1) I am a desi, so I know what's going on back home. IIM-A is just one school. people have made career switches even going to Tapmi. many schools now offer a 1 year executive type MBA e.g. I had an admit from SPjain's PGPM. However since your focus is outside of India let's not think about desi B schools.
2) US top tier schools are tough to get into even if you have a top notch GMAT. Acceptance rate at the likes of H/S/W are in single digits 7% ~ 9% or so. Discounting yourself just on basis on GMAT is not reasonable. Other stuff > IIM (Indian IT Male) may work against you in some schools than others. It's hard to tell and predict those numbers.
3) schools in Australia / Canada work differently than US top 10. I don't know the acceptance rate of those schools but I would encourage you to apply.
4) Schools should be shortlisted based on career goals. Management Consulting / Financial Services are still generic. (Read my post about skill gap)
5) Career switching is more difficult in US / Canada / Australia than in India. How will you convince a recruiter that he should hire you for Management Consulting over a candidate having work ex in MBB after his or her undergrad? Or over a Finance major in undergrad?
What skill sets you bring to the table ?
The moment you have this answer and view MBA as a tool to bridge the skill gap, you'll be able to shortlist schools, write solid essays and convince recruiters post MBA.
You are good to apply at all top Canadian / Australian schools.
1. I'm not really interested in joining any of the lower ranked schools as I'd expect a starting salary of atleast 18-22L if I wish to remain in india. Especially after spending 2 years and based on my current income.
So IIM A/B/C and ISB are the only 4 options Im looking at (as far as desi b schools are concerned). I even got accepted in IIM-K this year (with 99.4 percentile in cat '15) but rejected the offer just because I felt I deserve something better. So I'm targeting international mba programs as they are comparatively less competitive.
4. Yeah, this is one thing I am concerned about. How can one shortlist schools based on career goals without actually studying the course. If I look at alumni linkedin profiles, I see several alumni from all top b schools in reputed finance and consulting firms.
5. Oh, I didn't know about that. Since you mention it, how difficult is career switching in US/Aus/Canada as compared to India? And where would you suggest I should go to have more flexibility of career switching? Not just US/Aus/Canada, but any country as such...
As far as skills are concerned, as of now I see myself not having enough business knowledge to get into a finance or consulting role. So I feel an MBA from any world class B-school should give me a holistic view of all business activities, practical knowledge and alumni networking to get there. What should I instead look for?
[Edited by blitzkrieg on Jul 25, 2016]