CEIBS MBA 2019-2020 Essay and Video Tips

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CEIBS has decided to partially update their application this year with two major changes. Firstly, the topic of essay 2(a) has been completely reworked. Secondly, a new optional video question has been added to the application, which asks for you to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Before you dive into our breakdown of the application essays and video, be sure that you’re keeping careful track of the upcoming CEIBS MBA deadlines.


ESSAYS


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. As you 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 is recommended that your goals should build on a series of professional events in your past, present and future (exciting but achievable short-term targets) that can lead to your long-term .

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 an education from CEIBS will develop the skill-set necessary to help you realize your objectives. 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 position you to achieve your goals, tying specific offerings from CEIBS to skills that need improvement.

Essay 2 — Choose one of the following:

2(a). Describe your most significant achievement to date and explain why you consider it such an important accomplishment. (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’ll need to identify all potential answers across the two topics before you commit to writing a particular response. With such an approach, you can best identify the question and answer that would present your candidacy in the fullest and most appealing fashion.

2(a) is new to this application cycle. Instead of last year’s question on Shanghai, CEIBS has opted to present a classic MBA application topic: what have you accomplished that you’re most proud of and what made it so special? To reply to the first part of this question, you’ll need to identify a concrete success. Try to search out change-heavy achievements, especially those that had a strong, positive impact on individuals or groups beyond yourself. Also, don’t feel relegated to choosing examples solely from your work history, as CEIBS would be just as interested in hearing about the successes in your personal life.

Once you’ve selected an accomplishment, you should attempt to introduce it in a story-like manner. Help the reader visualize the environment and the hurdles that you faced as you moved towards success. Lastly, you’ll need to explain why this is such a monumental achievement in your life. This part of the answer could take a very numerical route, especially if you’re discussing professional activities; however, it may be of benefit to also discuss the personal impact, if applicable—how were people’s lives changed through your accomplishment?

If you’ve chosen option (b), you need to find 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 write about an example that required you to surmount certain difficulties. 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. Take 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 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 1 — 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 or talked about on the video, and that it will help the reader better understand and appreciate 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.


VIDEO ESSAY


Optional Essay 2 — You are encouraged to showcase your life and career in a short video, no longer than three minutes. Please provide a downloadable link below (preferably from wetransfer.com).

For the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, CEIBS seems to be testing out this new component of its application that we suspect may not be optional for long. As of today, how truly optional is this section? Well, when the admissions committee notes that “you are encouraged to” submit a video, we have to assume that it should be treated as a requirement in most cases.

There are number of ways you can showcase your professional and personal life, however, within 3 minutes, you’re not going to be able to shoot a movie, nor are you expected to produce a $5 million advertisement. Instead, think about your message first. What are the activities in your life that you value most? What are the aspects of your career that you’re most passionate about?

The message—its cohesiveness, clarity and impact—is far more important then the mise-en-scène. Having said that, if you have an unusual passion that’s easy to showcase, don’t hesitate to set it as your backdrop. For instance, if you love piloting planes, you could shoot your video in an airplane hangar or while seated in your private plane. However it is you decide to approach this task, make sure that the audio comes across clearly and that your appearance is professional.


Building a powerful application to the CEIBS MBA will take time and skill, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with our CEIBS admissions experts today.