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Bridgewater Associates appears to be making a lot of money, and it seems like they're looking to spend that money by hiring new people at the entry-level.


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Every day I take it upon myself to tell thousands of new college grads about exciting entry-level jobs. You’d think I’d pay enough attention to notice a company that does a ton of college recruiting, has a great work culture for young people, and is right in my “backyard.” Apparently I don’t. I came across a job listing for Bridgewater Associates and was intrigued because they are located in Westport, CT – the town where I went to high school. I figured I must have heard of them at some point and since forgotten about them. My curiosity continued, and I checked out their location on Google Maps. Then I saw this photo tagged for their location, and it hit me. This company is located on the banks of one of my favorite trout streams! Any good job searcher should know to never ignore the opportunities that are right under your nose. So, right off the bat, we know that Bridgewater’s people get to work in a beautiful location and have a great way to spend their lunch breaks if they’re interested in piscatorial pursuits.

Pure Alpha

I’m sure that my anecdote has left you wondering what exactly Bridgewater does. They currently manage “$140 billion in global investments for a wide array of institutional clients, including foreign governments and central banks, corporate and public pension funds.” Many would call them a hedge fund (although they don’t seem to be too keen on that terminology). The company is based on a strategy called “Pure Alpha,” which is based on separating “value-added return from active management” from “return from passively holding a portfolio” to create optimal portfolios for each. They’ve beaten global markets for 15 years, so it is apparently working for them.

Alpha Entry-Level Jobs

Bridgewater Associates appears to be making a lot of money, and it seems like they’re looking to spend that money by hiring new people. Their Job Bank has a variety of opportunities, many of which are targeted at new college grads. Their College Recruiting page shows 3 young people – one in a hoodie, another with her feet up on the desk, and another sitting on the desk – and mentions 4 positions that are typically geared towards the entry-level. These are Management Associate, Investment Associate, Operations Associate, and Portfolio Accountant. These are general job descriptions and not specific listings, but they offer great insight into what you’d be doing in one of these jobs.

Bridgewater is all about being different. They appear to be very relaxed with flex-time and casual dress, and they seem to do anything to encourage the free flow of ideas. They’re not offering your typical finance jobs. They seem to be extremely friendly to young people, and have one of the best online entry-level recruiting presences we’ve seen. They are located in Westport, CT, which is certainly not a hotspot for social opportunities (I can vouch personally for that), but New York City is just an hour train ride away.

Browsing Bridgewater Associates’ job listings is a different experience than what you’d typically be accustomed to. In some ways it’s really helpful, and in others it’s a little irritating. They ask you to pick from 14 areas and then view jobs by area. There’s no way to view all openings at once. Since multiple areas may interest the same candidates (especially entry-level candidates who may not have a clear idea of what they want to do), it would be a lot more convenient to find just entry-level positions listed somewhere on their College Recruiting page. Not all of the jobs geared towards new grads are finance heavy – there are also entry-level opportunities in support roles. Applying online looks easy, and you can apply for multiple positions with one application. If you doubt that your major will be a good fit for a particular job, just take a look at Bridgwater’s Employee Profiles. You can view them by Job Title or Major, which will show you that there’s even a place at Bridgewater for History and Chemistry majors.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

Seriously considering a job at Bridgewater Associates and want to know more about the area? Leave a comment, and I’ll answer any questions that you may have.


171 Responses to “Bridgewater Associates”

  1. AR_750 says:

    HAHAHAHAHA. Nothing about this paragraph is in the LEAST bit true. Save yourself a lot of time and hassle, find another hedge fund. There are plenty of them around.

    “Bridgewater is all about being different. They appear to be very relaxed with flex-time and casual dress, and they seem to do anything to encourage the free flow of ideas. They’re not offering your typical finance jobs. They seem to be extremely friendly to young people, and have one of the best online entry-level recruiting presences we’ve seen. They are located in Westport, CT, which is certainly not a hotspot for social opportunities (I can vouch personally for that), but New York City is just an hour train ride away.”

  2. Hi AR_750,

    Thanks for your input. If you notice the language of the paragraph that you quoted, we used words like “seem” and “appear” based on the image that is portrayed by Bridgewater Associates on their website. They’ve certainly put in the effort to sell themselves as a different type of hedge fund, so we’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard to take anonymous comments seriously when they don’t even include any statements to back up an opinion.

    Maybe we were wrong about Bridgewater Associates – it’s hard to know for sure – but we can say that they do a heck of a job presenting their entry-level job opportunities online. There aren’t many companies that we can say that about.

    Also, I can ensure you that the truth of my statement about Westport, CT’s not being a hotspot for social opportunities is very true.

  3. AR_750 says:

    You can not base your entire opinion off a website. That is the part i find ridiculous about your post. My advice to you would be to go on linked in, or some other site as such, and talk to people that have/do actually work there. Or even better, go on an interview there yourself. Any schmo can make a website that makes their company sound like its all free money and cupcakes. I assure you, most places are neither. I did not mean to lump in the Westport comment, i agree, its a town devoid of social interaction, full of yuppies, future Yale closet cases.

  4. Hello again,

    You’re right, we can’t base our entire opinion off of their website, but we can use it as a starting off point to encourage our readers to look into employment opportunities with Bridgewater. That’s why we also encourage our readers to heed our articles – like this one on Digging Dirt on Employers. Every job searcher should do his or her due diligence before deciding to work anywhere.

    With that said, many of the companies that we look at don’t do a very good job of presenting themselves online. When we see a company that invests money, time, and effort in creating a good recruiting presence, that signals to us that they put a high value on talent. It’s not always an accurate indicator, but it’s right more often than not. That’s why we decided to share Bridgewater with our readers. If any schmo can make a website that makes their company sound great, then why do so few companies actually do so?

    We welcome others to join the conversation and share their comments on experiences working at Bridgewater Associates.

    There’s a reason that we allow comments on our posts. We want there to be thorough opportunity for conversation about companies and there jobs; however, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they hid behind the veil of anonymity. Moreover, it’s interesting to see that you are posting from an IP address that happens to be a company that Bridgewater invests in. I can’t be sure that this is a motivating factor in your comments, but it is certainly suspicious. Your claims have been vague and negative, if you can’t be specific and use your real name to post, then there’s really no sense in your leaving any future comments.

  5. John L says:

    As someone who has had some experience working for Bridgewater, which AR_750 pretty clearly has not, I would say that your initial assessment was fairly accurate. It is a very unusual place to work, and the no-nonsense culture is not for everyone. But for the right type of person, it can be a very challenging and fulfilling experience. They do have both a relaxed dress code and a work environment that tries to encourage a free flow of ideas, so I don’t know where AR_750 got his information. They are also an extremely friendly place for a young person to work, if only because they have a very young workforce (many of the managers are themselves only in their late 20s or early 30s, to say nothing of the entry level people).

    I guess I’d just have to suggest that AR_750 actually try looking at the company for himself before he makes such strong comments. The recruiting website – like any company’s recruiting materials – paints an attractive picture of what working at Bridgewater is like, but other than the usual rose-colored glasses I don’t find anything in there that is misleading or inaccurate. AR_750 must have something against the company that he isn’t revealing.

  6. Knower-of-Things says:

    Bwater’s culture is very different from most financial companies, and living that culture is one of the key elements to being successful there. Anyone who says “Sure, find another Hedge Fund” knows nothing about Bwater, and well… Someone with the mindset of AR_750 probably couldn’t survive a week. But for the right people (cream of the crop, Ivy League are just the bare minimum) it’s an amazing place to work, be challenged, and very well compensated.

  7. It sucked there says:

    I worked there, it was great when I “pretended” it was internally; If you’re not MIT, RIT, Yale, Harvard, Princeton,…forget it! Depending on what division you work in may dictate how your experience is. I can say from personal experience that it sucked. I’m very intellectual, Ivy league degree…and it sucked, basically an all day pissing contest, “I’m smarter”, “NO, I’m smarter” “No…I am” “Well then submit an issue on it, explaining why you’re lack of ability in seeing my superior intellect is preventing you from agreeing that I am smarter” It was a joke. Let me tell it like this, if you’re into going to work everyday and giving 100%, then being graded a C or B- for the span of your career there…then apply. GOOD LUCK! The only 1 good thing is the money is good for a second, then you’ll realize getting the life sucked out of you isn’t worth it. Oh, and there’s some hot chicks there…that’s about it…just MY opinion based on experience.

  8. It looks like we have some serious mixed feelings about Bridgewater. The consensus is that they only hire grads from elite / Ivy League schools, but other than that it’s either awesome or really sucks. Maybe it’s both depending on who you are and what your personality is? It’s too bad that most of the comments have been left anonymously.

    I got an e-mail from someone at Bridgewater who wanted to discuss some of the things that I wrote about in this post. That seemed like a big positive, because he seemed interested in improving the user experience on their Careers page. I responded quickly, and also told him that it might be a good idea to comment on this post. I never heard back from him.

    I still think Bridgewater Associates looks like a very intriguing place to work. These posts are just a starting point for research anyway. They are by no means the final word.

  9. It sucked there says:

    Well Willy, mistake number 1 is letting anyone at Bridgewater know you’re writing about them publically, positive or negative…they don’t want people speaking about them publically. One of the first forms you sign with them is a confidentiality agreement… so the likelihood of them ever posting something on this forum is 0%.

    I mean really, do a search on google for any other forum that speaks about Bridgewater…first off there very hard to find, second if you did find one, you’d only see posts from former employees like myself, or wannbes.

    They could give a shit what little people like us think of them. They’re not a publically held company, you would never be a customer of Bridgewater…so they don’t care.

    My personality is adaptive, I can make it in any environment…someone who worked at Bridgewater who no longer works there can automatically be assumed to be less than. I’m a thorough bred, I got hired after all. It’s an ultra, ultra, elitist mentality that would make anyone’s stomach hurl.

    Good luck.

  10. It sucked there says:

    And Willy, don’t be so cavalier, as in acting like you’re interviewing them as a company…they hire 1 out of every few thousand people. If you aren’t being agressively pursued by them, or don’t know anyone on the inside that could help you in the door, I’d say forget it, you’re wasting your time.

  11. MBS says:

    Hi,

    I recently interviewed at Bridgewater. Some of my thoughts are below. Feel free to disagree with anything I write, these thoughts are based on my impression of the firm from the interview process and what others have told me who worked/interviewed there. Also, I have listed some questions I have about Bridgewater.

    * They target graduates from the “elite” schools for entry level positions, but they have hired from outside of the ivy league. Experienced hires come from all over the place. It seems the most important thing to them is you can take/give criticism, you are intelligent/creative, and are competent in your field.
    * They have a no nonsense and open culture. If you say something that doesn’t make sense they will tell you that. They will also tell you if you’ve done well. If you get defensive when criticized, they’ll ask you to leave.
    * They are very passionate about their jobs and they work a lot. A 12 hour day sounds pretty standard. It’s not a place to ride out your career, it seems that if you go there you will work long hours and will be expected to produce.

    Some questions for those who have worked there…
    * In theory, Bridgewater employees do not let their egos interfere with work, but is that reality?
    * Do employees undercut each other/how much competition exists between employees? Do employees form friendships with each other or is it entirely business all the time?
    * Do the employees have personal lives (girlfriends/boyfriends, husbands/wives/children) outside of work?
    * If you have worked there, what did you like about the firm? what did you dislike?
    * Where do people go when they leave Bridgewater?

    Thanks in advance to anyone answering these questions.

  12. @It sucked there – If you’re a former employee, I don’t really understand the necessity of remaining anonymous. It’s obvious that you didn’t like your experience at Bridgewater, and I’m happy to have you here sharing your perspective. I think your comments would be much more meaningful if you posted with a real name and e-mail address and were a little bit less inflammatory. Would that be a violation of your confidentiality agreement? All I know about you is what you’ve posted and what my server logs tell me about how you got here, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to reveal that without your permission.

    One thing that I can say is that some of your assertions are downright wrong. Bridgewater does seem to care what I think, considering I was e-mailed by a gentleman who is a Communications Associate at Bwater. He never responded to my response to his e-mail, but I just followed up now. Hopefully he will get back to me, and maybe even comment on this post. He seemed happy to have had us feature Bridgewater’s entry-level jobs, so I don’t see how letting Bridgewater know that I’m writing about them is a mistake.

    I’m not an expert on Bridgewater. I chose to feature them on this site, because their job opportunities for new college grads looked compelling. I did a decent amount of research on them, but this post is meant to be a starting off point for job seekers to begin their research. I’ll continue to publish your comments, but I ask that you use a more respectful tone.

    On another note, you said it yourself that Bridewater only takes the elite of the elite. If someone is that good, then he or she should act like he/she’s interviewing the company (as opposed to being interviewed). To be honest, everyone should take that perspective when searching for a job. I don’t care how much of a reach it is for you to get the job, you need to show that you value yourself highly. Confidence goes a long way.

    @MBS – Thanks for your comments. Your perspective and observations are appreciated, as is your tone. Great questions! I hope you get some detailed answers.

  13. John L says:

    I think Bridgewater’s “no nonsense” culture is the reason for the mixed feeling. One thing the poster with such negative opinions did say that was spot on was this: “Let me tell it like this, if you’re into going to work everyday and giving 100%, then being graded a C or B- for the span of your career there…then apply”.

    That is Bridgewater in a nutshell – set the bar as high as possible, then triple that. If you find the idea of being stretched with incredibly difficult work, told very precisely and very critically where you have succeeded and where you have come up short, and then being given even harder work for the next go around to be an appealing one, then you will like Bridgewater.

    If you aren’t somehow who takes criticism very well or would simply prefer not to be criticized so harshly in the work environment, especially if you are performing the basic necessities of the job well (showing up on time, doing your work, etc.), then I think it is understandable that you would find the environment at Bridgewater very off-putting, and you may not last long. Bridgewater is an unusual work environment that some people are going to love and others are going to be completely put off by. The only thing you can do is see it for yourself and try to judge your own personality fit.

    MBS: I have only a short experience with Bridgewater thus far, but I can try to answer your questions. Maybe an employee with more experience will stumble upon this blog and give better answers later.

    (1) I did not see examples of ego getting in the way, though the people are generally very strong-minded and open in voicing their opinions, so you have to get used to a lot of open conflict in the decision-making process. I never saw anyone attempt to undermine the decisions that were made because of ego or otherwise compromise the best efforts of the company, however.

    (2) I did not see any examples of employees undercutting one another, and the employees absolutely form friendships with one another. It is not at all an “all business” environment in that sense.

    (3) Absolutely, though they all understand that Bridgewater is not a 9-5 job. If the idea of having to cancel a dinner date because something came up late at the office is anathema to you, Bridgewater (and really the entire finance industry, at least from what I have seen) might not be the best place for you. That’s not to suggest that it happens every night (it definitely isn’t investment banking…), or even very often – but it does happen.

    (4) I love the place. It fits my personality very well. Very challenging, very intellectual, and ultimately a very fun place to work. I think personality fit may be more important than almost anything else when considering Bridgewater.

    (5) Some have gone on to other hedge funds or asset management groups, many stay with Bridgewater for a long time (there is no fixed term of employment, such as the 2-year analyst programs at some finance companies), and many simply switch gears all together. They hire a lot of people who are liberal arts majors or other non-stereotypical finance types, so it isn’t too surprising to hear of someone leaving the company to go to law school or something similar.

  14. It sucked there says:

    First off Willy, if I wanted to be known, I would have identified myself as such from my first post.

    Blogs are opinions; I don’t care how long or short someones career was/is at bwater, opinions I’m sure would be all over the board.

    People who love love bwater are making big big bucks, more than just 150-200k. They are also people that are considered veterans, or newbies who haven’t yet realized the harshness of the culture.

    I can tell you from experience, (and this may be depending on division) that my boss and some of my colleagues expressed they were losing their sense of humor there…and that was because there was absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel.

    One thing to note is the following: the interview process is rigorous, generally there’s a fairly good sense on both sides that the candidate/new hire is a good fit… so must not diminish the interview process into thinking someone “isn’t cut out for it” They certainly don’t want to throw money away. There’s always the exceptions where it truly isn’t a good fit.

    John L…the only reason why you may see bonding among your team/colleagues is because they are the only friends they have…when a company expects 10+ hours from you aday, and feeds you lunch everyday, doesn’t that little bell go off in your head making you think “they really must think it’s more productive to keep us here, feed us, so we don’t leave or have a life” . . well that’s why they do it. bwater is smart in every sense of the word.

    John L, I strongly disagree with bullet points 1) and 2) . . number 3) is speculatory and kind of useless example.

    John L bullets 4) and 5) I think are ‘you’ in your honey moon phase of being happy to net 10-15k a month, happy to have a job in this economy, and just whatever.

    Willy good luck as I’ve said 2 times before. This blog has served as more of a healing process from the whole experience than informative…geeez thanks Willy. Who should I mail the check out to? LOL – JK.

