Work Experience: I've been working as a systems analyst in Healthcare industry for about 4 years since graduation from college. Had 3 jobs during those 4 years and as my job title suggests, it is mostly technical and no managerial experience. Sucessfully implemented a couple of systems that lead to reduced costs and increased productivity at the hospital.
What year did you graduate from undergrad? You listed yourself as 31 year old and it is mentioned above that you only have 4 years of experience. (I ask because this is potential interview question...plus you should explain your low GPA and this issue in optional/additional info essay)
MBA programs are for people wanting to become leaders. You don't necessarily have to be a manager but you MUSt somehow apply current exp to show leadership traits and abilities in your essays.
Extra activities: I've been a Bible study teacher for a local church for 2 years leading up to present. I teach bible to high school kids and some college kids. It is once a week service for 3-4 hrs and sometimes a little longer than that. Prior to that, I have served in Marine Corp for 4 years and served in combat zone. While in service, I worked as a Systems Administrator managing fleet network.
Bible study teacher - absolutely fantastic extra curricular activities. In fact, you can use few examples of your leadership potential and skills from here.
There are lots of military types at top MBA programs. If you served in Marine Corp for 4 years, you should have countless tales of your teamwork and leadership skills to discuss here. You have to maximize every inch of your life's experience to make your candidacy look competitive. This is definitely a plus.
Personal Essay: Instead of telling stories of my military experience which doesn't have much to do with business, I focused on my current work in Healthcare IT. Elaborated on the needs of business professionals and IT professionals to lead the healtchcare management of 21st Centruy. Explained that MBA will enhance my skills and potential as a IT Project Manager and eventually achieve a goal as a senior management.
You are wrong. Stories of your military experience is probably where you can make your application to stand out from the rest. remember, MBA schools want diversed student body. (note: HBS admits lots of military officers every year w zero business experience but plenty of military leadership exp) If you stayed away from this topic in applications that you've already applied to, then you MUSt include this in all your future apps.
Schools: I have applied to Depaul, Loyola, UIC so far. Planning to apply to Chicago GSB & Kellogg's PT program if I break 650 GMAT. Due to my low cumulative GPA, I try to make up for it by a higher GMAT score. My goal is to get into either Chicago GSB or Kellogg PT program w/ 650+ GMAT score.
Even for Chicago booth and Kellogg PT programs, high GMAT score (or I should say "competitive") will definitely help. You must get your GMAt score first, and then come back to the forum and discuss your options. For Kellogg, feel free to contact Riverripper in this forum for advice. He is our current Kellogg guru and current student.