D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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3.9
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D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm Chairman David E. Shaw
David E. Shaw
54 Ratings

Pros
  • Very good work life balance, Good work if you want to actually do it else nobody is going to bother you (in 8 reviews)

  • Very smart people, lots of freedom (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance could be improved (in 3 reviews)

  • Sometimes too casual, may not set a definite career path for an employee (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

91 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Excellent Environment!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    - Extremely high caliber colleagues - you are truly working with some of the smartest people in the world. And they are super nice to boot! - Flexibility/Little "face time" - only important that you get the job done - Competitive compensation - Great benefits/perks - from health insurance to highly subsidized gym memberships to awesome company parties.

    Cons

    - Not a place to work if you want to "phone it in" - people are on their game and love intellectual challenge. Expect to learn something new every day.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up!


  2. Best perk: the people

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    The best part of working at Shaw was getting to know my co-workers...intelligent, interesting people with all kinds of educational backgrounds...not just stuffy finance guys. Also, can't complain about no dress code, great snacks, company parties...

    Cons

    When I left, the company was becoming more "corporate" and had less and less of the casual start-up vibe...no idea how it's changed in the years since I moved on.

    Advice to Management

    As the company's role in the financial world changes, try to keep in mind what made the firm special and successful in the first place.


  3. Software developer

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm

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

    Pros

    A lot of challenging work. Working with very smart people. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    The project focus is mainly short-term. This could be a good strategy for smaller companies, but for such a big company they could probably allow themselves to do some longer term research.

    Advice to Management

    Allow longer term research at least part time in the groups. Improve general project management and prioritization at the group level.


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  5. The D. E. Shaw group

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    + Overall, very smart, friendly, dedicated colleagues. + Ideas-oriented, meritocratic. + Firm cares about getting things right. + Culture prizes clear, rigorous communication. + No dress code.

    Cons

    - Some cultural dilution as the firm expanded over the last decade. - Career development could be improved for certain roles.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Not a good place

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    * Smart people. * Food surprises. * Nice snacks in the office. * Interesting work. * Good perks.

    Cons

    * Cut throat atmosphere. It's dog eat dog. Managers and their direct reports are competing for a slice of the same pie. Search for "I actually never really intended to stay in finance, it was just the only real job I could get with my number theory skills." using your favorite search engine. * Extremely high pay inequality. Entry quants and developers are making $200-250K while MDs are making $5-10M and the head honcho is making $50-100M. Meanwhile the original founder is raking in $500M+ and doesn't even show up to work any more. * Pay is opaque. You'll get a raise, you won't know why. Your pay will get cut, you won't know why. Bonuses given only annually. * Failure rate of projects is extremely high (90%+). * Nobody here knows how to manage well. You'll be micromanaged until you need to see a shrink. Stifling atmosphere. * All the best people have left owing to the above issues. Some groups have attrition as high as 30% / year. People leaving both from the top and the bottom. * Company's best days are behind it. * Amount of hard work required to be "successful" is insane these days. All the low hanging fruit has been eaten. You will have to achieve several Einsteins in a row to make money here. * Your success depends on not only how hard you work, but mostly on which projects get assigned to you. Projects vary widely in their chances of success and their difficulty level. If you get difficult, unlikely to succeed projects, you won't be successful. You will then be perceived as being stupid. This will lead to you not getting good projects in the future. The vicious death spiral will lead to you quitting. The people running the show don't want to understand this because they enjoy their feeling of superiority for having succeeded and being able to call you a stupid failure. * For developers - ancient tech stack. They laugh at the idea of contributing to the open source community. They are insular, outdated, and way behind the times. You will get tired of it quickly. * Laptops only by special request. You'll be chained to an aging Dell desktop machine running an old version of Windows. * Secretive. Little collaboration. Sharing of work and results limited to tiny peer groups (2-5 people). * Slippery recruiting. "Sell days" in which you'll be lied to in the face until you join.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the issues and you will prosper. Keep the food surprises. Try to keep your employees happy and engaged.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Not a private equity firm

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very, very smart team throughout the organization - the hiring bar is high and it shows with everyone you meet.

    Cons

    A very strong quantitative shop, but this short-term trading mentality overcomes the opportunity in illiquid private equity investing. Private equity time horizons and decision criteria just don't resonate with the vast majority of the broader organization.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on your strengths - quantitative trading is where you win...private equity isn't going to become a core competency.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Great place to work for a quant

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    Extremely Intelligent and hardworking coworkers Great work/life balance Great compensation if you contribute All around classy organization

    Cons

    The food court can be improved (where are my pistachios?)


  9. Helpful (2)

    Academic atmosphere, "out of the box" thinkers

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Awesome work environment, everyone you encounter is extremely intelligent and generally helpful. Awesome benefits, great learning environment.

    Cons

    No vacation policy (at least when I was there) sounded like an awesome perk... but then it was so hard to really ever get away that folks ended up not really taking extended vacations at all. I hear they were considering implementing a more structured vacation policy but do not know if they finally succeeded in doing so.


  10. Not a great place to work

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

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    - Perks, Salary and smart people

    Cons

    - Work is boring, very old technology. No scope to improve

    Advice to Management

    Bring in more technical leads who can shape up the organization in technical path.


  11. Helpful (3)

    Great coworkers and work/life balance

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

    I worked at D. E. Shaw & Co. - Investment Firm full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good compensation for a liberal arts major. Very smart, interesting coworkers. Great benefits and perks---you don't appreciate free snacks, 100% paid health, 401K matching and gym memberships until you leave!!

    Cons

    Managers aren't always the best people managers, just someone who's been there for a while and good at the other parts of their job. Much more standard corporate than it used to be.



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