    DNS: RI.EAST.COX.NET – that’s all the info I’ll disclose about myself. Sort of obvious if I once worked in Westport, CT.
    Willy, get out your Samsonite as you’ll need to move from CA to CT . . Woo Hooo . . because bwater doesn’t think highly of employees that want to work from home…and CA is a bit far.

    Ciao!!

  15. @It sucked there – That’s much better. Thanks for being more civil this time. I think you might be mistaken though, I have no interest in working for Bridgewater. I have a job that I love, and it’s running this site. A move wouldn’t be necessary either. I don’t know where you got the idea of my being in CA, but I can assure you that I live no more than 15 minutes from Bridgewater’s office.

    As for the check, just PayPal me. All you need is my e-mail address, which you can find quite easily on this site. ;)

  16. It sucked there says:

    When I did a domain query for (onedayonejob.com) it revealed an address in CA. Sorry for sounding presumptuous.

  17. Our host is located in Cali, that’s why that came up. I work out of CT right now, but will be making the move to Chicago in the next couple of months.

  18. interviewer says:

    Hi, Thanks for your posts its very interesting. I actually am a 2 time loser at interviewing at Bwater. Will not take another. I am an experienced hire as they like to call it with more than 15 years experience and command a pretty high salary for a “Non-Ivy League-er” It all comes down to culture. You can have all the experience in the world and it wont matter if you cant take criticism or back down from conflict. That is why I lost twice. I never truly subscribed to the philosophy and ultimatley I think they can see right though it. I think someone said if you dont buy into their Mantra dont bother. This is the hard truth. Read Ray’s deal…if you say to yourself…they hell with that…then don’t even think about walking into the buliding. Turn around and go somewhere where its normal.

  19. bwtruth says:

    Take it from me as someone who was there for 2+years:
    When it comes to Bridgewater, do not judge a book from its cover.

    In theory the culture of the place sounds great, no hierarchy, you are encouraged to challenge authority, completely open environment. In practice though, the place is a nightmare.
    For me personally no matter how much they paid me I would not work there again(FYI: the salary was great but I felt as I hold sold my soul to the devil)

    There were too many things that I could not ignore. Like an earlier poster said it was like a daily pissing contest trying to prove who’s smarter, who is right, do you agree if I am right, if not then we have to have a drill down meeting to evaluate your thought process. And yes these drill downs were pretty much you and your team in a conference room with no holds barred interaction. You would then be evaluated, graded, and diagnosed(you have a lack of knowledge, lack of character) – I have seen moments where for example a woman was driven to tears and the only reaction to this was her thought process is bad…..she was being emotional…..

    Personally for me, that was not the kind of office/workplace/environment I could surround myself in and be happy. If you enjoy constant arguing, publically chastising your colleagues in then you will enjoy this place. Not going to lie there were a lot of good perks there, great salary, free lunch, great company outings. But something in my heart always told me that something is not right there, and many times it had an eerie almost cult-like environment.

  20. Scoop says:

    Happened on this site while researching bwater. Hardly the most flattering portrait of bwater, but the picture painted is certainly informative. I went to their site and found it more than a bit remarkable that they ask applicants to provide SAT scores…..I haven’t compared my SAT scores since high school…..and even then doing so seemed a bit juvenile.

  21. Scoop says:

    Oh yeah. It seems that bwater’s AUM have decreased significiantly over the past year. Their site posts current AUM at $150B, but I read that they had over $200Bn in April ’07. Any idea how much of the loss is investment related and how much is client redemption related? Also, anyone have any insight into their performance in ’07 and ’08?

  22. Hey Scoop,

    Believe it or not, SAT scores are one of the best ways to predict on the job success. A lot of people hate to hear it, but it’s been scientifically tested. One of the worst predictors of job performance is an interview. It may seem juvenile, but it’s not.

    As for your other questions, I have no idea why they are managing so much less capital now.

  23. Recent Interviewee says:

    I recently interviewed at Bridgewater for an experienced level position (10+ years of experience). My perception of the company matches MBS in most areas (ex. I am not from an Ivy League background, but I am among the top in my field, and still being persued). I think that if you are a match for the company’s personality then I think it can be a very very good fit for someone. Personally after reading Ray’s philosophy, I was nearly in tears over how excited I was to have a chance to work in this type of enviroment. After both the phone and in-person interview process, my enthusiam has actually increased. I can however see how many (read: most) people are going to be unable to adjust or mesh well with that type of work enviroment and find it a very hostile workplace.

    As for the $200bn to $150bn comment, I asked about that myself, I was given the explanation that it’s actually grown. they manage ~$165bn in cash/wealth mgmt, and about $50bn in the “hedge fund” (which is a tearm they were very clear they didn’t like). Many sites only report one number or the other, and some report the two combined.

  24. potential says:

    What do they criticize you on?
    What is defined as a job poorly done?
    How much do they pay you?
    What’s the avg. amt. of hours worked per week?
    Was there ever a moment where you felt buried in work?
    Were your assignments overly difficult or filled with lofty expectations?

    Anyone with experience, can you please respond?

  25. Steve says:

    Having worked for Bridgewater as a contractor for 7 years I think I have more time in than most of the young crowd they hire.As a 20 somethings Harvard Grad you will live in a Beach front house costing $15,000 a month. You are fed well and work 14 hour days. % years ago the people at Bridgewater were friendly and a great group to work with but the high turnover rate and total lack of communication turned it into a very strange enveronment. I think Ray is a great person but when a company grows to fast the people at the top loos track of what is really going on.Yes you must trust those below you to keep you in touch but I watched egos grow at alarming rates and power corrupts.If those with money invested saw how much is wasted and how much alcohol is consumed they might consider moving even with the great track record. It is only a matter of time until the head knows what the tail is doing. I do wish them luck with China Care, Rays charity run by his son.I contracted at the Bridgewater location for 23 years and worked with people like John W Hnery Inc. now the owner of the Boston Red Soxs. I became a casulity of new ego’s and most likely kickbacks but I worked with some really good people that work very hard. If you want to work for them just keep a recorder on you at all times and CYA Good Luck China Care.

  26. C. says:

    Interesting conversation. I was recently contacted to interview at this company and I am glad I stumbled on this page. In making an observation of the conversation thus far… it seems that bwater is an environment where employees are pushed hard and compensated accordingly. After reading Rays philosophy, I could see parallels to what was already being described on these posts….bwater culture is made up of smart people pushing each other to be smarter, even at the expense of being discovered wrong or incorrect.

    Sure, most would probably like to be though as “smart” or “tough”, as these carry positive connotations associated with success. But I think what is also being said in this conversation is that while challenging, this environment can (and probably does) turn into a contest of not who is right… but instead… who is more right than you.

    This can make for great fuel for productivity amongst the workforce as everyone strives to come up with better ideas in favor of the company… but I can also see how producing 100% in an environment where no high is too high… can probably turn into an environment where exhaustion(and probably binge drinking)is rampant.

  27. Stephanie says:

    I should have stayed with Ray back in 1985 working at the Bridgewater Wilton barn office. Little did I know to heed their advice to stay for they had “something big” about to happen. Had I had any sense whatsoever in that naiveknowbetterthaneveryone blonde head on mine with my gibbs girl degree, I might be pretty darn well off today
    Sorry I left ya Ray Dalio I miss sitting at your desk pretending to smoke yer pipe He is brilliant and was then and FUN. I traded my futures and had five kids instead

    Steph (walczak) Young Not aN ivy leaguer couldhave been though
    Former telecommunications Queen
    Maybe I’ll look at entry level jobs again soon

  28. Unsure says:

    I interviewed at Bwater recently, and I am expecting to hear reviews on how I did soon. Their style of interviewing you can tell they are trying to figure out your personality and if it will fit with their culture, which the interviewers were very proud of (compliment Ray Dalio’s philosophy and you will get an earful about the wonderful culture). I am not sure how I did not the interview, and I am not sure I want the job if I did alright. I would be an “experienced” hire, and I am not out of an Ivy. I am guessing I do not have the pedigree for them, and I am not sure they are for me. I had to fill out a personality profile and a team assessment before the interview. The process certainly was interesting if nothing more. The people I met were nice and interesting, and they looked tired. I work crazy hours in my current job so working hard and giving 2000% does not scare me, but I do not know if I want to be openly criticised on a daily basis. I am not a wall flower, and I do not shy away from confrontation, but seriosly, I am not sure what I think of B-Water. This is a very useful conversation though. Thanks for all of your posts. Does anyone know how old Ray Dalio is?

  29. Ian says:

    Let me first say that I can’t represent Bridgewater’s opinion on anything here, but as a current employee, I can give some perspective. Also, note that while Bridgewater often recruits from Ivy schools, it’s by no means a requirement – I’m a perfect counterexample.

    “What do they criticize you on?”

    At Bridgewater, everybody is trying to get to the best result, always. You’ll receive criticism (and more importantly, will be demanded to give criticism) on anything which doesn’t align with this goal. If this sounds odious, stay away. If this sounds exciting, Bridgewater might be a good fit for you.

    “What is defined as a job poorly done?”

    Same as anywhere else – the only difference is that they’ll be more honest with you.

    “How much do they pay you?”

    Plenty.

    “What’s the avg. amt. of hours worked per week?”

    I think this varies by subgroup. The general goal is a 50 hour work week, but many people work more. You keep your own hours, and are expected to be mature and professional enough to keep yourself working hard.

    “Was there ever a moment where you felt buried in work?”

    If this ever happens, you need to raise the issue. That’s the beautiful thing about Bridgewater – if you get too much work, and can explain why it’s unreasonable, you can change your situation. If you can’t communicate this, you’ll fail.

    “Were your assignments overly difficult or filled with lofty expectations?”

    Mine haven’t been, but if they were, I’d push back. Again, if you can explain why the expectations being placed on you are unreasonable, you can overcome the situation.

    To anybody considering Bridgewater, my biggest piece of advice is to read this: http://www.bwater.com/home/philosophy.aspx – if that gets you fired up, interview. If that scares you, avoid Bridgewater.

  30. Tre says:

    The last post was the most accurate – FYI.

  31. culture=cult says:

    as a former FTE of 2 yrs, I will tell you bwater is not for many, and if you say it is for you, or you think it is for you; so be it, you’re only fooling yourself. they rave so much about their special culture, emphasis on culture…because to an earlier post… it’s true, there is a cult like atmosphere there… not a boys club…something much different and slightly sinister.

    and to another previous post, the current employee Ian . . .yeah, “raise the issue” sure…tell me when anyone gets any work done… raising an issue every now and again would be good if it wasn’t abused and utsed for petty items. It’s like saying ‘I love you’ to everyone, everyday, all the time, the meaning and purpose get dimished, as does the usefulness of their issue log tool–because it’s over-utilized. When I worked there… someone forgot their badge, so they had to call a bwater employee to let them in, would you believe the employee that let that person in submitted an issue log basically stating that time was lost, their activity for the day had been negatively impacted due to having to get up and walk downstairs to let the person in…
    With bwaters issue log process, there’s no simple way to log an issue, it becomes a dissertation on the ‘impact’ of the issue you’re raising, the short term and long term solution, those accountable, and morec–Ridiculous!! Issue logs at bwater have no currency becaused they’re submitted too often and things never get resolved. How can one hardly think there’s any trust among any of the employees at bwater with a tool like that in place. The company is comprised of 99.9% alpha-male/female personalities… egos are over the top… they all criticize too much lacking any form of tact or professional social graciousness, under-appreciative, with next to no proclivity to change themselves. bwater credits themselves in saying their success is because of their out-of-the-norm culture, yeah right… their success is because they have extremely intelligent employees working there. the culture and “different kind of company”, removed hierarchies is a bunch of BS… it’s to get current and future employees to conform… so bwater can suck all the blood out of you. culture, challenging each other on a day to day has nothing to do with it. programs are still coded, research will always research, the 150 IQ you have today, you’ll have tomorrow, it has nothing to do with culture…so compute that data because that’s the truth…and if you disagree, fine… your status is “River front property on Denial”

    It’s only a matter of time before the company crumbles, in that I mean an internal uprising, people threaten to leave to manipulate better work environment, things like that… then they’ll sell off some of their business to competition, thin their staff, get lean again and rebuild with 50 employees.

  32. culture=cult says:

    here’s a little something to chew on… for all those bwater entusiasts and supporters. here’s the #1 hedge fund firm in the country philosophy/culture: DE Shaw & Co
    Note there’s nothing said about critizing superiors, colleagues, or subordinates to be successful there. DE Shaw is successful just fine, and #1. So again, the culture, philosophy is not the winning ingredient to their success, it’s said so everyone conforms, so you feel inadequate if you don’t conform, less than, not as smart…all BS people!

    bwater’s philosophy statement is a 10 paragraph start at brainwashing you, DE Shaw is a simple and appropriate 2 paragraphs and they manage to get the point across… bwater…please… no hierarchy–yeah right… then everyone would be colleagues, no subordinates, no superiors except perhaps ray.

    At the D. E. Shaw group you’ll be working with people trained in a variety of disciplines in a collegial, casual environment in which corporate hierarchies are kept to a minimum. There is no dress code (you won’t see many suits and ties), the firm is flexible in its approach to time away from the office, and many positions don’t have fixed hours. New hires often enjoy surprising amounts of responsibility, and we encourage collaboration, personal mentorships with senior team members, and the open exploration of ideas. As a result, many employees feel that the firm combines some of the most attractive features of academia with considerably greater rewards.

    There are also abundant opportunities for rapid professional growth. One of our managing directors literally started in the mailroom, and it’s not uncommon for people to move between departments if there’s a fit for both the firm and the individual. Career paths are governed primarily by the evolution of an employee’s interests and abilities.

  33. Bobrikus says:

    Seems like good compensation at Bridgewater is one of the few the consistent themes in this thread. Can anyone elaborate on the details of the comp (e.g. base, bonus, other) for some key roles like senior investment associate, senior management associate, client advisor, etc

  34. optimez says:

    Could anyone discuss the specific interview process? Are there brain teasers and math problems? I am set to interview for an Operations role and usually this division is not as competitive as Investment Management or Trading. Thanks in advance.

  35. Eboogie says:

    Hi all! I am starting the process at interviewing at Bwater next week, and I am reading all the posts to this site for some info on the organization. I am at the beginning of the process (Stage 1 phone interview) and I wanted to know if anyone could discuss the specifics around the interview process? Many thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

  36. jb2008 says:

    The interviews mainly strive to evaluate your goodness to fit. So long as you can replicate Dalio’s philosophy in your reasoning, you will make it. The firm is strong on its philosophy and will never deviate from it.

  37. Not for you says:

    For anyone that needs interviewing advice—Bridgewater isn’t for you. You aren’t the caliber individual they would ever hire or if you got lucky and hired you’d never last. I never thought to ask I was confident in my educational background, experience and ability to interview. If you’re concerned about your future interview just know the interview process is grooling—working there is way more a challenge.

  38. jb2008 says:

    Not For You is absolutely right. The process is indeed rigorous. Though, I hear that interviews in Ops are much less grueling than for other positions – I can only attest to the Investment Associate interview.

  39. Not for you Not for you says:

    Not for you, Bridgewater is also not for people that can’t spell Grueling.

  40. ken says:

    Anybody working there know about a area called trade gen? is this
    front or back office? How are the exit options?

  41. Not for you (jb2008) says:

    Who cares! grooling grueling – - you’re a petty idiot. Certainly only a fool would call someone out on this blog about spelling. I wasn’t an English major nor do I care! Harvard UnderGrad 2002, Stanford Grad 2006– get a LIFE!

  42. Not for you Not for you says:

    Wharton 2006, Oxford 2008 – you get a life

  43. jb2008 says:

    So, does anyone know about Operations at Bwater? Is it as tough as the other premier departments?

  44. jb2008, I’m not sure what is going on with you. You’re claiming Wharton ’06, Oxford ’08, yet you’re posting from a not Wharton or Oxford e-mail address. There are certainly reasonable explanations for that, but it looks fishy. It’s also fishy that you’re using two handles – jb2008 and Not for you Not for you.

    Also, you’re calling someone out for spelling grueling wrong, yet you used the phrase “evaluate your goodness to fit.” You’re also writing like an insider in one comment, and then asking a basic question in another. You have inconsistencies all over the place, so maybe you should tone it down.

    There’s no need to get into pissing matches here. Bridgewater is a very competitive place to work, and it seems to create a lot of anger for people. Maybe you need thick skin to work there, but I can guarantee that being an asshole can only take you so far – at Bridgewater or elsewhere. Treating people rudely and bragging about where you got your degree from will only make you look like a fool in the end. Chill out, and try to leave comments that add value, or don’t comment at all.

