CEIBS (China Europe International Business School), located in Shanghai, is the longest-running MBA program in China, boasting the largest MBA alumni pool in China and over 10,000 alumni around the world. Ranked 2nd in China by the Financial Times and 17th in the world, the program focuses on endowing students with a global business perspective plus a local cultural understanding. Last year’s curriculum reform made a greater emphasis on endowing students with soft skills like interpersonal communication, strategy development, and an integrated management perspective that allows graduates to solve challenging business problems that cut across functional business lines. Program graduates seem to do quite well: the average salary according to the Financial Times research for graduates in the past 3 years is over $126,000!
CEIBS’s essay questions are straightforward and focus on three areas: goal orientation, leadership/impact, and personal introspection. My comments and advice are in blue below:
Why are you seeking to pursue your MBA study at this moment of your life in relation to your short-term and long-term career goals? Explain how an MBA from CEIBS will contribute to these goals. (500 words)
To predict your career’s future development does require a brief summary of its evolution to date, but don’t make the mistake of writing 400 words about your past and leaving only 100 to outline your future and CEIBS’s role in preparing you for it! I suggest starting by discussing your goals in about 100 words then spending about 200 words on how your past has prepared you for them and 200 words on the unique way that the CEIBS program will prepare you for your future. Be sure your goals are consistent with what other graduates go on to do after graduating!
For question 2(a) and 2(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.
2(a). Describe your most significant work-related achievement and explain why you view it as such. (400 words) OR
2(b). Describe a difficult situation where you demonstrated leadership skills to achieve a positive outcome. (400 words)
Whether you answer question 2a or 2b, the emphasis here is on impact. This essay is your opportunity to focus on what challenges you have overcome – both business and interpersonal – and the extent of the impact you succeeded in making.
For question 3(a) and 3(b), you only need to answer one of the two questions.
3(a). Describe a professional failure and what were the lessons learned? (400 words) OR
3(b). Describe a situation where your values, ethics or morals were challenged and how did you handle the situation. (400 words)
Both 3a and 3b require introspection: when you failed, what disappointed you? What did you learn about yourself in the process? How did you apply these lessons to succeed subsequently?
When your ethics or morals were challenged, what was your thought process and how did you resolve the conflict without ruining relationships in your path? Ethical challenge questions are the most difficult to answer because applicants need to avoid preaching. Creativity and interpersonal skills will surely play a large part in successful ethical challenge essays.
(Optional) 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.
I highly recommend submitting an optional essay to CEIBS. In particular, essays that demonstrate cultural insights in Asia or abroad will demonstrate your ability to contribute to the global perspective in the classroom.
The 18-month CEIBS program beginning in August 2011 conducts its application reviews in rounds. While the third round ends April 6th, applicants from within Asia should certainly try to submit their applications by the second round on February 12th, otherwise the class may already be full of students from similar backgrounds. However, applicants from outside of Asia should still have a good shot at a place in the class in the final round since the school would like to have a good representation of students from outside of Asia (around 20% of last year’s graduating class hailed originally from Europe/US).
CEIBS Application Rounds
||Nov. 15, 2011
||Dec. 20, 2011
||Feb. 2, 2012*
||Mar. 22, 2012
||Mar. 29, 2012
||Apr. 30, 2012
*Please note that all the scholarship application (except CEIBS Scholarship) should be submitted before Feb. 2, 2012.
Check out more of our 2012 MBA essay tips!
Jennifer Bloom has been successfully helping applicants demonstrate their readiness for the top MBA programs for 13 years. She would be happy to help you create your best applications.