Bridgewater Associates

  www.bwater.com
  www.bwater.com

Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated October 17, 2014
Updated October 17, 2014
117 Reviews
3.0
117 Reviews
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
75 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food, gym (not sure tihs is any pro (in 12 reviews)

  • You'll learn a lot about yourself -- strengths and weaknesses -- at a richer/deeper level than at other places (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • It's hard to have great work/life balance in that work will creep into every aspect of your life (in 9 reviews)

  • Non-compete seriously shackles subsequent job search (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A cornerstone of my career.

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I was at Bridgewater for a little over a year and then left to pursue another incredible opportunity. I enjoyed every minute at Bwater. The people are excellent. The benefits are excellent.

    Cons

    Bwater can take over your life very easily. The culture sucks you in (in a good way) and you find yourself missing the office when you are gone.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    I had a very fruitful learning and cultural experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Great, fundamental understanding of concepts
    Empathy of the employees
    Intelligent, Interesting people
    Great implementation of transparency and feedback mechanism

    Cons

    Little quantitative sophistication
    A little dogmatic on some aspects of the culture
    Some senior leaders are too egocentric

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more open minded about people's strong points.

  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    You're going to either like or leave really fast

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    - People are all great humans - I'd rather hang out with Bridgewater people than most of my actual friends. They are also really smart - basically 0% chance I go anywhere else in the world where people are on aggregate smarter than they are at bwater.
    - Benefit of the culture, you always know where you stand with everyone - there's no BS, there's no talking behind people's backs, etc. Great camaraderie among the people there, although occasionally someone will be sacrificed in the name of the principles.
    - people are generally really good at their jobs there or they leave. So there's probably less crap to put up with than at other places in that respect
    - great place to learn a lot about yourself, how you think, how you like to work/operate, etc.
    Free candy everywhere. If you like candy you are going to love Bridgewater.
    - Great parties, company events, all that stuff. Fun atmosphere

    Cons

    - lots of company related homework/chores to do that have little to do with the actual doing of your job
    - really high turnover - as my friend said, "it's hard to get the meaningful relationships part of the 'meaningful work/meaningful relationships' tagline they use if they keep firing all my friends."
    - principles/culture probably started out organic and great, but they're being instituted across the company in ways that are clunky and can be ludicrously bureaucratic
    - the culture is great but pervasive to such an extent that people over think doing pretty basic stuff
    - imagine spending days trying to set up a meeting and then Lord Dalio spends half of the allotted time haranguing someone over how he phrased a sentence. That kind of stuff happens way too often... lots of time wasted for low value conversations. But then again he also has 15 billion more dollars than me so what do I know.
    - people help each other out less
    - really long hours for everyone - I basically
    - it's in CT, the worst state in the union

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Lots of clunky cultural tools that I doubt will end up being worth the amount of time you are putting into them.
    - place frequently hires overqualified people to do stuff they shouldn't be doing - both at lower levels, but also a bunch of senior leaders seem to have been put into situations where they were bound to fail and then kicked out the door when the inevitable happened.
    - I think there were times when the company was less transparent than it should have been with regard to people leaving, their purposes for doing so, etc.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Home to direct, mission-driven, conceptual and visionary people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    A home for direct, mission-driven, conceptual and visionary people who crave self-development while tackling big problems. Transparent, open-minded, thoughtful, entrepreneurial, and principled. Your only limitations are the boundaries of your capability and your willingness to push yourself to be more effective. Work/life balance seems to be generally superior here against other asset managers'.

    Cons

    Not for everyone. Don't come here if you don't value truth over sensitivity, if you just seek a way of earning money rather than a cultural way of being, if you don't care deeply about developing yourself and the people around you, if you have a hard time with continuous change, or if the title, seniority and tenure matter to you. Emotional exhaustion comes with the territory of confronting your weaknesses, like exercising makes you sore but stronger.

    Recommends
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Career in the hole, non-compete crazy, culture/cult is suffocating

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - You can learn about yourself but it comes at high price and mostly just confirms what you knew about yourself
    - Free food, gym (not sure tihs is any pro ...)

