Guest writer: Mmmmmmm

Afb015This week was kinda star-studded: we had Richard Branson come and talk (see report of that a little earlier), but also Anita Roddick (of Body Shop fame) and Taddy Bletcher (invited by the Africa Club). I didn’t go to these last two, but I asked my friend Mmmmmm who went to write a short impression of both so I could share them with you. Thanks Mmmmm for taking the time to write these!

Anita Roddick
Anita started by upsetting the audience by saying that business schools stifle entrepreneurism.  What I think she meant was that there is an element of enthusiastic naiveté to being a successful entrepreneur.  Business school teaches one all pitfalls of business and in doing so destroys this naiveté.  I mean how many times have I been told in the last six months that only 90% of new businesses are successful?  I don’t think Anita nor Richard were told this before they started!  Unlike Branson who said that starting out is so difficult, so worry about making money first and then worry about giving back to society,  Anita believes that business is not just about money and you can be successful while having a social conscience. The inevitable question was asked: Had she not sold out on the sale of Body Shop to L’Oreal?  There was a massive intake of breath as everyone waited for the answer.  Anita naturally, just answered it honestly.  I have to admit that I have always been a little bit sceptical about her, but the way she answered questions without consideration and often with answers that were not "politically correct" changed my mind.

Taddy Bletcher
That evening, I went to see Taddy Bletcher.  Taddy passed up on a career in management consulting and a fat salary to go and work for a not for profit called CIDA that helps poor children in South Africa.  CIDA had had a lot success in helping students get their high school certificate, when they realised that there was no opportunities for them after school.  University education in South Africa is expensive and applications are competitive.  Poor children from the townships or rural communities do not stand a chance.  CIDA decided that they wanted to start a university that cost less than R4000 for a degree including books and administration.  I think if you ever get the opportunity you need to have Taddy to tell you the story.  They started with nothing so each member of staff at CIDA had teach the students.  This also meant they had to be creative in coming up with solutions.  KPMG was approached for volunteers that were between projects who might want to teach Accounting at the university.  Other companies also volunteered and students had the opportunity to return the favour by doing work for the companies.  A key element of the school is that students are expected to give back.  So students clean and cook.  They are also expected to teach in there home community and once they make it they are also expected to give another child from their community the opportunity for higher education.  My favourite quote from Taddy:  “When you look back on your deathbed one day and ask, ‘Was it all worth it?’ … I’m going to look back and every day would have made it worth it.”

[addition: The Africa Club is hosting the Africa day on May 13th, check this webpage for more information.]

You like what you lack

Afb002Summer term is the season of conferences. Last Wednesday was the Organic Milkround, yesterday was the Entrepreneurship conference, next week Friday is the Private Equity conference and on May 12th the Marketing Club hosts the marketing conference. There will also be a tech forum (no details on that one yet), and a Meet the Media event, organised by the Media Club. There’s also the ANZAC party organized by the SANZA club, and the Japan night coming up.

Patxi asked me talk more on the Alain de Botton talk I went to earlier this week and I’m happy to oblige. He spoke to introduce (sell) his new book, called The Architecture of Happiness, which just came out. He had the most beautiful slides (without words on them, just images), and he took us on a tour of architecture, how the environment you’re in can influence your mood (‘where you are influences who you can be’), how buildings can function as a guide to find our true selves, art and architecture as the gap between what life can be and what is reality. The one phrase that struck me most was ‘you like [in architecture or art] what you miss in life’. I never looked at it that way, but I found that thought fascinating. You like what you lack. You like what you yearn for in life but what isn’t there, or you feel isn’t there. For me, going to talks like these open up new ways of thinking and looking at the world around me, something I sometimes think is lacking somewhat in the MBA. We’re very much taught about things that are and how to describe them (doing case studies doesn’t really help, hindsight is always 20/20!), not how things could be. Imagination and creativity are sometimes hard to find at a b-school, so I have to search for them elsewhere (and luckily London offers ample opportunities).

I’ve been fiddling around with the Typepad template a little bit, and have added categories to most archived blogposts, so if you’re looking for a post on a particular topic, have a look ‘Categories’ section in the column on the right. I’ve also added an RSS feed to my Del.icio.ous postings (bottom of left hand column) so you can see what piques my interest.

