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DC Energy Reviews

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3.2
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Dean L. Wilde
11 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Hard work, great pay, brilliant people"

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

    I worked at DC Energy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The people are friendly and very smart. I learned a ton. Great perks in the office and at company events. They pay well.

    Cons

    Have to work long hours a few times a month. 11 hour days are typical. Sometimes work nights and weekends to meet deadlines.

    Advice to Management

    Make people more comfortable to stay long-term. The churn rate is killing the base of expertise.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Overall a positive experience"

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

    I worked at DC Energy full-time

    Pros

    The analyst cohort was generally pretty easy going and fun though sometimes a bit nerdy. My managers seemed to care about how I was progressing and gave frequent feedback. Work was fairly interesting and highly analytical.

    Cons

    The location isn't ideal and the commute is annoying unless you live in Tysons, but then you live in Tysons. Some people had problems with their managers, but this was a minority. There also were no clear exit opportunities with a two year non-compete.

    Advice to Management

    Communication with the cohort could have been much better. Also there are a lot of managers relative to the total headcount.

  3. "Great Job to Learn At, But Narrow Niche"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at DC Energy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You work with highly intelligent, motivated coworkers who are usually happy to help you improve your coding and research skills. The firm expects you to learn on the job, and the skills are transferable to other positions, so it's major fringe benefit.

    Cons

    The energy niche most DC Energy employees analyze and/or trade in is extremely narrow, and a non-compete means that you really can't take investment strategies with you. On the other hand, you do gain general market knowledge that is somewhat useful in other fields.

    Advice to Management

    DC Energy is a "transactional" employer rather than an "inspirational" employer, and this leads to higher turnover. As a smaller trading outfit, it might benefit from attempting to borrow from the "inspirational" employer handbook from time to time.


  4. Helpful (6)

    "Loving it so far"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Current Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at DC Energy full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Niche Quant shop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Washington, DC

    I worked at DC Energy (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    young interesting capable people, good work life balance, flat structure

    Cons

    Non-compete, limited compensation upside, Location (Tysons corner, VA)


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Good place to learn; not great to grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Vienna, VA
    Former Employee - Associate in Vienna, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at DC Energy full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working at DC Energy is a mixed bag. On the positive side, you get to learn a lot about energy markets, data science, web development, visualizations, and presentation. You get to work with incredibly smart people on very difficult problems.

    Unlike some other proprietary trading firms or hedge funds, it is an extremely collaborative environment, more collegial than cut-throat.

    Cons

    There's not enough transparency; management will frequently make seemingly arbitrary decisions with little explanation or room for input. Limited room for growth -- depends a lot on your team.

    Managers sometimes micromanage (which can be good at times, especially initially). The work experience varies a lot based on team and manager.

    Compensation is closer to consulting pay/bonus scale than proprietary trading firms or even tech companies. This emphasizes how little upper management values employees (especially when all employees know firm profitability). Management values years of experience pretty heavily (albeit not exclusively) in promotions and bonuses.

    Advice to Management

    Improve transparency into decision-making. Compensation is important and shows how little management values employees (or at least sees them as replaceable). Move to DC.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "Good fit for some, probably not for most people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at DC Energy full-time

    Pros

    Great office culture. Employees are friendly and helpful, and even when teams lose money, no one is getting yelled at.
    Good work life balance and hours. People can usually take a break in the middle of the day to go to the gym or play frisbee, and you can go out for lunch, which isn't something you can say for some finance firms.
    Free donuts on Mondays and bagels on Fridays, plus free snacks, coffee, tea, fruit.
    Generally the managers you work with day-to-day are pretty good about managing your time and teaching you.
    The firm doesn't over-hire, as opposed to other prop shops that might hire 20 people with the intention of firing half or more after 1 year.

    Cons

    If you're reading this you're probably a college senior doing recruiting. You should know that the firm's core business is pretty niche, and you won't be able to get another job in the same field (electricity trading) due to the non-compete. You also will likely have trouble finding another job in finance (such as hedge funds, banks, or prop shops). The people who work here are of a very high caliber, very intelligent, and many from elite universities such as Ivy Leagues. You might think that people who leave might go to other elite finance firms, but that's not the case, and instead many go to grad school or business school. So the exit opps are terrible for people who want to do finance as a career. Now, if you want to be a lifer -- and the people in more senior positions by and large have been here their entire careers -- then this may be a good fit for you: decent hours, nice metro area, downtown DC is vibrant for young people, and you can eventually move to the suburbs. But it's hard for you to already know that you want to do this for a long time, since you don't even know the nature of the work, and you're probably ambitious. Working here is probably not as good for your career as working at a well-known bank or consulting firm, as silly as prestige is. On the other hand, working here does arm you with better technical skills than the average consulting or banking junior employee, and does give you more challenging problems to work on.

