Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated April 23, 2015
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3.0
149 Reviews
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
92 Ratings

Pros
  • Free food, gym (not sure tihs is any pro (in 13 reviews)

  • Intelligent and smart people who will question and ensure that you question your logic (in 11 reviews)

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

  • There can be camaraderie there, but trust no one (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Great core culture and people, terrible management and technology

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    Many of the people here are very smart, very dedicated and generally the most interesting and likable people I've ever met. You get a ton of value out of the relationships you build here with the folks who embody the culture in a fundamental and common sense way.
    Lots of opportunities to discover who are you; both peers and managers invest a lot of time in helping you understand and improve from your mistakes.
    Culture was really great 5-7 years ago when Bridgewater was just full of smart, dedicated and intrinsically cultured employees.

    Cons

    Systematized management is not creating a good culture; it was way better 5-7 years ago before all these management tools and feedback quotas came along.
    Too bogged down with dealing with constant fires to have any notion of career development.
    Skills are regarded as irrelevant as long as you have the values and abilities.
    Tons of red tape to get anything done. Terrible governance and the most basic processes need to be constantly built from scratch.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of systematized management, go back to your core values, stop the ridiculous hypocrisy.

  2. Helpful (1)

    Smart People--Impossible to do much

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

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

    Pros

    Generally brilliant people
    Free lunch is pretty good
    Innovative approach to management

    Cons

    Extremely bureaucratic
    Literally nobody listens to you. No team spirit.
    You're guaranteed to be overqualified for the job they give you
    Extremely behind technologically

    Advice to Management

    Advising you would be pretty futile.

  3. Event Planner

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    The people are amazing and I got to produce some wonderfully challenging events as the company grew.

    Cons

    The culture can be overwhelming at times.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    technology strategy

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

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

    Pros

    highly talented team working very hard and focused on solutions. World class analysis and inights into economics.

    Cons

    over reliance on flawed tests such as MBTI etc. internal reviews too subjective relative to context review system tells you who are in a BW context, but not as a person.

    Advice to Management

    review the review methodology and MBTI emphasis on "types"

  6. Helpful (11)

    A social experiment, don't join unless you are emotionally stable, really smart, and are up for a wild ride.

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

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

    Pros

    Smart people, good salary, good benefits, perks like lunch, gym and parties
    Opportunities to move within company can be good. You will find awesome people there.
    Principles are great in theory and give a good framework of thinking about problems and common management issues.
    Will push you to be at your best, testing your intellect and mental fortitude.
    Best opportunities for success and happiness are far away from the departments where the founder is involved

    Cons

    Parties and "team bonding" events get excessive- forced bonding with co-workers to "build community" takes even more time away from family and friends outside of work. Managers are expected to attend and it is viewed negatively if managers do not attend. Poor work life balance

    Parties get out of hand, and no-one really cares... kind of like "Mad Men" in how it operates. Men who are complained about are minimally disciplined, if at all, and excuses made for them.

    Forced bell curve on performance, requires constant culling of employees. Managers know this and need to plan for it, if you aren't in charge of who gets in the bottom 30% you are 75% more likely to be in there. It becomes a chess game of managers keeping their jobs and "sorting people."

    Highly successful people aren't good enough. You are labeled within 3 months of your arrival, and if the picture wasn't pretty to them, by whatever algorithm that they are using this week to assess you, it will never be pretty and you will never come out from under any label you get there... It will be on your "baseball card" and follow you to any role for the rest of your career there.

    Reckless assessment and testing practices, using personality and workplace assessments in ways that they were never intended to be interpreted by people with zero training resulting in hiring and firing decisions as well as opinions of people that are unfounded - rampant confirmation bias. Everyone is compared to the founder and his heir apparent, so if your results are different from them, you are in the red and scores are lower. No perceived value in diversity of thinking, approach, etc.

    Constant failure and revolving door of Senior Executive team and department heads is depressing...

    If you can't communicate in their language, good luck uttering a full sentence without being interrupted and negative feedback being recorded for you in their assessment system. No effort to understand one another. Most people just trying to survive by attacking rather than being attacked.

