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10/10/09

Hi Everyone,

I'm applying to Bridgewater Associates, but don't really know much about it. What do you all think - is it a good place to start one's career?

In the short run, I'm concerned about pay. In the longer run, I'm concerned also about how the name looks on a resume or on an MBA app.

Thanks.

Comments (212)

10/11/09

Pay is around 100K and prestige is equivalent (perhaps higher for uniqueness reasons) than working at a BB.

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10/26/09
jkay121:

Pay is around 100K and prestige is equivalent (perhaps higher for uniqueness reasons) than working at a BB.

Huh? He didn't even specify a job title/description and you're giving him a salary figure? And prestige is higher than doing exactly what at a BB? Do you know what you're talking about?

I interviewed with Bridgewater and was asked back for a second round, but I turned it down. The culture is odd in many respects. Please visit their website and read the letter written by Ray Dalio. Something just seems off.

The number one attribute they were looking for was somebody who was going to question processes, question this, question that and generally sink his/her teeth into the conventional wisdom and suggest ways to make things better.

All of this is well and fine, but I'm not one who necessarily thrives in a culture with such a "flat" hierarchy (really a lack of any hierarchy). They seemed to be obsessed with ensuring that I was going to throw in my two cents on everything, which makes me wonder if I'd be working with a bunch of bullshitters throwing in 2 cents, 1 cent, 2 Canadian cents, 10 Monopoly dollars, etc. in order to look good. Not sure if this makes sense, but I hope it helps you.

10/11/09

Hey I have an interview with BWA for the Data Analyst position next week. I read your posts regarding passing the first round. Would you be so kind enough to let me know the kind of questions they asked please?.
Thank you.

10/12/09

extremely strong fund, $37bn AUM and recently ranked the best of the big hedge funds by institutional investors:
http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/bridg...

10/12/09

I'd like to hear more too, i've been wanting to apply to their operations associate position anyone have insight on pay there?

Hows the mobility once inside? and what do other hedgefunds think of Bwater since it is from what i hear different

10/14/09

Thank you - it apparently seems like a place with a strong record and reputation. I'd still love to hear more from those who know about Bridgewater and the financial services sector in general.

For those who've asked about what interviewing is like: I only know what I do from alumni friends who went through the Investment Associate recruiting path. For first rounds, it's a group debate. You're asked to pick a topic (one that doesn't require vast background knowledge, like "Television hurts American community") and debate it with 6-8 other people. Depending on how the group dynamics are, as few as zero or as many as half of the group may be called back for second rounds. I know less about second rounds, but they're supposedly similar in style.

Very different style than most firms, but I think they're just trying to gauge your raw horsepower when in a group setting. Who knows? Given that the traditional interview is a notoriously bad predictor of on-the-job success, maybe it's a smart shift.

10/14/09

very interesting. i've never heard of such an interview style. do many other funds also have such unorthodox interviewing set-ups?

anyone know more about bridgewater's interviews and job/work culture specs?

10/14/09

Anyone know how Bridgewater positions someone for an MBA / how top MBA schools would see this on the resume?

10/15/09
Hamiltonian Path:

Anyone know how Bridgewater positions someone for an MBA / how top MBA schools would see this on the resume?

If you work at Bridgewater and you want to stay in finance, you don't typically go back for an MBA.

10/20/09

I had my last interview with them three weeks ago. All looked fine...

I have not heard a peep ever since...If they do not want me, why don't they call or email me? Or if they want me why don't they send the offer? Should I contact them or just wait around?

Thanks!

10/20/09

If it's been three weeks and you haven't heard anything... that likely means you've been dinged. Firms don't always call back if you've been passed.

But, you should just follow up with them regardless. If you call and they tell you you're dinged, you can maybe get feedback on why... or at the very least get closure. On the chance you're not dinged, then you've followed up and shown interest in the role by following up. 3 weeks is a long time before following up though.

10/26/09

I interviewed with them for a Client Service role a few months ago. They did not invite me back for a second round interview, but after the first round I didn't want to work there anyway.

