Bridgewater Associates

  www.bwater.com
  www.bwater.com

Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated December 15, 2014
Updated December 15, 2014
126 Reviews
3.0
126 Reviews
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
81 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

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  1.  

    Unique corporate culture that is unlike all others I have seen

    • 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

    Pros

    Rigorous decision making framework based on multiple data points

    Cons

    Some would call the culture too direct. If you aren't comfortable with direct feedback, then it may not be the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep compensation competitive.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A meaningful experience at an outstanding company

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Incredible sense of community, people genuinely care about each other.

    Cons

    Can be stressful to always be upholding the culture.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    A very negative experience

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

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

    Pros

    Starting salary was above average. The training program was well designed. That's about it (I'm not going to include the free food or the Friday afternoon "Happy Hour").

    Cons

    During my short time here, four people in my department left the company. Three were fired and one quit. The person responsible for training me was one of the fired. He had "lost his box" and was being "sorted". If you're like me, and need to have some sense of job security, stay away from here.

    Every mistake discovered, no matter how minute, is entered into an "Issue Log". I was once issue logged for failing to capture the letter "C" in the word Complete, when I C&Ped it from one document into another. Had I made this mistake a second or third time, it would have likely been selected for "diagnosis". This is where you have a sit down with a bunch of managers who attempt to "get past your ego" to the root of the problem. The least painful way to get through these sessions is to agree with their assessment that you lack attention to detail, have an insufficient level of paranoia, are inherently careless, and lack discipline. You walk away feeling like a loser, but at least they're in a great mood for the rest of the day.

    Your workload starts out manageable, and is steadily increased until you're struggling to maintain productivity. You start putting in more and more hours. You start making mistakes, which means more issue logs, more diagnosis sessions, more frustration, more anxiety. You start dreading going to work. Eventually, you're labeled as "not a fit for Bridgewater", and you are "sorted".

    On the plus side, it was highly amusing listening to kids fresh out of college (with this place being their first real word job) diving head-on blind into Ray's "culture", using as much (by and large) of the BW language as possible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dump the culture to free up the thousands of hours wasted on psychoanalyzing each other, and use that time to modernize your technology, participate in some free-thinking brainstorming, and have a little fun.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Complicated place to work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    The culture promotes transparency and finding what is true. Employees are encouraged to speak up and find their own path.

    Cons

    The implementation is lacking. The idea of trying to take the management principles on the investment management side and apply it to all facets of running the company is questionable. Given the high turnover and difficult environment it can be questioned whether this is working for the long haul.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider whether the model is scalable

  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Immersion program

    • 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 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    A place to make mistakes, have the mistake called out, and learn grow evolve as a result

    Cons

    Impossible to achieve a sustainable work life balance. Management is becoming political instead of an idea meritocracy.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Be scared... If not paranoid before, you will be after

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

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

    Pros

    -- Security department has the most advanced information, tools and tactics of the CIA - which could be a pro if they used it judiciously and for continual improvement

    -- Job will surely result in introspection

    -- Free food (but bringing your own, tamper proof packaged food is safer)

    Cons

    -- Recognize that information collection (personal phone and personal life recordings) starts before your first interview so your privacy is severely at risk by even talking with Bridgewater. Remember that a cell phone is also a satellite and a microphone and can easily be tapped

    -- If you are a senior hire and recruited by BW, candidate selection was likely performed by machine driven, analytical big data algorithms in a targeted fashion which means you are wanted as a specimen for a specific reason. This can often cause misaligned goals between the hire and the company as your title / role is not often the reason you are hired.

    -- Why would a hedge fund need a partnership with Palantir and other data intelligence providers for constant employee tracking and surveillance, and also enter your private residence and car during onboarding ? - Be Careful with BW!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -- Stop screwing with people's minds during onboarding and using them as personal psyc experiments As Ray would say, this goes far beyond "scratching the car" which is OK and can result in crashing the car....
    -- Stop using illegal and immoral tactics in onboarding and within the security department. Big Data and artificial intelligence systems are not meant to be used against recruits who want to work for the company. Information is power, but in the wrong hands, it is crippling.
    -- Should be open that only 25-35% of people make it 18 months

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Friends don't let friends join Bridgewater

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    - Company is not about to go out of business, they have so much money that they don't blink when it comes to wasting it on the culture, principles, or technology.
    - Relaxed environment
    - Free food (but who cares besides kids out of college?)

    Cons

    - Lots of talking, not much time left for actually doing things
    - as political as any other place (despite claims to the contrary)
    - Say good bye to a future career in finance: they will enforce the non-compete (unless you go work for a lumber company, as they recently suggested), and many firms will not even talk to you because they don't care to deal with this hassle.
    - Emphasis on exploring failures and weaknesses, creating a very negative environment. Successes are rarely celebrated, and then only briefly.
    - Chronically unable to hire & retain staff (e.g. always understaffed), loads of consultants passing by
    - Technology is hopelessly obsolete. No investment in tech for years, but most crucially there is neither vision nor leadership when it comes to tech.
    - Hours of "culture" training to complete on a weekly basis (can be a Pro if you enjoy watching senior hires cry like babies)
    - Comp is average (only those being hired from college or out of finance think otherwise)
    - Offices located in the middle of nowhere
    - No sick pay (sick? take it out of your vacation days)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The MC cannot succeed while Ray is still around, he is too much of a presence and you all cower in front of him. He needs to let go (more than he has so far) in order that others may flourish in his place.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    great firm

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    great interesting work
    good money
    good food
    smart people

    Cons

    long hours HR blows
    sorting process is really messed up and leads to witchhunts
    principles are misused and abused for personal gain

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    look very closely at how your Human Resources function is operating.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    everyone sucks and not much gets done

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

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

    Pros

    Crazy smart people. excellent free food and fantastic pay
    Not account for results --great place to "hide" for years and still get paid very well
    Huge asset base (significant amount of the AUM are from the Chinese Government) which means they are not going anywhere soon and have a huge fee base

    Cons

    No question a large collection of smart people with lots of potential but sadly, they use none of it.
    Virtually nothing of value is created save for handful of people that do investment management.
    IT systems are 10 years behind the times and often simple things like email fail to work properly.
    Security is "big brother" like, camera everywhere including the bathrooms and staffed by former FBI/CIA officers
    Given the above one could question their stated returns which have been eye popping...no one really knows

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The day to day basics need work. If you really are transparent and open why the military level security, alarms on doors of finance department and a none compete that makes impossible to work after leaving

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 4 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

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