Over the past two decades, China has enjoyed a remarkable transformation from a planned economy to a leading global player in industry and trade. The CEIBS MBA program provides students with a strong foundation of business management skills, enabling them to manage in this environment successfully. It has even been ranked as the No. 1 Business School in Asia by the Financial Times. It focuses on hands-on strategy projects with companies based out of China, specific guest lectures & workshops, and a Localisation Program that offers international exposure – mainly Chinese culture. This is one of the latest MBA programs in Asia, and certainly a fresh approach towards business education. With its focus on opportunities in China, the program gives students plenty of room to explore the possibilities in one of the biggest (no pun intended) economies of Asia. CIEBS MBA Essays are quite extensive in terms of specifying your aim and vision, along with focusing on your leadership and entrepreneurial experience (if any).

CEIBS has been consistently rated among the world’s best business schools and has featured in the top 10 of the Financial Times MBA ranking for over a decade now. It is undoubtedly a school worth targeting for those considering a career in Asia and China.

CEIBS MBA Essays – topics and analysis 

CEIBS require 3 critical essays in their application and 2 optional pieces. In this article we will discuss and share the analysis of the three compulsory questions asked by CEIBS in its MBA application.

CEIBS MBA essay 1: Discuss your post MBA aspirations – short term & long term – and explain how you can achieve them. [400 words] 

This question is relatively straightforward and requires you to discuss your plan in professional terms. You need to attach your expectations and goals with what you will learn at CEIBS and how you can later turn them into fruition. First, establishing your post-MBA vision can help the reader understand your short-term plans by allowing the admissions team to see your destination before the road. So, go beyond the “what” and “where” to define your broader 5 to 10 year plan, including the “why”— the impact you want to have on an organisation, sector, consumer base, or region. It would help if you also detailed some short-term plans, including the position you aim to occupy immediately following MBA and 1-2 firms you are interested in working with in the future. This short-term aim should logically lead to a long-term goal.

Make sure that your professional goals focus on China’s economic growth and why the CEIBS MBA programme is probably the best fit. This program is not for you if China and Asia figure nowhere in your plans. Regarding how you intend to attain your objectives, it’s a good idea to briefly discuss your previous work experience to identify the talents you already have; this establishes the gap in your skillset that an MBA will address. This section of your conversation should focus on the skills and knowledge you hope to learn from an MBA regarding your long-term goals.

CEIBS MBA essay 2: (Choose one)

A) Describe your most significant achievement to date and explain why you consider it to be so important.

B) Discuss a situation where you have demonstrated significant leadership ability. [400 words] 

The first question requires you to choose an outstanding accomplishment to share and describe – ideally one in which you had a beneficial impact on a person, group, or organisation. It’ll be crucial to comment on the outcomes and the activities and mental processes that led to them. You may add how the achievement influenced you personally if space remains after covering these things. Please keep in mind that the question does not limit you to professional actions, so feel free to think of instances from your personal life when choosing a theme for this brief response. Share specific and relevant examples of the situation that best illustrates your achievements and how you got there.

The second essay question is accessible to all types of experiences: solo or team-based, personal or professional, casual or official, high-impact, or more growth-focused. Beginning with a brainstorming session on the leadership experiences that stand out as particularly significant, whether personal growth and development or effect, applicants could do well to start there. Applicants must describe their leadership experience in detail, including how they tackled the leadership task and how their efforts impacted others and the organisation’s goals and bottom line. The idea is to present a specific circumstance where your result-oriented approach while incorporating your team members’ suggestions, provided effective results, hence a significant accomplishment on your part.

CEIBS MBA essay 3: (Choose one)

A) Many would argue that entrepreneurship is not necessarily a state of being, but a state of mind. Describe an entrepreneurial experience where you went against the grain or conventional way of thinking, to discover and create new value.

B) Identify up to two trends, big or small, that you see unfolding in the next decade. Discuss how the trends might affect you and your career, and how you plan to address them during your MBA and/or after you graduate. [400 words] 

Perceiving the first question is an excellent opportunity to describe a situation or incident with a track record of creative problem solving and required particular improvement. It offers an imaginative window for the applicants with entrepreneurial experience or goals, to demonstrate their sense of vision and innovation. Set the scenario by outlining your vision, defining the conventions you were working against, and then walking the reader through your actions. Make sure to communicate your impact, as evidenced by creating new value. If space allows, you may conclude this response by describing how you would use this attitude at CEIBS and beyond.

In the second question, the Admission Committee particularly requests a “Plan B” or the next option on your list. Working backwards from your long-term aim may be one way to figure out this option. Consider what abilities or expertise you’ll require in the long run and how you’ll get them. This might be as simple as thinking about a different job within your chosen business or focusing on more prospective target companies. You might also be interested in working in a continuously changing field and discussing future trends that could influence your career path. In an ideal world, your early ambitions would have a common thread, especially regarding the talents or effect you intend to have. For example, if your first response is about strategy consulting, it would be strange to talk about investment banking here; however, if your consulting goals are to serve the healthcare domain, you shall consider a short-term backup plan of targeting and getting directly into that particular industry and describe your supposed role there.

CEIBS MBA essay 4: Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admission Committee in evaluating your application? Re-applicants are suggested to describe the progress they have made since the previous application. [200 words]

The CEIBS MBA Essay 4 is an open ended essay question. The admissions committee is interested in anything that you believe will help the committee evaluate your application.

No matter what you write, you should make sure to include a sentence about why you think this information would be helpful to the committee in evaluating your application. This clarifies the committee and ensures that they are not left guessing your aim in writing this essay.

Some of the things you could address here are:

1. Your weakness(es): What weaknesses do you think will affect your chances of getting into CEIBS? You can either address those weaknesses directly or explain how you will overcome them in the future. You can also mention any other information that can make you a candidate of concern to the admissions committee.

2. Improvement since last year’s application: If you are a reapplicant, it is crucial to let admissions committee know what improvements you have made since your previous application. For example, if your GMAT score was too low last year, and if you have retaken the test and improved your score, it is essential to mention that here. If you have been working for an additional year, and if this extra work experience has enabled you to refine your career goals and helped build up your leadership skills, definitely mention that here.

CEIBS MBA essay 5: You are encouraged to showcase your life and career in a short video, no longer than three minutes. 

While the answer here would be very personal to who you are, some of the things you can consider including here are:

• A personal story or anecdote that showcases your values, passions or beliefs

• A presentation on an issue that is important to you – it can be work-related or personal

• A creative expression – art, music, drama, poetry or anything else that has meaning for you

Some things to keep in mind as you do this:

Be authentic. The admissions committee is looking for a genuine picture of who you are beyond your GMAT score and transcripts. This is your chance to show the committee how you think, how you approach complex situations and how others perceive you. The video is also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your strong points: let your personality shine through!

Do not try to cram too much into this video. Instead, choose one specific example that highlights what makes you unique, such as a particular situation or event that has helped shape the person you are today and will add value to the class at CEIBS. Be sure to explain why it was so instrumental in your personal development and what skills it helped you acquire for your future career (and for the MBA).

Keep it brief and relevant. Remember, this is just a snapshot of who you are as a person, so do not try to load too many elements into it – pick one story and stick with it. Please do not treat it like an interview; instead, talk about something interesting from your past.

Want to check out more on CEIBS MBA?

CEIBS MBA Admissions Committee – Interview With GyanOne

CEIBS MBA Interview Questions and Tips

CEIBS China MBA Interview Questions

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