Big egos and probably some major BS hidden behind some ridiculous terms like brutal honesty or aggressively searching for the truth. I completely agree with Ovechkin, read Dalio's writings and info on the website. Then go interview. It will open your eyes about the place. And be prepared for AGGRESSIVE questioning. Don't even bother trying to finesse.

I give them credit for trying to judge ability and fit in novel ways. I also give them credit for caring enough about their hiring process to be thorough (I was there for >6 hours and pretty sure that less than 1 or 2 other people from my group stayed that long).

Basic answer: I don't think they acted like what Dalio writes about culture.

Mike Coggins, PhD
Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Yale University

11/5/09

propeller,

did you ever reach out to BW about your status? I went through three rounds of interviews with them over the course of two months and a couple weeks ago they asked for references. But I know BW hasn't reached out to them, so I'm still waiting on the sidelines.

As for the culture and philosophy, I think they have good intentions but I'm sure the message and the intent get sidetracked by BS and misguided conversations/arguments. It is refreshing to see a corporation attempt to operate with meritocracy as the foundation...

10/11/15

....

11/25/09

Anyone had any luck getting an internship interview with Bridgewater if they don't come on campus?

11/26/09

I just received an email for interviews coming up this week....
Anyone with any recent experience / updates? I've been doing all banking interviews and don't really know what to expect from an hf interview.

Cheers.

10/22/15

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10/22/15

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10/22/15

Bridgewater Associates is one of the best Hedge Funds.

10/22/15

From what I've heard people at Bridgewater are mostly superegos.

10/22/15

From what I've heard people at Bridgewater are mostly superegos.

10/22/15

really?

10/22/15

i don't think its a tradition hedge fund... The things people said, and their website is makes it look more like a traditional long term "investment fund"

10/22/15

Will bwater not being a traditional hedge fund affect exit ops?

10/22/15

Bwater is trash. Don't let anyone fool you. Ray Dalio is the only person with a brain there and without him the fund would vanish because the people that work there are god damn retarded. I worked there for two year and I thank god everday that I made the right decision to leave. There are tons of other HF shops friend. Don't get caught by BA's spectacular returns because its not being generated by the people there but by Ray alone.

10/22/15

they pay really well

10/22/15

To the original poster, there are a lot of threads about Bridgewater on here with more/better info; make sure you do a search for them. Bridgewater is also one of the most-covered hedge funds in the media because of their size, strong returns, and eccentric founder.

Tortle:

Bridgewater Associates is one of the best Hedge Funds.

True (one of the largest, most famous, strong returns, highest junior level pay)

johnwate:

From what I've heard people at Bridgewater are mostly superegos.

Many are; the firm has a quirky culture that encourages people to be aggressively forward with each other.

tuneman:

i don't think its a tradition hedge fund... The things people said, and their website is makes it look more like a traditional long term "investment fund"

They can say they're a nuclear power plant but they still invest 3rd party money in alternative strategies in return for a management fee and an incentive fee. They are a long way from a "traditional" "long term" "investment fund."

Confusil:

Will bwater not being a traditional hedge fund affect exit ops?

The junior people I know who worked at Bridgewater did not have a hard time finding other roles; the extent to which Bridgewater is not a "traditional hedge fund" has more to do with organizational structure and culture than with anything about its strategy or investment style like Tuneman implied.

johndoe88:

Bwater is trash. Don't let anyone fool you. Ray Dalio is the only person with a brain there and without him the fund would vanish because the people that work there are god damn retarded. I worked there for two year and I thank god everday that I made the right decision to leave. There are tons of other HF shops friend. Don't get caught by BA's spectacular returns because its not being generated by the people there but by Ray alone.

*golf clap* Everyone who I know who works or worked at Bridgewater is extremely smart but none of them could articulate what they did as part of the investment process and all of them had very strange experiences.

xqtrack:

they pay really well

Very true.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

If you worked at Oaktree you'd be a good candidate for Bridgewater. Banking is banking - opens up doors - but life sucks, if you want to work in a place like Bridgewater you might as well start of there.

