I just wanted to get some feedback from folks as to schools that might be a good match for my profile and objectives.
I am looking to apply in 2010 for admission to an MBA program in the Fall 2011 semester and am in the process of planning my application approach. Some relevant profile info is as follows:
I recently took the GMAT and received a composite score of 780 (Q: 50; V: 48) and an AWA score of 6.0.
I graduated in May 2004 from a fairly small private liberal arts school in the Midwest with a B.S. in Finance and a GPA of 3.99. I immediately proceeded to a reputable, but not elite, state law school (also in the Midwest) and graduated with a J.D. in May 2007 with a GPA of 3.25. As might be expected, my undergraduate transcript bears a range of business-oriented quantitative coursework, while my law school record does not.
In addition to having logged some part-time employment during law school, I anticipate having about 59 months of full-time work experience under my belt by MBA matriculation. I expect that about 40 of those months will have been spent working for my current law firm in a tenure that will likely conclude around July 2010. As an associate attorney in my particular current firm, short-term opportunities for substantive advancement in responsibility and title are limited. However, due to some personal circumstances, I think it best to stay the course for about another year.
I have also worked two short-term (one-month) clerkships in Beijing with an unrelated (to my U.S. firm) Chinese law firm. I am still affiliated with that firm as outside U.S. legal counsel (requiring fairly occasional project work) and anticipate that I may further participate in a full-time one-year fellowship arrangement with that firm from July 2010 to July 2011. I am by no means fluent in Mandarin but have studied it for about a year and intend to continue doing so.
Over the course of my undergraduate, law school, and subsequent years, I have been fairly extensively involved in faith-based and other community extracurricular organizations and activities, and I have held a handful of leadership positions related to the same. I also participated in some intercollegiate academic competitions during my last two years of college. I didn’t play any varsity sports in undergrad, but I am an avid basketball fan/player. I received several academic scholarships in college and law school and was given a handful of other named awards. I am a fellow in a national legal organization and have published one small research-based work in the course of my involvement therein.
I am hoping to eventually move from traditional legal practice to a more entrepreneurial path. It is my post-MBA desire to create and develop a services-oriented business tailored to (primarily Chinese) internationals (I recognize that this description is pretty (intentionally) vague. I do have a pretty specific and detailed plan to share with the admissions committees, but due to its nature I prefer not to splash it over public webspace.).
One of my highest priorities with respect to business school, however, is to complete a program without any debt. I recognize that this will likely narrow the range of schools on my radar, and I understand counter-arguments that might be presented with respect to return on investment at elite schools, student loans notwithstanding, but the debt-free objective is an important one for me. It is my anticipation that I will have sufficient funds to cover living expenses during both years of an MBA program, but essentially none left to allocate to tuition. Thus, a primary goal is to elicit at least one financial aid offer sufficient to cover tuition through non-repayable (grant, scholarship, fellowship, assistantship) aid only.
So my question is this: assuming solid essays, recommendations, interviews, and other pieces of the application not quantified by the information given, at what sorts of programs might I be competitive for both admission AND financial aid offers that would fit my financial criteria? I know it's far from an exact science, but do you all have any thoughts or suggestions as to schools I should have on my short list (consisting of perhaps six to ten schools)? Thanks!