Bridgewater Associates Reviews | Glassdoor

Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated December 15, 2017
285 reviews

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3.7
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Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
171 Ratings

285 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Incredibly smart people in a culture that invests heavily in deep, honest relationships (in 44 reviews)

  • Opportunity to learn a lot about both investing and general business/life management skills (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • I commute from NYC to CT, which ultimately impacts my work/life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • shamed into working long hours in most roles (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (18)

    "Incredible first-job experience!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Management Associate in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Management Associate in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Overall, I feel very grateful that Bridgewater was my first job out of college. I had unparalleled exposure to senior management, was able to take on as much responsibility as I could handle, and I learned more about management and running a company than I realized until I went and founded my own company. At the time, I wasn't always sure how relevant all The Principles and The Culture was to quality management. Now, that I am out of my own I am much better able to navigate ambiguity and complicated decisions because I have a universal framework I can turn to to help me sort things out. The practical application is even clearer to me now, then it was then. Business insider has a great article talking to the CIO Bob Prince that's worth reading if you want to better understand the relationship between the culture and business outcomes. Beyond a ton of learning, the Bridgewater community is what I cherish most about my 5-years there. The culture of openness and honesty lends itself to extremely deep and meaningful relationships. When I left, it was the people that I was the most sad to leave but it's the people that I have stayed in touch with and make me still feel connected to Bridgewater. And I don't just mean who you would traditionally call my peers, I still keep in touch with my first managers who are almost twice my age. It is these unexpected friendships, and the perspectives they bring to my life, that I really treasure.

    Cons

    Bridgewater is an extremely intense environment and is not for the faint of heart. It can be exhausting, at a day-to-day level, to be part of a company that focuses so much on the process of how to achieve a goal and how to improve. If you don't step back to see the larger picture, it can feel like you are never good enough even though that's not the case - just because you can improve doesn't mean that you aren't doing great. The focus on constant improvement can be draining vs just being satisfied with how things are.

    Advice to Management

    At Bridgewater, I was part of the inaugural Management Associate (MA) class and spent my five years there as an MA working in multiple different departments across the company. One of the main reasons I left Bridgewater was that I felt disconnected from the bread and butter of the business - i.e. if I did well, my manager was happy and if I did poorly my manager was upset - but how I did didn't really affect Bridgewater and it's bottom line. I wanted my actions to be more connected to business outcomes. Since I was so early in my career, this was by and large is reasonable but I think there were ways Bridgewater could make Management Associate roles seems more integrated. For non-investment professionals, I think there could be more specific industry training around the basic fundamentals of how to think about markets in order to help bridge gaps in understanding and ensure people understand the business they are working to help run better.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Culture, Challenges, Opportunities for Advancement

    Cons

    Long hours, difficult to move beyond the curve

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Dog Years of Learning"

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    BW is dog years of learning. You’re challenged intellectually and supported by incredible people who are deeply invested in your growth. BW is very much a place where the sky is the limit and the possibilities for your career are what you make of them. Through hard work, curiosity, and openness to learning, you can grow within the organization and take on more responsibility rapidly and will consistently be pushed and lifted.

    Cons

    For me, I was commuting from quite a distance to CT, which became too much on the work / life balance scale.


  4. "Great culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Finance
    Former Employee - Finance
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome culture, totally redeeming
    Great people to work with

    Cons

    Long work hours can take a toll


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Best Career Decision I've Ever made"

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

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    While at Bridgewater I was surrounded by some of the most brilliant, passionate leaders I have ever met. I was really pushed to think critically on a regular basis, and felt very supported by my colleagues and managers. It truly is an idea meritocracy and you can rise with in the organization pretty quickly as long as you lead with logic, results, high standards, and a bit of patience.

    Cons

    Not all people are bought into the culture and it's pretty clear, pretty fast, who is just "playing the game". This can be frustrating and exhausting for those of us who are all in.