    Morale is also pretty low. People joke about getting fired. Our budget for fun events was cut, even though the savings are negligible to the firm, and we were basically told that morale wasn't low enough yet, and the rate of people leaving wasn't high enough yet, for them to care about morale.

    Also, most people are not going to end up being great at electricity trading, figure this out, and leave the firm. The path to promotion and long-term success here has a pretty high bar, and is roughly measured in terms of how much you contribute to profit. Now, this isn't unreasonable for the firm, but it does mean that for some people, you'll reach a ceiling and never make it past that.

    Advice to Management

    Management probably doesn't read Glassdoor anyways, and even if they do, probably won't be swayed by reviews. But hey if you're reading this, maybe consider restoring the cohort budget.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Not recommended. The cons largely outweigh the pros."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at DC Energy full-time

    Pros

    -Base compensation and benefits are in line with competitors
    -Junior staff are all friendly and fun to work with

    Cons

    -The long term outlook for the firm's profit potential is bleak, because there are fundamental reasons why market opportunities are shrinking for the markets the firm is in. It doesn't make sense to try to make a long term career here if you're a college student, because you develop really niche market knowledge that you won't be able to use in another job (the non-compete makes sure of this).
    -There is very little upside in terms of promotion and bonus. Promotion is very difficult, and at the end of the third year analysts are either promoted, fired, or not promoted (which means you'll probably never be promoted).
    -Junior staff were disappointed with bonuses and some have even felt misled about compensation levels. A lot of people have left recently.

    Advice to Management

    There's little interaction between senior management and the junior staff. Although there's largely no business need for there to be interaction, it might help with the perception that senior management is super detached from the junior people if you got to know people. The CEO probably doesn't even know the names of a lot of the junior employees. Considering how there's such a high turnover rate, maybe it's not worth his time to get to know his employees, but maybe that's part of why so many people leave the firm.


  9. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits, training and easy to get along with people

    Cons

    Not many cons other than trying to get time off

    Advice to Management

    Should be more flexible with time-off scheduling


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Mostly satisfied with experience at smart and growing but pragmatic company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Current Employee - Investment Analyst in Vienna, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at DC Energy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The culture of the company reflects the people who work here: young, smart, motivated, and friendly. Management in general does a very good job in the recruiting process, and so you feel surrounded by (on the whole) very competent people much like yourself. Perks on the job are great - expensable dinners if you stay late, and on average once-monthly company events at very nice venues. Most are happy coming in to work in the mornings.

    Work-life balance is pretty good compared to other companies expecting similarly high-performance - it's no govt job. 50-60 hours per week (some teams may need to spend more occasionally), but hours on a daily basis are pretty flexible and "facetime" isn't a huge issue here.

    Feedback from direct managers is frequent and constructive - feedback is emphasized.

    DC is a fun town - like the company, very young and energetic.

    Starting salary higher than most anybody else.

    Company performs very well compared to competitors.

    Exit opportunities are good - the kind of work we do is looked on very favorably for its analytic/quant rigor. The coding skills that you pick up on the job are also quite valuable. Caveat: see non-compete below.

    Cons

    Bonuses seem to vary a lot, and without a lot of explanation on the part of management. Overall, transparency on the management's behalf seems a bit excessive, and it weighs on a lot of people's minds.

    Noncompete is pretty binding, and can be quite disadvantageous if you're not looking to go back to school after you leave.

    Mentorship at the company, while not bad, is not great. More frequent formal meetings with advisers would be nice so there's not as much pressure to interact on a casual basis. (On the plus side, upper management that has a lot of cumulative experience in a range of areas is approachable and friendly, and willing to talk.)

    Staffing on teams seems arbitrary at first, although most people are able to move into roles that suit them after putting in a year's work.

    Advice to Management

    CEO should have more direct interactions with analysts/associates. The company is small enough to know everyone.

    Giving employees a bit more perspective on how end-of-year comp is determined would be appreciated - at the moment it's pretty opaque.


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