Wharton School’s Admissions Director Kumar Resigns

(Corrects time period in first paragraph of story published Oct. 2.)

Ankur Kumar, the admissions director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for two years, resigned amid a decline in applications.

She will be replaced, effective Oct. 4, by Deputy Vice Dean Maryellen Lamb, according to a memo distributed today by Dean Tom Robertson and Vice Dean Howie Kaufold. In April, Robertson said he will step down in June 2014.

Wharton reported this year that MBA applications fell almost 6 percent, triggering speculation that the school has lost its luster. In an interview, Kumar said that was “absolutely not” the reason she’s leaving.

“This is not an impetuous decision,” she said. “It’s one that has been going on for quite a few months. It’s completely unrelated to anything else that’s going on.”

Kumar has said that one reason for the drop in applications, which came amid a surge at other top schools, was a new group-based admissions interview unveiled last year. The new procedure, which involves applicants meeting in small groups to work as a team to solve a business problem, may have discouraged some prospective students. Philadelphia-based Wharton hasn’t indicated it plans to abandon the new process.

The idea came from Wharton’s “innovation group,” which fields ideas for improving business school processes.

Kumar didn’t say what she plans to do, explaining in an e-mail to colleagues that she is “pursuing several different opportunities” in New York City and timed her departure to avoid disrupting the new application cycle.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louis Lavelle at llavelle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net.

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