Bridgewater Associates

www.bwater.com
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Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated February 22, 2015
Updated February 22, 2015
139 Reviews
3.1
139 Reviews
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
89 Ratings

Review Highlights

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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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

    Pros

    Fairly competitive atmosphere, good work life balance.

    Cons

    Very stressful and lot of office politics.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Connect more.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A chance to work with very smart people in a fanatical high stress environment that will become your life.

    • 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

    -Competitive pay not unlike other top companies willing to pay doe for talent
    -Pretty stringent hiring system. It takes a special person to make it through the interview process, and to be there for more than a year. You will end up working with very smart people.
    -Perks. Free food, free shuttle from NYC, free tickets to music/sport events in CT, a lot of company events
    -Can be great exposure to global macro concepts depending on your department
    -Most of the principles at face value are amazing - honesty, integrity, no politics.
    -Surviving there for more than a couple of years is a badge of honor that makes you valuable in the market. If you can make it at Bridgewater, you can make it anywhere as the saying goes. You should consider if you really need it since you were good enough to get the job.

    Cons

    -Buried within deep WASP land, location is terrible unless you like living in CT.
    -Principles are dogmatic and utopian despite the catch 22 that claims otherwise.
    -Various departments/offerings are not even comparable to second or third tier companies. Principles and the environment they created have clearly worked against building sustainable technology, but nobody is brave enough to admit it or do anything other than outsource heavily.
    -All those smart people from the pros section are your competitors in a system that has a mandate to periodically fire people. You will be playing an obnoxious game of survivor with highly competitive and competent co-workers.
    -No politics doctrine is nonsense. Expect cut-throat politics. If you manage to get on the bad side of your manager, you will get fired whether you are good or not. Trust no-one.
    -You will be required to spend 10-20 hours a week doing principles related training and still be expected to deliver 50 hours of work.
    -Absolute focus on negative reinforcement has created an extreme risk-averse, depressed environment where nobody is willing to lift a finger to collaborate. If you want to work in a place where nothing worth doing gets done, go there but you will learn nothing after your first 6 months and start taking fast baby steps to run like an adult.
    -Successful employees are people who can navigate the principles as well as the political environment to shed as much responsibility as possible until they do nothing but point fingers. If you are an extremely good debater, and want to do that and nothing more, this is the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reduce the principles down to 10. Fire all middle managers who have been pointing fingers and not growing for years and not really accomplishing much of note - they are doing a disservice to your core. Rebuild your organization structure from bottom up, in a big bang effect, using people who have done the same in other companies doing it the same exact way they did it before. Don't give them 300 principles to operate by. 10 is enough for people who are willing to operate well in a competitive, values based environment. If they truly need more, than you probably hired wrong.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Tough journey that may or may not help you improve...but it hurts....a lot.

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Really smart people. Just ask them, they'll tell you. The mission is very clear

    Cons

    This mission is to figure-out markets and make money. If you're not in research, you are support. Period.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Simplify the Principles

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    OK for a short stint, declining

    • 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 3 years)

    Pros

    For a short stint this is a good place, maybe right out of college. You get to learn a billionaire's way of managing and thinking. The Principles are wise guidance. You will get pushed and learn valuable lessons about yourself to take away and use later. Transparency into all meetings, including those of CEOs and top management. Pay is good. Food and benefits outstanding.

    Cons

    The upper management has lost itself. Ray needs to go for the sake of his own company. His standards are untenable; no one is good enough because no one else is Ray. He nitpicks and blasts the upper management he is "mentoring", who then carry down the idea that we are all failing to middle management. That attitude then permeates through the whole company. Words and phrases like "three-pronged attack on badness" , "triage", and "hitting rock bottom" are part of the lexicon. Principled management gets twisted around.
    The company is largely out of touch with the outside world, in some cases even shunning it. Networking opportunities outside the company are limited to nonexistent during the course of business and weak alumni network.
    Diversity is joke. 90%+ of the front office positions (Research, Account Management, Trading) male. Somewhere close to 80% white.
    Technology in shambles. Company is pushing tech resources to develop applications and programs to promote the Principles and manage once Ray leaves, while leaving gaping holes in the stack that interacts with the financial markets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ray needs to step down

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    A very weird place to work..

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

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

    Pros

    Pay is decent
    Free breakfast, free lunch, bose soundproof headphones for everyone.
    Great reputation in the industry, nice name on your resume.

    Cons

    Constantly under surveillance, every meeting is recorded, no privacy.
    Definitely has a cultish feel. Coworkers are robotic, unable to show express their true feelings and will have no problem throwing you under the bus.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually practice the principals, don't just pretend to.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    They're as smart and as crazy as they're rumored to be.

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

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

    Pros

    Very, very smart coworkers. The best at what they do.
    Open, honest feedback helps you improve.

    Cons

    Corporate bureaucracy taken to Orwellian extremes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire managers who understand the principles instead of parroting (or ignoring them).

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great company

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Recruit out off college leads to new ideas

    Cons

    Structure of company to people already in industry

  9.  

    A interesting experience

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    They had free food and snacks.

    Cons

    A very cut throat and under handed environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus a little more on the people and not so much the culture.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Highly interesting but not very productive.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates part-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Creative and interesting culture. Opens employees to blunt honesty and straightforward criticism. Definitely is highly focused on self-improvement.

    Cons

    Can be very unproductive at times, with meetings over tiny details blowing up to take hours. Oftentimes the critical culture can be inefficient and lead to a lot of unnecessary focus on unimportant facets of a project.

  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place if you can handle the culture

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

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

    Pros

    - The culture allows for rapid development and overcoming weaknesses if you aren't overwhelmed by it
    - They put a ton of effort into developing young talent and caring about your development
    - Can work with senior leaders of the company early on

    Cons

    - Only a few roles that stand out (mainly Investment Associate or other roles in the investment engine, Client Advisors) as great opportunities that would set Bridgewater apart as a place to work (and thats only ~20% of company)
    - Location in CT (especially for young people)
    - I generally felt like Bridgewater is one of the worst places to work if you're doing poorly in your job, as they won't hesitate to tell you

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus resources on the most important things

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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