Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated July 6, 2015
157 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
Employment Status

Reset
3.1
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
99 Ratings

Pros
  • excellent free food and fantastic pay (in 13 reviews)

  • You're surrounded by really smart people (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • Impossible to achieve a sustainable work life balance (in 10 reviews)

  • however this led to no one taking responsibility for anything because it was "everyone's responsibility to make sure everyone else is doing their job (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

157 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. uncompromising values, real people, social experiment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    meaningful work, meaningful relationships, personal development

    Cons

    constant criticism and unnecessary pain for employees results in demotivation, loss of confidence and inability to get things done.

    Advice to Management

    balance the feedback to employees putting equal emphasis on the positive traits. Reward people for achieving results and getting things done.


  2. Very challenging, great people

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Truly a life experience, you will grow as a person.

    Cons

    Interview process is exhaustive, and it's not for everyone.


  3. Discussion

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technology Lead in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Technology Lead in Westport, CT

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Super smart people; engaged dialogue; never a dull day; nobody going through the motions; really, really good people to work with. few "problem" children in the ranks...they don't last and its refreshing.

    Cons

    lots and lots and lots of meetings, many without purpose; often never discuss the matter at hand, but the person who raised the matter at hand; operating "principles" make sense, but managers tend to hide behind them when they are failing to deal with problems and technology is not cutting edge. lunch stinks.

    Advice to Management

    Cut down the meetings, do some actual work; own your mistakes rather than hiding behind the principles


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (7)

    Great People, Crazy Place

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Westport, CT

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    amazing coworkers, terrific benefits, stimulating work (depending on your role and department), a lot of investment in training new employees--to a certain extent, the culture. it's very cool to be able to question the way things are done, and if you're good at getting along in the culture there is a ton of opportunity

    Cons

    things get a little crazy there--the emphasis on radical honesty and getting to the true root of problems starts out cool, but can end up occupying an insane amount of your time.

    Advice to Management

    i don't really have any--i think being a manager at BW is actually incredibly difficult, and most of the really do the best they can (although that of course does not guarantee good outcomes).


  6. Helpful (10)

    There are ups and downs...and its well worth the ride

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    When I decided to apply to Bridgewater, many different emotions went through my head…excitement, nervousness, skepticism, and pride specifically were at the forefront of my mind. I don’t think any of these feelings are rare for someone applying to Bridgewater and I think many of them are actually expected and totally predictable. I was excited about the potential of my future if I was selected to join Bridgewater; I was nervous about the daunting interview process I heard about; I was skeptical about the authenticity of culture (is what Principles describes really how Bridgewater is run day-to-day?); and I was initially proud that I was even selected for a first round interview. After making it through the interview process and now working at Bridgewater for 6 years, I can say that those feelings were all appropriate and Bridgewater has delivered on each.

    I’m now in my 3rd role and can pledge that career growth and new opportunities are readily available to anyone who wants (and can take on) added responsibilities at Bridgewater. Role mobility is valued at Bridgewater through a free market for talent. The growth and learning trajectory I’ve experienced here in 6 years is unlike any other company I’ve worked at or schools that I’ve attend. Bridgewater challenges you in a different way that is not for the faint of heart…you’re pushed every day to think differently, step outside of your comfort zone, and not settle for flat performance. No Bridgewater employee can succeed by going through the ropes, simply doing what they’re told, and calling it a day when their checklist is complete. You succeed at Bridgewater by challenging what you don’t understand, pushing current practices further, and thinking independently.

    Cons

    During my time at Bridgewater I've experienced the highs of the highs and the lows of the lows. The lows are something you hear about and prepare for, but the learning experience at Bridgewater can definitely be painful. It’s what you do with that pain that really separates those who enjoy Bridgewater and those who hate Bridgewater. Both types of potential reactions to that pain are common (just look at Glassdoor postings) because Bridgewater can really be a polarizing place. Bridgewater will never change its values and will never try to make someone fit in whose values are naturally in conflict with Bridgewater’s. It’s not a place for everyone…in fact it’s probably a place for a very small few. Going through the pain of the lows (recognizing weaknesses, understanding who you really are, reflecting on failures, etc) can be the most valuable experience one can have in their professional life…the question is who appreciates those types of experiences, who can get above it, and who ultimately wants that type of growth.

    Advice to Management

    I’ve experiences the greatness that is Bridgewater, and I’ve also experienced the difficulty that is Bridgewater. After 6 years, I can honestly say that the longstanding greatness and outcomes of working at Bridgewater far outweigh the spikes of difficult times and I can’t imagine a better place to hone my craft, learn about myself, and develop the relationships that I have at Bridgewater.


  7. Helpful (4)

    Different work style

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates (More than a year)

    Pros

    work side by some of the great talents in the market. Very much innovative, principle based company. Open work culture, be ready for challenges in every steps you take .. people always questions status quo.

    Cons

    for some this honest and open culture is painful to adopt. people work more than 12 hrs most of the time.


