Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated August 8, 2014
Updated August 8, 2014
111 Reviews

3.1
111 Reviews
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
72 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • perks such as free food, free gym, fun parties and events (in 12 reviews)

  • They pay above market and hire lots of very smart people (in 10 reviews)


Cons
  • It's hard to have great work/life balance in that work will creep into every aspect of your life (in 8 reviews)

  • There can be camaraderie there, but trust no one (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 5 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 for more than a 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
  2. 3 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 for more than a 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
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    good compensation, culture is all or nothing. locale is not ideal.

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    compensation was fair but on the lower side for a hedge fund
    company/management truly cared

    Cons

    culture is all or nothing. buy in or leave. if you're not into a 'cult-like' culture, then look elsewhere

    talent is hit or miss. worked with a lot of colleagues who were culture carriers but not necessarily best in class at what they did.

    location is sub-par if you're a ny-er. be prepared to commute to wesport (about an hr driving from nyc), ct or rent a pied-a-terre near wesport

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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Pay is good, headgames abound

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The pay was very good, although you have to play a lot of mental head games to survive there. If you can afford to be unemployed for a while take it for the money while you can.

    Cons

    Doublespeak is necessary to survive. They speak about truth and honesty, but the ones that know how to manipulate the principles are the ones who survive the longest. There can be camaraderie there, but trust no one.

    Regarding the famed question: Advice to Management: What is there to say? The culture won't change although the company is too big for the principles as espoused by the owner, Ray Dahlio, to work effectively. Even those who were once on his favored list have left. The thing is, regardless of what the naysayers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When Dahlio gives the company up, allow the culture to change. Young people love it. Those in the working world know it is a sham and it is only a certain amount of time before you are out on the street either by choice or decision.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not for everyone, not good place for advancement

    • 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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -perks such as free food, free gym, fun parties and events
    -brilliant and fun people

    Cons

    -hypocritical and ineffective upper management
    -nearly impossible to advance unless you give up personal life
    -principle based work takes up 5-10 hrs a week plus your real job
    -people are forced ranked against each other
    -not every department is as well managed as others
    -poor technology, manual processes
    -slow progress on both basic and complex tasks
    -exhaustingly bureaucratic
    -inconsistent application of principles

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go back to the core of what BW used to be; a place with respect for different thought processes. Practice what you preach. There is a difference between excellence and perfection. Cut the bureaucratic crap.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 10 people found this helpful  

    Good, but not for everyone

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fascinating culture, a true experiment in human, HR and org design dynamics. Some of the smartest people in the world. Interesting training in the fundamentals of anything - from tech to management to economics. it is a place to learn about yourself and question everything you think you know plus learn how to build systems.

    Cons

    Its not for everyone. Its a closed system with closed rules that you have to buy into in order to succeed in. Transparency and accountability are great but here they often lead to VERY HEAVY bureaucracy. I have not seen or heard of any employee (not executive) changing anything fundamental about the culture. It is a VERY top down organization.

    Nothing you do here will be relevant to your market value on the outside. nothing. you gain the credibility of being in a tough place with an amazing culture and great people, but you don't actually do anything which builds your external market value. Go here to learn about your self, gain humility and training in how to think. Thats it. The salaries are also pretty good, but not as great as they used to be.

    There are two faces to every person below the CEO and Chairman - the face looking up and the face looking down. The one looking down is locked in fear. Fear of loosing their incredible salary and not having any value on the market if they are fired because, ultimately, they didn't do anything that is valuable to the outside world and industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too much bureaucracy. too much effort on every attempt being perfect. too little experimentation in approaches and implementation. Open up an NYC office.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    great.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Great people, great culture, top-notch talent. Constantly strives to achieve excellence by operating according to principles.

    Cons

    Place is not for everybody. If you're a fit, it's going to be one of the best experiences of your life. If not, it's not gonna work and you'll just be stressed out.

  9. 14 people found this helpful  

    Principles are corrupted by self-serving "apparatchick" managers

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    gym
    food
    transportation shuttle
    pay

    You have a desk and a phone, and a computer( with outdated tech). You get an understanding of how other people percieve you. And you can then do things to fix, how people percieve you. However how people percieve you does not = your actual strenghts and weakensses. It can be very useful to perfect how other people percieve you and make it work in your favor, - so that you can use it to succeed at other places.

    Cons

    BW worked well as a startup. I love debate, goal oriented and ruthless improvement and beating the competition. I enjoy making money. However, I do believe that these ends have to be pursued through honest and fair means. I realize that these convictions are quite outdated these days. During the days of Ray, BW used to be fair and honest. Ruthless, but fair and honest. Now that Ray is gone, it has lost its edge and has stagnated to become an institutionalized cesspool of cleptocrats. People mindlessly follow and execute “culture” processes, but the conviction and understanding behind the principles is no longer there. United States had good intentions and ideology too, when it first started, too. But the influence of the founders has faded, and the ideas and principles they have set forth, have been subverted, corrupted and abused by power-hungry sociopaths . The very same principles that Ray set forth to defeat dishonesty, ego and stupidity have been co-opted by self-serving managers to stifle debate and dissent. Instead of exploring weaknesses to help coach others and to drive for self-improvement, managers use a focus on weaknesses to take down people they perceive as threats and to destroy the confidence and self-worth of juniors to solidify their control over them and to boost their own egoes. Managers use debate not to find truth, but to deflect attention and blame from themselves and onto others. Instead of being managers, they have become politicians in the middle of re-election ( where re-election is every single day) , twisting words and slinging mud, aiming to take out the opponent. With electioneering happening every day, it is no wonder no work ever gets done. Imagine all the idiosyncrasy, bloat, ego, politicking, conflict of interest and bickering in the US House of Representatives. Now imagine all of that transposed onto a Hedge Fund. – well that is BW for you. If you want to learn how to be a politician debater, expert at deflecting blame to others,- then BW is right for you, and it pays better than working for the government. However, if you actually want to learn anything of substance, learn some transferable skills and get something done, then forget BW. BW is not a quick and agile firm, it is an inflexible, slow to act, soul crushing bureaucracy. True, their bureaucracy is built differently and crushes the soul differently ( other reviews have explained that in depth) than the bureaucracy at other big IB banks/institutions. However,- the end result is the same: progress and change is stifled to the max and the soul is crushed. The heavy weight of BW processes and culture creates its own kind of red tape, which is difficult to cut through to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. Ray set out to restructure human nature in his image for his company, - but he couldn’t keep out the parasites, and the parasites have taken over the host, subverting the culture to their own purposes and sucking it dry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    get rid og 75% of the dead weight and parasitic managers
    start with fresh people who have an understanding and commitment to the principles in their true form

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Don't plan on staying long

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Free meals and great company events
    - Good benefits
    - Compensation is above the market average, but not enough based on the environment
    - Idealistic in thinking about a meritocracy

    Cons

    - Poor work/life balance
    - Poor management/senior leadership
    - Next to no training/personal development outside of the prescriptive "Management Principles"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out of the way of the company. Start listening to the employees more to shape the future of BW as opposed to dictating the future.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Transparent culture and principles are impossible to implement with day to day workload.

    • 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

    The pay is above market, breakfast and lunch are free everyday, and there are meditation rooms.

    Cons

    The company prides itself on the transparent culture and principles, but with the workload you are given it feels impossible to be able to actually implement these principles. Their Principles are wonderful in theory, but in practice it didn't work for me or several co-workers in my department. You are supposed to be transparent and let everyone know what you are doing at all times (via email updates, shared daily journal entries, etc.) 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."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find more of a middle ground with your truth and transparency principles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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