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Admissions Director Ankur Kumar Resigns from UPenn’s Wharton School

The admissions director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School will leave her post this Friday, October 4th, according to an email sent by Wharton Dean Tom Robertson to the school’s faculty and staff this morning. The Wall Street Journal also reported the news, noting that the school had declined its requests for comment but that according to several sources Kumar informed her staff of her decision last week.

A Wharton alumna, Kumar has been a member of the admissions team for the past four years, serving since 2011 as director of admissions and financial aid. In his email announcing her departure, Dean Robertson praised Kumar for helping the school reach unprecedented female enrollment (women now number more than 40% of the student body) as well as for introducing several innovations in admissions, including the “Team Based Discussion,” a group interview format launched last year.

Despite these innovations, Wharton’s application volume has dropped 12 percent over the last four years. According to a WSJ article last week, Kumar and school officials contend that the lower application figures, combined with a stronger applicant pool and a higher percentage of accepted applicants who enroll, prove that her team has done a better job of targeting candidates. Dissenters, including the WSJ, argue that the drop-off signals Wharton’s slip from its long-held position as one of the top three MBA programs in the world.

Maryellen Lamb, Wharton’s deputy vice dean of MBA admissions, financial aid and career management, will guide the admissions team upon Kumar’s departure, according to Dean Robertson’s email to faculty. Lamb, who previously served as director of the school’s career services department, was promoted to deputy vice dean last month.

The WSJ noted that Wharton has had three admissions directors since 2005, when Rose Martinelli left to head up admissions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.