Bridgewater Associates Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Bridgewater Associates Reviews

Updated 13 Feb 2020

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3.7
69%
Recommend to a Friend
85%
Approve of CEO
Bridgewater Associates Founder, CEO and President Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio
201 Ratings
Pros
  • "Challenging, surrounded by smart people(in 53 reviews)

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

Cons
  • "no work life balance, if you don’t drink the kool-aid (culture) you are out(in 28 reviews)

  • "Long hours, difficult to move beyond the curve(in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    Bridgewater Associates2015-06-12
  2. Helpful (22)

    "Good Luck"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

    Bridgewater Associates2014-06-21
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Grow and learn about yourself"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technology 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

    - Compensation and benefits - Learning to deal with tough situation/executives - Growth opportunities if you are aggressive - Amazing opportunity to actually get smarter and think at a very conceptual level

    Cons

    - A very tough environment where weaknesses are emphasized and shared with everyone - Change/Transformations are non-stop, which can be unsettling for most people - If you don't have a great manager who's willing to have your back, you will fail epically

    Continue reading
    Bridgewater Associates2020-02-13
  4. "Excellent place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates part-time

    Pros

    Great place to work

    Cons

    No complaints great place to work

    Bridgewater Associates2020-01-29
  5. "Best work experience"

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

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

    Pros

    Work alongside highly intelligent people Unique culture unites everyone Deep caring community Above average pay and benefits Deeper learning about myself

    Cons

    At times, difficult to navigate way of being including having to fight every fight, work assignments associated with culture, misuse/misinterpretation of principles.

    Continue reading
    Bridgewater Associates2020-01-19
  6. "You have to buy in, and it's worth it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Westport, CT
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The benefits, health insurance, and salary. Working with exceptionally bright people (some of whom are awesome, some of whom are d$cks, like anywhere else) that raise the bar for you. Ruthless self-improvement.

    Cons

    If you resist the culture, and don't agree with it, you're going to have a tough time adjusting. There's a reason there's a 4 week Boot Camp before you start working. At the same time, don't think everything said in Boot Camp is the equivalent of Moses' tablets. There's a reason they hired you in the first place, so don't completely lose who you are and the value you're meant to bring.

    Continue reading
    Bridgewater Associates2020-01-19
  7. "The gift of transparency"

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

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I've been at BW for over a decade. Two of the things have kept me here: 1) The people - nowhere else have I found a more genuine and talented group of people that trust each other enough to call out the good and the bad and 2) the transparency and encouragement to rationalize for yourself what is going on around you - by virtue of being able to see and understand decisions at every level you are 'gifted' the opportunity to shape the outcomes for yourself vs. being 'had' by them.

    Cons

    1) The agility, particularly in the space of innovation, can be limited by the need to make very clear logical connections to rationalize for others why an idea makes sense to invest in. There is limited autonomy to go from the gut... Conversely this is also a strength for BW wrt managing risk and increasing the probability of being right - very appropriate for working in markets 2) It can be hard to distinguish who is right vs. who is a better debater. I.e. open debate is encouraged, but some people are better at it and can push their ideas forward as a result - but they're not necessarily right and often proven wrong after significant investment

    Bridgewater Associates2020-01-08
  8. "not bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Investment Associate 

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    good pay, interesting work, smart people

    Cons

    generally stressful, long hours, lots of uncertainty

    Bridgewater Associates2019-12-23
  9. "Great place to grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate 

    I worked at Bridgewater Associates full-time

    Pros

    You will learn a ton... a lot of mobility laterally to move into different positions if interested. Great place for self growth and a heck of a challenge due to constant feedback (good and bad). It’s not for everyone, but for those who dare, I promise you it’s worth it.

    Cons

    Location (would still be working there if it weren’t based in CT). Overall, nothing bad to say.

    Bridgewater Associates2019-12-02
  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great Place to learn and grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Westport, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bridgewater Associates full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Hard and interesting work. Coworkers are all very accomplished and smart.

    Cons

    Some people do not understand the principles and use them to manipulate people.

    Bridgewater Associates2019-11-14

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