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CEIBS Essay Topic Analysis


The following essay topic analysis examines the CEIBS MBA admissions essays for the 2021-2022 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

CEIBS Essay Topic Analysis 2022-2023

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt. 

Essay 1

Discuss your post-MBA career aspirations (short term and long term) and explain how you plan to achieve them (400 words).
This is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to explain their post-MBA career objectives and how they will come to fruition.  First, applicants should explain the specifics of their post-MBA plans.  Establishing your long-term vision first would lend meaning to your short-term plans, as it can help the reader to know your destination before the path.  So, explain your broader 5-10 year plan, even going beyond the “what” and the “where” to the “why”—in other words, the impact you hope to make on an organization, sector, consumer base, or region. Then, applicants should outline their short-term plans very specifically, including both the position the candidate hopes to hold immediately after an MBA, along with 1-2 companies one plans to target. This short-term goal should lead naturally to the long term. Keep in mind that career aspirations are likely best aligned with the CEIBS MBA program if they are specific to the growth of the China economy.

In regards to how you plan to achieve your goals, it would make sense to briefly comment on your work experience to date to establish the skills you already possess; this sets up the gap in your skill set that an MBA would fill.  This phase of your discussion should describe the skills and knowledge you hope to gain from an MBA with an eye to your future plans. Forging specific connections between the skills you hope to gain (whether in class or outside of it) and your future plans will show the adcom that you have a sound understanding of how an MBA will prepare you for success.

Essay 2 – Choose One

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

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

To get as much mileage as possible out of option 2a, you should aim to develop a very detailed response that explains how Shanghai’s advantages resonate with you. Zeroing in on how Shanghai aligns with you academically, culturally and professionally will be important to developing an effective response. Be sure to watch the video the adcom provides and then reflect on the connections that stand out for you personally. What are you most looking forward to about Shanghai? How will it influence your studies? Are there opportunities related to your goals that can only be found or are best acquired in Shanghai? Reflect on these ideas as you begin to craft your essay.

In regards to Option 2b, the formulation of this question is open to all types of experiences: solo and team-based, personal or professional, informal or official, high-impact or more growth-focused. Applicants might do well to begin by brainstorming about the leadership experiences that stand out as being particularly significant, whether in terms of personal growth and development or impact. We’d rate setting as a secondary consideration, though all things being equal, we advise selecting a professional leadership role (though an anecdote about leadership in a community organization could work nicely here as well). Applicants will need to clearly outline the leadership experience, explaining how they approached the leadership task, as well as how their efforts affected others and the organization’s objectives or bottom line. The significance inherent in this experience can take any number of forms – perhaps you produced dramatic results on a project or simply learned a practical lesson about teamwork – but whatever its source, this should be built into the essay along with a picture of the overall process.

Essay 3 – Choose One

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)
For Option 3a, entrepreneurship is a mindset that embraces innovation and risk-taking within both established and new organizations. This question is an opportunity to display a sense of vision and innovation – a great option for candidates with a track record of creative problem solving and improvement, as well as those with entrepreneurial experience or goals. Set the scene by defining the conventions you were working against, outlining your vision and then taking the reader through your actions. Be sure to convey your impact, as seen through creating new value. Space permitting, you may be able to wrap up this response by commenting on how you would apply this mindset at CEIBS and beyond.

For Option 3b, the adcom is essentially asking for a “Plan B.”  One thing that may help you figure out this alternative is working backwards from your long-term goal.  Consider what skills or experience you will need for the long term and how you may otherwise attain them.  This may be as simple as considering a different position within your selected industry, or expanding on more potential target firms. You may also be interested in an industry that is constantly evolving, and speak to potential trends that could influence your path within that industry.  Ideally, there would be a consistent thread with your initial goals, particularly when it comes to the skills or impact you hope to have.  For instance, if you talk about strategy consulting in the first response, it would be really odd to talk about investment banking here; whereas, if your consulting goals were going to be focused on serving the healthcare domain, then you could reasonably consider a short-term backup plan of getting directly into that industry with a major player.

Optional Essay 1

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)
This response will be an appropriate place to address any elements of one’s application that need further explanation (e.g. recommender choice, expected promotions, etc.). Applicants should aim to demonstrate good judgment in deciding whether to respond to this prompt, and should take care not to introduce information that appears elsewhere in their materials or that could have been covered in response to one of the above essays.

For re-applicants, this response is relatively short, so candidates will need to exercise sound judgment and brevity in writing as they cover material improvements in their candidacy. While some schools ask about the applicant’s reflection and growth since their prior application, the wording and length of this prompt suggest that a “facts first” approach will be most effective here

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
This is a chance to literally show the adcom who you are, where you come from, and what you care about. While taking risks in the admissions process is often worthwhile, you don’t want to step so far out of your comfort zone that you ultimately don’t make a good impression (this seems especially possible for camera-shy applicants). If you decide to take this extra step, which would certainly show that you’re willing to go above and beyond for CEIBS in the application process, be sure to review our tips about video essays before pressing “record.”

Once you decide to make a video, candidates should consider what they would truly want the adcom to know about them, while also being mindful of the balance of content between the essays. That is, because the first response asks about candidates’ career goals, and would necessarily include some commentary on work experience, it would make sense to focus the majority of one’s comments in this response on one’s life outside the workplace. Applicants will want to think reflectively about their values and personality, as well as strategically about what makes them unique with respect to other applicants. The goal will be to convey information about your interests, values, and personality in the context of this creative exercise.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s CEIBS MBA essay topics. As you work on your CEIBS MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s CEIBS offerings: