Citadel Reviews

Updated January 15, 2015
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3.7
72 Reviews
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Citadel Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ken Griffin
Ken Griffin
49 Ratings

Pros
  • Citadel has great benefits, ability to interact with smart people throughout the firm (in 9 reviews)

  • You can learn a lot as a technologist (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance not important to the firm but everyone does have a full slate of holidays (in 7 reviews)

  • These firms will source you, sell you on the name of the company and lie to you about career growth (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Great work place

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

    I have been working at Citadel

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

    Pros

    Great compensation and benefits. Pay is near impossible to beat.

    Cons

    Work life balance is generally zero

  2. Helpful (4)

    Citadel Investment Group

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Vice President in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Citadel full-time (more than a year)

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

    Pros

    You will have the opportunity to work with very intelligent and talented individuals.

    Cons

    It is a fast paced, high stress environment with high expectations of it's employees, if you do not thrive under those conditions you will will not enjoy the job.

  3. Helpful (1)

    Good

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

    I have been working at Citadel

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

    Pros

    not bad like it... competitive atmosphere

    Cons

    intense pressure. work life balance nil.

    Advice to Management

    build rapport

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  5. Internship experience

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

    I worked at Citadel

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

    Pros

    It was ok, learned alot

    Cons

    Doesn't have good chance for fulltime.

  6. Helpful (11)

    Engineers AVOID this place.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Citadel full-time (more than a year)

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

    Pros

    Pay & benefits were great. Free meals, but no cafeteria - they want you to work at your desk so you'll work longer hours. And so you'll stay in your little cubbyhole where you belong and not interact with anybody who "doesn't need to know" (a key buzzword at this paranoid firm).

    Cons

    Manager was horrendously insecure and micro-managed everything in a field he had no business or experience to justify doing so (if micro-managing is ever justifiable). HR and manager's boss didn't seem to care that he was doing this - even after informing them he bought an expensive board without consulting his subordinates and it was effectively useless for what he wanted to do with it - something that could have been avoided if this guy had put his ego aside and asked the people working for him with more experience & knowledge.

    Company has a highly secretive culture - at least two people were hired into our group without my knowledge. Granted, I wasn't a manager myself, but I'm generally accustomed to being permitted to interview candidates I'm going to work with and at least make a recommendation. You're also not allowed to talk to ANYONE because of this whole "need to know" BS that permeates the whole place. If you're coming from the tech sector and are used to being allowed to talk to people in other groups to get an idea of what it is they want, forget about doing that here. The Insecure Micro-Manager is your gatekeeper here. He will dictate the specifications and how he wants you to build your design. He will not care about your feedback or warnings about his architecture because his ego is too big. Then 2 weeks after you make your delivery and move on to the next project, Micro-Manager will tell you that the requirements weren't defined right and you need to go back to the old project and fix it so the internal customers will be happy. Something that clearly could be avoided by just letting us interact directly with the internal customers rather than carry this whole "need to know" concept to the paranoid extreme that exists at Citadel.

    I'll say two more things that sums up the company culture here. About 6 months through my one-year stint at this place, there was a company-wide meeting where a friend of CEO Ken Griffin gave a talk about something. Following the presentation, there was a reception afterward. It dawned on me that I knew NOBODY there beyond my manager and colleagues at this reception. And if you held a gun to my head today and told me to name more than 6 or 7 people who work for Citadel (never mind titles or departments or anything), I'd end up with a hole in my head.

    Just stay away. This place is just not worth the trouble or the pay. Or dealing with Micro-Manager's ego.

    Advice to Management

    Get Insecure Micro-Manager out of the field he's managing and keep him in the field where he belongs (i.e. the field you hired him to work in, not this new field he's micro-managing).

  7. Helpful (2)

    Challenging

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Trade Support Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Trade Support Analyst in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Citadel full-time (more than a year)

    Positive Outlook
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great compensation, working with high caliber co-workers. You work non-stop to stay ahead of the competition, surrounded by intelligent co-workers.

    Cons

    Not for everyone because of the long hours; no sense of work-life balance. If you are not part of the upper echelon within your group, you better love what you're doing, because you'll be doing it morning, noon, and night. Forget about weekends, forget about holidays . . .

  8. Helpful (10)

    Where do you go from here?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Citadel full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Total compensation (base + bonus + medical/dental benefits) are nearly impossible to beat. Tack on the other perks (catered meals, in-house gym, discounts on things such as cellular plans and museum memberships, commuter benefits, the sheer amount of in-house education taught by industry & academic leaders) and you won't fit better overall compensation in Chicago.

    The culture of compliance (legally speaking) gives you a feeling of stability. As much as we all hate going to those meetings for "re-education", it's comforting to know that regulations are taken seriously and people are willing to reach out for help when they've made a mistake. Citadel proves firms can prosper regardless of the regulatory environment.

    Cons

    Like most hedge funds, the org chart is very flat. You will be rewarded through comp, but if you desire more than money, the upward mobility is pretty limited.

    For many years, there was a saying that Citadel is a "technology firm that happens to trade". This is ridiculous. The technology at Citadel is very outdated and many teams spend an equal amount of time working around the limitations of the infrastructure as they do building solutions to problems for the business they serve. Of course the darling businesses are allowed to buy whatever they need to get the job done, but for the other slow-but-steady money makers, technology can be extremely frustrating. This frustration transcends both the software (compilers, tool kits, etc.) and the hardware (storage subsystems, network infrastructure, etc.).

    Unless you have deferred comp (difficult to achieve) or are directly involved in a business (QR and trading), your comp is based on the overall performance of the firm and yourself,. but you have no direct way to participate in the gains (or losses) of the firm. A voluntary employee fund (or something along those lines) would be nice for those of us that are dedicated to the firm and want greater benefit from our contributions.\

    The office is sterile. There is very little access to natural light (unless you happen to have an office), otherwise it's a fluorescent hell. The "open cubicle" concept is extremely detrimental to productivity, but I'm not sure it was done in the name of conformance and collaboration. In reality, it does nothing to foster collaboration outside of what a team is going to do naturally, with the added strikes of being noisy and disruptive.

    The politics in upper IT management can be paralyzing. We often do nothing out of fear or a Congressional-like inability to compromise, rather than stepping on some toes and doing what's needed to get the job done.

    Advice to Management

    To the folks in facilities management -- please read Peopleware and then try convincing yourself this environment is optimal for software development.

    To the upper management of IT -- you should also read Peopleware.

    To trading and C-level executives -- please reconnect with all of us. The yearly town halls are becoming generic and uninformative. Despite our size, the firm always felt small, as if we were a strategic, money-making family. In recent years it feels more and more "corporate", less dynamic, and out of touch with the current generation of employees and recruits.

  9. Helpful (3)

    Incredibly rewarding and challenging

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Investment and Trading Analyst in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Investment and Trading Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Citadel full-time (more than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    You will learn more and more will be expected of you than any job you will ever have again
    You will be rewarded financially in line with this effort.
    This firmwide reputation is well known and will travel with you when you leave and I have found it has been very additive to my career experience.

    Cons

    The standards are set as high as anywhere I know and the demands of those standards can be so rigorous it can be hard to maintain that level of performance.
    Either through burnout or not living up to these performance standards you will not in all likelihood have more than a 10 year career at Citadel.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to expect and demand high performance from everyone. It is what makes the place great.

  10. Helpful (6)

    Beware of back office contract positions!

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

    I worked at Citadel as a contractor

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The company name will open doors to other opportunities.

    Cons

    Citadel fills a multitude of back office positions through staffing firms. These firms will source you, sell you on the name of the company and lie to you about career growth. You will not receive benefits of any kind and will not be treated like a full-time employee (they will tell you otherwise in the interview). You will not be invited to company "town halls" and will be forced to remain at your desk as full-time employees meets to discuss the future of the company. The nature of the work is purely administrative. You will be micromanaged by your team and the work you do will be undervalued. If you're looking for a challenge and career advancement, you will not find it at Citadel.

    Advice to Management

    Provide training opportunities for contract employees and be consistent when discussing areas for development. Be honest about career growth (there isn't much) and provide "big picture" explanations for administrative assignments as will help with employee engagement. Be transparent and discuss job performance with your direct reports...instead of discussing it with others in the office....refraining from this may help with your very, very high turnover rate.

  11. Helpful (5)

    For technologists, a good place to learn about finance and trading, but not technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Citadel full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good in house training on finance, markets, etc. You can learn a lot as a technologist. Good pay and bonus if you are working in a profitable part of the company.

    Cons

    Technology is deep but very narrow and old-school. Very little open source. Very little collaboration. The tech staff is operated a bit as a fiefdom, based on loyalty and hours worked.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in more modern development practices and tools.

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