    Principles are great in theory, but can be manipulated to support whatever theory the better debater needs. And, if something happens that requires Ray to do something he doesn't want to, to stay in line with his own principles and values, he'll just write a new one to justify what he does.

    The worst part is that Management and the company pretend to be different from every other corporate environment and they fool lots of people who end up being blindsided. Real truth is that they are just as political, scheming, back stabbing and pushing of their own agendas as any other financial institution, but they are full of arrogance and hubris that they are somehow better and more elevated than people at those other companies. Its just all the harder to figure out who you can trust there.

    You are being watched -- 100% of the time--Through your badges, cameras, computer activity, blackberry, more cameras and all formal conversations are audio-taped. You are encouraged to report on other employees, preferably publicly, but anonymously is OK too and they'll give you lots of ways to do that.

    Advice to Management

    Ray needs to get out of the way OR run the company. The 1/2 in 1/2 out for the past several years is creating an MC of impotent followers all trying to survive

  7. Helpful (3)

    Direct, open, honest, bad management, poor implementation of principles, used to be better place to work

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    - Lots of bright, smart people
    - Lots of perks (free lunch, snacks, drinks, company events, etc.)
    - Transparency into senior management thinking, company strategic direction, etc.
    - Direct, open, honest feedback to almost everyone can be useful in learning about yourself & others

    Cons

    - Very inefficient. Everything is a process that demands wide-spread approvals
    - Long hours (in some departments, upwards of 14-16 hour days)
    - Very restrictive non-compete with a very lengthy process to get anything approved
    - Implementation of Principles is sporadic / inconsistent, and can be "gamed"
    - Heavy-handed approach to principles & management
    - Attempts to distill an individual into a set of rankable/ratable attributes that is used for hire/fire decisions
    - Despite what others may say, pay is only average for NYC region -- probably slightly higher if you're only comparing w/in CT
    - Management that is constantly "failing"
    - Revolving door of hires

    Advice to Management

    - Ray needs to go, step back & let others who know how to, run the company
    - Refocus on core strengths & cut the fat in other areas
    - Step back and reconsider implementation of principles & management and overall ROI

  8. Helpful (1)

    Strong culture, not for everyone

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Honest transparent feedback
    ability to move up/ lots of growth
    constantly challenging performs

    Cons

    bad location
    terrible tele-commute policy
    benefits and compensation are not standardized, so when you try to negotiate you are in the dark about what's consistent across the firm

  9. Helpful (1)

    mediocre

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

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

    Pros

    smart people, free food, prestige of employer

    Cons

    bureaucracy is there whether you admit it or not

    Advice to Management

    ex-ray, step down - you are not up to the task

  10. Helpful (3)

    Cultural Revolution in China under Mao and Gang of Four

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates as a contractor

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

    Pros

    Good food, some intellectual stimulation.

    Cons

    Culture as in cult-ture. This must be what the Cultural Revolution in China under Chairman Mao and his Gang of Four must have been like. The Little Red Book and the Red Guards. Criticizing people and labeling them--wearing a dunce cap.

    Issue log is like the computer help desk ticketing and escalation system--problems don't get solved, just recorded and used against the person.

    It is pure bureaucracy camouflaged as transparency. A two-faced and two-tongued haven. There is a better and more dignified way to make a living, unless one is a masochist, then would love it since sadists abound.

    When psychology or psychopaths runs amok, this is what happens.

    Advice to Management

    In need of a revolution, like the Deng Xiao-ping's practicality of "it doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice" rather than the cult-like Mao and the Gang of Four MO, whereby it becomes a matter of whose cat it is, and how it meow's. .

    An experiment that failed and produced a Frankenstein. Kill it before it grows, if not too late. It is almost out of control now, into a vicious cycle, and seemingly beyond the point of return--no longer possible to arrest--like a fire burning out of control. Eventually it will implode--look at the high employee turnover as a leading indicator.

    Ray should put self out to pasture, rather than be carried out as a stiff on a stretcher or booted to a mental ward for delusions. Fix it, or get out.

  11. Helpful (2)

    Good Not Bad

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

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

    Pros

    Fairly competitive atmosphere, good work life balance.

    Cons

    Very stressful and lot of office politics.

    Advice to Management

    Connect more.

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