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MIT Technology Review

Arun Muralidhar, PhD ’92

Pension strategist helps fund managers see the future

“If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be running my own business, I would have said you were crazy,” says Arun Muralidhar, cofounder and chairman of AlphaEngine Global Investment Solutions (AEGIS) and its parent company, Mcube Investment Technologies, which are devoted to helping clients make better investment decisions and improve returns.

After earning a PhD in managerial economics at Sloan, Muralidhar went immediately into the nonprofit sector, working as head of research at the World Bank’s pension fund. In 1997 he took a break from the world of pension funds to return to India, his homeland, and began to support the City Mission of India orphanage by teaching and fund-raising. Back in the U.S., he worked as head of currency research at J. P. Morgan, and then at a hedge fund. Muralidhar, who published Innovations in Pension Fund Management in 2001, then hatched an idea for a technology that could analyze economic data in a new way.

Muralidhar’s brother Sanjay was also attracted to the idea. Together, the two formed Mcube in 2002. Sanjay developed the team to build and support AlphaEngine, software based on Arun’s research that can evaluate investment strategies for any asset class. AlphaEngine is now used worldwide by institutional investors to guide ongoing portfolio decisions. Through AEGIS, Muralidhar adds his own expertise for clients who prefer to work with an advisor. In 2008, Mcube revenues exceeded an annualized $3 million and the company was named Software Provider of the Year at the Global Pensions Awards in London.

Muralidhar, who earned an undergraduate degree in economics in 1988 from Wabash College in Indiana, credits MIT relationships with much of his success. “The faculty at MIT is so dedicated to their students,” he says. “I was truly blessed to have worked with Professor Franco Modigliani, Institute Professor emeritus, who was not only a mentor and coauthor but also a great friend and guide long after I graduated.” Muralidhar and Modigliani published Rethinking Pension Reform in 2004.

Mcube is headquartered in Texas, with offices in Japan, India, and Europe. But Muralidhar, who serves as chairman and chief investment officer, makes his home in New Jersey with his wife of 10 years, Shaila, and their two young children.

Although his career has taken him in unforeseen directions, Muralidhar says the key to the success of any venture is “to be strategic and be able to see into the future”–exactly the assets his software and advisory service are designed to provide.