- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at DC Energy full-time (Less than a year)
So this has been my first gig out of college and it's been about as good as I could've hoped for especially when I've compared my experience to friends'. The work is challenging (something that I'm glad for). You'll be coming in every day and be expected to actually think. This is aided by the fact that the work is interesting, but unlike research it stays fresh because you don't just work on one project all the time.
You get trained well. They take you on a crash course of everything you need to know in the first 3 weeks (it's intense), but afterward you come away with a strong set of analytical skills backed up experience with coding in R, querying with MySQL, and giving presentations.
Since it's a pretty small company (~50 people), you're given a decent amount of responsibility from the get-go. This is in contrast to a lot of jobs my friends have at places like Deloitte, Capital One, etc, where they have to do a lot of boring and trivial tasks and then hopefully pick up more interesting stuff later on (but maybe some people like that).
I can't speak to my coworkers' experiences but I like my boss and the team that I'm on. We get on pretty well and everyone contributes to the work - collegial is the word for the environment. Which brings me to my next point: just about everyone at the company is exceedingly intelligent. Getting an offer here is an opportunity to work with some really bright individuals who are driven and take their work seriously.
The culture is also something I'm fond of; while everyone is extremely smart, the competitive spirit is focused outwards and not inwards. What I'm trying to say is that DC Energy goes out of its way to assemble people that work well in teams (its an actual part of the recruitment process), to the point where I can feel comfortable (after doing my own due diligence), with asking a Principal/Director/anyone about their analysis if I'm running into problems with it. I haven't run into any sort of cut-throat individuals or people with huge heads that can't accept being wrong sometimes.
The last thing I'll mention is Work/Life balance. A lot of the old reviews on here talk about some pretty hairy hours (I think I read 60-70 hours from one person). That's definitely an artifact of the past and not the case anymore. I work about 45-50 hours a week (the most was maybe 55 one week). This is pretty amazing considering compensation is around investment banking level. It's flexible enough that I can leave early one night and just work later some other nights that week. And most people get into the office between 9:30 and 10:00 each day.
And before I forget, there are also some pretty cool company events. Some great dinners. We're all going to a Capitals game this winter. And bowling like a month ago (food and drink included so it was actually fun)
But this is all just my perspective. Everyone is going to feel a little bit differently about what it's like.
There are definitely some downsides to working here. It's my understanding that they've scaled down their team budgets pretty significantly from the past (no more $1,000+ tasting menus), which just means I can't experience how nice that must have been in the past.
There is a non-compete, although it's only meant to restrict trading the same set of securities that we work with (and it's a pretty niche market). I can't say that I would stay in the line of work if I moved on to other things.
From where I am at the bottom of the company, upper management seems to have reached saturation point. Most of the people (even those at the very top), are in their forties or younger. That means that guys like me who start later aren't likely to have the room to move up (unless the company identifies some new opportunities and expands). In effect, this means that at some point I'll have to make a decision between trying to make a career out of working at DCE or decide that the opportunity isn't there and move somewhere else where progression is clearer. In the long term, this is my biggest concern (beside the ever present threat as a trading firm of bankruptcy).
There's a decent amount of turnover each year. This isn't a huge surprise given that this is just about everyone here's first job out of college, but it's a bit sad to have to say goodbye to so many folks all at the same time. It also makes me worry about the consequences of any bad recruiting years ; when there's that much volatility in the number of employees, there's the potential that we suffer and can't handle all of the work.
Advice to Management
I would reword the fine print about bonuses in our contracts (have historically ranged up to 50%). Not sure I'd be bringing peoples' hopes up about 50% of salary if that's unlikely to happen again.
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I applied through college or university. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at DC Energy (Vienna, VA) in September 2010.
2 rounds of interviews. 1st round was on campus and was 2 30 minute logical reasoning/problem interviews. 2nd round was also on campus and was the same thing. Then invited to office day with panels, fit interviews with current employees and managers, and a team exercise. Got the offer a few days later.
Not much room for negotiation, but a pretty good sell with benefits/bonus/etc.