Thank you for posting and if you have any questions regarding my response below, please don't hesitate to ask.
1) What are your chances: given your profile, background, and long term goals I would say your chances within the top 10 (across the bracket, obviously the chances change between #1 and #10) are average. You background and ethnicity put you in a large applicant pool but your long term goal (of starting a NGO) and gender give you an edge. Also, your extracurricular activity, which is in line with your long term goals, adds a unique component to your application that would be a differentiator.
2) GMAT: You should target at least a 700+ (if not a 720+). A 700 would place you within the upper 50% in terms of score but against your peer set (Indian, IT) it would be table stakes. Something that will help your GMAT score stand out is a strong performance in Qualitative as the rest of your immediate applicant pool can find that challenging. As for timing, it's a great thing you're thinking about how the GMAT calendar
will impact applications. Yes, if you complete it by July that should give you enough time to think through your story (and how your GMAT score shapes that) and school research / prioritization.
3) This can vary by program and city. However, if you choose a location with an above average but not excessive cost of living, then you would be looking between $150 - 200K. Most programs estimate $70 - 90K a year.
4) They do offer scholarships and most offer both merit and need based. It is very difficult to assess the probabilities here because of the vast number offered. Some are based on GMATs, some based on long term goals, some based on accomplishments to date, and some based on specific demographics (e.g. gender). Giving you a percent here wouldn't be giving you any sort of real information. It would be a guess unfortunately. However, once you have a school list selected and a story laid out, then it becomes marginally easier to assess odds.
5) I would highly recommend against working during your studies. I personally worked my way through undergraduate but would say you will be robbing yourself of the true MBA experience and opportunities if you work. I can go into more detail but I am very passionate about dissuading my clients from considering this option. As for loan options, it comes down to what you are eligible for, what terms you are willing to accept, and how the rates compare. That is more of a decision after you've gotten in and you start comparing hard numbers. I would recommend you research both, however.
6) Jobs after graduation vary. If you go into I-Banking or Private Equity, you're looking at substantial packages that would allow you to repay your loans quickly. Consulting ranks highly in terms of pay as well. Most people within these professions can pay off the loans within a fraction of the term of note. However, not all choose to do so. Standard terms average at 15 - 20 years and it comes down to cash flow, cost of capital, and personal preference. If paying it off, however, is a key objective of yours then you can do so in a matter of years. It would just take a very strict budget
If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I hope the above information helps you out. If you want me to clarify any of my points, let me know. You can also send me a private message if you'd like or sign up for a free consultation here
I know there's a lot of information out there and a lot of questions! Good luck!
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