  45. jb2008 says:

    My apologies for trying to make this into an argument – the forum is not about that and is disrespectful to you Willie, which I don’t want to do – but Not for you, it’s only fair that people are asking for interview advice since Bwater is a unique place and not many understand the specifics of their process, as it is different. Anyway I apologize to you too not for you -

  46. It sucked there says:

    Interview process to my memory differs division to division. for me it was a phone interview with the manager I’d be reporting to. a few days following the phone interview I was called in for a face to face. that interview consisted of 3 individuals that would be at a peer level–(I exchanged a hello and goodbye with the individual I spoke with on the phone) however he did not attend the in person interview. after 2.5 hours of speaking with the 3 individuals I was then met by someone from another division who asked very abstract ‘nothing to do with the position’ questions… lastly I met Ray Dalio himself. almost 4 hours in total. I also received follow-up calls from 2 of the 3 individuals I met with all together days after with more questions. It was a very interesting, challenging, painful and intriguing experience. it was definitely the type of intellectual environment I’d been wanting despite the negative feedback I’ve provided in earlier posts. again I really think it depends on the position, the culture within the division the position exists, and you.

  47. It sucked there says:

    another important tip I will add to the interview process that may help is this… try not to explain what you did for each of your former and present roles–(this is very unlike 99.9% of most interviews) what usually happens is you will learn about the challenges of the current division, expectations of the role you’re interviewing for, and then the interviewers will want to know how “you” will excel and be a superstar in your role at bridgewater with those challenges/expectations. try not to reflect back on former and current positions… they serve no use to bwater interviewers. their objective is to see if your skill level maps to their current needs by hearing you explain how you’ll approach each challenge. sort of unfair process because it’s difficult to learn an environment such as bwater without proper discovery.

  48. ken123 says:

    To it sucked there, do you know anything about the trade gen area? curious
    to know if its considered front or back office. Also I heard once you
    leave this company, you cannot work for another hedge firm for two years. any
    truth?

  49. jb2008 says:

    Thanks for the input IST

  50. MQ says:

    Interesting chain. I like the tension! Hope my interview goes well tomorrow!

  51. rj says:

    MQ, how did your interview go?

  52. interested says:

    Anybody know anything about the group interviews for the entry-level jobs? Or know anything about the Portfolio Accountant jobs in particular?

  53. Ducky Jane says:

    I am interviewing for the facilities department, receptionist to be specific. I understand the interview process is rigorous at Bridgewater, however, could it be tailored for specific departments? In which case does anyone have an idea of what to expect for phase two- facilities department?

  54. kwakoo says:

    If you can’t take the heat, cry on your Mama’s apron

  55. curious mind says:

    what is the interview process for experienced hire? do they usually conduct a phone interview then proceed further to face-to-face? is it one round or more?
    From what i gathered, it sounds like they are not too interested in your experiences but more so on your analytical and logical thinking? is it similar to those consulting interview questions, where they love to ask you ‘how many golf balls are in this world?’

  56. WestportMan says:

    @Curious mind
    For experienced hires it is a first round screening process over the phone. They get very detailed with aspects of your resume and want to know it in and out. Think of it as a sanity check to make sure you are not BS’ing anything on your resume. They might also target specific things about your resume that might have similar ways of thinking to the current job you are applying to.

    After the first initial screening, if you are called back, you will go visit the Westport campus. You will be required to fill out a Meyers-Briggs style questionnaire before heading on over, either the main one or the one at Nyala Farms. Most likely you will meet a series of people for a two on one interview process. Usually a senior and a more junior guy. They will again ask you detailed questions about your resume, try to understand your manner of thinking. On many occasions they will challenge your thinking to see how you react under pressure and why you made certain decisions in your life and if they were the right ones.

    For the investment analysts type positions they do ask “brain teasers” of sorts. There are a few books out there that can help put you in the mindset, but the closest that this comes to are those off the wall questions often asked by Google and Microsoft that test your intellectual and analytical ability. Questions like how many manholes are in New York? Or if you took a cup of coffee and a cup of tea, poured a teaspoon of tea into the coffee cup and poured a teaspoon of that coffee/tea mixture into the tea cup what proportion of tea and coffee would you have in each cup.

    After that, if they like you, you might go for another round of interviews, and if you’re high up enough meet Dalio himself. Then you will get an offer…

  57. KRASH says:

    Hi,
    I have an interview coming up in a couple of days – I would be what is considered to be an experienced hire.
    I am VERY interested in knowing the average salary for the Fund Accountant/Portfolio Administrator position; does the base alone touches 90k plus? ANY, and I beg you that ANY “helpful” feed back would be appreciated BEYOND words!

    Thanks!!

  58. Name withheld by request says:

    Interesting reading. I currently work at BW, and here are some things more things you should consider if you are planning to work there. First off it, it is an “open” environment, meaning anyone and everyone can and will point out your weaknesses at any time. There is a well-defined pecking order, where your manager (or the person most likely to give you grief) will have his or her manager or grief-giver, and so on up the line to the Ray-man, who gives it to all. The “discussions” are generally one-sided, and as other writers have said, generally devolve into pissing contests with no resolutions or outcomes. Nothing seems to ever get fixed, no direction known.

    They will call you out for the way you speak and write, which can be unsettling for anyone, especially an experienced hire. The worst sessions are the issue log meetings, which are generally pre-determined before the actual meeting is held and fairly well-scripted. There is a planned outcome, and the receiver is generally best off quickly admitting an error early and forestalling further probing. BW has an established 5 step problem resolution process, but it is rarely used. I have never witnessed anything that went past the problems stage, i.e., no solutions or changes in the processes or causes. Often the “root cause” is defined as someone’s personal shortcoming, and not really the real root of the problem.

    BW believes it takes about 18 months to fully inculcate a person into their culture. It will be a long and possibly tortuous process. There are over 100 mgt. principles from the Ray-man himself, and people tote copies around with them and refer to it as if it were the Bible. Reminds me of an old joke, where there were a bunch of guys in a prison, and every once in a while a prisoner would shout out a number and everyone would laugh. Finally one of the guards asked what was going on. One of the prisoners said that they all were in jail so long together, that they all knew the same jokes so well, that after a while the prisoners just shouted out a number and everyone knew what the joke was.

    Same at BW, someone refers to principle number 71, and everyone nods in sage agreement.

    BW has grown too quickly the past few years, and they are suffering for it. As several other readers have stated, they have hired very young, inexperienced people from the best schools — that’s one of the principles — hire great people, they’ll figure it all out. They do not have a middle level of management, and are especially lacking seasoned people who have actually accomplished anything, and they are suffering for it. The young and smart people just don’t know how to get things accomplished. That, and a lack of people skills prevents them from really establishing teams with clear goals, tasks, and deliverables.

    In some areas — IT, Security, DR — they are incredibly messed up and don’t know how to fix them. The people responsible for the messes are still there and resist any organizational or operational changes, usually under the guise of principles and culture. So a vicious cycle of “rinse and repeat” to coin a favorite BW-ism, continues where inexperienced, ineffective, and incompetent people continue on, resisting change and outside influence.

  59. BW Candidate says:

    Wow, this is probably the first time I have read every single comment on a blog posting like this. Some heated discussion. I’d have to agree with the original post the BW does have an amazing number of entry-level opportunities (which, in an economy like this, I’m thankful for).

    I am supposed to interview for a Research Data Analyst position for BW. Do current, or former, employees have any information that may be useful? What are daily duties like? What is the compensation like? I know the compensation is “enough” or “plenty”, but I currently live in NJ. Is it worth moving to CT for?

    I have a few other opportunities that I’m interviewing for as well, all in the NYC area. BW seems more like my place though – long hours, competitive environment – I thrive on things like that.

    Input would be appreciated. Thanks!

  60. Bob says:

    Hello,

    Does anyone know what a typical job of a trader is like at BW ?
    Are they hiring any traders at this point ?
    Thanks.

  61. employee says:

    As more than a year employee of BW looking to leave, I strongly suggest to think twice before joining.
    You can learn something there (as long as you filter out bs) but company had passed the stage where it worth staying. But if you’re looking for just yet another job – might be a nice, though very very stressful, place. And it’s stressful not because of hard and interesting work, but BS and “negative” culture.

  62. Bob says:

    Hi employee,

    Could you care to elaborate on “negative” culture ? Do you know what kind of work does traders do there ?
    Thanks.

  63. employee says:

    negative culture:
    * issue log and drilldowns aka “pissing contests” (these are quite real and almost never lead to their goal – better outcome)
    * very high people rotation and attrition rates in certain departments
    * not very smart, but “culturally fit” people are in the middle
    * almost cult-like environment

    trader job in BW is not very creative. In a nutshell: trader has list of trades, and is responsible for executing them according to the instructions.

  64. Bob says:

    Thanks for the response, Employee.

    Based on what you said, it appears that a trader is not allowed to make his own decisions. That makes the job dull and significantly less challenging. Technically, he should not even be called a trader if all he is allowed to do is executing the trades according to the instructions. Although, not having to make a decision does make a job less stressful. Do they still pay a huge salary for a trader job ?

    Thanks again.

  65. really Bob? says:

    Bob, that all depends on what you consider a “huge salary” And if you’re used to making a “huge” salary i find it interesting you’re asking if BW does.

    Is it that you’re currently trading and not making “huge” money and feel it’s deserved–i.e. never made “huge” money?
    or
    Is it that you make “huge” money and are wondering if you will maintain your “huge” salary and then some by making the transition to BW?

    In either case very amateur–you never made “huge” money kind of question.

  66. tara says:

    all these posts are very helpful – and its interesting to see how different people react to different environments. one thing i am curious about is how they deal with “praise” in this “open” environment. Does it exist? Or does the open environment only refer to negative conversation? for those who have worked at bwater – have you ever gotten any praise for your work?

  67. Vbhalla says:

    Anyone have any insight on the Research Data Analyst position? Responsibilities, salary, bonus, etc…?

  68. Can't say says:

    Bridgewater is all about seeking “truth” above everything else. Only a few “believable parties” (read: a handful of old timers, or some new ones that have sucked their way up successfully) have a monopoly on the “truth”. If you challenge their version of the truth, then you are being deflective, and not reflective. You do that a couple of times, you lose your job. “Excellence” means pissing on everyone else all the time. Of course, don’t piss on the important believable guys, you will be in trouble. Pick on the weak struggling ones. You will regarded as insightful. Money no good for experienced hires. If you want to be insulted everyday for why you sent this email, or why you called this person, or why what you wrote isn’t exactly worded the way I would have thought about it, then yes, Bridgewater is the place for you.

  69. Bob says:

    Reply to “Really Bob”,

    I do not think you understood my point. Other hedge funds do not usually pay a “huge” salary for executing a list of trades. Risk management and decision making is synonymous with almost any trading job.

    From your post, it seems like you are one of the slaves working for Bridgewater. Let me know what you do there (except for buttkissing), I might be able to help you devise a better career path which allows you to live with dignity.

  70. current employee says:

    I’ve been working at Bridgewater for about 2 years and I’m really happy with my job, so I want to give you guys the perspective of someone who is enthusiastic about the company.

    Reading the comments about “negative culture” and “pissing contests” feels like looking at Bridgewater through a funhouse mirror… I recognize the activities that the posters are describing, but the descriptions are completely missing the point. Bridgewater values getting to the right answer through open-minded debate, and personal growth via learning from mistakes. Obviously, if those are your values, you’re going to spend a lot of time focusing on problems and giving critical feedback, but I really believe that the vast majority of the time the intent is to make the team better and help people grow, and if you’re able to check your ego at the door and engage with it you can learn and gain responsibility really quickly. There are always exceptions, of course, but by and large I would say that people really care about each other and that when words like “truth” and “openness” get thrown around it’s because people are genuinely trying to get to the right answer.

    I can’t relate to “Name withheld by request” ‘s comments about hierarchy and pissing orders — you’re allowed to and supposed to question your manager, included going above him if he gives you crappy answers. I’ve seen this happen on numerous occasions, and I’d say I’ve given more critical feedback to my boss than visa-versa. The leaders of the company really encourage people speaking up; the founder replies to emails from anyone in the company, for instance. So, when I read the other comments on this thread, my first reaction is to wonder why they aren’t openly asking the questions and working through them: this is one of the rare places that you can actually do that. If they’re really convinced that everyone around them is just cynically mouthing the company’s ideals without really meaning them, then a) I’m not sure why they haven’t left yet, and b) I think that probably says more about them than it does about Bridgewater.

    When I’m interviewing people for jobs there, I emphasize that it’s not for everyone: it’s a demanding environment, and you have to really want to grow as a person and get to the best answers. People with big egos, or who just want a paycheck, or who want to work on cool stuff but don’t want to engage at a personal level don’t do well there. A lot of people aren’t interested in that kind of thing, and that’s fine — there are plenty of other places to work. Personally, though, I’ve had an amazing experience: I think I’ve learned more in my last two years than in any other period of my life. The people I’ve met there are incredibly talented, great people who I really trust. Anyway, you shouldn’t take this second hand — if what I’m describing resonates with you, check the place out and form your own opinion of what it’s like.

  71. Please withold name says:

    I have a few questioners for the employees on this discussion.

    Name Witheld Says: “..In some areas — IT, Security, DR — they are incredibly messed up and don’t know how to fix them…”,
    What is DR?
    What is messed up in IT?

    I love the fact that they have a culture wherever anyone can raise questions about anyone else and I live in an incredibly (much more than bridgewater) succesful culture like that today. However, one of the things I have learned is that there is a need to be tactful. Is it considered “not brave” or “not smart” to be tactful in the way issues are raised.

    Can someone please spell out what an “issue log” is meant for? A complaints box followed by a meeting to discuss the complaint? Who discusses the complaint? What is the outcome if the employee just refuses to show up for the issue log meeting?

  72. What says:

    It is a very average, not-so-smart organization with delusions of brilliance that defies any logic. Pretentions of humility, aka calling oneself dumbshit, are encouraged, while arrogance underlies every behavior. Well, a few folks up at the top are making great money for the firm, and everyone else thinks it is all because of their intelligence. You are on the top one day, and the next day you have pissed off someone considered “credible”, and then your stock goes to zero. Meetings are pre-scripted, everyone bows to the powerful, and if you challenge then your judgement is considered flawed. Someone important, who has probably just passed you once in the hallway in the whole year, will write a tome on your performance, and that will drive your pay and bonus. Whimsical and arbitrary. Once you join, very quickly you are either “in” with the right crowd (which means your life is made!) or out, which means you should look for another job. It’s got nothing to do with talent, but that is how they justify it inside.

    Since your life is made if you get “in” (which is a gamble worth playing), you should take up a job with Bridgewater if offered one. But see if you can get your ex-employer to keep the door open for you in case it doesn’t work out.

    The work itself is quite pathetic. The top guys make the investment decisions, everyone else just runs around thinking what a great difference they are making. Processes suck, systems are terrible. You will be doing clerical work most of the time just piecing together data from text files in Excel. Unless you are joining as a “leverager” or “manager”, in which case your work will be even more meaningless. There is no structure, nothing ever gets done as everything is doused out by constant pissing contests, as someone else rightly observed. They are making money, that excuses everything else. Organizationally, they are very mediocre in terms of their effectiveness. But they always think they are soooo way ahead of the curve. But making money and placing the right bets is all that counts in this industry, so you really shouldn’t take anything personally if you can get to participate.

  73. Thank you says:

    Thank you for this great website. Because of it, I will not be returning calls from bwater for an interview.

  74. to bw emloyees says:

    I had my last interview about three weeks ago which i followed up by email. i have not heard anything negative or positive ever since…what does it mean? they do not bother calling yo to say you are out.Or they are still considering?
    Thanks!

  75. Willis T. Johnson says:

    Know everyone is bright, yet, most are social misfits. The analytic approach is great, but you will not learn any skill that will benefit you in any other business or sector such as relationship building or making decisions based upon anything but hyper logic. Do not plan to truly enjoy a day at work, The principles, as they are applied, are debilitating. If you were to act like an owner from day on, you’d fire most of the people you work with.

  76. Research Data Analyst? says:

    I know I’m not the first to ask this, but does anyone have any info on the Research Data Analyst position? Day-to-day, advancement opportunities, pay?

