Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated 24 Jun 2020

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4.0
77%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
Approve of CEO
Bridgewater Associates CEO David McCormick
David McCormick
3 Ratings
Pros
  • "There are a lot of smart people and you get to learn a lot(in 55 reviews)

  • "Incredible Benefits (401k, Medical, Free-Food, Transportation, Meditation rooms)(in 28 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Good conditions very clear sense of direction. Easy to work with people. Generally very positive enjoyable happy place to be and work

    Cons

    Like all places there can be some frustrating times and I will be able name a few but they are not overall leading to a bad experience which is overall good

  2. Helpful (23)

    "Good Luck"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates

    Pros

    Excellent Training Program for Investment Associates

    Cons

    Company is divided into Investment Associates and Management Associates. Management Associates are in charge of everything despite having zero knowledge of the business-- which is investing-- and zero formal training in management other then Bridgewater's own in-house principles, which typically don't produce great results. Management Associates are also paid extremely well relative to a) their other opportunities (basically management consulting) and b) their marketable skills (which are zero if they are trained in the Bridgewater management style, which is broadly ineffective and cannot operate anywhere except within the company itself). Investment Associates, in contrast, are not paid well relative to their other opportunities (top tier hedge funds). This creates a corrosive culture and management is not sympathetic about the insufficient comp of the investment professionals. For those who have been with the firm for many years, comp begins to increase with Phantom Equity (but not real equity); but this typically requires signing lifelong Trade Secret Agreements which prevent the investment professionals for ever leaving, so once again the incentive to compensate fairly (as if employees had any options to go elsewhere) is nonexistent. All investment associates sign two-year blanket non-compete agreements which make finding employment in the finance industry after leaving the firm extremely difficult. There are many employees who are unhappy, but realistically cannot leave because of the pieces of paper they have signed. The culture itself is cult-like. A typical exercise in transparency will consist of Ray Dalio creating a real-time poll for all the participants of a meeting to fill out on their iPads (yes, everyone has a company-issued iPad with Principles-related software and apps, and is required to carry it at all times) in order to see who agrees with what he is saying and who agrees with somebody else. You can imagine the results. The iPad can also be used to rate other employees along various dimensions of thinking and emotional capabilities (such as "Linear Thinking," "Lateral Thinking," "Stress Tolerance," "Grabbing the Bull by the Horns," and the enigmatic "Comfortable Knowing What He/She Doesn't Know"); the rankings are then weighted according to the rankers' "believability" (because to treat all rankings as equally valid would be democratic, not meritocratic-- a big no-no in Bridgewater's culture), which is largely calculated based on the correlation with scores Ray has given to people (so the more your ratings of other people are similar to Ray's, the more believable you are). This has the predictable effect of pigeon-holing people into both high and low stations relatively quickly. Despite the questionable accuracy of these personality metrics, the company invests immense resources in analyzing the personality data. The engineer of IBM's Watson supercomputer was hired not to work on the systematic investment logic, but purely to analyze personality data. The firm's technological infrastructure is backwards, but because of Ray's obsession with the principles there are teams of dedicated software developers to build iPad apps while the management of billions of dollars continues to operate on 1990's technology.

  3. "Best learning experience"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Recruiter in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Work with exceptionally smart people, you get out of it what you put into it. It is radically transparent, which some interpret as "tattling" but it breaks down your illusions about yourself and the self awareness is valuable. Atmosphere was energizing, Had a successful run.

    Cons

    Hard to get a decision made as things are debated for too long. Can be frustrating as an experienced hire who is used to a very different organizational structure and culture.

    Continue reading
  4. "Wonderful place for development and learning"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Quick trajectory, strong community, wonderful benefits

    Cons

    not for everyone, commute can be challenging

    Continue reading
  5. "Great place if culture is right for you"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Westport, CT

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Great training and development, fascinating work, smart and supportive colleagues.

    Cons

    Location in CT, sometimes can be tricky to navigate processes

  6. "Great place if you are a good fit"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Multiple Positions 

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    The benefits are top of the line across the board Generally fair compensation

    Cons

    Potentially poor work life balance

  7. "Opportunity to work with driven and authentic people. Challenging and demands a lot of you but incredibly rewarding"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great people, no bs type of culture, lots of opportunity to grow and learn, authentic leaders, the ability to give upward feedback is really refreshing.

    Cons

    Long hours, not a ton of work life/balance particularly if you want to go far, career pathing could use some work, location isn't ideal. The culture is definitely not for everyone but can be incredibly refreshing and developmental under certain managers

  8. "Don’t believe everything you read"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Lead in Westport, CT
    Recommends

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Pushes you to better yourself, hardworking peers, internal growth opportunities

    Cons

    Long Work hours. Not able to work from home.

  9. "Radical Transparency"

    4.0
    Former Employee - Human Resources Manager in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great people, lush setting and benefits, interesting work

    Cons

    Extreme pressure, not as much of a learning culture as they say

    Continue reading
  10. Helpful (1)

    "Bridgewater"

    4.0
    Current Employee - Investment Associate in Westport, CT

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    Great learning environment and compensation

    Cons

    Can’t work in finance for 2 years after quitting

Found 346 reviews