Probably this thread or Phd thread in general does not attract much attention of majority, who is focused on MBA program. Anyhow, I will try to answer your query.
Work experience related to the research field you are interested in will certainly contribute. You should focus on this aspect while writing your essay.
A score of 700+ is good for top tier Phd program however your should realize that PhD being a cost for university/school, a very small number of students are admitted every year in a particular program. Here your research on school and on faculty related to your chosen field will help you a lot. First and foremost is to identify the area of research to a very minute specifics. For example if you research interest is in social media, then you might be interested in doing research on how social media has helped organisations to transcend boundaries and reach to customers beyond their target market. This is just an example. Once you have decided on specific interest of research, you should focus on faculty even if school is not top tier. Here also I give you an example. For a field like International Business- strategy, Ram Madaumbi is a leading scholar who has been very prolific as far as research is concerned but he works for Temple University, which does not fall into top 20 category. I would love to work with him because his standing in the international audiences in that particular field will help me in getting support in publication in better research journals and also will provide me opportunity to work on some of his ongoing projects. In final placement, quality of research work is more important then school's standing.
So second step is to have focus on faculty, look at his area of interest (you can check their Bios online) and see if any of his previous researches has focused on your specific interest area. You can shortlist 5-6 such scholars and start getting in touch with them. The selection in PhD is very focused on your contribution to faculty's research. If it interests him, you surely are a great candidate for him.
Prior research experience is not must but if you have some written work, this will help but many universities do not look at those works.
GPA in your under grad studies are important however a higher score can fill the gap albeit not the major one. If your GPA are too low, then probably not. Having said that, it is more important for you to focus on other aspects of your application rather then bothering about something, which you can not correct now.
I'm currently looking into some Phd programs in marketing&business, and have a question on whether I could make it to one of the business schools I have in mind.
A little about me, I'm a professional in IT & telecommunications sector, with 5 years of international work experience in highly multinational companies. (I have also worked in other industries for another 3-4 years)
Both my BSc and MSc degrees are in engineering/IT. My GPA was not that bright in my undergrad studies (2.7/4), but graduated with merit (almost distinction) from my masters course. So, I cannot consider myself as an outstanding student, especially in undergrad level. I do not have any published papers, either.
As you might understand, I'm thinking of a career move into academics in business, from a semi-technical professional background with above mentioned traits.
However, my will is to do my academic research based on the fields I already have some kind of experience on. (like IT, and multimedia)
Assuming I got a high score on GMAT (around 700), considering my relatively poor academic background and 7-8 years of solid work experience, what do you think are my chances to get into a top tier European or a top 20-30 US uni? Do you think (in combination with a possibly high GMAT score), work experience will be that much appreciated, and will make up for my GPA?