Round 1: 14 November 2018

Round 2: 9 January 2019

Round 3: 13 March 2019


If you’re one of the many, many individuals trying to penetrate the Chinese market, CEIBS (the China Europe International Business School) might be one of your best bets.

Its powerful MBA program in Shanghai has a highly competitive application process. Complicating matters, two of its three required essays have two topics to choose from, requiring a strategic and holistic approach.

If you’re looking for help with your application to CEIBS, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Essay 1 — Discuss your post-MBA career aspirations (short term and long term) and explain how you plan to achieve them (400 words). 

In this essay, CEIBS is trying to identify how logical and attractive your post-MBA goals are. To begin answering this question, try to visualize your career path, starting from your university education and stretching out into your potential long-term objectives. Some of that path is clear, such as your professional experiences up to this point, however, much of it is left to be developed: your MBA studies, and your short-term and long-term career aspirations. When you arrange all of these elements in a straight line, you want them to appear sensible and achievable. While that doesn’t mean that the long-term objectives you mention can’t be grandiose, it does mean that they should build on a series of professional events in your past, present, and future (exciting but achievable short-term goals) that can lead to them.

For the second portion of this essay, you need to answer how you will achieve your professional objectives. When it comes to justifying goals, you should illustrate clearly how both your career experiences and education from CEIBS will develop and/or improve the necessary skill-set that will help you realize your goals. As a further note, when mentioning CEIBS, do make sure to be as specific as possible when you highlight those parts of the program that can best help you achieve your goals, tying specific offerings from CEIBS with necessary skills.

Essay 2 — Choose one of the following:

2(a). CEIBS is situated in Shanghai – a truly global city and the economic center of the world’s soon to be the largest economy. Given its unique location, how do you anticipate that Shanghai will differentiate your MBA experience and contribute to your goals? (400 words).

2(b). Discuss a situation where you have demonstrated significant leadership ability. (400 words).

As you have two possible options for this essay, you need to identify all potential answers for the two topics before you commit to writing an essay. With such an approach, you can then identify the response that would present your candidacy in a fuller and more appealing fashion.

For the first question, you need to fully understand what Shanghai can offer. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit the city, read up on the different ways in which Shanghai and the business world interact. Moreover, identify how CEIBS and Shanghai are linked and what’s so appealing about that link for you.

The second part of the question asks you to explain how being in Shanghai will contribute to your goals. Firstly, you need to take care that your answer does not repeat the information you’ve included in the first essay, as the topics are a bit similar. Instead, focus on how Shanghai ties in with your future objectives. Even if you don’t plan to work directly in China following your MBA education, it’s possible that you might have business interests in Shanghai that you can detail in this essay.

If you’ve chosen the second option, you need to select an example that clearly displays your capacity for leadership. You should note that this question doesn’t necessarily ask you to focus on a professional experience. Moreover, as you’re trying to build an exciting narrative structure, be sure to choose an example that required you to surmount certain difficulties, as well as one that had a significant impact. Lastly, make sure to explain how your leadership led to a positive outcome, not just for you, but for all stakeholders.

Essay 3 — Choose one of the following:

3(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. (400 words).  

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

In this section, once again, you can select between two topics. Therefore, you’ll need to repeat the exercise from the previous essay: research all possible answers before choosing one question, in particular, to respond to.

The first option asks for you to concentrate on a particular entrepreneurial experience. It’s important to note that the definition of entrepreneurial in this question is an occurrence in which you were able to unconventionally innovate, thereby leading to an unexpected positive impact. So, your entrepreneurial activity doesn’t need to have been the founding of a company; it could simply have been the implementation of a new process in your team. The most important part of the essay is to illustrate how novel your approach was and how impactful the results were. However, in between novelty and impact, do your best to breathe life into the struggles you faced and the ways in which you overcame them, in order to keep the reader engaged.

The other potential question is a bit more ambiguous. It asks you to prognosticate one or two particular movements that you see taking place and that might affect your career. When selecting a particular trend, you want to first make sure that you truly understand what it is and how it intersects with your profession. Picking something general or poorly researched can lead to a weak answer.

Once you’ve zeroed in on a trend, you need to illustrate how you believe it will impact your career. There are many angles to take here. Is it potentially positive or negative? Is it an opportunity or a risk? Is it temporary or permanent?

Whatever the potential impact, this question also asks you to address how you will adapt to such a trend. You need to define how your future education at CEIBS and/or your career choices can help you prepare for and take advantage of these changes.

Optional Essay — Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admission Committee in evaluating your application? (200 words). Re-applicants are suggested to describe the progress you have made since your previous application. Word count

There are a number of ways in which you can treat this optional question:

If you happen to be a reapplicant, you need to use this space to explain how your profile has substantially improved since your previous application. Perhaps you’ve received a promotion or increase in responsibilities at work; taken university courses in a quantitative subject, exposing your capacity to handle CEIBS’ coursework; or restructured your short and long-term objectives. Whatever is this case, you need to clearly set yourself apart not only from other applicants but also from your former self.

On the other hand, if you’re a new applicant with potential issues in your profile (poor university scores, gaps in work experience, the lack of a direct manager as a recommender, etc.), you need to utilize this space to explain why that’s the case. When possible, try to highlight how the problem has been permanently resolved. Keep in mind that you should almost never leave an issue unexplained, as the admissions committee would have no choice but to assume the worst possible cause for it.

If you’re not a reapplicant and you don’t have any glaring issues in your application, you could use this space to introduce an aspect of yourself that you’ve not had the chance to discuss elsewhere; maybe there’s a particular extracurricular activity that has a unique meaning to you or maybe there’s an important part of your professional career that you haven’t had the opportunity to elaborate on. Whatever you choose to mention, do make sure that it is something that you haven’t written about elsewhere and that it’s important for understanding your full candidacy.

Finally, if you believe that you’ve already fully expressed yourself, which could certainly be the case, feel free to leave this space blank. This old adage is as true in the admissions process as elsewhere: brevity is the soul of wit. You don’t want to waste the reader’s time with low-value content, as it will significantly detract from an otherwise excellent application.

Published On: November 20th, 2018 / Categories: CEIBS, Essay, MBA / Tags: , , , /