  77. xingthing says:

    I interviewed with them about 6 months ago and I screwed up a basic question and felt terrible of doing that just after the telephonic interview… so I thought they would not give me a call back ….. this was for an IT experienced hire position
    I am now reconsidering interviewing there …. looks like they have not found the candidate that they are looking for ….. and are still interviewing …………

    would they consider a 2nd chance there or its like – we found you short of what we want and you could never become what we want ??
    .

    would rthey

  78. Can't says:

    I joined BW in October 2008 and left in July 2009. I had a very up and down experience. I happened to come across this website because as I was telling someone at my new company about life at BW he thought I was joking. People on the outside don’t understand.
    Sounds cultish right? It is. I actually said that to my former manager when she was interviewing me and she agreed. You have to drink the cool-aid to survive there. Here is a bit of clarity on BW.
    BW is very elite or so most of the kids think so. I say this because the median age is 28 and the vast majority of the employee’s come from the top tier schools. With that said BW does hire from all walks of life. I am an example of that.
    The interview process varies from division to division. 100% of the time you will be judged on your cultural fit. I have had both an external interview and an internal interview. Getting in the door of BW was easy for me. I was a culture fit and I was capable. However, as I continually reflected on what I was doing and where I was going I realized that my role was not my passion. So I raised that to my manager. (2 things 1. Yes this is how they talk you should learn the buzz words quickly if you join BW and 2. Yes if you feel that you are not a good fit for your role you are encouraged to raise that without fear of being fired.) As I searched for a new role that would be a better fit for me I continued to do my job and interview in other areas. I interviewed for over 8 weeks with one department. 8 weeks and 14 people. This as I pointed out in my feedback to the department was badness. There was an obvious weakness in their ability to interview and they needed to drill down to find what the root cause of their inability to make a decision was.
    Let me explain the process:
    I met 2 senior colleges. They asked me questions about what my current role was, why I came to BW, what I liked and what I disliked about BW, how I could make a larger impact in another area, ect.. These general questions allowed them spring boards for peppering of questions. Why did you move to CT? What logic was behind it? How has the culture helped/frustrated you? Why do you think that weakness X is your biggest weakness? Seems your ego is talking when you say that you are more a creator? Have you painted yourself in a box? (Team Dimensions Test). This is more like the questions you get at a rapid fire rate. As you try to explain and say something they will just jump in and you need to be quick with an answer. It is very similar to a lawyer in a court room. I answered all their questions honestly (a must) and asked them for feedback. They both told me that they are not too sure that I would be a good fit in that department as it was too process oriented, but they needed time to think. I had many more interviews like this with this department. An interesting interview I had with a Leverager started out bad and ended pretty much the same. She had her head down at her desk when I showed up for the interview. I went to her assistant and asked if I could go in. She said no. So I waited. The Leverager came out in about 10 mins. looking for me and asked if I had been here the whole time. I said yes. She then proceeded to ask me why I had not come in and why I thought her time was more important than my time. And if I felt that I was less important than her and how long would I have waited. Threw me off a bit but that is pretty normal to just ask what you are thinking. There is no filtering at BW. As I was finishing up with her she asked me to write out all the things that you could use a brick and a blanket for in 2 mins. From those answers that I gave she assessed that I was too creative for the role and I would be bored. And ultimately it turned out that I would just be unhappy with the monotony that they did day in and out. I was more suited as a SMA. I did not pursue this. Remember this is just my experience all departments are different. However, for the most part it is a long process so you have to be patient if this is where you want to be.
    At BW you are challenged everyday. There is no stagnate bar. You are expected to give 100%+ everyday and if you don’t you will know about it. You have to be able to handle that as well. As I learned my biggest weakness is giving Personal Negative Direct Actionable Feedback. This is a very common weakness with people as most have never experienced this type of culture in any other professional setting. But I was working on this problem. As long as you identify and are willing to admit problems/weaknesses and then work to overcome them you are living the culture. The working environment varies in each department. I had a bad group and didn’t mesh with my senior. We tried to talk it out but it was just not going to work. However, I did make a lot of friends and as a previous post stated it’s true you really don’t have time for outside friends. (And most of your outside friend’s prob. will not understand you after you start working there anyway). At BW there is no work life balance. It is said the average work day is 10 hr. That is a lie. An average work day is about 12-14 hours. And if you think that you are leaving in 10hrs. and people are ok with that you are more than likely wrong. Most areas have capacity issues and try to fix it by the staff that they have. Mostly because they interview 1000 people and pick 1 leaving the department underwater until they find the “someone who has that sparkle”.
    BW does pay well, but don’t be fooled by the bonus and raise. Most people do not exceed on “meeting expectations” (Which by the way is good), this means that you will get the standard raise and the company tends to stay even on their grade so you most of the time get your target bonus. The bonuses are broken out by an equation summed to: 25% company 75% you. There is a large algorithm that goes to that but that’s the short. Also, take your base pay and divide by 60-70hrs a week and see if you still think that the pay is good.
    BW feeds you, offers a lot of social events geared towards you co-mingling (re-socialization), they pay 100% of health insurance for you and your family, they have rock star buses that bring you to/from work if you live in the city, Ray opens up his homes in both VT and Mexico, if you are too tired to drive home you can stay for free at the “Look Out”, they have drill down bars in 3 of the 4 locations (Friday afternoons everyone goes to the internal bar). Most importantly, BW ups your game. Forces you to think more critically and logically then you ever have before. I learned more there in the few months I was there then anywhere.
    As BW is a very intense place to work it can be very rewarding. I am at a new place running a division and some of the stuff that seems really inefficient and ridiculous at BW such as the Issue Logging (of everything that makes you want to kick your chair), the 5 step process to problem solving, the scripted Drill Downs, the Believable parties, the Double-Do, the Issue Log meetings, the lack of full knowledge firm wide (Nobody but Ray and maybe Greg Jenson have the full BW picture), I can see some value in these things now. I guess it is always easier to Monday morning QB.
    Feel free to give me feedback.

    • death of rats says:

      Can’t: you were there less than a year, did things you didn’t enjoy, learned more than you ever learned, and exited as a division head likely in some other hedge fund ready to selectively apply whatever you learned that made sense to you. I’d say you did pretty damn well for yourself.

  79. Can't says:

    To answer an above question: Would they coincider a second shot? Depends entirerly if what you messed up was not in line with the culture. If you are not a culture fit, more then likely no.

  80. Hiring Process says:

    Can anybody comment on what their background check process is like, and how tolerant they might be if they’re interested in a couple marijuana arrests already dating back 5 years and more?

    Thanks

  81. bob johanson says:

    The place is a looney bin and Ray’s Principles have become distorted by the children running the place. Its akin to Socialism – great concept, but flawed by human intervention. Overpaid arrogant kids just out of school can’t possible keep their egos in check and they don’t. Most are a misfit fo their job function and in an ever so classic case – know everything and do not seem to have the capability of or interested in learning from anyone with experience of actually doing the job previously. There is more tear down than build up and teams are simply outlawed. Its a nice place to visit but no one can possibly survive a career there and quite honestly shouldn’t. there is a reason for the high turn over – most people figure it out that the place is for losers that add no value to the firm and they leave when its figured out that any real contribution that they can offer gets poo-pooed and pushed aside simply because such an offer is too selfish of a BW employee. Go figure.

  82. mbf says:

    Can someone give me the # for HR so I can call to follow up on my application? Does BW have offices in NYC? Thanks

  83. Lee says:

    As an entrepreneur, I have read these posts with some interest. The following is personal opinion only — I haven’t a clue what it’s really like in the BW mine. So what is truth and what is fiction is difficult to discern. I can only surmise. My surmise and conjecture (based upon the posts at this site) lead me to the following conjectural but “logical” conclusions.

    BW is an amazing place. The most amazing fact is that it still continues to operate at all. One can only wonder how far BW would go if it was run by socially and psychologically responsible and mature people. The company obviously has an above average computer model for analyzing the market (though it showed anything but Alpha-like testosterone in this latest market run-up), The company culture, however, appears to be a throw-back to fifties style machoism. The company philosophy is social darwinism on the corporate level. This places the company in the “Backwater” of modern corporate management principles. So if you choose to apply to BW, beware that you may not be working in a cutting-edge corporate environment.

    BW seems to be a place well-suited for brilliant social midgets whose version of “logical” analysis is contaminated by the most base of human instincts — the raw acquisition of power. One succeeds at BW by exploiting others’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses (which ironically may be considered great strengths in any other context). At BW, I sense that honesty is rewarded only if it is provided in the context of hyper-critical analysis. In that sense “honesty” is really not all that “honest.” It’s more hyperbole than truth. Honest “praise” does not appear to be a company value. The test of one’s mettle at BW appears to be premised upon one’s willingness to re-create and define oneself as an emotional bully who uses naked power to grasp and crawl to a higher position on the ladder.

    If you are familiar with “spiral dynamics” you will see rather clearly that BW operates at the “red” level of human consciousness. For the uninformed, that means BW operates like a gang. They beat you into the gang. They beat you out of the gang. One person — the gang leader — is in charge, and you fall in line with his way of thinking or you get gang-banged psychologically. Gang culture has apparently emerged from the real life street to Wall Street. Those who fit in at BW no doubt have high quantitative IQs, but one has to wonder whether they have substantial emotional IQs. How else would one adapt to this environment? If you want to maintain your position in the gang, you suck-up to the gang code and become a lackey gangstuh. You lose your identity (if you ever had one) and dedicate yourself to drive-by psychological ambushing. It sounds like the indoctrination (brainwash) period takes about 18 months. Perhaps if you were raised in an abusive household you will feel at home in this kind of corporate environment, and it won’t even take 18 months of psychological reprogramming.

    In my business, I have run into BW-type “model prisoners.” That’s what they are — they are imprisoned by their lack of imagination, lack of creativity, and lack of empathy. Is it any wonder that the blog-posts suggest this company spends a great deal of time identifying problems but rarely succeeds in solving them? The attrition rate is due to the fact that the company appears to be operating at a middle-school level of maturity. Most people who have grown up and attended ivy league schools and done well in their lives have done so because they have the capacity not only for intellectual growth but also emotional growth. Part of human emotional development is learning to establish boundaries between ourselves and those with whom we interact. This means giving the “other” space, dignity and freedom to individuate, with due respect for their privacy. What has been described at BW is a business model which seeks to reverse the engines of human social development and simply encourage the base human instinct of grasping for “power”. That’s what gangs are all about. And by the way, neither gangs nor gang-cults will permit their followers to enjoy any sense of safety or privacy. Thus, everything you do wrong will become the knowledge of the entire gang, even moments of extreme human emotional vulnerability. These “teaching moments” keep the gang-bangers in line. The leader pays the gang well, and gets them to do whatever he wills — even to the point of carrying around a little book of virtues from which they recite principles with religious enthusiasm. In theory and principle, the practice is not too different from Maoist thugs who had the same appetite for brute force and power — and who in a few years period of time destroyed a thousand years of creativity and human achievement by their blind obedience to the little red book principles of the “chairman.”

    Poor Mr. D — with all of his money, he has achieved little more than gang-leader status over a group of social misfits who remain under his spell because he pays them so well. If he had any guts he would cut everyone’s salary by half and then see how much loyalty he has earned among his gang-chippies.

    One has to ask these young guns at BW — at the end of your life as you ask yourself what you have given to the world, what the hell are you going to say? That you killed other people’s dreams? That you got drunk at a company party with the boss? That you had free lunches for twenty-five years?

    I mean really . . .what in the hell have you contributed? I’ve read Chairman Ray’s “business philosophy.” BW is about “excellence.” That’s fine, but “excellence” toward what end my friend? You will be able to brag that you stayed in the gang. That’s about it. You didn’t leave the world a better place. Your tombstone epitaph will read, “He was a small time unimaginative corporate gangster who contributed little to the world at large but amassed a tidy little fortune for himself.”

    For the suspicious, I am not nor have I ever been a BW employee. I would never consider working at a company like BW unless I wanted to return to a time in my life when I acted like a bloody son of a bitch. A man outgrows those once he figures out he really isn’t twelve feet tall and bullet-proof. I am several years older than Chairman Ray and more than twice the age of the average BW employee. I am very successful financially, but more importantly, I am happy emotionally and spiritually. I suspect that’s where BW ultimately fails. It may have a heartbeat, but it has no soul.

    I wish to warn those of you who are beguiled by the money and power. Beware. Life is short. Life is in reality what happens while you are trying to earn enough money and gain enough income to have a life. If you have missed, it, you will not have time to find it. Take care of your soul. Protect it like you would a newborn child. In the end, you will discover, as I did, that this is all that really matters. To hell with company parties and bonuses.

  84. dmouth says:

    Does anyone know about the Management Associate Intern position? I’m at a target college and am strongly considering applying for it, but after reading all of this I’m a bit apprehensive.

    1. If people are pushed into insubordination how are managers supposed to do their job? I’d imagine being a manager at this kind of place would be extra tough

    2. What is the salary for summer interns (please give a numerical range, not just “enough” or “it’s decent”)

    3. Are the skills you learn there actually applicable to other settings?

  85. DBL says:

    I’m glad that I found this website, and want to encourage everyone who interviews at Bridgewater to post their experiences here.

    I interviewed recently for an experienced hire position. For context, my background is ivy-league (Columbia, Harvard) and 10+ years of Wall St experience at top firms. I also worked 3 years at a startup. My background ranges from tech (early in my career) to client advisory (most recently).

    A headhunter referred me to Bridgewater based on my strong achievements as a technologist. My first interview was a phone interview, digging into my technical background for a management role in their tech group.

    I could tell that they were looking for someone who had a defined, formal process for managing projects vs someone who does what it takes to get the project done even if that caused their process to vary.

    I’m in the latter camp, and have had huge successes in my career due to my flexibility and intuitiveness in managing. Nevertheless, the interviewer concluded that while he felt I was a cultural fit I wasn’t a fit for that position. Despite that, I was excited about a company that strived to find a position for me that I would be passionate about, and at a potentially high compensation.

    Fast forward a month later, and I get a call from Bridgewater asking me to do a phone interview for a role in client services. The person who interviewed me clearly was ready to go on vacation. He even said that his goal was to be on vacation as much as possible soon.

    The interview wasn’t recorded, but I could hear him typing as I answered the questions (I’m assuming, summarizing my responses). And once I answered, all I got in response was primarily “Uh huh” and “ok”. He clearly wasn’t engaged in the interview, and sounded as if he had one foot out of the door himself. This wasn’t a junior person either. I won’t out him, but you see his name quoted in the media.

    No feedback after that interview. Plus, it said a lot to me that an interviewer would make it that obvious that he didn’t want to be there.

    Fast forward another month, and Bridgewater wants me to travel to CT for in-office interviews. They called giving me only two days’ notice.

    Last interview excluded, I still had a favorable impression of Bridgewater. Plus, the day was pitched to me as one where I would speak to a range of groups to find a best fit. So I moved client meetings in my advisory practice, and cleared a day to travel there by train. Not easy timewise, and almost $100 out of my pocket.

    I also took the online team assessment and personality assessment. Both indicated that I was creative and strong on execution. So it was my impression that given this information as well as information in past interviews and combined with the intelligence of the people in the organization, my day in CT would be productive.

    Boy was I wrong.

    My first impression of their office was not a good one. Their website makes the office appear bright and fresh. It was dark, deep in the woods, and felt stale and 1970′s with wood everywhere. The cafeteria was even worse–cramped and school-cafeteria like. This is where I would theoretically be spending most of my day.

    And it appeared odd and contrary to not only their image on the website, but also their image as the world’s biggest and most successful hedge fund.

    In my first interview, the guy sits down and immediately says that since I switched from tech to client advisory and briefly from Wall St to a startup that based on my background, I appear bipolar. He used the word bipolar.

    Next, this and every interview proceeded as follows:
    “Tell me your methodology for doing X”
    (I give my methodology)
    “Why”
    (I explain why)
    “So based on your response, would it be fair to assume that you’re Y kind of person?”
    (No, because this is just one day and one situation)
    “No, I think I’m right based on this information.”

    And the rest of the interview would involve either my refuting their observation if I felt it was incorrect, or (if correct) their determining if I could change. Because how could I be successful as as a manager if I didn’t fit their opinion of how a manager should think.

    I also received a case study, and was given four questions to pick from for a debate. The case study was a great overview of how the company was structured, but was being piloted and was awkwardly structured for just an hour interview with someone new to the organization.

    The debate was a joke. Imagine sitting in a coffeehouse in college having a debate over a philosophical issue. I poked more holes in the interviewees’ logic than they did in mine. I can see how it could be used to gauge fit, but it wasn’t organized and seemed like another case of just refuting whether someone’s opinion was right. Great for after work, but during work there are more effective ways to solve problems.

    What blew my mind was that while each interview was for a different group, it was for the same type of management position. Each interviewer felt that I didn’t have the structured thinking that they were looking for although I was very strong in execution and creative. However, wouldn’t this have been evident from the first interview, as well as the online assessments?

    I wondered if I could file an issue log for their wasting my day when it obviously could have been avoided based on prior information.

    I also wanted to note that I was there the whole day, starting at 9 am. I was never offered water nor food. Also, if I tried to be humorous I was met with blank stares. No one said hi when you walked past even though it was clear by my badge that I was a guest. And I didn’t talk to any women managers, and saw one minority the whole day (besides Asian).

    In the last session, the interviewer tried once again to get inside of my head to understand why I don’t think a certain way which they felt made for a successful manager in their organization. After all, they are the biggest hedge fund in the world.

    However, most of their assets under management were apparently gathered before their organization grew to this size, and before these guidelines for a successful manager were put into place.

    So it was absolutely absurd to me that they would ding me for something they don’t have strong evidence on. As a matter of fact, their assets under management fell big time recently.

    After all of this, they still want to consider me for a different type of senior position! Which means potentially another day from my practice and a $100 train trip!

    The last interviewer said that they are willing to lose a great candidate instead of making a bad hiring decision. I can respect that, but I was clearly left with the impression that the “person” was less important than the process.

    And to comment on the role–a prior poster got it right. Unless you are the CIO or a higher-up in Research, you appear to have no or very little exposure to the investment ideas that made Bridgewater successful.