PS Happy Queen’s Birthday! Technically the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Birthday on April 30th, but when it falls on a Sunday, we celebrate the Saturday before.

A day in a life

024114248202_pe40_scmzzzzzzz_So this MBA thing, is it hard work? Hmmm, depends. If you’re already a business undergrad: probably not. If you’re exceptionally gifted: probably not. If you are exceptionally anti-social: probably not. In all other cases I can say it’s pretty hard work at times!! I’ve been asked what a typical day looks like, and I find that a really tough question to answer. I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day for a typical MBA student, since we all lead such different lives and the menu of choices is overwhelming. However, if you read a few blogs you can probably triangulate and get a good idea. Here was how my day went yesterday:

07.00 am alarm goes off and I listen to the news
07.30 am why is my bed so cozy?
07.40 am manage to finally separate myself from the bed, get up, do the morning routine
08.00 am crank open my laptop and check email and rss feeds
09.00 am email took longer than I thought, I’ve been quite slack keeping up with it the last few days and now I’m paying for it. Rest of the emails are going to have to wait til Friday. Start work on work for the UEM assignment due this week, we’ve got loads of material and I need to get my head round it.
11.30 am off to School to meet with teammate to discuss some UEM stuff
12.30 pm off to Job Search Strategy (ok, I’ll be honest, it was 12.32 pm) workshop (which was decent, but we should’ve had this months ago)
1.30 pm quickly grab some lunch, chat to some people
2.00 pm Markstrat! This is a marketing simulation and we work in our studygroups. We’re waaaaay ahead of the other teams, so the pressure is not as much as it was in the first few weeks. We discuss one of my teammate’s internship he got today (congrats GB! Now I’m the only jobless one left in our studygroup), do our analysis, and I take a short video of one of my studygroupmates:

5.00 pm UEM group meeting, we decide on our market and industry analysis, tomorrow we have to hand these in for our first assignment
5.45 pm Meet a friend at reception and travel to the Insitut Francais in Kensington
6.30 pm Alain de Botton starts his lecture (on architecture and happiness, which was very interesting, especially when he stated that in terms of architecture, we like what we lack in our lifes, or what we feel we lack in our lives), which was very interesting
8.40 pm I come home, after a quick stop at the Tesco supermarket for dinner supplies, and start cooking
9.15 pm dinner is done, back to work, I skype with UEM teammate, read some of their emails, and start on the Powerpoint template
10.30 pm enough work done, off to read a bit, listen to the news and then to bed. Set the alarm at 6.45, I’ve got Pilates class before lecture tomorrow morning.

And the winner is (part 2)…

Clear Admit BoB I never win anything, nor the lottery (but maybe that’s cause I don’t play ;-), nor any contest, prize-draw or survey prize. But I won something yesterday: a Best of Blogging award (and it looks kinda like an Oscar to me!), for being one of the best 10 MBA student blogs around (and a special mention for being the most useful resource for applicants…). Clear Admit, a ‘educational counseling service’, have a very informational blog with useful tips for applicants, and a wiki (something that I’m really interested in, and I think it’s cool they have one). It was kinda weird not blogging about this competition or company before, but I felt I didn’t want to influence the vote.

The Guardian has dubbed this week Food Week and every day they’re running different food related stories. Today they’ve put together a list (or better said: they asked for comments from readers on their blog and then picked a list of 50, what a great way to do research!) of 50 Healthy Fast Food joints in the UK. Seeing that most of the MBA students go through phases of unhealthy fast food eating (ah, let’s face it, some students never leave this phase) I thought I’d put it in here. Might come in useful.

[edit 1: completely forgot. I’m such an idiot sometimes. Congrats to all the other BoB prizewinners!]

Like a Virgin — part 2

Virginatlanticplanelogo_tcm14296459RsR/MBAEurope beat me to it and posted the first review of the Richard Branson talk at London Business School today. I agree with RsR, it wasn’t earthshattering, but I really liked him too. He brought his Dad (which I thought was really nice), was underdressed for the occcasion (picture a room filled with Bschool suits and then the guest of honor in jeans and a T-shirt) and seemed slightly amused that so many people in suits turned out to listen to him. He came across very kind, intelligent, and down to earth.

My favourite story he told was about when he started Virgin Atlantic and a writer about the industry asked him about the safety record. Virgin Atlantic had one plane at the time, and Sir Richard said ‘Well, it’s either going to be fabulous or horrendous ;-)’.


