You just hit the nail on the head in terms of what you should be researching. All of those things that you can't know because you're not enrolled in the program.
There are pluses and minuses to everything. You need to figure out what is the most important to you out of all of the criteria. Then summarize that into Why X School. Each school does so much to differentiate itself. Start there... Also, I wouldn't necessarily bother alums too too much. I would first start with current students.
This question seems to pop up a lot for applications/interviews. I can't really think of too many reasons other than:
-when the program starts
-friend went there
I know people suggest "research the school" but what am I exactly researching? I have researched mission statements, fellowships, class size, average income, etc, but unless I have enrolled in the program I don't know for sure how well their internships prepare people, how well the professors teach, or how well I would fit into their class. Should I just google their alumni and bother them?
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Blogged my way through the application process, 1st & 2nd year of school at Johnson at Cornell University - Graduated 5/26/2013 - Follow my MBA journey here @ http://www.money9111.blogspot.com | 1 New Post on 10/10 !