Joel M. Podolny, the dean of the School of Management, has resigned to take a senior position at Apple, the University said Wednesday.

Podolny will depart Nov. 1, University President Richard Levin said in an e-mail message to the SOM community. His departure — after only three and a half years as dean — comes as a jolting surprise, as SOM recently overhauled its M.B.A. program and is in the midst of planning for the construction of its new campus.

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“This is not a decision I have taken lightly, and I am sure it comes as a surprise to many of you,” Podolny wrote in a message to the SOM community. “The last three and a half years have been absolutely amazing, both for me and for all of the many constituents of this school. Working together, we have come far and accomplished much.”

Sharon M. Oster, a professor of management and entrepreneurship at SOM, will serve as dean for the remainder of Podolny’s term, said Tabitha Wilde, an SOM spokeswoman.

In his message, Levin expressed confidence that Oster could continue SOM’s positive momentum.

“Joel’s unexpected departure challenges each of us to rise to the occasion,” Levin wrote.

Podolny will serve as vice president and dean of Apple University, a spokesman for the company said Wednesday. The dean said in his message that he will remain on the faculty at SOM after he steps down.

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