Let's assess your profile from three perspectives - academic, professional and personal.
Professionally, it sounds like you are doing well. Being part of a selective leadership program, positive comments from your bosses, quantifiable achievements and multiple examples of leadership and teamwork demonstrate a strong career, and will help convince the AdCom of your ability to continue performing well in other professional opportunities during your summer internship and after MBA.
From an extracurricular perspective, it helps that you can show a consistent pattern of involvement since undergrad. It speaks well of you to have stayed involved in varied activities, although you have relocated multiple times.
All MBA programs, especially top schools, look for academic history for two reasons - one, whether you can keep up with your classmates, both in the classroom and during job interviews. Two, for a more immediate assessment of how you stack up against others being admitted to the same class. Considering the common range at HBS and Wharton for GMAT and GPA, yours is a little on the low side.
You have several ways to mitigate this:
One, from a transcript assessment, it sounds like you only performed poorly in one semester where you were overloaded on classes, and even with that, you only scored one C. You can explain the circumstances surrounding this one semester in your optional essay and mention other instances, such as at work, where you have had the opportunity to strengthen your quantitative skills. To take it a step further, you can also proactively enroll in calculus/statistics classes online or at a local community college - this will not only help convince the AdCom of your ability to take responsibility and make efforts to improve, but will also help you to keep up in your first semester.
Two, completing a degree in 4 years when it takes others 4.5 is a definite positive. Use this factor, as well as your AP classes, as further proof of your academic abilities.
Three, how does your cumulative GPA compare to your major GPA, your senior GPA, or without that one bad semester GPA? My guess is it will be higher, and if so, it's further proof that you do have strong academic abilities.
Four, I would definitely recommend taking the GMAT again, especially for your target programs and since you have plenty of time. Prepare wisely by giving special focus to areas that were your weakness the first time. If you like, I can recommend inexpensive online classes from our partners that have been proven to help GMAT scores.
With regard to your soft skills, use both your professional and extracurricular activities to demonstrate that you do have the necessary personal attributes to be a strong fit. Good recommendation letters will also provide a valuable third-party perspective And you are right, your ethnic diversity, especially in manufacturing, and being a young achiever will be other factors in your favor, especially at HBS that likes younger applicants.
In summary, I think your age, community involvement, diversity and professional achievements will help improve your chances at HBS and Wharton. Use the time till you apply to work on my recommendations above to ensure that your academic history does not hamper your application either.
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once you are done with the GMAT. At My MBA Admit
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Khyati Soparkar, Lead Consultant
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New York, NY
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