Hey galan - Welcome to GMAT Club, and thanks for asking for our input on your profile. By asking EssaySnark, you certainly came to the right place for "honest" though we really do try not to be "brutal"! (Some may argue that...!) But we have some mixed reviews for you.
First off: You need to retake the GMAT. That quant score is just not up to snuff - particularly not due to your work in finance. The schools will be expecting more, and the quant is very very low. Your overall GMAT is impressive but you got there fully from a strong verbal. Not the way to go, and not the way to help them be comfortable with your low grades from undergrad.
Next: Why are you pushing out till next year? You're already older than average for HBS - not that we're yet convinced that you're going to make it into a place like that (sorry to be so direct) - they expect a lot and we just don't know one way or another if you're 'bringing it' to the extent that such a school requires. It's hard for anyone to get into that place and you have some pretty big blemishes right now.
That being said, it's easier to go into investment management than some other highly competitive careers, and you have a nice work history already. You could be loosely "qualified" for any Top 10 school (not sure why you're carving Dartmouth out of the "top 7" - they hit #2 on The Economist
's list in 2012 - it's definitely an elite program). All the schools look at the whole package and while your college grades are definitely low it sounds like you had a decent cause for all of that. They'll want to hear about what was going on but they're willing to be sympathetic when it's a significant set of issues like you were dealing with. And you did well at BC, which counts too.
You'll need to identify strong stories of leadership and achievement and put everything in the context of your specific goals - you have the type of profile for whom bschool makes sense but you also need to be looking at this entire strategy. We are VERY concerned about that GMAT score. Sorry to break the news to you. That could in fact be a showstopper issue - it's happened before. If you're pushing all this out for a year then you DEFINITELY need to retake, and we'd actually encourage you to consider accelerating your plans, retaking the GMAT in the next few months and trying for Round 2 applications this year. It gets harder to get in, the older you get, and especially that's true at certain programs.
But to be fair, we're not familiar with the details of your candidacy and there's obviously plenty we don't know! If you want to fill us in on the original idea for applying next year we'd be curious to hear it, and we can dialogue about anything you have questions on. Bottom line: Don't lose hope, there's a chance for you! We've got lots of posts on the EssaySnark blahg about applying with a low GPA; they probably don't apply to you too much since you have the BC degree under your belt but you may want to check them out (here's one to start with
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