Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated 10 May 2021

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3.9
76%
Recommend to a Friend
93%
Approve of CEO
Bridgewater Associates CEO David McCormick
David McCormick
26 Ratings
Pros
  • "Work with exceptionally smart people, you get out of it what you put into it(in 63 reviews)

  • "Comp, benefits are second to none, free food, good people(in 28 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Potentially poor work life balance(in 31 reviews)

  • "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(in 18 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
    1. 4.0
      Former Employee

      Great culture

      11 Jun 2015 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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

      1 person found this review helpful
    2. 1.0
      Current Employee

      Good Luck

      21 Jun 2014 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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.

      29 people found this review helpful
    3. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Great day to day; too much bureacracy

      5 May 2021 - Investment Engine in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Really smart, motivated people that give a lot of leeway to explore new ideas and run with them. Very open and non-hierarchical atmosphere. Really competitive pay and amazing benefits.

      Cons

      Take themselves a little too seriously with the principles tools. Tons of wasted time on processes that do little to help

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    4. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Excellent place to work

      10 May 2021 - Software Test Engineer in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great culture, great people, fun work.

      Cons

      Commitment to excellence is not for everyone

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    5. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Hard place to work, but worth it

      5 Feb 2021 - Management Support Associate in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Overall great benefits and many more improvements. Community is a big part of this company. Company is going through restructuring right now, but they are smart decisions for the future.

      Cons

      It’s hard to work here! You will be tested with your thinking, but that makes you better off overall. The hardest part is knowing how many people get fired and always being very uneasy about that. Your manager will determine if you have a good experience so there can be “teams” of people. This will either work for you or against you. No true internal promotions, leads to lack of career path. If you are “ upper management” you will be on day one. The days of being able to start as a receptionist or Mail room and work your way up, are no more.

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    6. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Great Place - Be prepared to think

      20 Apr 2021 - Financial Controller in Stamford, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Unified Culture, Development Opportunities, make connections

      Cons

      Extremely High expectations, you have to use your mind constantly , do not take things too personally

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    7. 5.0
      Former Employee

      Great Company

      27 Apr 2021 - Senior Counsel in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      overall a great company, highly recommend

      Cons

      bureaucracy, lack of career movement

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    8. 4.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      There is no place like it

      27 Jan 2021 - Client Service Coordinator in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      It is not your standard hedge fund -- in fact they don't even call themselves that. The company pays as much attention to the culture as some of the major tech companies like Google or Facebook and it shows. Things are different there. Personal development comes quickly if you are willing to dive in. Management is very open and trusting. They share more with employees than I have ever seen elsewhere.

      Cons

      The company is rather established, so don't expect to progress quickly. You will need to be there a solid 5 years to get out of entry level status in many departments. The company would be great IF everyone actually lived by the Principles - the book written by the founder that describes the ideal culture. Despite the mandatory training for all employees on this point, many people just superficially put up with the principles and don't fundamentally change their behavior. The place only works if you buy in and take responsibility.

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    9. 4.0
      Current Employee

      Overall great if you have a good manager and click with the culitre

      18 Apr 2021 - Project Manager in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Benefits Community Very smart people to learn from

      Cons

      Not programmatic on things like talent development Compensation is questionable depending on the role

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    10. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      An experience like no other

      23 Mar 2021 - Engineer in Wilton, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Culture - interesting culture that promotes high-quality work Compensation Interesting projects

      Cons

      Culture - Easy to get mired in analysis paralysis. Way too many cooks in the kitchen. Bizarre management structure Medium-size business (in terms of employees) that tries to operate like it's massive.

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    Viewing 1 - 10 of 413 Reviews

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