D. E. Shaw Research

  www.deshawresearch.com
  www.deshawresearch.com

D. E. Shaw Research Reviews

Updated November 2, 2014
Updated November 2, 2014
10 Reviews
2.8
10 Reviews
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D. E. Shaw Research Chief Scientist David E. Shaw
David E. Shaw
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Really inspiring team working on important problems

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    Even at a major university you won't find the level of intelligence and talent you'll find here, and certainly not at your average company. (Google, maybe.) Everyone's just really, really smart, you'll find experts in a wide range of fields (engineering, scientific and otherwise), and pretty much everyone I've met is helpful and willing to talk to you. No, there isn't much structure, but isn't that a good thing? You just have to take initiative to figure out what's needed and how you can contribute. I've seen people given pretty big new responsibilities just because they showed an interest and that they could handle it. Not saying it always works out, but how many places is something like that even a possibility? Plus, the project's an important one: designing new drugs and improving how drugs are designed. And they pay very well. I really don't get what other reviewers are grousing about. How many jobs give you great pay, super-smart co-workers, a good mission, and minimal Dilbert-like corporate BS to ruin your day?

    Cons

    No job is perfect, and if you want something to be unhappy about, you'll find something. Yes, some of the managers are probably better engineers or chemists than they are managers, so the management part of their job can get neglected. But I'd rather pay that price than work under a bunch of people who are professional middle-managers but lousy engineers or mediocre scientists or just not very intelligent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's an unusual environment, and judging by some of the reviews on here not everyone is prepared to get the most out of it. Maybe take more pains during the hiring process to explain what it's like, so people who aren't going to like it have a chance to opt out, rather than coming and being unhappy? Clearly, for the right people it works out great (it can't be an accident that there are so many people who've been here 5-10 years).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good mission, clueless management saved by good engineers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is excellent. Advance the state of the art in molecular dynamics to shorten the path to drug discovery.

    Cons

    Many good engineers work here. Management is very poor, but their lack of competence is hidden by the productivity and self-organizing abilities of their engineers. David Shaw gets his results, but it's not through the capabilities of the management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Institute 360 reviews so that managers can be reviewed by their peers and their reports. In a company where decisions are data driven and results are expected, the only people not subject to data and review are the managers. Employees won't say it openly, but the thought is prevalent.

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

    On Balance, an Unpleasant Experience (Your Mileage May Vary)

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    A chance to work on a potentially world-changing scientific project. Well-funded by David Shaw's fortune. Reasonable work hours. Almost all of the non-management employees are bright and a pleasure to work with. Attractive private or semi-private offices. Compensation is good by NYC standards. David Shaw himself is a brilliant, sincere, and inspiring leader. If you land in the right niche, this might be a great job.

    Cons

    There appears to be no functioning mechanism to remove toxic managers, and they are poisoning the organization. Turnover is high--do your homework. Because funding is essentially infinite, there is no real existential drive to avoid mistakes. There is a culture of backbiting. Almost every day you will hear someone trash another's work, sometimes with glee. Though some of the technology is cutting edge, other parts of it are maddeningly archaic. Advice: As a candidate, you should talk to former employees and have a Plan B. If DESRES doesn't work out, ensure you know what you will do, from a career and financial perspective.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The turnover rate is the canary in the coal mine. All DESRES issues come down to poor or toxic management. Advice would be for Dr. Shaw to hire a trusted management consultant and clean house. Some of the managers are good, but if in doubt better to fire them all than keep a bad apple.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    A good place to work, but with limited career upside potential.

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    - Intellectually stimulating work
    - Intelligent team members
    - Opportunities to take on a significant amount of responsibility
    - Benefits: great financial compensation for the industry, flexible hours

    Cons

    - Little emphasis on professional development
    - Few opportunities for advancement due to low growth and low turnover
    - Communication between upper management and the rest of the company leaves something to be desired
    - Long product cycle limits opportunities to learn new things
    - Slow rate of hiring leaves some team members overworked

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more attention to employees' professional development.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Intellectually rewarding experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work with the brightest minds in the world on a fascinating computational biochemistry project. Small team so each person has a lot of responsibility. Very generous with compensation. The people are very generous in sharing their knowledge with you.

    Cons

    These are long projects compared to the rest of the industry. You must remain committed for many years to get through one.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be a little bit more open on future plans.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stimulating environment with challenging/rewarding projects

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research as a contractor (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Really smart people, complicated/challenging project, minimal financial pressures on work

    Cons

    Slow progress due to academic environment

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    One can fulfill 80% of one's potential, without stress

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Smart and decent people to work with, flat organizational structure insures minimal politics or backstabbing, salary way above market norm, and very good resources to support creative work.

    Cons

    No promotions in title (salaries do increase based on performance) and no clear career path.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage people to take risks and give each individual more ownership of their work. Help each employee to develop professionally and gain recognition.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Fabulous pay, but dehumanizing environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Everyone who works there is brilliant, the work is challenging, and the pay far above what you will find almost anywhere else.

    Cons

    Don't expect to be appreciated or thanked for anything. It is all about what pleases David Shaw, and it is expected that the high pay justifies anything that is asked of you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to value the people and make them feel like their opinions matter.

  10.  

    Good goal, bad work culture

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research

    Pros

    Flexible hours, ambitious long term goal to change the paradigm of drug discovery using molecular dynamics. Casual and informal work environment with few deadlines. Lack of stress.

    Cons

    Upper management does not know how to manage and motivate people. There is lack of transparency in decision making. Employees are not valued and respected. No career growth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get to know your superstar engineers and scientists, learn how to motivate and empower them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 10 people found this helpful  

    Work/life balance means you only work, management has serious flaws, technical work is quite amazing.

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research

    Pros

    - Technical work is as cutting edge as it gets
    - Great resources available for tools, equipment, or software to do the work
    - Great technical people to work with
    - Pay is well above market

    Cons

    - Management is a mess. It is supposedly a 'flat' hierarchy, but it's really a few layers deep. The real draw back is that nobody really knows who's managing who on any given day, so there really isn't a clear chain of command.
    - Work/Life balance really means you balance the rest of your life so you can work long hours during the day, more hours at home, and checking in on work all weekend. Many people work from vacations, including from international trips!
    - No real vacation policy, so it's at the whim of your direct supervisor.
    - Senior management (which supposedly doesn't exist in the flat org chart) clearly has plans that aren't disseminated to the non-management people.
    - Plans constantly change on large scales that cause huge shifts in priorities and often cost time, effort, and money.
    - There doesn't seem to be a real direction for the whole operation that is readily apparent.
    - Company seems more focused on perks like fancy parties, free coffee, and free food on occasion than about real employee satisfaction.
    - The hiring process is horridly over complicated and though they claim they hire 'superstars' (like many companies these days) they really just hire really smart and talented people willing to work massive hours (often 70 - 90/week).
    - No written review process - annually, quarterly, or in any other way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Institute a real org chart that shows who is a manager of which employees
    - Include employees on the real company goals instead of only talking about the technical achievements and plans.
    - Stop wasting so much time and money on massive parties and useless perks and invest in your employees real life balance.
    - Change the hiring practices so enough people get hired to do the work rather than wasting months (or years!) trying to fill a position that is desperately needed in the near term with someone who will simply be overworked. Hire two really smart people and let them work more reasonable hours instead of hiring one really smart person willing to kill themselves for their job. You'll do better in the long run.
    - Decouple operations from the finance organization completely.

    Doesn't Recommend

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