    Diversity? No such thing.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to taste the soup and weed out those who are in it for the wrong reasons. Make the work more meaningful for managers. Contentless management is a sure call for high turnover. Make them feel like they can understand and own pieces of the content as well.


  6. "Great place to work learn a lot about yourself"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Westport, CT

    Pros

    A good amount of self exploration. You have the opportunity to work with some of the smartest people in the world

    Cons

    Very hard to get things done. Bureaucracy is a bit nuts here. If you want to feel cushy in your job this is not the place.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Westport, CT
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I get to work with some of the smartest, most driven people I have ever known. As a result, I'm constantly learning, growing and invigorated by the work I do. In my several years working at Bridgewater, I've also had the ability to transition into different roles which has allowed amazing experience and continued development.

    Cons

    This is a challenging place with a lot of focus on our weaknesses in order to help constant growth and achievement. That can be difficult and not for those uncomfortable with accepting their own limitations or potentially not for those who prefer to have a job that is defined and within the limits of their abilities.

  8. "a good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Management Support Associate in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Management Support Associate in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    invested in developing employees and giving them ability to grow

    Cons

    slightly cult-ish and dogmatic at times


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great development experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Management
    Current Employee - Management
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The learning. I'm surrounded by smart, talented people who challenge me, and invest heavily in my personal development. I see real progress in my ability to structure/solve problems and communicate with senior mgmt. I equate many of my experiences to a practical business degree.

    The culture. Yes, a culture of transparency & accountability can feel intense, but for me, the many benefits far outweigh any cons. I'm encouraged to have a voice (which is liberating) and genuine relationships with my manager and colleagues (no closed door politics). Challenging yet inspiring to work for a company that is consistently optimizing for quality.

    Cons

    I commute from NYC to CT, which ultimately impacts my work/life balance. But this is my choice, and is more than justified by what I'm gaining from the experience.

    The firm is at important point in its story (i.e., the institutionalization of a boutique, founder-led firm). Rapid growth over the years has led to a lot of organizational inefficiency, redundancy, & waste. Senior mgmt. is aware of this & addressing it, but it can lead to some frustration on a day to day basis.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus on what's most important.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Sharpening your "mental" sword requires grinding, but it's worth it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The culture. Most companies like to say they are transparent for branding purposes, but Bridgewater actually is. While stressful at times for that reason; it was by and large one of the top experiences of my life and has made me a better, sharper professional, and even wife (according to my husband). Bridgewater is a bastion of logic so coworkers can't get away with saying or doing crazy things without repercussions. Similarly, if someone isn't pulling their weight they are called out on it. As a result, I found that I carried substantially less resentment while at Bridgewater as compared with other companies due to being encouraged to get disagreements in the open and solve them.

    I learned more about myself here faster than I would have anywhere else. My only regret is that I didn't go to Bridgewater earlier in my career, and that I didn't stay longer. Additionally, during my time there I felt I was surrounded by the smartest people I have ever worked with in my life, and was truly supported by the internal community. BW also has one of the best alumni networks I know.

    I could not recommend this more to those who are up for the culture - it is worth every minute.

    P.S. The benefits here are off the chain - fully paid medical, etc.

    Cons

    The culture here comes with a downside and that is the truth. Do not come here if you are an overly sensitive person, or if you can't take direct feedback. Additionally, in the process of receiving that feedback get ready for some rough days ahead. They compensate their staff excellently, and with that compensation expect only the best.

    The only office is in Westport, CT so you need to either move there or get ready for a long commute from NYC. Most colleagues I know, especially the NYC ones, stayed overnight at a hotel nearby several days a week.

    Advice to Management

    Move to Stamford or somewhere closer to the city. Alternatively, expand your telecommuting policy. It was so hard to recruit talent from NYC due to Bridgewater's location.

    Update your technology. It takes too long to implement technology solutions and you are running on systems that are ancient - time to upgrade!


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