Afb012[picture on the left is for MBAEurope, I couldn’t find the scorpio vodka picture, but I did find this picture, of scorpio lollipops.]

One more good night’s sleep and then it’s time for Richard Branson. I’m looking forward to it, to find out if he’s as magnetic as people say he is. I’ll report back on how it was.

This Wednesday is the first Organic Milkround at London Business School, which is a Milkround (def: companies coming onto campus wooing you with slick powerpoint slide decks and hors d’oeuvres) for people wanting Sustainable Careers, organized by our Netimpact club. They’ve got a good line up, including Anita Roddick, an organic Careers Fair and the whole thing is sponsored by KPMG. Also on Wednesday is a Job Strategy Workshop at lunchtime, which I’m signed up for, and will report back on.

I’ve had people ask me what the best preparation is before you start the MBA and my answer is always to not fret about it too much. Keep up with what’s happening in business by reading the newspapers and magazines such as Businessweek and Economist if you can, spend time with your family and friends (you won’t have too much time in the early stages of your MBA to do that), save a little money if you can (or alternatively travel as much as you can, depending on your preferences and how big your pockets are). However, if you do want to do some pre-course reading, have a look at the Personal MBA website. It’s a list of books, which if you read them all, should give you a good overview of stuff that’s covered in an MBA. It’s my experience that although the list covers some stuff, it doesn’t cover all of it, and especially not the most worthwile moments in an MBA: the extracurricular stuff. But it’s a great way to start prepping, or finding out what material an MBA covers (and a great way for me to add even more books to my ‘want to read’ list… as if that needed adding to ;-).

At the moment I’m reading Hugh Hewitt’s Blog, and I must admit I’m not impressed (maybe I shouldn’t have read it after Naked Conversations, which I liked and set the standard for books about blogs). At all. He sounds like an old uncle at a family party, banging on about the same thing time and time again, doesn’t listen to what anyone else says, and uses anything and everything to support his point. Not impressed. So now I’m thinking of whether I should abandon the book or finish it. I’m about 2/3 of the way through and it’s not my habit to put down a book once I start it, but this one I really don’t like. But I don’t want to give in yet. You never know. There might be a nugget of pure gold in there somewhere.

A little sunshine…

A little sunshine, some nice tea and a whole lot of good conversation. What a perfect day to celebrate the first real day of Spring in London! Today was the first day that I walked around without a coat on this year, and it was soooo lovely. I spent the afternoon having tea with a friend in Hampstead, catching up and doing some shopping. She showed me around Hampstead and I’ve fallen in love with the place. It feels so villag-y, and it’s got so many good shops! One of my favourite’s is Rosslyn Delicatessen, which stocks one of my favourite cheeses ever: Rambol. Brings back fond memories of working at a project in the Netherlands with the national gastransport company, going out once a week for sandwiches, and my absolute favourite (best sandwich I ever had in my life) was made with Rambol. Needless to say I splurged (well, sort of) and bought a small piece. The picture top left was taken in their store, I believe these are American sauces (they’ve got quite a large section with American food).

Lately I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts (this branch of internet-sport seems to be growing up a little bit) and one of my favourites are the talks given by entrepreneurs at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. This program has set up Stanford Educator’s Corner, with a motherload of video, podcasts and other material related to entrepreneurship. Well worth a visit if entrepreneurship is your thing (it’s even got a video featuring LBS Entrepreneurship prof John Bates).

I’ve just finished reading Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (see for the accompanying blog here, and for a list of all the blogs mentioned in the book here). On a whim yesterday I decided to check out all the books that the London Business School library has in stock on blogging, 3 in total and this was the first I read. I really liked it, it gives great examples about how blogging is used in business, how it could be used, and how it should not be used. Great stuff if you’re interested in blogging (I’m not sure how many people at LBS are, though, I was the first one to check out the book… but then again, it appeared in 2006, so it could have just be put on the shelf).


180pxhospital_elevatorYou get into the elevator and find you’re standing to the most powerful VC in town. And you’ve got 30 seconds to introduce yourself, tell him about your business and get his business card.