    Cons

    - Your progress in any professional way is brought to a halt
    - Though claiming to be meritocracy, it is very subtle political environment
    - Amount of procrastinating is UN-believable, for example you can spend talking 30 minutes of your 30 minutes meeting talking about what is the goal of your meeting and whether makes sense (true story !)
    - Non-compete is UN-bearable, they are now stopping everybody from leaving to other financials
    - Technology is 10-12 years old
    - Members of Management Committee (MC) are nodders and Ray-pleasers who see it as opportunity to get shares and be secured for life
    - Ray keeps saying he is retired and literally makes all the decisions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Ray is a great mind who cannot let go of his baby, time to go home
    - MC members are useless, lay them off

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great transparency

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Great transparency and idealogies. Good work environment.

    Cons

    Too much stress and time wasted on issue log discussion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Review issue log

    Recommends
  8. 13 people found this helpful  

    just terrible place to work

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good food, clever coworkers. Word word word just to fill in the necessary amount.

    Cons

    To all the people considering working here, start with one thing: this is a leveraged bond fund. Not much there right now. They get all their returns from leveraged bonds and tips. They are terrible with stock and borderline with currency.

    Also, did you notice that all the positive responses sound the same. That might be because one or two people are writing them. Even if its 15, do you want to sound like that?

    Here is the bottom line: as an investment, portfolio, or management associated you are going to range between 120 and 150k. For that price, you will sign a stifling non-compete, learn nothing about how anyone but bridgewater invests, and deal with humiliating terrible stuff all day long. Not to mention they are managing 130 Billion on Excel. In many cases you actually have to open different versions of excel for different terribly constructed workbooks.

    DO NOT work here. It is borderline a career killer and you will not get any slice of the pie. Even the people on the signals team, who have to sign LIFETIME non-competes, do not break 300k. That will hardly cover your lawyer when you attempt to leave.

    They expect you to come and quit. You are not in it for the long haul. You will not make big money here. In fact, they pay well below the industry standard. Do not work here

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. The place is way too terribly to fix.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Probably amazing back in the day, now on rapid decline..

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart peers, free lunches, fun events, Ray Dalio's vision/history..

    Cons

    Reality of Bridgewater is in extreme contrast to Ray's principles and aspirations. You have plenty of overinflated egos walking around with no sense of accountability, reliability, maturity, or common sense. There is virtually no diversity in thought- to be considered great is to resemble your manager.. and expect plenty of pseudo neuroscience.

    Expect arrogant leadership, no job security, no appreciation, an aggressive non-compete, and complete lack of regard for your wellbeing and happiness (forget work/life balance).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Drop down and taste the soup... The firm's ridiculous turnover rate isn't reflective of how selective/great Bridgewater is, it's reflective of how unbearable/miserable it has become. Have you taken any time thinking about that? Or is it being treated with typical Bridgwater ego reaction/denial..

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    One of the best places to start your Management career

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    If you want to be a great manager one day, you want to be in a place where you can learn from the best managers out there while doing work that is as close to actual management work as possible. Being a Management Associate at BW can allow you exactly that: right out of college, I started working very closely with an extremely seasoned manager who teaches and coaches me every day in all the core skills of a manager. To give an example, I get the chance to run meetings with the former CEO of a 6000+ company watching me and giving me feedback in the moment, only a few months out of school. There are very few places that give entry level folks that kind of experience and development opportunity.

    Cons

    The location in Westport, CT vis-a-vis NYC or at least Stamford is definitely a draw back. Although the free transportation offered by BW is as good as it possibly can be (reliable, comfortable, professional), it's still at least 1h each way to NYC. I have the choice to stay overnight in CT if I choose to, but that's still not the same as going home.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Glad I Left

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    As the cliche goes, the food is excellent, but that shouldn't be the reason why you want to work there. Salary was okay, but I am getting paid more in New York without the headaches. No one ever gave me a hard time if that counts for anything. They did, however, give my friend a lot of stress.

    Cons

    Lackadaisical people who are good at faking it will prevail there. Dalio and his ego and his stupid religion is turning his employees into nervous wrecks who should know better. The lack of organization that I witnessed even shocked me. Bridgewater's website is full of glitches and its content is way off. One example: The Culture Videos are old and outdated. I think four of those people who speak fondly about working at Bridgewater haven't worked there for quite a long time. You can figure this out on your own by doing a simple Google search. Oh yeah, working in Westport is almost like living in a prison. You feel like you are working at someone's rich dense Westport estate with lots of trees, which gives everything an unprofessional vibe.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I guess you are doing fine. My advice is only for people thinking about getting a job there: Buyer beware. Figure it out on your own.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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