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

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

Updated June 18, 2017
101 reviews

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101 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Exceedingly careful to make sure each employee is happy with their work/life balance (in 13 reviews)

  • great culture, smart people--very smarty people (in 16 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance could be improved (in 4 reviews)

  • sometimes work pressure is more so keep your health in check (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Overrated"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits; Smart people; Laid-back culture; Friendly

    Cons

    Poor communication from management
    Mediocre to bad middle management
    Unclear promotion or professional development path
    Culture dependent on performance of firm--once performance deteriorated became a place not worth working at.

    Advice to Management

    Hire professional managers


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great place, but culture is deteriorating"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - colleagues are smart, engaging, well-rounded people
    - fabulous benefits
    - work/life balance is encouraged

    Cons

    - culture is less supportive/collegial than it used to be a few years ago
    - complete lack of career development for people who don't have prior background in finance
    - your experience/development at the firm is completely determined by your immediate manager, and they are a mixed bag

    Advice to Management

    communicate!

  3. Helpful (1)

    "back office"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    flexible schedules and vacations
    good medical benefits
    happy hours and other events for employees
    internal training program
    super pantry with food and drinks

    Cons

    not good at promoting from within or transferring personnel internally
    not good at sharing information
    large divide between front and back office staff
    very difficult recruiting process

    Advice to Management

    provide more opportunies for developing personnel
    provide better leadership to inspire employees
    communicate more to all employees not just managing directors and senior manager


  4. "Amazing People!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Some of the smartest and most self-motivated people I've ever worked with
    -Diverse staff - so many unique interests (artists, musicians, etc.), especially for a financial firm
    -Fun perks (happy hours, lectures, snacks, etc.) and good benefits
    -Interesting work

    Cons

    The financial crisis greatly changed the company culture in more bad ways than good
    -Increasingly bureaucratic and political process (this was also partially due to the increase in company size)
    -Lack of transparency from senior management

    Advice to Management

    Tell people what is going on.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Not what it once was"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Accepts non-financial people into the world of Finance
    Good benefits
    If you get into a good group then it's a good place
    Really good people
    Nice parties

    Cons

    Restrictive non-compete agreement that won't allow you to continue on in Finance when you leave (and no you can't just ignore it)
    Little or no choice about which group you are in or about what work you will do
    Becoming increasingly bureaucratic with an abundance of micromanagers
    PhDs doing menial work and often nothing else
    Long hours
    No vacation policy so you really are at the mercy of your boss

    Advice to Management

    Less micromanagement and more transparency


  6. Helpful (1)

    "hard, but great experience as an intern to start the working life"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst Internship in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Analyst Internship in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The team was great to work with. they were very helpful in introducing me to the work environment. they gave me lot of responsibility from the beginning

    Cons

    the working hours are very long and they expect 1000% commitment . not everyone gets so lucky with their superiors and are expected to be on their own from day 1.

    Advice to Management

    they take fantastic people with superb skills who haven't worked in this field before. these people would need more on the job training.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Finance and Operations in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Finance and Operations in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    good package except bonuses
    people are great to work with
    learn a lot about hedge fund operations
    can do this coming form liberal arts

    Cons

    more limited exit opportunities coming from this group
    very long hours the first 6 months - 1 year
    no formal training program

    Advice to Management

    It seems that there should be more opportunities for liberal arts students to gain employment with de shaw ... maybe expand company operations to accommodate this

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great environment, if you know what you're getting into."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator in New York, NY
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The pay is great. Lots of bright people work for the firm, including management and support staff. For a financial services firm in particular, this company places control in the hands of the technologists; many of the senior managers have PhD's in technical disciplines. There is potential for large bonuses and advancement within the firm, or so I am told. Like many software companies, there are free beverages and snacks. The firm is structured as a meritocracy. The company has shower facilities on site in the main office. Some might appreciate the firm's location just off of Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

    Cons

    I felt that the picture my interviewers painted of my position was very different from the reality of the position. The firm hires over-qualified people for every position, which means that your position may not be fun or challenging, and moving up is that much more difficult. Fast paced, high stress environment. Health plan had a high deductible. The downside of being organized as a meritocracy is that it takes a long, long time to move anywhere. The company is growing at a very rapid pace, so the average experience of employees at the firm is much lower than it once was. Unless working in a primary business role of the firm, the fact that you are in a supporting position is very clear.

    Advice to Management

    Be careful to grow sustainably.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "D. E. Shaw provides a great academic atmosphere where all employees work hard and also have a good work-life balance."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Generalist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Generalist in New York, NY
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A few of the best reasons to work for D. E. Shaw are the laid back atmosphere, great benefits and wonderful coworkers. There is no dress code, and only 4 titles in the entire company. While this might seem overwhelming at first, it is nice to not have an emphasis on needing to move up a title every two years. Your career path here can be much more free form and this is reflected in D. E. Shaw's academic nature. Extensive benefits for all employees are a definite perk and everyone who works here tends to be very motivated and smart but also concerned about their lives outside of work. It's definitely a great balance of everything.

    Cons

    Sometimes the academic atmosphere can be a downside. Unless you are the type to figure out what you want to do next and go after it, the opportunity will certainly not come to you like at some more strictly traditional hierarchical companies. The good news is that most of the employees at D. E. Shaw are very smart, enjoy what they do, and know how to go about taking the desired next step in their careers. The senior leadership is very competent and I think the future is bright for the company as a while. While not necessarily considered by me to be a downside, I would recommend that self-moitvated individuals work for the company since I see them as more likely to succeed in this type of an atmosphere.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management is very good and has deep experience in both good and bad times to successfully lead the company into the future.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing company with extraordinarily interesting people!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Recommends

    Pros

    The environment and the benefits. D.E. Shaw places a high value on recruiting the best talent which creates a workforce of bright, curious, academic-minded employees. It's a very collegial atmosphere where collaboration on both work and extra curriculars (e.g. green initiatives, running club) is encouraged. The company hires interesting people so many people have creative hobbies (everything from writing to acting to stand up comedy) so it's not your typical financial investment firm!

    The benefits are great -- they include $2/month health insurance, free snacks, subsidized gym memberships, games dispersed around the office (foosball, Wii Guitar Hero, etc...), and great company parties. Work/life balance is generally good and most of the admin jobs are created to appeal to artists from Ivy League schools who need to support their craft with a well paid 9-5 job with a flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Because of the rigorous recruiting policy, it can take months to be hired or hire new employees into your group. The later can cause work overload. Also, some departments have limited opportunities for growth/promotions, but I do feel the selection process is fair.

    DE Shaw has an open vacation policy, which initially sounds great, but it can make some employees feel guilty about taking vacation days.

    Advice to Management

    More interaction with employees in the remote offices (non-NY)


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