Alumni & Friends Profile

Mark Mueller ('78),
Patrons of Physics Fellows

Mark Mueller, Patrons of Physics Fellows
Mark Mueller, Patrons of Physics Fellows

Within the first few days of his arrival at MIT, Mark Mueller knew instinctively this was where he belonged.  MIT offered the intellectual stimulation, academic rigor and all the problem sets he could solve.  In the study of physics, Mark found an intellectual framework for understanding the world, as well as a sense of beauty and unity.  In graduate school at Stanford, Mark learned to live with the uncertainty that comes with the transition into full-time research.  After several post docs in string theory, a short stint in biophysics, and the realization that he wasn’t being offered a job anywhere he wanted to be, Mark left the academy for Wall Street.

The death of the superconducting super collider ( SSC) in 1993 affected not just the particle physicists working in Texas, but thousands more working at universities.  As many physicists were forced to re-evaluate their career choices, Wall Street beckoned.  They were called POW’s ---Physicists On Wall Street and some of the firms rivaled major universities with their brain power.  The financial world was clearly becoming more and more quantitative and the demand for physicists just exploded.  Morgan Stanley recruited Mark to price exotic options.

“In the study of physics, Mark found an intellectual framework for understanding the world, as well as a sense of beauty and unity.”

Today Mark is a partner at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO), a quantitative asset management company using quantitative models to trade in the various capital markets.  Under Mark’s direction, GMO recently launched a new trading division called “algorithmic trading” which is completely quantitative from beginning to end.  This new division has totally expanded the depth of trading previously possible.  “Next to theoretical physics, it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever been involved with,” declares Mark proudly.  Clearly he is where he wants to be.

When the Physics Department asked Mark to help with graduate student support, he didn’t hesitate.  “The Physics community at MIT is really just the people passing through it and I want to help sustain that environment”   Working at GMO Mark appreciates physics more and more and as time goes on his commitment grows even stronger.