    One of the interviewers even told me this explicitly, as this potentially prevents intellectual property being stolen when someone leaves. Yes, he said “when” not “if”. And in a post-Madoff world (not to imply anything) but wouldn’t you want to know exactly how things work and if they truly are working?

    My overall impression is this. Bridgewater became successful on the shoulders of bright, nimble people. However, I’d say in the last couple of years, they grew very quickly while coincidentally losing assets under management.

    The growth was unnecessary, and likely driven by hubris by a higher up. Buffet doesn’t have a large organization, but Buffet isn’t arrogant.

    So today there appears to me to be panic and pressure from above to fix the money issue, and bright yet often inexperienced people below believing that they know what’s best to fix the problem. And if you don’t agree with what is declared to be best, you’re not in the “covenant”.

    It helps that many of their workers never worked anywhere else, because anyone who has will quickly see that this organization today seems inefficient compared to others and inflexible (although I’m certain they believe the contrary).

    Also, the power to be innovative not only appears to be relegated to the hands of a select few, but is psychologically battered out of you on a daily basis. They say that this process of getting to the root of why you think a certain way works–but if it works, why did their assets decrease so dramatically and why is there turnover?

    I can’t imagine creating a proof of concept and presenting it in its early stages without it being picked apart (despite it being early stage). Positive feedback appears very rare, and it’s your job to pick apart. In fact, you are rewarded for it.

    Ask yourself if you’re willing to work in an organization with high turnover and pressure to think and act in a certain way.

    Or better still–ask yourself if you were in a gang that was literally kicking an honest and good person who was lying on the ground because he’s wearing a red shirt on a Tuesday (and a person who wears red shirts on Tuesday’s is established to be a bad person by the powers that be), would you join in and kick the person too or would you walk away?

    I’m walking away.

    I’m sure any Bridgewater employee who is reading this it thinking that I don’t “get it”. And that’s the saddest part of all.

    I was genuinely excited to work there, but am thanking God that I “got it” before I lost several years of my life and had my thinking altered such that I’d have a tough time succeeding anywhere else.

    (Sound of me running away as Twilight Zone music is fading away in the background)

  86. Curious says:

    Hi DBL,

    Great job summarizing your experience there. Do they not pay for your interview trip there ?
    That’s incredible if it’s true.
    It is also quite shocking that they did not offer you food or water there for an entire day.

  87. dmouth says:

    Does anyone know about the Management Associate Intern position? I’m at a target college and am strongly considering applying for it, but after reading all of this I’m a bit apprehensive.

    1. If people are pushed into insubordination how are managers supposed to do their job? I’d imagine being a manager at this kind of place would be extra tough

    2. What is the salary for summer interns (please give a numerical range, not just “enough” or “it’s decent”)

    3. Are the skills you learn there actually applicable to other settings?

  88. DBL says:

    Curious, yes it’s all true. I noticed it was lunchtime and asked to eat. My interview coordinator did apologize that noone offered food, and said something about it’s an unfortunate side effect of some bright people–somewhat of a lack of sensitivity to basic needs. So if you go there help yourself, including going to the restroom. Now that I think of it, not even the front desk offered. I came in and was shivering, and had to eventually ask where was the coffee. I hope it was just that everyone was having an off day, or perhaps they’re weary of the parade of candidates thru there. No reimbursement yet but boy am I trying. Will let you know.

  89. Hiring Process says:

    Can anybody comment on what their background check process is like, and how tolerant they might be if they’re interested in a couple marijuana arrests already dating back 5 years and more?

    Thanks

  90. David Lederer says:

    If you are the political insider here, and part of the power base, you may get recognized for your skills. If not, the firm can be most arrogant in their quality, and stance of being as an institution to potential employees as well as current employees. This is determined by those that create and run the instituttion. Nothing is set in stone but once the values and culture are established it becomes hard to change up.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I was recently contacted by a recruiter for a non-finance position at Bwater, and have been through one phone interview.

    I’m intrigued by the comments regarding how this place drains your soul. I am currently working for a Top 5 Fortune 500 company and am fairly satisfied with my job, but am going to make an honest effort to try to at least get a face-to-face interview. I am no Ivy Leaguer–more like the type who tries to get the Ivy Leaguer to do my homework in exchange for an opportunity to talk to my girlfriend’s friend.

    If BW can motivate me to work, I’ll be thankful. The corporate America that I’ve experienced so far SLOWLY drains your soul and compensates you with a “satisfactory” sum. It makes you comfortable and slowly kills your dreams. At least BW tries to do it with swiftness.

    To all the alleged former employees who have posted here, I am curious as to why it took you so long to quit if you had such deep reservations about the culture. I’m going to try to get in there and shut an Ivy Leaguer or two up. Just in my nature, I guess. Maybe I’ll fit in.

  92. Not sure says:

    I am currently applying for an admin position at Bridgewater, and as many have said, am feeling a little unstable after reading all these comments.
    With that said, how can this company be so successful, one of the few hedge funds to have turned a profit in 2008, and be the biggest hedge fund in the world if it is such a terrible place? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Someone has to be doing something right.
    Also, I think someone mentioned further up that current employees have to sign some sort of agreement about publicly discussing their positions…is that where are the happy employees are? Unable or unwilling to post?
    Are admin employees expected to work the same 12-14 hours of work per day as the finance associates?
    To be honest, I wouldn’t be looking at this company if I weren’t desperate, but the job market is incredibly slim so I am going to have to consider “selling my soul”.

  93. Can not disclose says:

    Easy answer to the question: How can the company be so successful with all these terrible comments? It is actually quite simple. Papa brings home the bacon, and all the kids at home think they are too cute/pretty/intelligent and have a unique place in the universe.

    Fact of the matter is that the top 4-5 guys at Bridgewater control and manage the investment strategy and make the big bucks. Everyone else out of the 900+ bask in that glory and think they did it. All the terrible politicking in the name of “truth” where the truth is set by a couple of ‘believable’ people and everything else is nonsense. A believeable person who you might have just met once in the hallway will write a bad thing about you in your review, and you are done. Then everything you do is wrong, not according to the culture, and you are just garbage then. The ‘believables’ quite happily exercise this great power and over a period of time have come to believe that this is a god given right to them, ie to judge everyone else in 5 minutes of interaction and issue their pronouncement. A sham trial called a drill-down will follow soon, your ratings will go from ‘extraordinary’ to ‘incompetent’ in 2 months flat, and that’s that. You are not allowed to dispute anything said about you, because then you are not being “self-reflective” and that is an unpardonable sin.

    The positive side is that if a ‘believable’ smiles at you, then you would do really well, even without doing any work, because all you have to do is pontificate on everyone else. The chances of that happening are 50-50, and those are odds worth taking. Who knows, you might even join the club of these ‘credible’ people, and you’re all set to a comfortable lifestyle and some decent money for not a lot of work. (Mind you, nothing ever gets done at Bridgewater, no project ever gets completed, no process is ever improved, it is just mind numbing meeting after meeting and analysis…pontificating is easy. Delivering is difficult. You will be doing the easy work, which is why I say it may be worthwhile to take the job if offered). Everyone is a psychologist analyzing everyone else.

    The music will go on till the guys at the top keep making money, and they are good at that. But unless you are a part of the top 4-5 people in the company, you are not going to get any more insight into investing or ideas than you might have got from your CFA.

  94. Anonymity says:

    I recently interviewed with them. I have 9yrs of Investment Management experience on both buy and sell side. After reading this blog I wasnt keen on traveling for the interview and had rescheduled it a few times. However, I was still intrigued by their so called “different” interview process. During a dead markets week I just decided to to go.

    There were 2 other candidates besides me in the interview room. The HR person who claimed to be a recent Princeton graduate (undergraduate class of 3 years ago) stated that she was an “issues” consultant for special projects and that the Finance department had a lot of issues. She also constantly talked about how she didnt give a damn about stating her opinion and on a regular basis lets Dalio know about his mistakes and goof ups. Really???? Also that she left Lehman in the good old days due to the fact that she could not tell the CEO about their messed up culture. She constantly brought up the fact that she was dating this guy within Bridgewaters and how they both and another employee lived together as roommates…..Dude…what about my interview?

    In any case I wanted out before lunch and I was planning to make an exit by noon. High hopes! After an hour and half of behavioral group interview (hadn’t i just filled out an assessments questionnaire earlier in the week?) we all proceeded for what I thought would be real technical interviews.

    I was interviewing for an Investment Management position and after 9 yrs of working in the field I was asked cases that were not related to the investments area. More like what would you do if a coworker was stressing on an “issues log” item…..my response- I would wait and bring it up in the issues log meeting! I had done my homework and wanted to nail the interview, just to verify the ridiculous process for myself. It was a joke. No technical questions, the interviewer had no expression on his face, so was hard to guess if he just didnt want to be there, or if that is his normal personality.

    I consider myself to be a social butterfly and a people person, but I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt and say that I might have bored him to death.

    Round 2: Interviewer walks in and first question : How do I handle criticism? Well, if I can understand the basis of it, I will admit the error of my ways, but I would like the criticism to be justified. Interviewer’s reaction: Hmmm….ok. Same string of questions for the next 20 mins. Can someone please ask me my research methodology, what do I think of the markets, where the relative value lies, any investment ideas in the field?…Please? Please?

    I decided to excuse myself around 12.30 and told the HR (can I atleast state their names on this blog?) that something had come up and that I had to leave. She mentioned that I was almost done for the day and asked me to fill out some paperwork. Its almost like that boring meeting where spending a minute seems like an hour!

    Even though I had decided to be professional and give the interview my best shot, I could not get myself to follow up and send thank you notes. I had had enough. I got an e-mail from the HR after a few days stating that I wasnt a cultural fit.

    I recommend going in for the interview without any expectations, and giving it your best shot. It isnt the best training ground, but it will prepare you for the professional interviews elsewhere.

    And also, I recommend taking the train from Penn station and the cab from Westport. Not that its cheaper than renting a car, but you will need to rest your brains back on the train after the ridiculous grind. Good Luck and have fun!

  95. Fran says:

    OMG !! I had the worst interview experience ever of my life with BW. I have never seen or come across anyone so full of themselves in a professional field and that too on knowledge not based on facts but based on what they think is right. Get out of your offices people and bloat your egos based on knowledge and not on your bird eye view of things:D

    I don’t claim to know everything but I know some things about my jobs. Who asks for definition of processes as they understand it.. that is so bookish!. All I know is it is not a good fit for people who want a good life .. why do you want to add useless stress by communicating with people who have lost all their maturity and decency !

    My two cents : Run as far as you can if you love to live your life to the fullest !

  96. Lex says:

    I am so glad I stumbled on this website. I have an interview at Bridegwater in early March. Can someone tell me if it’s worth my time going there or thinking about relocating. I currently work and live in PA now…Also, what’s the salary figure/range for a mid-level carrier in their investment management or finance unit.

    I currently work in a PE firm right now and very happy with my job with a very flexible schedule. Is it worth taking the risk of relocation. I am so glad I stumbled on this website.

  97. current employee says:

    Ok, for the longest time I’ve been reading these comments, finding them amusing, if nothing else, and saying to myself “who cares, don’t waste your time posting”. But, lately, with the string of (mostly) negative posts, I felt compelled to say a short bit and try to clear things up.

    First, a decent amount of the info posted has some truth to it, but only at a very basic sense. Yes, people have huge egos. Yes, the power structure is very top heavy. Yes, you work long hours. Yes, it can be soul-draining. Yes, the compensation is very good. Yes, the Bridgewater culture is something the company truly (tries) to live by, good and bad. Yes, a lot of the workers are ‘young guns’ straight out of ivy-league schools. HELLO- none of what i said above (save the Culture part) is different at ANY top financial job. You think the IB’s at Goldman dont have egos, work 15 hours a day, and come from Harvard or equiv? So for any of you who would use the previous paragraph as reasons to not want to work for Bridgewater, then you probably aren’t cut out for the financial world in general. That’s just how it is.

    For full transparency- I am a current employee at Bridgewater, but have only been working under a year, and I don’t have one of the top-paying jobs for people my age (26). So, I have no reason to pump up the company just to try to make it sound good. Yes, I’m glad to be working here, but I am so far down the totem pole that I have nothing to gain by trying to “trick” random strangers into thinking highly of our company. Bottom line is, you dont become the biggest (in terms of AUM) and best (based on industry surveys; I know the term “best” can have many meanings) by being a terrible company.

    Now, having said that, bridgewater CAN be a VERY tough place to work. We have one of the highest turnover rates of any legit company. Part of that is because of the incredibly high standards, and part of that is because many people used to the more “typical” corporate world, really CAN’T (or don’t want to) handle the bridgewater “principles” and “cultures”. (Note- i put these terms in parenthesis not because i think they are foolish, but simply because they are actual terms we use). The people in the big money roles world ungodly hours sometimes, but again, that’s industry-standard. Anyone working in IB or PE or consulting can tell you that.

    As for pay, the Bridgewater motto is “north of fair”. So if you are a research data analyst, and the numbers show that a typical DA at a tier 1 HF make X, bridgewater typically offers in the 75th%. They dont want to lose top talent due to money, but they dont believe in insanely wild offers either. Also, BECAUSE bwater is so unique, they do not offer as high compensation in the beginning (your first year) as they do each year after that. Because they know many people wont stick around after 1-2 years, but those that truly DO fit, get rewarded accordingly.

    Also, i can PROMISE you, all these people above writing the nastier things (no one does any work; nothing gets done; its a big pissing contest) are people who got fired or couldnt handle the job in one way or another. Because like I said, you dont get some of the biggest pension funds in the world to give you their money if “nothing gets done”. Its simply not true. Yes, bridgewater believes in seeking truth at all costs, and perfection- so yes there are many meetings, and diagnosises, etc. and the company admits as much, saying sometimes things get done slower than at other places, because they value the best result more than simply acheiving SOME result.

    As to the interview process- again, because bridgewater places such a high value on their culture and principles, yes the interview process is not a typical one. For example, for MBA students applying for investment associate roles, you will have NO investment-related questions in your interview. Bridgewater believes in their leaders and trainers, and they would rather hire an incredibly smart person with no financial experience, and try to train them in the Bwater way, than some hotshot who knows “everything” about the economy and is set in his beliefs. Those who are turned off by the interview experience, its kind of sad really, because the HR reps are great and tell everyone exactly the type of interview to expect- i know from experience, because when i was applying, i was explicitly told there would be no financial-type questions in the interview. Basically, if you graduated with top grades from a top school with a degree in finance/econ, and worked in a financial job, they dont need to ask you questions you have clearly studied for just to hear you regurgitate information. Obviously, you know something about the markets to make it that far. They are much more interested in evaluating you through “life” and “fit” interviews. (Obviously, the preceding does not apply to higher-level positions, such as head of research and what not).

    Bottom line- i love working here, but i know the company (like any) has its fault. but to me, weighing the pros vs cons, i truly think its a unique place to work, the perks are amazing, you are surrounded by insanely intelligent people (and, yes, egotistical, but not all), and as corny as it sounds, it does truly breed a “family” like atmosphere. It’s definitely not a place for everyone- but if you are cut out for it, you will love it. I’d suggest REALLY reading the website (bwater.com) and reading Ray’s (the founder) philosophy page. the company really does work with that M.O.

    Hope this has helped…

    • death of rats says:

      can you describe the changes you have experienced over that “18 month adjustment process” that some people talk about when you start at bwater? i know this is personal so just please whatever you are comfortable disclosing is great, the info here is top notch.

  98. Tony says:

    Currently Employee… Do you have an idea of the salaray range for a Senior Portfolio Accoutant at Bwater?…

    I have an interview at Bwater in 2 weeks for this position. Any information will be useful

  99. Curious and Interested says:

    I have a conversation scheduled with a recruiter for a leadership opportunity at BW tomorrow. I am interested in views from current and previous associates on some of my specific questions that follow. i do want to share that I worked for several years at an investment firm that sounds very similar in culture. What is similar is the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement as well as the approach of providing honest, open and direct feedback.

    What I am most interested in learning and have concerns about given the above posts, is whether there is also an element of humility and respect given to the individual? I am all for direct and open feedback to someone’s ideas, views and performance. I do believe, however that there is a way to disagree with someone’s views and even point out flaws in their logic, without humiliating or overly criticizing them. I think some of the best ideas and solutions come out of brainstorming even when ideas are not fully developed. True excellence often comes from sharing and discussing ideas and potential approaches and building upon them through the collaboration of many. Based upon some of the previous comments, my concern is that the culture may be too harsh and cause those who are more extroverted to stop sharing ideas until they are fully developed and cause those who are more introverted to stop sharing ideas altogether. I hope that is not the case as both of these results can stifle the creativity and excellence that BW desires to achieve. I am hoping someone can speak further to this issue and let me know their views on whether there is a balance here. I am hoping that the culture really is more about true collaboration and challenging of ideas in pursuit of the best result versus competitiveness and oneupmanship. Sometimes people believe that by pointing out others’ weaknesses, they themselves show they “add value”. Unfortunately in this manner, people get torn down instead of being built up to enable them to do their best work.