  8. Helpful (3)

    BW Pros and Cons

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Bridgewater has a corporate culture like no other. Grounded in the pursuit of truth and excellence, Bridgewater is an intellectually demanding environment. Founder, Ray Dalio, has coined the company an idea meritocracy. This concept is exemplified in the frequency of debate and feedback, that employees use to generate the best ideas and foster improvement. Bridgewater practices radical transparency, where very few issues, thoughts, and conversations are private. Employees receive weekly recordings of executive meetings, at the company and departmental level. Meetings are almost always recorded, and are referenced when needed. Employees are expected to raise their concerns and give feedback, however that does not mean all opinions are equal, and BW asks it’s employees to consider whether they are knowledgeable enough to hold an opinion. Unlike many places where mistakes are frowned upon, BW embraces mistakes as a means of learning and improvement. Being able to embrace your mistakes and take critical feedback requires an abandoning of ego that is incredibly important, as well as difficult. BW possesses very high performance expectations, that only increase as employees become more competent. Successful employees embrace this and are always looking for ways to improve themselves and the way that things are done. Bridgewater has an amazing community. Having meaningful relationships, is almost as highly valued as truth. Employees are supportive and caring, but also willing to be harsh and forthright when necessary. Management cares about employees and they go out of the way to help when needed and celebrate, or congratulate, when necessary. The benefits package reflects this care. Salaries are competitive.

    Cons

    Interestingly enough, what one believes to be BWs pros, another will certainly see as cons. Receiving harsh feedback is difficult, and not everyone will have the ability to do so in a productive, learning oriented manner. The culture values substance over style, and not all issues are approached with social tact that would be required in most other corporate environments. This can be especially difficult for more sensitive people. The emphasis on finding the best answer, can be frustrating and bureaucratic, which can be viewed, and sometimes is, unproductive. Company-wide technology is deprioritized, therefore it is slightly antiquated.


  9. Helpful (8)

    Incredibly talented co-workers, surprisingly bureaucratic

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst, Research Department
    Former Employee - Analyst, Research Department

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I worked at Bridgewater for nearly 4 years. If you are thinking about working at Bridgewater, I want to say that Bridgewater's reviews on Glassdoor as a whole are accurate. Ignore the 1 star hates and 5 star brainwashed positivity. Just track the themes that repeat in the 2-4 star reviews and think for yourself. Below is my summary, but these same thoughts have been echoed in many prior reviews.

    > Bridgewater is the real deal as a macro hedge fund; it consistently beats the market on a risk-adjusted basis and with low correlation to the equity markets.

    > Greatest concentration of talented and interesting people across the organization I have ever been in. What's most surprising is that this smartness spans across to even lower level positions such as event planners, administrative assistants, and analysts. Smart people want to spend time with other smart people, and Bridgewater has a huge reputation in this area.

    > Good compensation and benefits for non-core functions relative to the market price of similar roles in other companies. Core trading, research, account management are at or possible below market.

    Cons

    > Incredible amount of bureaucracy for a 1,500 person organization. Bridgewater's culture emphasizes criticism and soundness of logic. This is outstanding for some problems, but is a nightmare for solving other kinds. I feel like this culture emphasizes incremental improvements, but makes paradigm shifts practically impossible even for super talented people.
    I contrast Bridgewater's culture with Google's culture that lets smart people try moon-shot ideas with lots of positivity and less oversight. Both organizations are immensely successful with wildly different cultures.

    >A sub-point of my first Con, but technology is horribly outdated, and the Bridgewater culture for some reason makes significant improvements difficult. As a result, you have to rely on smart people doing smart things with manual processes. Bridgewater literally has a team of 50+ people manually checking for new data points and investigating data points that fall outside 3 standard deviations of historical data points. This has essentially gone unchanged over 5 years despite massive improvements in data science and statistical analysis.

    >Job risk. Roughly 15% of the company is fired or leaves in any given year. The overall caliber of hires is very high, so those who get fired/ get fed up and quit aren't idiots/deadwood. Anecdotally, the risk is not a problem for those <5 years out of college who can find good jobs after leaving Bridgewater. It's a big risk for senior hires who have established, successful careers prior to joining Bridgewater.

    > Poor location and refusal to open an NYC office

    Advice to Management

    Honestly, I don't feel qualified to provide organizational advice. I attribute a significant portion of Bridgewater's success to Ray, Bob, and Greg and maybe a dozen other senior researchers & technologists who have a brilliant understanding of the financial markets. The other 1400+ people provide marginally positive to marginally negative contribution to Bridgewater's success. Take my view with some salt, as this is my opinion only.

    I feel that Bridgewater's culture has scaled poorly growing from a 200 person shop into a 1,500 person organization. Two options I see are to scale back the headcount significantly, or change Bridgewater's culture to enable more autonomy and


  10. Helpful (1)

    PTSD

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Compensation. This is how they keep you in their toxic environment.

    CEO is brilliant at what he does but is totally nuts. He likes to create a lord of the flies environment.

    Cons

    The culture is abusive. Most of the people are very smart, but they are not being utilized or developed properly (think MIT Mathematics PhDs being asked to do busy work knowing that they're never adding value to the company). It's very political. As a manager, I was expected to yell at and fire people to move up in the company.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being crazy and abusive.


  11. Helpful (3)

    Run for your life

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Money and perks. Unfortunately, they don't offer anything else.

    Cons

    Most of your time will be spent getting brainwashed. Ray is a maniac whose obsessed with leaving a legacy, and blind to the fact that his ideas are failing any department that is not trading to markets. At this point, they pretty much print money so this inefficiency doesn't block their survival, but the demise of the company is coming.

    Advice to Management

    Ray is not Steve Jobs. If he was, he wouldn't constantly say that he is. Steve Jobs was born, not compared to himself and therefore pushed people to believe who he was. Ray is a egomaniac hedge fund manager (we have thousands of those). See him for what he is and kick him out of his dictatorship



Showing 157 of 167 reviews
Reset Filters
RSS Feed </> Embed

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.