Texas Exes, Asian Alumni Network (2012-2014)
Target: (1) Stern (2) Fuqua (3) McCombs (FT/PT)
Giving this 110%. I appreciate all advice and encouragement. Thank you, everyone.