    Thanks in advance for your responses. I am hoping that BW is the type of place I seek that is stimulating, challenging (yet supporting) and rewarding. I don’t mind working hard and being challenged in an appropropriately respectful and thought-provoking way. I do suppose one’s experience at BW also has to do with the maturity and professionalism of your particular business area leader and direct manager? On a final note, I am surprised for the relatively small size of the organization (800 associates?) that the senior leadership is stated to be somewhat removed from he general population and out of touch. Is that really true? I hope that is not the case. How is the HR leadership there? Are they helping the business leaders shape and ensure a positive culture that still fits with the guiding principles that Ray has established?

    I appreciate the diversity of opinions and comments thus far. It is nice to see that there are no lukewarm opinions. I would rather see strong opinions for or against the culture than a lukewarm response.

  100. Comp explained says:

    I posted a while back my experience as an internal person interviewing for a different position inside Bridgewater. I occasionally pop in here to see the comments. I noticed that many people ask about comp. BW on the surface pays very very well. I will break it out for you the best that I can.
    I worked in the finance department. My straight negotiated base comp was 85k a year and a target 15k bonus. (And actually I negotiated getting my entire Bonus in December when I had only started in November). I was at a bond insurance company prior to that where my base was 70k and a 20% bonus. I thought that this base increase during the time I was looking was fair. The key thing to know here is your bonus can move up and down from your target. They have something called a “Company Grade” and 25% of your bonus is based on this grade. The other 75% is based on your performance. Examples: If you get a 3 (and I am using 3 as being the average standard) and the company gets a 3 then you get your target. If you get a 3 and the company gets a 2 you get less than your target and if you get a 3 and the company gets a 4 then you get more than your target. Let me put the caveat in: Getting a 3 at BW is not the easiest thing to do. The 360 process is grueling and people are very happy when they get a 3. There are 2 bonus pay out times. July and December. July is 1/3 of your target bonus. I was always told “Think of it as a down payment” and December is the rest. So if in July they calculate a lower expected “company grade” then you may get less then but have a chance to catch up in December. It’s really more important in December as that is the larger chunk of your bonus. I have no idea what the base raise looks like as I was not there long enough to experience that, but I would expect that it would be decent. Money is no object at BW.

    At first glance the pay looks good but do the math: 100k a year was what I made. I worked on average 13hrs. a day, 6 days a week. (At the office mind you bc most jobs at BW are not allowed to have work from home permissions). Hourly it isn’t that great.

    Someone above asked if Admins. were meant to work the same hours as finance people. Yes is the answer. Maybe not 6 days a week but you can expect to work at least 11-12 hours a day.

    More importantly to the person that asked about relocation: I did that. I left the city and moved to CT. I would not advise full relocation. I would get in to BW, see what it’s all about and see if you are going to stay (as the turnover rate is 18 months) and then make that plunge. Just what I think would had been a better decision from my end.

    Feel free to provide feedback/comments.

  101. Another HF Guy says:

    So I have interviewed with head guys there…

    I have worked with one of the more famous high-performance HFs. BW has something like 6% annual performance. It is more like a StateStreet or Blackrock or Pimco. Big assets but lousy performance. I think the pay is probably similar… where they see 500k or a few million as a large paycheck which is not competitive with better hedge funds. Their is no “pay for performance” and I dont see many ex-BW guys around the industry (except for a few disgruntled guys who got out fast). Name a BW guy who left and started his own fund? I can name zero. Tells me they dont really pay well.

    I have interviewed with about 8 people including 2 people I would speculatively describe as “in the top 10″. The lower level guys were ex-McKinsey types. They really had no idea what they were doing in asset mgmt, trading, or at a hedge fund. They could just as easily be in corporate mgmt at GM or working at Google. For people like me, who live markets, thats hilarious. They know so little. I tried to teach them a few things. They had zero answers to some very basic finance / markets philosophical puzzles and introspective questions. Didnt seem that interested and, I dont know if its the lack of focus, were just very weak thinkers. Kinda said, “I dont know” to very broad questions about alpha, markets, methods. A few put me through a McKinsey case, which showed what brainless duds they were. Didnt even make it about trading, alpha, or financial mgmt. Just a dumb “lemonade stand” style McKinsey case. I went through the motions (and I do “data-driven analysis” stuff well. my test scores are perfect and I’m a good communicator so BW is an easy interview.)

    The top guys: one at the very top was arrogant, but not particularly astute. We talked at some length about how teams I have worked with have produced outstanding results. He asked alot of questions but I would call his mindset – “skeptical AND lazy”. This is a hard combo to deal with. Its one thing to be skeptical, ask questions, be inquisitive. But one needs to put forth effort to discern value and learn. Without that post-question effort, the skepticism just falls flat. I would rather you not waste my time with the question. Or just listen and nod and walk away with whatever opinion you already have. Ask a question only because you want to know the answer. Work hard with me.

    The other guy at the top (more like #6-8-10) was broadly sharp. Quick questions. Quick judgement on high-level issues. But he was ex-McKinsey type and not 100% focused on hedge fund work. Probably just happy to have his job and trying to keep his head down and get that next bonus, based on Ray’s big bet (oops, down 7% in Dec, man!).

    I suspect they are over-staffed. I have worked with much smaller teams where AUM per person is as much as 10x greater and performance is much better. I’m reasonably senior and pretty demanding, so we never got to the offer stage. I suspect they did not like how direct my approach is, how confident I am in performance.

    All this said, I dont have any negative feeling towards them. The whole point of my meeting with them was I think I could straighten out performance. I would probably cut 1/2 the staff bloat (or more) and make separate teams more accountable for real delivered performance. See the weakness in Ray Dalio’s principles… is that “argument” and “open debate” is NOT at all the key to truth. Results are. They best people I know in the business dont want to “win arguments”, and especially not with a large group of mediocre minds. They just want to “win on the field” and produce consistently better results. The idea of the principles is correct… but no argument is necessary. Just a darwinian performance process where the best teams, and PM survive. And losses get cut.

    So easy. No drama. No “personality cult culture” BS. Just a culture of worshipping “profit” and excommunicating “losses”. That is game we have chosen.

    Anyway, sorry for my rant. For you young guys… if you want to play the game like me — I suspect DE Shaw, SAC, Brevan, Paulson, or any large bank are probably better for future careers. If you want to play politics… go to a big management consulting firm or BW.

  102. jim says:

    This is all good stuff. I am so intrigued by all the alternative interview tactics, mostly because I don’t think I’m very good at the “traditional interview,” which is stuffy and full of pomp and circumstance.

    Does anyone know if they drug test before hiring? Or on a regular basis once you work there?

    • death of rats says:

      jim’s question HAS to be the best question in this entire post ;)

      i’m not on the east coast, so for my first round i have a phone interview there, i gather its going to be just a fit interview so hopefully no problems. do they then call you back in a couple hours if they want you and then fly you over for the second round?

      also any idea how Portfolio associates fit in with the IA and MA positions described in the comments here?

  103. Researcher says:

    Despite what is described above, there is Absolutely no flex time, and no working from home.

  104. sara says:

    Hi,
    Anyone want to answer more admin questions? I take it the other admin candidate didn’t take the job or left? Anyone?
    Are the admin people treated like second class citizens? (to use the term loosely people)

  105. 900 SAT's says:

    hahah. I seriously can’t understand why my recruiter approached me with a possible interview at BW. I have been in the business for 12 years but I am the complete opposite of everything they are looking for…too funny. As i read these posts….I would probably feel like Tommy Boy during an interview. I would eventually stand up during the interview and say..” I can’t do this anymore…everytime I get behind the wheel I feel like jerking the wheel into a goddam bridge…….

  106. Ralph Laterski says:

    Bwater might infer they’re different than other companies, but they have the same attitude as most other hedgefunds, that they are smarter than everyone else. This core belief is their weakness. Staff spends hours, days, weeks, months debating small issues that don’t matter, all the while the big picture escapes them. The worst part is is that they are encouraged to waste time by Ray Dalio who is a good money manager but a poor company manager (I’d add that Dalio is a very generous and decent person), They have good people who work hard, but they have poor leadership and gawdawful execution. The department heads where around when the company began and are way other their league now that that the company has grown. New hires with experience don’t stay around long enough to make a difference. If it weren’t for the handful of people at the top who make the asset management decisions, Bwater would probably not survive.

  107. YouDontWantThisAdminJob says:

    My wife worked as an admin at Bridgewater for a few years and basically had a nervous breakdown from it. Their “culture” essentially ruined things for her after a while. The Ivy League no nothings with their constant criticisms eventually wore on her to the point that she had to get out and people at the company were surprised because they thought she really exemplified the culture there. She was doing the work of three people and that was proven, because when she quit her position they had to get three people to do what she had been doing. The pay was great, but in the end not worth it.

    The answer to anyone’s question about being an admin there is yes you will get hammered on just like anyone else and no, no one will come to your defense, so if you don’t like getting criticized for sending an email with the wrong tone or writing style (this sort of thing happened to my wife) then don’t bother applying.

    Every criticism that has been posted so far is pretty much spot on. The people who like working there are twenty somethings with no lives, but even they eventually burn out on the place. The money keeps rolling in though so the place keeps moving forward.

    Anyone who has worked in Fairfield County Connecticut for a while and has a life has heard about Bridgewater and doesn’t want to work there.

  108. MiracleMan says:

    I’ve been following these comments for a while and I just noticed some openings in Technology at BW that I’m interested, but the majority of the comments here are related to areas of BW other than Tech (trading, etc). I’d appreciate getting some information about how Technology is managed at BW and how BW’s culture applies to Tech there, as well as any challenges Tech needs to deal with there.

  109. Oh No says:

    Scary stories. When do you know if you made a bad choice to join? Do the beating begin right away or do they ease into it?

  110. ShitScared says:

    Maaaan..I have a face-2-face coming up! Second round, after reading this site – I wanna cry and run backwards even though I didn’t start going in their direction. I don’t care if they offer me the job or not, I just don’t wanna loose “it” during the interview. Woosah! Just gonna go in there and be like…ok self-destruct in 10,9,8….or Not! bring it on ivy leaguers ..lets see if the rabbit hole smells nice..lol

  111. Oh No says:

    ShitScared, did you ever think of just putting your best foot forward and see how it all shakes out? Maybe you will be a great fit for the company and maybe you will learn to play the game and have success. If you are leaving another job to take this one, I understand the hesitation, but if you are currently unemployed and have the time to take a dive, then go for it. You really can’t tell what your experience will be until you put yourself in the situation. You may love it and excel or learn something about yourself that no other employer was able to expose.

    What do you really have to lose? If it isn’t a fit, then leave.

    Yes, there are some very “eye-opening,” stories here, but it is a forum and no two people are the same or can have the exact experience. Perhaps it is a tough place to work, but every company has there damages and casualties, so what really makes Bridgewater that different?

  112. mnchali says:

    Somewhere here I read the interviewer say “they are willing to lose a great candidate instead of making a bad hiring decision”. But if the turnover rate is so high, then are the hiring decision really good?

  113. Grad2010 says:

    I have been interviewing at BW for a few weeks now. I’m wondering if anyone can tell me how many rounds of interviews I should expect. I would be relocating from the west coast and would like to know sooner rather than later. How many interviews does it take?

  114. nowayjose says:

    I had a phone interview with Bridge Water and it had nothing to do with my skills. Not one question was asked. I was interrupted immediately. If you want to work for people who now have the power to beat you down all the time then this is the company for you. I got of the phone and in no way would I ever want to work for them. They called back a few hours later requesting I fly out for an in-person interview, I declined. Something very fish about this company! Madoff #2????

  115. WTF says:

    I used to work at this company. All you people complaining about the interview process. Just wait till you get suckered in (if you are offered a position at all). Once you accept the offer and go through the “orientation” process you will be judged and criticized nonstop. I only made it there for 4 months before my wife convinced me that money isn’t worth it. This is absolutely the worst company in the United States of America to work for. Mark my word!

  116. whatajoke says:

    The people at this company are a joke. Why would anyone choose to work for them? I left after two weeks. I have more talent but you spend more time being analyzed for stupid stuff than what you actually know. Something very strange going on at Bridgewater. All management are extreme wackos!

  117. Annonymous says:

    The interview process for Bridgewater Associates was one of the most ridiculous experiences ever. I would like to point out that I am 2008 graduate from an IVY school working towards my Level III CFA (Passed level 1 and 2). During the interview, I was taken into a conference room (the office is not very nice at all, my high school was nicer) and was asked to debate irrelevant social issues with 4 other potential candidates. Throughout the debate, the moderator attempted to point out flaws in my argumentation. I would like to point out that I pointed out more flaws in his argumentation than he did mine. At the end of the pointless debate, we were asked to render judgments on the other candidates (something I felt was inappropriate). The moderater kept on making comments to me like “based on your argumentation, you appear to be an X type of person.” With other candidates, the moderator kept on pressing a candidate to be clearer and kept on interrupting the candidate when he was trying to formulate a thought. I thought it was very rude. The entire process wasted two and half hours of my day (they also do not even offer you water!). Needless to say, I received an email a week later saying they decided to proceed with my candidacy.

    I think that Bridgewater is full of want to be “know it all’s” who honestly believe that by constantly criticizing others, they are part of this elite crowd of superior intelligence. In the financial industry, it is not uncommon for people to display arrogance when they work for prestigious institutions, however the manner in which the employees of Bridgewater act is simply unparalleled. None of these individuals who are “true adherents” to Ray Dalios bullshit principles of management would be able to survive in the real corporate world. I do admit that the company does consist of many young smart recent college graduates from prestigious undergraduate and graduate schools. However, I would like to point out that many of the people who work there probably could not get a job at a prestigious investment bank or hedge fund in New York City. I would like to point out that I am now working for D.E. Shaw group (received an offer a month after my horrible Bridgewater interview) and could not be happier. For all the IVY college students getting ready for the fall recruiting season, make Bridgewater your backup. If you do believe the company is a good fit for you, then be prepared for a “bltiz day” interview with other candidates and really sound enthusiastic about Bridgewaters corporate philosophy. Be prepared for a non-typical HR interview. However, I want to point out that I have two friends from college that work there and they both plan to leave when they get a job in New York City. It is not a company that people stay long term (average turnover is about 18 months). Also compensation is fairly decent, but many other hedge funds and investment banks that require similar dedication pay the same amount (and perhaps even better with bonus).

  118. Anonymous says:

    This is a wonderful blog. I got an interview there. I’m excited to hear their questions.
    I think the difference is in BW, the criticism are OPEN and no back stabbing.
    Where in other places, they talk that behind and do every BS with professionalism and diplomacy.

    I had experience where I brought the idea to the table and even the prototypes.
    Later, I found that it was all hijacked ‘professional’ by my POLITE Manager and his caucus aka gang leader and butt kissers. If you complain / whine about it other than to your wife, you will be portrayed as the most insane employee in that company.

    I read Ray’s principle and honestly I think he is sane with that (If they practices what they preaches)

  119. Tommy who is about to interview says:

    I am about to interview there next week. Does anyone have any insight into average salary levels or benefits? I am being offered $135000 a year. Can I assume add ons such as a yearly bonus ? Are the raises usually a good percent? Personally, I like the sound of this place and polan to try my best to land the job. Thanks for any insight.

  120. Applicant NOC Analyst says:

    Hey guys I appreciate all of the advice given above. I have an interview tomorrow consisting of a whole bunch of tactics that I have never seen before nor experienced. I went through the phone interview process and was called to come in for a “Blitz”.

    Can anyone explain what this day is like?

    thanks

  121. Anonymous says:

    Applicant NOC Analyst, How did the “Blitz” go? What did it consist of?

  122. Tom P says:

    I went thru 2 rounds of Interviews with these people. They are so wrapped up in their own Dogma that they have lost site of what their job is. They are a wannabe Psych Ward. You have to be off of your rocker to want to join this organization. I sat in a room with 2 people that took 4 to 5 mins to ask a question. When I gave one, they would say ” What did you mean by that”? It is mind blowing that anyone there gets anything done. It is so incredibly stupid that the CEO has made this company waste so much time with his Minnie me’s. I was offered the job at a very high 250k range. I turned it down. No amount of money in the world would want me to go with for that Nut House!

  123. Charles says:

    i will post my experience and you can view it anyway you like. I might be slightly biased since I got rejected after this particular interview, but I trust that the company didn’t find a good match. I am not worried about it either since I have a bunch of job offers and was not particularly impressed with anything besides their company’s philosophy (honesty) and the first round interviewer. I hope this is honest and accurate to help potential candidates decide their path. This is my honest understanding of the experience.

