It sounds like you are really committed to gaining that general management experience you seek. My hat is off to you for working in Sierra Leone. That is definitely walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk.
It's a little difficult for me to give you an accurate assessment of your target schools. Remember that the MBA is a bridge to your future goals, so if I do not know how appropriate the specific programs you cite would be in getting you there.
This is what I would do, I would call the admissions committees and give them your circumstances, use it as a sanity check for the advice that follows here. See what they have to say. If you get a vague or non-answer, I would suggest the following - applying with a 630 this year and in round 2. I would also use the optional essay to explain your circumstances and that you plan to take the GMAT again, perhaps in February of 2013.
This is why I believe that this is a good idea. Of course it helps alleviate the age factor and since you are a fairly unique animal - what we would call a non-traditional applicant - you will be cut a certain amount of slack. Trust me, schools want applicants like you - an interesting person who has employable skills, but also a commitment to causes greater than his own.
Just do yourself a favor and make sure that you nail the GMAT in the early months of 2013.
I hope this helps.
I am looking for a profile evaluation.
I am a 28 year old Indian male. I completed my Bachelors degree in Engineering from England with a 1st class honours (which roughly translates to a 3.8 GPA).
I continued to live in England and joined a start-up IT consultancy, where I worked for 5 years. The company has grown every year since its start-up and I have been a part of some very good projects that show leadership, business acumen, problem solving and project management.
After that, I wanted to move away from IT and get some experience in general business management. I returned to India in 2010 and for 6 months, I worked to help in the start-up of a mental health charitable organisation.
Currently, I am working in Sierra Leone, Africa as a volunteer (Business Advisor) with an agency called RADA (Rehabilitation and Development Agency) which is working towards securing livelihoods for individuals and communities affected by civil war.
The reasons for working in the development sector have been more from a career change standpoint than philanthropy. I was interested in General Business Management and found more opportunities to learn that by volunteering.
Now, I feel that its the right time to pursue an MBA. I have taken the GMAT once and scored 630 (45Q, 31V). This was done before I enrolled in any prep courses. Since then, I have completed a MGMAT course and am confident that I can raise the score to 680-700.
I am still working on the list of target schools but here is what I have so far:
I know that my score is well below their median GMAT. The dilemma I face is that I will be in Sierra Leone till the end of this year and will not be able to take the GMAT before 2013 as there is no test centre here and travelling to another country will be very expensive. Given my age and profile, do you think I have a chance with a score of 630 or should I wait and apply in 2014 with a better GMAT score
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