Thanks for posting, and I'd say your profile is interesting which means it could help you stand out some and be remembered by the admissions committee, always a plus! The one sore point is, as you know, the GPA. If you DO manage that top GMAT score you're aiming for, yes it would greatly help the GPA, and being further out (in time) from undergrad does de-emphasize the GPA some as well, and lends more importance to the GMAT.
Being an American with that extensive experience living abroad in China is less common and means you'll have an interesting international perspective to class discussions, as well as skills working in teams with those of different backgrounds and cultures, etc. The progression in your career is good and it sounds like at least in your most recent role, you've been able to demonstrate some more leadership, teamwork, and management skills.
You would be on the higher-end of the class in terms of age and experience, which means it's even more crucial that you can clearly explain WHY you need this MBA and exactly how it will fit into your career path, with solid reasoning.
The overall acceptance rate at Stanford is just 7%.... the most difficult, not helped by the fact that their incoming class is about half the size of HBS's. They do have a lot of connections to Asia, so that could be a plus with your experience. I would say that JUST based on your profile info, it's still going to be tough to get in there... but if you are able to really nail the essays and overall application and showcase what is UNIQUE about you, and grab the reader's attention, your chances may be better than average. HBS acceptance rate is 11.5%; you may have slightly above average chances there, tough to say, and again SO much of it is subjective and holistic in nature... there is no admissions formula, and statistics are not the main driver... admissions officers look at the whole application and how you'll fit in to the class and how the MBA will fit into your life and plans, and make a judgement call. Wharton's overall acceptance rate is 20%, and if you can show why you're interested in Wharton (note-- important for every school), you could have slightly better than average chances, sure thing.
For Lauder in particular, the class sizes are smaller and # of applicants is smaller, and acceptance rate generally much higher (but also very competitive applicants who apply). I would think you may have a good shot at the Lauder program if that is what you are interested in.... certainly your international experience is exactly the type of thing they are looking for and again would allow you to bring a lot to the classroom. I'd encourage applying if you are interested in the MBA/Masters combo there!
Also briefly wondering about international programs? Depending on where in the world you see yourself after the MBA that is... but top global b-schools like INSEAD, LBS, Judge, Said have the advantage of being entirely international (i.e. most of the classes are completely diverse, with only say 10-20% max of citizens of that country in the class, the rest mixed), whereas US programs are often 70-80% US students... doesn't have to be a key criteria, and certainly HBS/Stan/Wharton have the top global reputation and are also great if you're planning to work in the US afterwards. Just mentioning the international diversity aspects of some non-US programs since you have that interest in living abroad. That said, Lauder is a great program to focus on those interests as well and that class will be very diverse!
Overall be sure you don't underestimate the importance of the essays... if everything else is strong, it won't matter if the essays are not compelling, engaging, personal, and well-thought-out. They should convey what is unique about you, why you need the MBA, exactly what your short-and long-term career goals are, and WHY that school is the right one for you. Be prepared to do multiple drafts, and to seek feedback from either an experienced MBA admissions consultant, or at least a friend/colleague who knows b-schools well. It's also good to get feedback from both someone who knows you well (so you can ask if the essays portray a good sense of who you are), AND someone who doesn't really know you well (so you can ask, what do these essays say about the person who wrote them??).
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. You can also return here to ask some more q's and/or keep us posted-- would love to hear how it goes either way! Good luck to you on the process!
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