    I interviewed at Bridgewater with 4 total candidates. We took peronality tests. We went into a room and talked about vague ideas for a little while. In my mind, there were two seemingly not very smart candidates and two smart candidates. We had to discuss two things: “Is Wal-Mart good for America” and “Should the government run state lotteries”

    We discussed for a while and there were two Bridgewater people interviewing us. One of the interviewers seemed to mirror my personality type and the other interviewer seemed like he was insecure. My thin slice of the second interviewer: The type of insecurity that I saw in him was like a couple of people I had seen before. Generally they are high strung and work very hard to get good grades but are not very smart naturally, they have to work very hard to get it. At the same time, their outlook on life seems to center more around their career and they usually want to have a career with glamour, I suppose like a hedge fund career. They do not seem to care about what will help them grow or try to really be themselves, rather they will more conform to others’ expectations. Call the more insecure interviewer B and the other one A.

    We discussed the two questions and B interjected very often after a point. It is clear that he was pretty intelligent or at least competent at this type of discussion. He would give his arguments and say we could question him if we disagreed, which I did a couple of times. I tried to be honest, close to the facts, and really understand where he was coming from. At times I would make statements and he would question me back, sometimes I felt he disagreed with me and others I felt like he was challenging me to justify myself better. This is fine. But by the end he seemed to slightly dislike me in a covered way. Disclaimer: maybe B was not insecure actually but reminded me a lot of insecure people I had met often in my life.

    Interviewer A was veyr calm and collected and he let the group discuss the topics more than B did. His points were very logical, but one bright kid spoke his mind about a subtopic of the state-lottery question and A seemed to be extremely repulsed with the candidate for the rest of the time. It seemed that he held a personal belief that the candidate disagreed with and seemed to hold it against him for the rest of the interview.

    Thus, after the interview was over, I along with the other person I thought to be very bright were asked to leave.

    Interesting notes: One candidate who remained was talking to his buddy from college who was trying to get him a job there. This candidate was not very smart seemingly to me. After the interview, I noticed that the interviewers left the recording device going and I pointed it out to him. He claimed “I would not act any differently even though there is a microphone there”
    Cannot finish sorry.

    I have to go, cannot finish now

  124. IT Girl says:

    Great blog and very helpful posts.

    I’ve been contacted by a recruiting company regarding a possible IT position at BW. Initially, the philosophy sounded intriguing. Open, no-walls, etc. etc. I was skeptical though, since most financial sector firms are inherently hierarchical and those at the top ensure those who are not know it. Rather demeaning actually. No room for actual personal excellence since those sitting in judgement are unable or unwilling to allow anyone else to achieve.

    I actually thought that my experience and background were why I was being recruited. After reading the comments on this blog, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

    As for the ideas about criticism, I’m like several other posters: constructive criticism is perfectly ok; but destructive egomanical pissing contests and better-than crap is just that.

    I’m going to let the recruiter know I’m not interested. Thanks to all for the posts — and helping keep me out of what would surely have been a bad move.

    (and just because,… to the “graduate” who did not care to or want to learn basic spelling, your lack of basic literacy skills is representive of your lack of education and your failure to grasp the essentials of what your professors must have tried to teach you. Your obvious distain for literacy and those who are literate makes you someone I would never want to associate with let alone have working for me.)

  125. JaniceR says:

    I left Bridgewater a little over 2 years ago, and I’m never one to burn bridges. I figured, I learned by experience, so that’s how others should find out the truth as well. However, my husband also works there, and certain recent developemnts (details of which I can’t divulge for obvious reasons) make me feel like it’s my duty to say something.
    In addition to all the comments above, one thing that isn’t discussed here (because very few people know) – Bridgewater’s security department might as well be the second coming of the CIA. You would be SHOCKED at the tools they have at their disposal, and worse, how cavalierly they use them! I don’t know purport to know how the stuff works exactly (i was just an admin), but I know for a fact they have it, and use it (an old girlfriend of mine helps run some of their super spy stuff within that department). They will monitor everything you do, be it on the computer, on the phone, in your personal life, whatever. Again, without going into details, suffice to say nothing is private when you work at Bridgewater. They even try to trick employees by giving them certain “monitor-free” areas, but in reality, they monitor those even more, just to see what you do when they arent supposed to be watching! They are smart people, so they make sure that somewhere in the 500 pages of employment documents u sign, is something stating that you acknowledge their right to do this, blah etc. Now, I understand that when you manage billions of dollars, you need to be on the lookout, especially in this post_madoff world, but, some of the stories ive heard or things ive seen go way above and beyond the call of simple due dilligence.
    For those of you working there, or considering it in the future, be warned – dont do ANYTHING on the premises (be it phone calls, videos, conversations, emails…hell even checking other job postings online) that you dont want people finding out! It’s easy to say “duh, everyone knows their work stations are monitored in this day and age”, but never to this extent.

  126. Harry B says:

    I interviewed for a BA role at Bridgewater this past summer. While I did not get the job, I will say this, their interview process is quirky but at the same time, very refreshing. They really try to delve into your brain and see how you think and why you think a certain way. They also ask some very tough questions so if you aren’t qualified for the role, they will sniff that out immediately. All in all, I was made to feel welcomed and was happy to have spent my day interviewing.

    Bridgewater, while obviously not for everyone, seems like a place where one can challenge and be challenged. Hopefully I can one day be a part of this company.

  127. Billy H says:

    I worked at Bridgewater few years ago and I can say only 2 things. One – it is not easy to get into BW if you are not from top school. Second – even if you do get in, it is very hard to stay in. BW takes too much time in hiring people and very little in firing. People there pretend what they are not and don’t be what they actually are – very pretentious. As Janice pointed out, I found Security is much stronger than security in Oval office. Not only just computer security but also phone calls, emails, hardware, software, video conferencing, anything and everything.
    I didn’t enjoy working there at all and I am glad I left after working there for little over a year.

  128. Stacy says:

    To Harry B. Did you get far enough in the interview process for the BA role to discuss salary? Also, can you offer any insight into the “quirky” questions they asked you?

  129. ex-McK to BW says:

    Thanks for all of these great posts. I’m interviewing with BW next week for a Senior Management Associate position. I’ve just recently left McKinsey after 4 years, largely because I did not want the lifestyle of the partners I saw, and the comp vs. lifestyle trade-offs just weren’t worth it to me.

    Can anyone tell me more about the Senior Management Associates group? I’ve had it described to me as “the special forces of BW.”

    Also, this board is pretty negative about BW as a whole – is it really that bad? I’ve heard that a lot of ex-McK folks work there, can anyone confirm?

    Thanks.

    quick P.S.: another HF guy, you sound incredibly arrogant and jaded in general. Like it or not some of the smartest people out there work for McK. Did you not get in or something?

  130. JaniceR says:

    Dear ex-McK to Bw,

    A decent amount (relatively speaking) of Bridgewater’s top people were at some point or another McKinsey people. As for colleges, Dartmouth undergrad and HBS are their biggest funnels; from lateral company hires, they view McKinsey as one of their top 3 desireable places to grab people. One McKinsey alum who is now a very important top guy in particular: Matthew Granade. He will most likely do your interview if you make it that far.

    As for the SMA position, the real “players” at Bwater are basically divided into two groups: Investment Associates (IA’s) and Management Associates (MA’s). The basic differences should be self-explanatory from the name. You should know, IAs and MAs have a pretty big rivalry at Bwater, and IAs look down on the MAs, and sometimes it’s pretty palpable. MAs have the reputation for being all thinkers, no doers. You sit around and think about ways to think outside the box about a thinking problem. Managing people. Etc. It seems like a pretty interesting position (and its DEFINITELY stressful, and the turnover rate is ridiculous; MAs were considered one of the weak links by Ray, and if they dont think you are the right fit, you will NOT get a lot of time to adjust or figure it out; its right in his principles). That’s another thing: if you cant think of ways to incorporate the principles for approaching things, you will be out. Basically, if they like your style and you fit in, you can do great (and the pay, for that kind of job, increases pretty well as time goes on, relative to that at other places), but the odds are very high that either you wont like it, they wont like you, it will be too stressful, the work/life balance will suck, etc.

    Check out this statistic (note- this was the stat from when I left around 2 years ago, and I heard it was the same relative number a year ago, so while it could have changed, odds are, not significantly) – for “experienced hires”, SIXTY SIX (66) percent are not with the company come their 1-year anniversary. Think about that before you make any big life-changing decisions (like moving a family or wahtever).

  131. exMcK to BW says:

    Thanks JaniceR. Everything I’m hearing about BW is pretty negative so I think I’m taking it off of my list of serious prospects. I’m slated to interview and will likely still do that but will have to feel a significant and compelling cultural fit to truly consider the position.

  132. AnonQuant says:

    I had several interviews there only to be told at the eleventh hour that I’m not a cultural fit. I’m from a top school with fifteen years experience on the street.

    BW says that they are looking for strong willed, highly intelligent people — but actually the opposite is true. After being told many times that my honesty was appreciated during the interview process, when I turned it around and started to question their culture, things took a very bad turn. It started to feel more like Amway than a hedge fund.

    My opinion is what they are looking for are intelligent people who have suffered some type of tragedy or event in their lives that would make them susceptible to being drawn into their cult. Ray Dalio is an insightful economist and investment manager, but some (not all) of the people who interviewed me came across as a band of misfits that would never be able to sustain what he has created in the long run.

    To quote another prospect, “Cults don’t have happy endings.”

  133. John Testo says:

    I interviewed at Bridgewater Associates and the experience I had was like dealing with dysfunctional children. They do not care about your resume, background, etc. all they care about is how you would fit into their cult. Not culture, but cult!

    The interviewer asked me to tell him about myself, as I did he started to play with his phone and not really listening to what I had to say. Right then I knew this was not the place for me as they are a bunch of children “brainwashed” into following some dumb rules.

    They live on bullying people with intimidation and fear. If you mess up something, they live on publicly humiliating you. They record all of their meetings so when the time comes they will broadcast it to everyone to hear the reaming, screaming that you get. They call it learning.

    I found out every year there is a 35-40% turnover of employees. Within the first 18 months that you are there they will see if you can crack and push your buttons.

    It is not a good place to work, nor will any of their “teachings” be transferred over to real companies.

  134. John Testo says:

    The Bridgewater style of management dates back to management style of 30 years ago… Demoralizing employees, rule by fear! There is no innovation nor inner growth their.

    I am sure the SEC will be raiding their company soon, same as to the other Hedge funds in the area!

  135. exMcK to BW says:

    Curious now – is there ANYONE with positive things to say about BWater?

  136. hmm says:

    do you get it ?

    you might be the best guy around who rules the world…. here you cannot. just cannot. love it or leave it, its the revenge of the nerds. if you dont like it, work on the street (You could be selling watches or bags on 5th avenue & beat buffett – not here)

    I am glad places like these exist.

  137. Emp says:

    exMcKtoBW: You asked for positive things about BW. I agree with 80%+ of the negative things on this board, but let me take a crack at this.

    Most things that get discussed the most here are barely relevant to whether the company does well. Forget about the cult(ure); the new trading floor; the new offerings; how much BDQ sucks; how BDQ’s underlying databases suck even more; how long the next Trading director will last (hint: think short); how long the next CTO will last (hint: think shorter); whether Ops’s issue-log meetings are probing deep and hard enough; how many leveragers the Principles say are required to screw in a lightbulb; what widths the traders are getting on bond futures; which departments are having crises and drilldowns; or whether it was really necessary for everyone to get locked-down iPods just so they could take the Principles anywhere. Above all else, forget about Ray’s 1001 Management Principles and Other Nietzschean Lessons on Life, the Universe, and Hyenas. The only things that really matter are whether Research comes up with good ideas and, relatedly, whether clients have confidence to invest with the company.

    1a) The Research department has good insights into how economies and markets work. When Research has more good ideas than bad, the company does well; when Research has more bad ideas than good, the company does poorly.

    1b) BW’s basic ideas about separation of alpha and beta, about liability-hedging, and about the appropriate use of leverage are all great. If more people thought about portfolio management this way, the world would be a better place.

    2) By and large, the CS department keeps clients happy, although with as many clients as BW has, P&I is bound to report on a couple spectacular failures. This is certainly easier when Research does its job well, but even then it can be a surprisingly tough job. The client advisers have to be able to say intelligent things about BW’s views on the markets, synthesize BW’s ideas about portfolio management into the clients’ traditional mindsets, and shepherd skittish clients through downward or flattish blips and the occasional dunderheaded trade (Google: “Bridgewater depression mode”). As I say, I think it’s a tough job, but BW gets good results.

    3a) Ray comes under fire for a variety of reasons, but he’s ultimately a decent guy. I think few people on this board would have anything to say against Ray personally.

    3b) Bridgewater is not Bernie Madoff. Contrary to the speculation of John Testo and a few others on this board who don’t know what they’re talking about, BW is very serious about compliance and accounting, and Bridgewater will not be the subject of SEC/CFTC discipline or client lawsuits any time soon.

    4) Also, there’s a bunch of ex-McK people at BW. (It must be a breeding ground for “conceptual thinkers.”) So that’s good if you liked working with McK people, or bad if you didn’t, but for me it’s neither here nor there.

    5) Many of the entertainment committee’s events are great.
    The big company parties used to be cool, but now they just prove that money can’t buy fun.
    The guest speakers are a mix of the good (e.g., John McCain’s stump speech and Q&A), the bad (e.g., Ambassador Ji Chaozhu, whose genuinely fascinating life failed to come through among his rambling tangents into traditional Chinese naming conventions, wheat vs. rice, etc.), and the kooky (e.g., David Lynch and the Maharishi people).

  138. BWcurious says:

    JaniceR — you write that 65%+ of experienced hires don’t make it to their 1-year anniversary at BW. What is it that trips up most of those who fail at Bridgewater? Are there any common themes? How does Bridgewater fail some of its people? Where does the organization need to improve most? Conversely, for those who achieve great success at the firm, what sets them apart? What does the firm do best when it comes to cultivating its people and their growth?

  139. Former says:

    exMcKtoBW: You asked for positive things about BW. Just to be clear, I agree with 80%+ of the negative things on this board, but let me take a crack at this.

    First off, bear in mind that most things that get discussed the most here are barely relevant to whether the company does well. Forget about the cult(ure); the new trading floor; the new offerings; how much BDQ sucks; how BDQ’s underlying databases suck even more; how long the next Trading director will last (hint: think short); how long the next CTO will last (hint: think shorter); whether Ops’s issue-log meetings are probing deep and hard enough; how many leveragers the Principles say are required to screw in a lightbulb; what widths the traders are getting on bond futures; which departments are having crises and drilldowns; or whether it was really necessary for everyone to get locked-down iPods just so they could take the Principles anywhere. Above all else, forget about Ray’s 1001 Management Principles and Other Nietzschean Lessons on Life, the Universe, and Hyenas. The only things that really matter are whether Research comes up with good ideas and, relatedly, whether clients have confidence to invest with the company.

    1) The Research department has good insights into how economies and markets work. When Research has more good ideas than bad, the company does well; when Research has more bad ideas than good, the company does poorly.

    2) By and large, the CS department keeps clients happy, although with as many clients as BW has, you’ll find some spectacular failures in P&I. Keeping clients happy is certainly easier when Research does its job well, but even then it can be a surprisingly tough job. The client advisers have to be able to say intelligent things about BW’s views on the markets, synthesize BW’s ideas about portfolio management into the clients’ traditional mindsets, and shepherd skittish clients through downward blips and the occasional lousy trade (Google: “Bridgewater depression mode”). As I say, I think it’s a tough job, but BW gets good results.

    3) BW’s basic ideas about separation of alpha and beta, about liability-hedging, and about the appropriate use of leverage are all great. If more people thought about portfolio management this way, the world would be a better place.

    4) Ray comes under fire for a variety of reasons, but he’s ultimately a decent guy. I think few people on this board would have anything to say against Ray personally.

    5) Bridgewater is not Bernie Madoff. Contrary to the speculation of John Testo and a few others on this board who also don’t know what they’re talking about, BW is very serious about compliance and accounting, will not be the subject of SEC/CFTC discipline or client lawsuits any time soon. On the other hand, litigation with former employees over onerous non-competes has happened before, and could happen again.

    6) Also, you’re right that there’s a bunch of ex-McK people at BW. (Maybe it’s a breeding ground for “conceptual thinkers.”) So that’s good if you liked working with McK people, or bad if you didn’t, but for me it’s neither here nor there. Some of them are fabulous, others are stereotypical consultants.

    7) Many of the entertainment committee’s events are great.
    The big company parties used to be cool, but now they just prove that money can’t buy fun.
    The guest speakers are a mix of the good (e.g., John McCain’s stump speech and Q&A), the bad (e.g., Ambassador Ji Chaozhu, whose genuinely fascinating life failed to come through amid his rambling tangents into traditional Chinese naming conventions, wheat vs. rice, etc.), and the kooky (e.g., David Lynch and the Maharishi people).

  140. curious says:

    Is the Client Servicing group decent? Or equally insane?