I doubt a scenario like this is ever likely to happen to any of us (feel free to comment to prove me wrong), but it’s still a good skill to have: being able to succinctly explain your business (or for that matter yourself) to someone. That in mind, I signed up to take the Elevator Pitch workshop put on by the Entrepreneurship Club (whose website is a little out of date in certain areas) last Wednesday. For me, events like these are the icing on the MBA-education cake, an opportunity to gain some extra skills they don’t teach you in class. And since I’m taking Understanding Entrepreneurial Management this term, it seemed to come at exactly the right time (everyone’s asking me what idea my team is pursuing and I’ve not yet perfected my 30 second story about it).

I really liked it. It was a little bit of theory followed by a lot of practice, and that’s just what you need, since it is a lot harder weaving the answers to the questions below into a 1 minute pitch than I thought beforehand. Here is the framework we used:
* Who’s on the team?
* What’s the customer need/pain that this idea addresses?
* How big is this opportunity/pain/market?
* How is your idea going to relieve the pain?
* What are the benefits to the customer AND to the listener?
* Why should the customer buy from you?
* What do you want from the listener?

Ladies who lunch

Dscf0120_1I’ve always been a little bit envious of those ladies that lunch. And that’s the main concern of the day, where to lunch, with who, and what to eat. Oh, that plus of course if you’re still wearing the latest in fashion and where to find a good nanny.

This week I’m doing my share of lunching, sometimes with ladies, sometimes not, but all of them have a common theme: INTERNSHIP. Career Services have started running their Job Clubs, which are akin to the Alcoholics Anonymous, with steps to help you find a job and a weekly support meeting to make sure you don’t fall off the internship hunt-wagon. I’ve signed up for both clubs, Marketing and Telecoms/Technology/Media. Both of them are Industry (LBS speak for anything non-banking and non-consulting), since those are the jobs that are now becoming available plus some of these jobs require lots of legwork to get into and it’s nice to have a little support network. So that kept me busy for lunch on Tuesday and Thursday.

Wednesday I had lunch with my LUCC ladies, the Ladies who want to move into Unusual Careers Club. A small band of us girls set up this renegade support club and we have lunch every other week to hear each other’s stories, give moral support and share tips. For me this works well, since although each of us wants very different things (or are trying to find out what the h**l we want in the first place), we are all very supportive of each other, and it’s nice to have a dedicated time to chat about what we’re doing and egg each other on. Being able to share the highs and lows with a group of women who have become my friends over the course of the year is fab and very helpful. Last but very much not least, today I’m meeting up with a friend about a possible job-opportunity.

Not everything is internship related though, last night I went to hear Al Gosling of the Extreme Sports group speak (organized by KV, who I suspect will post an elaborate review). Funny thing is, I heard him speak last year, when I came to check out LBS after I was admitted. So it was cool seeing him again, and hearing how he was faring.

Life at School is slowly resuming it’s normal feel again after Spring Break and Easter. Sundowners (our weekly free bar on Thursday night) started again last night, with all of us out on the Front Lawn (which is the lawn you see if you look at the pictures of LBS on their website), catching up and having a good time. The second year students are coming back on campus, and the first year’s are heading to week 4 of our 10 week term. 6 more weeks and my first year will be done… amazing how time flies!

Taking the plunge: I’m moving!

Afb158I’m moving. I just got fed up. And I wanted something nicer. Something more slick and smooth. Something I could fiddle around with. Metaphorically, I’m trading up from a pair of shoes as a means to get round to a nice, middle class sports car. I changed the blog to Typepad. There, I’ve done it. After wanting to do it for a while now, and after testdriving it for a while, I’ve decided to move the blog to here.

You can find all the old posts on this blog, and slowly I’m getting round to adding categories so that you can more easily find posts on a specific topic. I’m also slowly working on getting the links across, so please be patient, it should all look as intended in a few weeks time. The only thing I couldn’t get across were the comments, so those remain on the old blog (which won’t disappear, it just won’t be updated). Apologies for any inconvenience.

Test video

I’m testing out how this videoblog-thing works, and have taken a few seconds of video on Piccadilly Circus with my mobile phone (hence the poor quality). If you can’t see it, you probably need to download Quicktime (at least, that seems to be the problem some people are reporting). Let me know if you’ve got any problems, I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Snake Vodka

I knew there was something missing in my life. And I’m not talking about a rich husband, my dream internship or straight A’s in b-school (although heaven knows I would love to have all/one/a combination of these too!). No, the thing that is missing from my life is snake vodka. And it’s sold at where else but Selfridges. Which has also started selling the most expensive sandwich in London, about which I blogged here, at 85 pounds a piece. You gotta love a shop that sells snake vodka (if you look carefully you can see the snake in the bottle on the photo) and 85 quid sandwiches. I wonder if that combination works well, alcoholic snake with wagyu beef?

