Arjun Murthy’s career has taken him from the halls of Congress to Cascade Partners LLC, where he works as the investment banking firm’s youngest director.
Hailing from the Detroit area, Murthy initially had ambitions to go into law. In the summer of 2010, between his sophomore and junior year at Michigan State University, he landed a coveted internship on Capitol Hill for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.
“That’s when I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer,” Murthy said. “It was too late from a recruiting standpoint. I knew the best path there was to go into something tangential where I could get a good foundation, especially how to understand the ins and outs of the credit health and the financial health of a business and how to evaluate that and then make the transition into investment banking.”
DEALMAKER OF THE YEAR Young Dealmaker
Director, Cascade Partners LLC
While earning a degree in finance at MSU, Murthy took advantage of opportunities to learn the craft of investment banking.
As a senior, he managed equity totaling more than $250,000 for the university’s nationally ranked Student Investment Fund, which comprised more than $5.2 million. He also pitched buy/sell presentations to fund members, successfully convincing members to buy stock in an entity that became the fund’s fifth largest holding.
Upon graduating in 2012, he worked as a corporate banking senior associate at PNC Bank, where he continued to hone his analytical skills before making the jump to investment banking.
This strategic approach to building his career exemplifies his ability to chart individual steps to reach big-picture gains, according to executives who know him.
Murthy, who also earned an MBA from the University of Michigan, went on to a five-year stint as director of investments at Birmingham-based Amherst Partners, before returning to corporate development at TriMas Corporation, an $800 million diversified global manufacturer and provider of products for customers primarily in the consumer products, aerospace and industrial end markets.
“It was a great opportunity, but I really missed the day-to-day of investment banking,” Murthy said.
Murthy joined Cascade Partners at the start of 2021. His recent transactions include numerous deals and recapitalizations of major companies, such as advising Britton Vision Associates on its sale to Firmament portfolio company Vision Integrated Partners.
Prior to Cascade, Murthy advised on an $85 million aerospace acquisition, the recapitalization of a retail partner of one of the nation’s largest mobile networks, and the sale of Muskegon-based recreational kayak manufacturer KL Outdoor.
“I was drawn to Cascade because of the differentiated investment banking model that we have here,” said Murthy, who was selected by an independent panel of judges as the 2023 MiBiz Young Dealmaker of the Year. “I was really excited about the presence that they have in West Michigan because there’s not a lot of investment banks there. There is a lot of coverage, but not a lot of folks who actually understand the West Michigan landscape.”
As Murthy describes it, the region is characterized by a tight-knit community that values relational transactions. He says that Cascade Partners’ constant presence in West Michigan allows the firm to be a part of the community and succeed where others may flounder.
“We take a Michigander point of view, and we can identify from a private business, as many of us at Cascade, including myself, have been on the other side of that table as an investor,” Murthy said. “We have been there, and we understand what they are going through.”
Today, Murthy’s team at Cascade Partners calls him a “powerhouse,” while he sings their praises as the best team he’s worked with in his career.
“From the top down, I have total trust in my team members to get things done,” Murthy said. “Especially from my senior team, they are there for me when I need them. It’s a supportive learning environment that has allowed me to be successful, and also allowed me to go off of my own relationships as well. That’s helped me accelerate some of the success that I’ve had.”
Murthy says in his more than 10 years in the industry, he has learned that one of the keys to success is approaching deals with empathy for everyone at the table.
“Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s your client, an investor or a buyer and try to understand their point of view,” Murthy said. “I think you need to understand that to be a successful negotiator, empathy is a great tool.”