Booth Names New Admissions Head

Kurt Ahlm has been named associate dean of student recruitment and admissions for the full-time M.B.A. program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the school announced today (April 4)   Previously he was senior director of admissions at Chicago Booth.

The school also announced the appointment of another associate dean today, naming Joseph Buck, an accomplished fundraiser who leads the University of Chicago development efforts directed at individuals and families, as the new head of alumni relations and development at Booth. “One of our objectives is to increase the engagement of our alumni in the intellectual life of the school,” Booth Dean Sunil Kumar said in a statement.  “Joe’s ability to build strong relationships in complex organizations around the world is a perfect match to our goals and his knowledge of the University of Chicago’s values and history will provide a smooth runway for his entry into this position.”

Buck has spent the past four years in senior positions in the University of Chicago’s central development office, most recently serving as assistant vice president for individual giving.   In that role he was the University’s chief individual giving officer and developed, managed and carried out programs to meet the University’s goals for privately contributed gifts from individuals and families.    He managed a central fundraising staff of 35 people that raised more than $35 million last year. Earlier in his career Buck was senior major gifts officer at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia and director of major gifts at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

The appointment is effective May 16, 2011.

Ahlm, who looks young enough to be a current MBA student, has worked in Booth admissions since the fall of 2002. A former recruiting manager for PriceWaterhouseCoopers with a Booth MBA, he had earlier redesigned the school’s application to require a brief, yet now infamous, “PowerPoint Presentation.” With last year’s departure of Admissions Director Rosemarie Martinelli, Ahlm began leading a team of some 16 people in Booth admissions. He’s an affable and long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan who had lived within a home run’s distance from Wrigley Field for ten years before moving to the western suburbs with his wife and two children. The promotion to associate dean of admissions recognizes his increased role since the loss of Martinelli. ( Also see “What Happens When You Apply to Booth.”)

“When the position was vacated last summer, Kurt stepped up and made sure our entire admissions function didn’t miss a beat,” said Stacey Kole, deputy dean for the full-time M.B.A. program, in a statement.. “He has already proven that he can succeed in this new role, where he will work closely with colleagues across the school.”

The appointment is effective immediately, the school said.

“This is a very natural transition for us and for Kurt who has spent nearly nine years in Booth admissions with responsibilities that have included virtually every aspect of the admissions process,” added Kole. In his recent role as senior director, Ahlm “was the primary driver of our admissions marketing efforts to showcase the Booth brand and bring the M.B.A. experience to life for thousands of prospective students,” said Kole.  “As a direct result of Kurt’s efforts, we have significantly exceeded the high goals that were set for our full-time admissions office.”

“I am delighted to take on these greater responsibilities and continue to help prospective students join our diverse and vibrant community,” said Ahlm.  “In the months ahead we intend to carry the Booth message to an even larger group of M.B.A. hopefuls across the U.S. and worldwide.”

Before joining Booth, Ahlm was an admissions officer at Northwestern University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and a recruiting manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Northwestern.  Ahlm earned an M.B.A. at Chicago Booth with concentrations in marketing management, strategic management, and managerial and organizational behavior.



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