Dimensional Fund Advisors

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Dimensional Fund Advisors Reviews

Updated January 30, 2015
Updated January 30, 2015
55 Reviews
2.4
55 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Eduardo A. Repetto
34 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • A lot of amazing people and great benefits (in 7 reviews)

  • Minus the traffic pretty good work/life balance (in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • Complete lack of accountability my senior management (in 4 reviews)

  • There is a lot of disinformation from some middle management to their seniors and a lot of back-stabbing and slandering (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Dimensional Fund Advisors

    Pros

    Intellectual stimulation, smart people, great office locations.

    Cons

    If you don't buy into the investment philosophy then you're in the wrong place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep on investing in your employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Nice Company, Unless You're A Programmer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Software Developer in Austin, TX
    Former Contractor - Software Developer in Austin, TX

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Strong business model, solid fiscal footing. Great Christmas party.

    Cons

    I.T. is staffed with people who do not want to learn new technologies. There needs to be a CTO-led initiative to enforce best software development practices uniformly across the organization. Some teams within software dev code to best practices, and adopt new technology, and other team leaders will resist best practices--to the death.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be a company-wide buy in to perform software development to modern standards, and this will have to be led from the CTO on down in order to override some stubborn middle managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Cares About Their Employees

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors

    Pros

    Unlike many organizations, this one considers their employees to be a family. They nurture you and reward you. The only reason I left is due to the fact that they moved their headquarters out of state.

    Cons

    They moved out of state.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make certain that the baton is passed as new people/management joins the firm keep up the core values of the organization.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    It doesn't 2.3 stars for nothing

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Base pay is higher than industry average. Great Austin office with free soft drinks.

    Cons

    You pay for that higher salary. The culture is one of finger pointing and CYA. Toxic with a high turn over rate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sell the company already and let professional manage it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Avoid technology departments

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Senior Associate in Austin, TX
    Former Contractor - Senior Associate in Austin, TX

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Beautiful facilities, brilliant people, a very successful company. Fancy dining room, sushi Wednesday but expensive and salty to eat at daily.

    Cons

    Old technology and they simply don't care about doing things correctly. They will hire you to improve a system, tell you that the problems existed with the previous teams that were laid off, but the problem is still pervasive. It's a very political company so any changes you attempt are considered an insult to the person who was working on the system previously.

    While many people are brilliant, book smarts outweigh experience. The people advancing the technology don't use it any different than what existed previously but insist on updating. Most systems are so old that they are outside of Microsoft support.

    Silos are pervasive. Teams have very different roles and rarely communicate. There is certainly no sense of team. Please believe the people that have written similar things prior to this review. No matter what your interviewer tells you things have not changed and turnover is still rampant. It's a shame to ignore the brilliance of Austin and act simply as a financial institution.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use your Austin community to improve your systems. Encourage technologists to learn. Understand that creativity is good outside of investments and that programs have bugs. There is no QA and minimal automated testing. Failure is imminent.

    Also, understand that good technologists cannot handle 6 month or 3 year projects. Our minds work in the moment. When we can improve a system in days or weeks, years are not acceptable. With no clear roadmaps there are no goals we know to hit.

    Finally, treat contractors better. Contractors even have an email @contractor.dimensional.com. They are not invited to any company functions and do not feel like part of the team. This occurs even with the contract to hire folks. Contractors and consultants need face time with managers who spend 90% of their days in meetings.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Amazing experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Institutional Services in Austin, TX
    Former Intern - Institutional Services in Austin, TX

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Learned about their mantra, the Efficient Markets Hypothesis; my department was very keen on introducing me to managment; you do not feel like the coffee-intern; no long hours

    Cons

    Sometimes you have little to do, simply because the people above you can't pass their work onto you as an intern

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow interns to work across departments, so more stuff gets done and the interns aren't idle

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Extremely successful company, great people, lots of opportunity.

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are so many intelligent people in one place, lots of people to learn from.
    The company really cares about its employees. The benefits are great, there are lots of activities throughout the year that are fun and over-the-top (holiday party). The office is exquisite, the people are great. My team had a great attitude, and everyone seems to be hard working but never too stressed. The work-life balance is good, they never require you to stay over-time and there are always enough people so that no one is over worked.
    The cafeteria is by far the best in town.
    Pay is high and fair, the training is really thorough. There are many training and learning opportunities throughout the year where you can participate during your work day to further your education in the field. These are great to take advantage of.

    Cons

    There is little cross-over between departments. Sometimes as a worker in one department you feel closed off from the since they are on different floors. It does make for a close team, though.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There could be a better tracking system for good work, so that more great projects can be recognized. There is little cross-over between departments. It would be beneficial to try and get them working together more to ensure that everything runs seamlessly.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great if you're a Chicago MBA

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    A percentage of your annual salary went into a bonus and the rest into your DFA 401k, which was very nice. But 3% of $18,000 ain't much. I didn't have a degree and worked my way up (a tiny bit) from a bagel toaster technician and coffee maker to the mail room to a very junior Marketing position. I asked a lot of questions and learned an awful lot about asset allocation and diversification. Plus I had access to a lot of software that I learned and took to my future jobs. The experience helped me a great deal.

    Cons

    Academic is putting it lightly. Unless you had an MBA from that school without a football team, your only other way in was through fall-back choices like Harvard, Yale, etc. Many undergrads I worked with acted as if getting hired meant their work in life was over and they were semi-retired. And management let them get away with it. Not wearing a necktie was looked upon as if I'd joined ISIS, even though I never, ever met a client. Some PMs were patient and helped me learn, others were NASA-types and acted like I was scum. Be prepared for endless gym talk and frat boy mentality.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Austin? Really?

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    knowing yourself first!

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    a typical financial company, it's easy to find your place here if you have:
    1) connection to the top in this company; whether through personal or suck up to the top
    2) ability to bring in money

    Cons

    you will have hard time understanding company's decisions if :
    1) you do not understand money
    2) you do not want to participate in the game

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    the business model is good and the privileged deserve to be rich and successful here. A lot of people you hired locally lack of the exposures to shadyness compared to people from NYC, the naiveness of employees are the risk to manage to reduce turnovers. After all, this is a serious money business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Decent private firm with a focus on client satisfaction.

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

    I worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The pros of this company definitely lie with the compensation and benefits. As a private firm they offer above average health insurance and salary; 401(k) match up to 5%, gym reimbursement, great health insurance. Additionally, all the locations of the firm are excellent work locations and they are located and available in all parts of the world, and there is always an opportunity to transfer to any pf the locations.

    Cons

    The cons come mostly if you are not a finance/economic person, basically if you don't buy into the money first culture of a private funds firm, then this might not be the place for you.
    The culture is definitely money dominated, which for me was always a problem. Also, as the company has expanded, the focus on client satisfaction is also a bit of a problem as it drives the employee satisfaction lower.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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