I’m happy to report I got in to the Richard Branson lecture and will post a report on this blog.

The one course that so far has really got my juices flowing this term is Understanding Entrepreneurial Management. After some trials and tribulations regarding defecting team members I’m happy to report I’ve definitely got my team together and we’re pursuing an idea which I think is interesting, although I feel it’s too soon to disclose it here yet. But in due course I probably will. We’re trying to develop an idea to the point where you can make it into a business plan, and I was pretty optimistic, til this morning in the shower (how come my ideas always come to me in the shower?) I thought of a problem that might undermine the cashflows. So maybe I should’ve paid more attention in Finance!

For our UEM projects, I’m setting up a digital meeting place, and 37signals have got just the set of tools I need. For a previous project I’ve used their Basecamp, an online project management tool, and for this one I’m thinking of using the Campfire application, which offers a web-based group chat room and room to upload files. For my own to do lists I use their Backpack application, which came in especially handy when trying to organize information for moving to the UK. The best thing is that you can share pages, so for instance my housemates and me shared a page of flats we liked the look off and addresses of estate agents before we starting flathunting; everyone could read the page and contribute, without it having to be sent round in an email again and again. This is what online applications should do: be useful, well designed and easy to use.

You can’t always get what you want

I dithered giving this post a title. It was either going to be ‘Happy 200th’ cause this is blogpost number 200 on this blog, or ‘Floating on a cloud’ since that represents my mood best now, or ‘You can’t always get what you want’, which seems to go with the musical reference-title I had on the last post. And I figured that a little consistency might do this blog a world of good, so I went with the Stones.

Today was a good day, making me feel like I’m floating on a cloud. The day was packed from early morning to late at night, yet I didn’t really feel rushed (you know that really calm feeling of being in a flow, even though you’re really busy with 10 different things?). I had two great meetings, one of which released the full force of the creative internet juices, and the other sparked some thoughts for the Understanding Entrepreneurial Management idea that I pitched (and that I’m happy to report a small team of us will try and get business plan ready).

Not all things are going to plan though. The two jobs I applied for? Not even an interview… So I’m still hunting for a job (if any of the readers happen to have an interest project for the summer lying round, something with brand management or innovation or new product development or web 2.0 techonologies: gimme a shout!), as are a number of my colleagues. Most jobs in what LBS calls ‘Industry’ (everything not-consulting and not-banking) come in this term.

Last post I talked about a book that we use for our UEM course and that I really like, I feel obliged to talk about another that I read over the weekend which really sparked a lot of thoughts and was an enjoyable read. It’s Tom Kelley’s ‘Ten Faces of Innovation‘, about different personas involved in successfully innovating. I can highly recommend it.

So here’s a toast (with the Pisco sour from last week on the photo at the top left) to the 200th post of this blog. Never thought I’d write 200 posts. And that there’d still be readers at number 200!

Like a Virgin

Only just recovering from Bill Clinton’s visit a few days ago (which I didn’t get to go to, sadly enough and my friend who promised to write something hasn’t delivered his blogpost yet), and today we received news of the next big speaker coming onto campus: Sir Richard Branson. He’ll be here on April 24th, keep your fingers crossed I’ll get tickets to see him!

The previous first week of term were pretty relaxed, allowing that warm, fuzzy, just-got-back-from-nowheresville feeling, easing me into the following nine weeks of franticness. This term it’s different. It started off alright in the first couple of days, but yesterday and today I got swept away on the tide of busy-ness. There’s some work left over to be done from last term’s Adventures in Management Innovation elective, and several of the extra-curricular activities I’m involved in kicked off for a new season. Add to that a load of 5 courses (with the 6th starting in a few weeks), a Pisco Sour party with my studygroup, several other social engagements (ok, ok, an engagement every single night of this week) and you’ve got a Miss N that is in desperate need of putting her feet up and have a stiff whisky tonight.

