First, a bit less that three years ago I was more or less in the same situation as you are now: preparing for GMAT and choosing the school to go to.
GMATClub forum helped me a lot to succeed in preparation, so now I want to pay this last tribute to this great place.
To give you an idea of my situation in September 2010 (long time ago, isn't it?) just read these two posts:http://gmatclub.com/forum/740-q48-v44-not-bad-for-a-human-100954.html
- GMAT feedbackhttp://gmatclub.com/forum/too-old-to-rock-n-roll-too-young-to-die-36-y-o-740-gmat-101045.html
- What I was considering while choosing the school.
Now, two and a half years later, I want to sum up what has happened out of all this. Hope that it will be helpful and probably motivating for some of you.
I didn't have a perfect starting position: despite my good GMAT (740), I was quite old for an MBA (36y.o.).
I applied to INSEAD (dinged, I think/hope mainly due to the age) and to HEC Paris, and I was admitted to the HEC. And actually, they proposed me the Part time option.
Typically, one would consider that the part time program is of lower quality, than the full time. That's not the situation at HEC. They apply the same standards, same number of hours (because of that, the part time is longer, two years instead of 16 months), and in some aspects the Part time is even better with available academic options than the full time.
I arranged myself with my employer and enrolled the HEC PT.
Overall, MBA is really great and life-changing experience. You probably don't understand it fully yet, as I didn't uderstand it when I was at your stage of the process. But beleive me, that's true - you will gradually change your life and career perception during the studies. That also means, that typically, a lot of career plans that you build before the program will lose rapidly the validity.
By the way, the part time option is very interesting opportunity (at least, it was in my case): you continue to work, so you don't have that much lost salary costs, you continue to gain professional experience (that was particularly important for me to offset the years in research), and you stay employed - a much more comfortable position when you start looking for the job at the end. On the flipside, you are really paying it with your life: for two years, I had no vacations, no social life, and virtually no sleep.
But finally, if the MBA wasn't followed by an expected career boost, it would be just expensive, albeit wonderful, experience.
So, now comes the second success part
Couple of weeks ago I signed with McKinsey Operations practice!!
Was I expecting such an outcome, when I was starting the whole process in May 2010? Definitely not! But, as you see, it worked out.
So, to sum up: even if you are not having a good starting position (like: old, without appropriate work experience, living in a foreing country etc.), but smart
and motivated - you really have an interest to invest in all this process, and it will definitely pay back!!
So, good luck to everybody in your applications!