My profile was very similar to yours when I started my application process several years back - many years of IT experience, substantial international exposure, engineering background with good acads. I got into Cambridge. So when I say I hear you, I'm not exaggerating.
Now to move on to your questions.>> Are my (brief profile below) chances to get in the final round in these schools very slim?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. And I'm sure you already knew that.>> Is 3-4 weeks (working full-time in parallel) too short to prepare the applications?
No it isn't, if you have a clear roadmap in your mind. But considering you are applying so late, you'd better make sure your applications are really solid. There's not much you can do at this stage to alter your profile (in terms of experience, track record, acads etc). So try to present your strengths in the best possible manner. >> If I only manage to make a mediocre application this year, will this impact my application in 2011?
Yes. As a reapplicant, unless you have something substantial to show next year, Adcoms will have lesser incentive to take the second application seriously. So if you aren't sure or ready this year, you might be better off deferring your plans till R1 next year.>> Can someone share step by step guide to help me prepare best applications in short time?
1. Evaluate if you want to apply to all three schools or can you try 1 this year and the remaining two next year.
2. Once you've firmed up your list, here are some points for you to think about.
- Do you have a strong storyline for each school?
- Have you identified the gaps in your profile?
- How are you planning to address them in your application?
- You have a lot of years of experience. What 2 or 3 aspects stand out and separate you from the crowd? You've mentioned some of this in your post.
- In parallel, ensure that you start the processes where there's an external dependency (recos, transcripts etc)
Let me know if you need any further help. Good luck with your apps.
Sameer Kamat | Founder - MBA Crystal Ball | Email: info at mbacrystalball dot com