But before I go home and take my shoes off, I justed wanted to tell you guys about one of my electives this term called Understanding Entrepreneurial Management, which is one of the most popular electives with about two-thirds of first year’s taking it. It’s sort of a Entrepreneurship 101, a safe kiddies pool to dip your entrepreneurial toe into, to see if you like entrepreneurship and have got the stomach for it. I pitched my idea yesterday in the first class, and now I have to find 5 like-minded individuals to develop it with me. And it’s getting me all excited. I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. The book we’re using is by one of the Entrepreneurship professors at School, a really great guy called John Mullins, and the book is called The New Business Road Test: What Entrepeneurs and Executives Should Do Before Writing a Business Plan (see here for a description on Amazon).

Here’s the best advice I’ve got

I’ve been getting some questions lately on various subjects relating to the MBA and London Business School and I’ve decided to put the answers into one big post so I can refer people to this. And just in case you’re wondering, no, the boots on the left have nothing to do with this post, I just thought I’d keep you guys updated on the latest in London fashion (the pic was shot at the Igirisuya store on Hannover Square)!
[disclaimer: these are my personal views and I won’t give you your money back if these don’t work for you or if you disagree.]

Question: How do I best prepare for the GMAT? Do I need to take a course?
Answer: My best advice is to go out and buy the official Guide that the GMAC puts out (see the website for all the details), take a couple of their practice tests and see how well you score. By this time you should have an idea of the average GMAT scores and the ranges of your favourite schools. Anything under the lower boundary of the range is bad news, and indicates that you have to work hard to get it up. The practice scores will also tell you which area you need to focus on, math or verbal. In short:
* Don’t fret too much about the GMAT, especially for LBS it is only one datapoint, not a fetish.
* Don’t spend your money on a course before you do some self-assessment.
* Buy a number of different GMAT books if you decide you need to study some more, each book has a different focus. The Official Guide is good for practising actual past questions.
* Get familiarized with how the test works. Especially for most Europeans, we’re not used to adaptive tests, so figure out how the test works, which will prevent you from being surprised when you actually sit down and do the GMAT.

Question: I’ve been admitted, how do I best prepare for my MBA?
Answer: my personal stance on this is that you’d do well to start studying a second language if you don’t have one or if you’re a bit rusty (that only goes for those MBAs that require you to graduate with a second language obviously). Other than that: you’ll be studying for two years, so take it easy, visit family, hang out with friends, try and save up some money, go and travel if you can (yes, I know that contradicts the previous advice), maybe take some general management courses from something like an online provider or an Open University of extension program. Some of my classmates disagree and have done some prep.

Question: Is it true that the first term at London Business School is brutal?
Answer: YES. Everything is new, you meet 325 of your new best friends, you’re in a lecture theatre for the first time in years, and you’re doing homework for the first time in years. Stir into that mix the move to a different country (for most of us), finding a place to live, getting to grips with the UK and the way things are done here (especially banks and mobile phone companies have the power to drive a sane person over the edge). Add to that all the social events, club events, and speakers coming onto campus, sprinkle in a little peer pressure and a lot of groupwork, and yes, you’ve got a busy term. There is some good news for the 2008’s: I’ve heard that they’re shifting the core courses around a little bit to make the first term slightly more manageable. And it’s not all bad, everyone always survives, so you will too.

Question: I’ve been waitlisted, what now?
Answer: Think carefully if you still want to go to that school. If the answer is yes, send your admissions committee contact a SHORT and SUCCINCT email indicating that you’re still very interested. Try and attend every event the School puts on (receptions, Open Days etc), and politely make your interest known. It doesn’t always help, but it shows you’re interested. And then: sit tight and wait.

Question: I’ve been admitted to more than one MBA, how do I choose between them?
Answer: Come to London Business School!!! I’m kidding. Every MBA has its own merits, and the best way to make a decision is to try and figure out what you want out of an MBA, and then try and gather as much information about the schools you’re interested in. Think about things such as 1 year vs 2 year programs, geography (US, Europe), reputation of the school, strengths of the school. The best thing I did was visit my top choices to figure out if I liked the place and the people. Try and talk to current students (in person or over email) and staff. Read widely on the internet (blogs, Business week forums (take those with a little grain of salt now and then though, some people are clearly nuts) are good places to start). Don’t just rely on rankings or your great-aunt’s favorite choice.

For now, this is all I can think off, if I remember more questions and answers, I’ll post them.