Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated August 26, 2015
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
104 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

169 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (2)

    great for some, though not everyone

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    — high concentration of 'sparkly' and brilliant folks, higher than bell curve at most companies — strong sense of community, genuine relationships and meaningful investment in their cultivation — great challenge, if you can make it here you can make it most places — 'bubble' is very cozy, perks, pay, advancement opportunities, etc.

    Cons

    — 'getting stuff done' takes a while, huge burden of proof to accomplish small things — skills/development doesn't correlate well to outside world, particularly for young hires will take a lot of explaining to line up career trajectory

    Advice to Management

    — heed 'external' believability more / allow for more external partnership opportunities


  2. produvction

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Detroit, MI
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Detroit, MI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    good job i like it

    Cons

    dont walk the line iut will blurr

    Advice to Management

    lock it up


  3. Helpful (1)

    IN and OUT

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technologist in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Technologist in Westport, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    BW Pays overmarket because they can't attract people otherwise

    Cons

    turnover rate exceeds 50%, most people leave within 2 years, politics in the management ranks, very personal attacks, people abusing the principles to fight their way ahead, terrible technology stack

    Advice to Management

    you know who the liars are just live up to your own principles


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  5. Helpful (1)

    its and ok company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Associate in Detroit, MI
    Former Employee - Production Associate in Detroit, MI
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    if you work you will advance ..

    Cons

    gaining access to the building..

    Advice to Management

    management needs to train new staff not co workers ..it holds up the line,and the new employee doesnt get the time needed to learn the skill


  6. Helpful (9)

    Manager, Service Desk

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Service Desk Manager in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Service Desk Manager in Westport, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The benefits are great, some people are intelligent and caring. Free redbull

    Cons

    The culture and principles are great, in theory. However, there aren't great checks and balances and the company has become too large. You have a lot of young kids that have only worked at BW, so they have no idea what good looks like. Especially within IT, you have a bunch of people that think they are smart, trying to interpret and manage by the principles. IT is a funny place to work, as it is completely mismanaged. "Managers" attempt to mess with your mind by using quotes from the principles instead of actually taking the time to get to know their people and build them up. Most people there do not know how to manage, but because they did well on a principles test or because they can 5 step a simple problem, they suddenly become senior managers. I have faith that the core departments don't operate in a poor way, after all...they have exposure to Ray and competent people. Working at Bridgewater is a great experience. You learn that even throwing money at problems doesn't fix things. BW spends millions bringing in pwC consultants, and those consultants make things worse and attempt to quote the principles when making management decisions. At the very least, it's worth a good laugh If you're not very bright, and you can be a yes man, and you don't have ideas of your own...you can stay there forever. IT management will keep you there forever, because you're a mindless sheep.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to manage and compensate your people fairly. If someone asks for a raise, DO NOT RESPOND WITH "By and large you get what you deserve over time...however, today is not your time". You come across as a jerk that's not connected to reality.


  7. Manager

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people. Company cares about the employees.

    Cons

    Long hours. Alot of unnecessary work.


  8. Helpful (6)

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    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.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Know what you're getting into.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trading Associate in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Trading Associate in Westport, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Their track record proves whatever the cons are, these guys are good at what they do. Good pay, free food and snacks all day.

    Cons

    It may not technically be a cult, but the cult of personality surrounding Ray is pervasive in everything. Daily "devotions" to studying the principles are tracked and penalized if you don't keep up. This culture works for some people, and they are forthright in how it is, so if you have any doubts whatsoever, be cautious about joining.

    Advice to Management

    It would help if managers were more communicative to new employees; for example, I never met or spoke to my manager's manager until the day I learned their was a problem and I was fired the next day. If certain 'dissent' or other ways of thinking are unacceptable, proactively engaging employees is a better way to go.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Senior Software Developer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Incredibly smart people, very high standards, very direct feedback. Looks great on your resume. You do grow as a person by having your ego adjusted realize you are not all that great in things you thought you were great. Refreshing ability to tell publicly your boss that he is terrible at certain things and be tanked for constructive feedback.,

    Cons

    Bureaucracy and paranoid security is stifling productivity. Pros = Cons (sometimes): if you don't have a good argument, throw a "principle" ("you are not operating at the right level..." etc.). Westport CT location and server work from home.

    Advice to Management

    Having Wesport CT location and not having any ability to work from home will drive the talent away. You need to make some tough choices. Open New York office.


  11. Helpful (3)

    creepy...

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Food, perks, hours better than some other finance options, some smart people

    Cons

    "Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the Party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts. The key word here is black-white. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary." Basically sums up the bridgewater experience. If you're interested in working at a big hedge fund, fine, just don't go in with some naive expectation of "radical truth," "radical transparency," and "an idea meritocracy" as they advertise--unless, of course, the "radical truth" equates to whatever Ray Dalio or his loyal minions say.. They have their own ridiculous version of Newspeak hand-crafted by Ray, including phrases like "getting to the other side" by overcoming your "blindspots and ego barriers," which essentially amounts to blindly adhering to whatever your masters believe while ignoring any attempts at logic. All this is made harder to stomach by the weirdly moralistic culture that you have to applaud as "holier than" the rest of wall street (holy is an apt word here, as one must respect Ray's Principles as though they are the Word of God). A deceptively awful place for any intelligent/curious person to work, where the best case scenario is that you are a relatively well-paid and only sometimes harassed yes-man doing pointless work that won't impact any investment decisions

    Advice to Management

    I would say be less hypocritical/totalitarian, but that would require not listening to Ray, and this will obviously not occur



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