  141. AJ says:

    wow this place sounds batshit crazy. Also people have really dumb questions here that they could answer with a simple search on google. If you want to know the number to the recruiters there just look on Linkedin, search by recruiters for bridgewater and a bunch of people will come up. Also they can have the most retarded egotistical ivy league employees in the world and still do well as long as the investment decisions are being made by Ray Dalio and his small team. Everybody else just inputs the trades. I assume the research department does well like the poster above states.

    The more I work on Wall Street the more I realize this country is doomed. Most, i stress NOT ALL Ivy League kids are now products of group think universities. That’s why people like Peter Thiel from Clarium Capital and Pay Pal (founding member) are offereing 100k to students to NOT go to college or to drop out. This is a revolutionary idea that I agree with. Obviously on the condition that you work 2 years to start your own company.

    I think I have a very quick interesting story about Bwater that no one else here has. Post a reply if you would like to hear it.

  142. Epic Fail says:

    I had an epic fail of an interview recently and am happy to share insights. Certainly the comments here were useful for my prep but ultimately I wasn’t able to answer the questions in the way that they wanted. There are two key interviews as others have discussed, the discussion group and the culture interview.
    On the discussion group I thought at the time that they wanted to see if you were willing to look at all angles of a topic and I was reluctant to reveal my personal political views. There were several subjects, death penalty, govt running lotteries, should media be barred from personal lives of political figures etc.
    On reflection on this interview I think they were actually trying to get at the first section of Dalio’s principles document. Basically I think they want you to of your own accord take a step back and propose / discuss what the key principles are that are at stake before making a decision on the particular topic. So in my case I picked “should the govt run state lotteries” and we discussed all possible angles on this subject for 45 minutes. However I think the right answer is to say they key issues are, for example: personal freedom of choice vs state control of choices, personal benefits vs societal costs, microeconomic externalities, etc. So identify the key framing issues first and clarify what these are before diving into all the possible arguments and how they relate back to the framing belief structure. It is buried in Dalio’s manifesto but I am pretty sure on reflection that this is what they were looking for.
    The second interview went poorly for me, possibly because I had already failed out on the first interview and their policy is to cut you loose and not waste people’s time. My sense was that the interviewer was already inconvenienced in some way by having to meet with me. She was upset we had to move rooms due to a scheduling conflict, didn’t even turn the light on. With the snow reflection coming in the window behind her in the dark room, it might as well have been a telephone interview from my standpoint.
    The interview started out with the usual “what is something that went wrong for you personally or professionally” etc. We discussed this and then another unrelated example. She connected these two as both being due to my “overconfidence”. (I should add here that no one I know would accuse me of being overconfident, and I have double checked since the interview.) Due to our fundamental disagreement over this attribution the meeting devolved pretty quickly. Apparently due to my not having taken steps to remediate this character flaw (which I was previously unaware of) I apparently wouldn’t enjoy working there according to the interviewer. If you reach a point in the interview where she threatens to “pull the tape and replay something” you probably have reached an impasse.
    Fundamentally this probably isn’t a particularly collegial working environment. Given the high turnover referenced elsewhere and the fact that nobody seems to have worked there for more that “4 1/2″ years, with 15 years of professional experience I can say unequivocally that there are better alternatives elsewhere. However if you read this far down the page, you probably think as I did that you can handle it as an employment alternative.
    Following Dalio’s rule #258 I took the liberty of “not just double checking – double do-ing” and recorded the interviews myself. If I can figure out how to get the files off my iphone and edit out the toilet flushing and other filler I’ll post them online with a link here later.
    Other suggestions, of course read through the manifesto / management doc on their website. It is riddled with internal inconsistencies but some are obviously more heavily weighted. For example #42: everyone has an opinion, they aren’t all good, or as I like to say opinions are like @ssholes, everybody has one. Apparently that is not acceptable in an interview, ie: if you have a different opinion from the interviewer over her interpretation of the things that have happened in your life, it doesn’t matter that she wasn’t actually there for the things that happened, nevertheless her opinion is apparently more valuable.
    The broader question is how do you run the operations of a company with this sort of management style? I was interviewing for a job helping to rebuild their processes and systems. It seems clear to me that if you hire people through this very unusual filter (and they only stay about a year on average) you end up with a lot of “special snowflakes” as Tyler Derden would say, but nobody to take out the trash and keep trading systems up to date. You have to hire hoards of people to throw at problems who no doubt invest all their time in blaming each other for problems.
    My favorite part of the day was when I was waiting in reception some security guards were bitching to each other about the fact that the rules about non-hierarchy didn’t apply to them in practice. One dude got shut down when he had tried to approach someone in senior management and told to talk to his supervisor. I guess that is what happens when you get that large as an organization, sooner or later you have to start to operate like other businesses…

  143. Jack T. says:

    Are there any former or current Bwater traders on this forum that can speak about their experience and/or interview process (if different)?

  144. Curious says:

    AJ- I would like to hear your story.

  145. Mr. Snappypants says:

    I interviewed a while back for a “trading” position (trading is in quotes, because a trader at bwater is an execution monkey, not a risk taker). I interviewed with 2 other candidates. We were given an overview of the “culture” at bwater and a brief description of the job. We did a silly little math test and then we debated a couple of open ended, unresolvable questions. My fellow interviewees consisted of an affable young woman who agreed with anything anyone said, and a grumpy euro dude who said next to nothing. The debate was moderated by several very young, polite employees. After the debate, we were left alone. The two folks I interviewed with acknowledged that I was the only one of us who had made any good points during the debate. Shortly after, I was asked to leave. The building. Thanks for your time Mr. Snappypants. Oh, well, I’m not sure if I was not a cultural fit, or just too dumb, but after doing more research about the place, I feel fortunate I was not asked to interview any further. Frankly, the place freaks me out. Since my interview I’ve had the chance to speak with a few current and former employees. My conclusion; the place is like cold war East Germany, only with toilet paper and better pay. You are constantly monitored by cameras and fellow employees. Any fellow employee can ‘log’ a complaint about you, and if the complaint is discussed in a meeting, a videotape of the meeting is placed in the ‘truth library’. Truth library? Are you f’ing kidding me? Is that Orwell or directly from the Gestapo handbook? Oh, and occasionally, some of the truth library’s greatest hits are broadcast to the whole firm. Public humiliation, now there is a positive motivational force! I think Ray Dalio has lost his mind. He has grown tired of merely being a brilliant risk taker and is now amusing himself by brainwashing ivy league grads. Again, I feel fortunate they didn’t like me. Had they, there might be an video in the truth library of me throat-punching a 23yr old.

    • TS says:

      LOL Mr. Snappypants. I did business with Bridgewater (as a broker) for years. I sincerely appreciate all the business they did with me.

      None of what I have read here surprises me…

  146. Jack says:

    I have an interview for the Client Advisor role. Can any employee discuss in detail what the role entails (besides what’s on the job description), the backgrounds of the folks that are currently in the role, and whether the role is viewed as an important one within the company? Thanks!

  147. BW says:

    I recently did my Rd. 1 interviews for a Sr. Management Associate role at BW and found the commments on this website quite useful in my prep. The interview format and questions are still the same as pointed above. I think the only difference is that my interview wasn’t in a group setting. Not sure if this was unique to me or if this is the new way of doing things at BW.

    I did not get an offer. I think it was mainly because I was being myself and therefore they felt I was not going to be a good cultural fit. It is a strange place. Felt like a fortress full of sad people. No smiles, no courtesy chit chat; very transactional. I did not feel welcomed. I probably wouldn’t work here even if they had offered me a job.

    But hey their 2011 performance has been awesome and record breaking again. They must be doing something right!

  148. PDQ says:

    It is just a cult. Record every conversation, cameras in every room.
    It is not “open” to anything but it’s cult like actions

  149. No they don't says:

    No.

  150. Jim says:

    Yeah, I took the bait. I was a fool who should’ve known better! A recruiter called me and told me all about this great company called Bridgewater, and what a super opportunity it would be for me. Come on Jim, go on the interview! Please! She further said, they like people like you. I said, well, okay, I will check it out. What’s it going to matter in a hundred years if I don’t like it? Of course, I knew otherwise. I knew this from talking to a couple of friends who were once employees there: On a good day you walk in there at 8:00 am with a pit in your stomach and after a day of conflict you leave at 7:30 p.m with the same pit in your stomach, not feeling any better, thinking– “Do I have to go back there tomorrow?” I also knew there was a high turnover rate, higher than your average sales job.

    The interview was on a late Friday. Outside on the Westport property there was some late Friday beer keg party going on with all the Bridgewater employees mingling. I bet if you left early to see perhaps your family—or your child or wife, that would be frowned upon.

    The interviewer, David, a chinny guy, under 30, with shiny jet black hair (code for using wax in his hair to cover his receding hairline), looked like a combination Plastic Man and Spock.

    Don’t believe me, take a look yourself at this old photo:

    http://www.bwater.com/home/culture–principles/culture-videos/culture-videos-dave.aspx

    Getting back to his hair. It looked like he spent hours and hours in front of the mirror applying different waxes to his locks, trying to get that rugged artful short look, but not getting anywhere close to it. Enough! Be a man! Just get it over with, and shave it all off, dude!

    So during the interview I noticed he had on sandals and wore an especially garish tight bluish t-shirt. Why didn’t they tell me to dress casual? The “Let’s go to the Hamptons get-up!” made him look relaxed and laid back, but he was anything but. He was disinterested, annoyed, and a lousy interviewer. I can go into details, but I won’t. In simple terms, he was a dick who was in a rush. After 45 minutes of unstructured talk, he basically told us—the group–that we sucked. With a frown on his face, he said, “Goodbye! Except for you.” The prettiest girl was chosen to stay while the rest of use drove away.

    It wasn’t even an interview. It was a poorly run focus group in which seven participants (including me), weren’t paid for their time. How pathetic. If you go on the internet, you can read thousands stories about what a creepy place Bridgewater is to work at. Why is that? Are all those people wrong? I realize young people want to make money, but there has got to be a better way.

  151. Laine says:

    This will be the last stop in your finance career. Read:

    The recruiter said it is also harder for head hunters to track down Bridgewater employees because of the firm’s secrecy and former Bridgewater employees also tend to not continue working in financial industry after they leave the firm—factors that may also contribute to why we rarely hear of those who have gone on to greater heights and fame after Ray Dalio’s tutelage.

    That cultural aspect of the firm does seem to help out some who seek ventures outside of finance. Remember when we happened upon the tale of Kathleen O’Grady, Dalio’s former personal assistant? O’Grady, who is currently a life coach based in North Carolina, said she she said learned more in 6 months with Dalio than most people learn in a lifetime.

    Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-21/wall_street/31218325_1_bridgewater-recruiter-fund#ixzz21BKTGVau

  152. Peterlav says:

    I know, compensation is “proprietary”, but, can anyone speculate as to:
    How many people have joined in the last 5 years from undergrad and are currently making 1 million dollars a year or more?
    How many people have joined in the last 10 years from undergrad and are currently making 10 million dollars a year or more?

  153. Stevens says:

    The answer to the following question: No one.

    Except for the people who’ve been at the company since 1980s, I know of no case at Bridgewater in which someone who joined the company out of college is now making a million dollars a year. I should know, I worked there after I graduated from a decent school. Most people who stay for the long hall earn in the low to moderate six figure range. It isn’t the best, but it aint the worst. The food they serve there is pretty good, though. And the girls employed there are really hot.

  154. Hubert Gonswerth says:

    If the unusually high turnover even for the finance industry standard isn’t enough to help you realize this place is bat shit then nothing I can say as a former employee will as you are blantantly ignoring a red flag. In fact the red flag is currently smacking you in the face. To you I say I told you so. Don’t worry you’ll understand that in a year’s time. Meanwhile peruse the online employee interviews for some “entertainment” (read: crazy people or liars).

  155. marty says:

    “Who cares! grooling grueling – – you’re a petty idiot. Certainly only a fool would call someone out on this blog about spelling. I wasn’t an English major nor do I care! Harvard UnderGrad 2002, Stanford Grad 2006′

    So sad…A Harvard and Stanford grad and unable to spell at a grade school level.
    “…you’re a petty idiot” – Well, sure seems like you have the outsized ego this company prizes.
    “…nor do I care!” – Proper speech and grammar used to be one of the signs of an educated person and taken for granted – now apparently, a fancy car, and big salary are enough.

    This company sounds like it’s full of adolescents who’ve never grown up, their egos even more inflated by isolation and way too much money.

  156. Dk says:

    I’m really interested at working for BW because of the free lunches. Do they look down on those of us carrying a few extra lb’s?

  157. [...] you have to buy into the system. And it’s clearly not for everyone. Check out the lengthycomment thread about Bridgewater at the jobs site One Day One Job. Among the posts from anonymous former workers: [...]

  158. Dave says:

    I don’t work for this company, but I know of it. A friend of mine, who is a recruiter in Fairfield County, told me that he often sets up Bridgewater information interviews for job candidates that he finds obnoxious and full of themselves and that he knows deep down are not a good fit for the company. I think he just wants to see them taken down a peg or two when thy epiphany comes that they are not as good as they think they are. Perhaps going on these interviews and being told you aren’t good Bridgewater material is a better and quicker life lesson than actually getting a job there and being told the same thing three years later.

  159. [...] you have to buy into the system. And it’s clearly not for everyone. Check out the lengthycomment thread about Bridgewater at the jobs site One Day One Job. Among the posts from anonymous former workers: [...]

  160. Jerry Weinstein says:

    I had interviews with them two weeks ago, and can confirm the negative impressions expressed by others on this forum. For full disclosure, I did not get the offer. If I got one, I would definitely think thrice before accepting.

    On to the description of my experience. I had two interviews with them, all of which took place in a hotel. The first was a personality assessment. The interview was conducted by a young girl (I’d say 27-28 years old) who mostly asked banal questions you would get from an HR rep at a Wall Street firm (what challenges you faced, etc…). Overall, she did not seem to be interested or understand where I was coming from (a white American girl trying to understand a guy who waw born in a country she probably does not know even know existed). The only time she got a little excited is when she asked me about my weaknesses.

    The second interview was a group interview. There were five people besides myself. We discussed a random topic for an hour. Even though the interviewer said this was not supposed to be a debate, the dynamics inevitably turned competitive and a couple of people were trying to monopolize the conversation, even as their knowledge of the subject was lacking and arguments were weak (by chance, I actually knew something about the topic so it was easier to back up my claims).

    When the group was done, I was told to hang around “in case I would be required to do another interview” and to watch my email. Half an hour or forty minutes later, I did get an email from the HR saying that I am invited for another interview and that I should hang around more (At this point, we were behind schedule by quite a while.) Eventually, some people show up, lead me to a room, give me a laptop with an open excel file and tell me to solve a problem. When I asked what was going on, they told me that THEY DECIDED that I should also be tested for fit with another role for which I did not even see a job description. Nobody thought about asking me if I wanted to apply for another role, of course. But whatever. I’ll do it.

    The last interview – supposedly designed to test my quantitative skills – was remarkable in that my interviewers had likely recently graduated from college (or at most had an MBA; they definitely were not phd quants) while I am about to finish my phd and taught finance to MBAs at Wharton.

    The final outcome: BW told me a week later that the reason for the third interview was that they decided I was not a good fit for the role I had originally applied for and that they wanted me to interview for another role, for which I was not a good fit either because, based on the opinions of the interviewers in the third interview, my analytical and quantitative skills were not good enough.

    My overall impression: BW interviews a lot of people, yet it hires very few. This is designed to create an impression that they are extremely selective and elitist while in reality they are already too big and are not looking to expand. They hire college grads to do menial/admin/support work (that is why it does not matter whether they have any quant/ finance/econ skills or not). It is possible that freshly minted MBAs without a lot of experience won’t fair too much better in terms of the work quality. They hire experienced people in two cases: a) when they need to fill real jobs that open up when other experienced people leave and b) when in their mass recruiting efforts they accidentally stumble on a goldmine (I am not sure what their definition is here). If neither criterion is met, and you are invited to interview, you will likely end up volunteering your time for BW’s marketing campaign.

  161. Steven says:

    Can someone talk about how it is like in the IT departments? The NOC? The systems engineering?

  162. Run Don't Walk says:

    Wow…I have never spent so much time on a blog. Most of the information here has been very insightful.
    Over the years I have been recruited for admin positions at BW by every single staffing firm in Fairfield County. To me this is a red flag that says they’re desperate to fill admin positions but have no interest in employee retention.
    I have great experience supporting C level and Global Heads, have trading floor experience, and have worked under insane pressure. I can handle fast pace, multiple projects, deadlines, and making decisions on the fly. I thrive on that energy. What I can’t handle is criticizing and analyzing the living crap out of every godforsaken thing to the point that it loses value and becomes a farce. It got to the point that I had to put a note on my résumé & online profile that said “please do not contact me about Bridgewater”. Another poster said anyone who lives in the area knows to avoid bridgewater. I would say do some thorough research and decide whether this type of culture sounds appealing to you before even entertaining the idea of an interview. Sometimes I think about giving it a shot (which lead me to this page, which I have enjoyed reading) and I am going to continue to decline the many many calls and emails I receive.

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