Had a very good meeting with a Prof who received her PhD from one of the school that I'm applying to. Met up with her to find out more about the program, people and place. Overall, the impression that I took away is very positive. The school is great but very demanding; faculty are top-rated and dynamic; living environment is friendly but not too happening (which is fine with me). Simply put, a good place to pursue a PhD in my field of interest.
This Prof was also quite encouraging about my chances. She seemed quite impressed with my GMAT and background, and I think she thinks I have a shot. Of course, she also added that I should consider some safety schools, which I think I have done. Also, she suggested that if I can get the research paper pending/reviewed/published somewhere, it would strengthen my application.
The best thing that came out of this meeting is that she will try to link me up with a faculty in the school that I'm applying too. I have had wanted to contact this and another faculty, but dropped the idea of doing so as the responses that I received from other attempts weren't positive. The only response I received told me that there is no Phd program in my field of interest. Now with the help of this Prof, I guess things should move better. Talk about the power of social network. Speaking of which, I'm not one who is comfortable of utilising my social network. I sort of feel bad troubling others with my troubles. Hence I always try to find my own way and path as much as I can. But I guess in life, one must know how to make use of the social network to progress.
Once again, thank God for the open door.