10/22/15

No working in control distressed PE this fall, bankruptcy consulting summer of 2005. Had classes this past summer.

10/22/15

Comp - I assume you're talking about entry level. I don't know if its above BB, but its not below either. On an hourly basis Bridgewater >> BB.

Location - Being in CT is what it is, but Bridgewater compensates somewhat by having a bus that runs every day from NY to their office.

Quality of Life - Everyone seems really happy there. The hours are good, and people who went there after banking agree this blows banking out of the water.

Exit Opps - Being that Bridgewater's strategies are pretty unique even relative to other hedge funds, this one is a pretty big question mark. I would guess though that you could always jump from there to Bschool and then transition into another area of finance.

Interviews - Their interviews really stand out and were one of the first things that got me interested in the firm. Along with some standard fit questions and some relatively tough brainteasers, Bridgewater makes you do an impromptu discussion/debate with two of their associates on an open ended topic they give you. The topic does not require specialized knowledge and isn't related to finance. An example might be, 'When is foreign intervention justified?' (made up). You're then expected to go through some analysis and develop some ideas/views about the topic, which you then discuss with the associates. It's not something you can really prepare for, although prior speech/debate experience will come in handy.

10/22/15
10/22/15

how hard of a brainteaser... do can you give an example?

10/22/15

Bridgewater is pretty serious.

10/22/15

too bad their returns have been so shitty this year

10/22/15

you could just read the website to find out there function:

the Investment Associate program at Bridgewater is an intense, analytical training program for recent graduates. Both on the job and through in-depth formal training, you will be faced with interesting, challenging problems and learn:

* How to analyze and understand economic fundamentals and supply and demand across global markets, including currencies, bonds, stocks, and commodities
* How to work with sophisticated clients to find creative solutions to the portfolio management problems they face How to build high-return, low-risk investment portfolios through diversification of asset class returns and active trading strategies

You will be exposed to our Research, Trading, Client Service and Marketing departments. As a fit emerges, you will have the opportunity to concentrate in one of these areas. Investment Associates participate in substantial training, including a nine month course on economics, markets and financial securities.

We look for individuals with extraordinary intellectual capability and curiosity, as well as the ability to rapidly learn and apply new concepts. We seek diversified educational backgrounds for our team and therefore encourage applicants from all academic disciplines to apply.

10/22/15

So these guys are legit? They sound alright. How's the comp for first-years?

Returns? Near the big-hitters (SAC, RenTech etc.)?

10/22/15

Legit? They are one of the biggest HFs out there not to mention a big presence in other Asset Management areas as well. At one time they were hands down the largest HF...Ray Dalio was one of the first to get cash from pension funds. Their infrastructure is better than 95% of HFs.

No their returns aren't like SAC or rentech. Portable Alpha has a high teens/low 20s returns I believe. There is a article about Ray Dalio on Bloomberg.

Full fledged asset management firm really. Good shop and (as far as I know) they pay very well (bonuses are dependent on performance and not seniority). I would believe your bro's friend.

As for why they take undergrads...there are quite a few firms taking undergrads. Previously, HFs were very small shops, with nearly no infrastructure. They didn't have the capabilities of training new guys. Quite a few firms have built them up now and are able to take on undergrads. Citadel, DE Shaw, Bridgewater, SAC are just a few shops taking them.

10/22/15
trdr1:

Legit? They are one of the biggest HFs out there not to mention a big presence in other Asset Management areas as well. At one time they were hands down the largest HF...Ray Dalio was one of the first to get cash from pension funds. Their infrastructure is better than 95% of HFs.

No their returns aren't like SAC or rentech. Portable Alpha has a high teens/low 20s returns I believe. There is a article about Ray Dalio on Bloomberg.

Full fledged asset management firm really. Good shop and (as far as I know) they pay very well (bonuses are dependent on performance and not seniority). I would believe your bro's friend.

As for why they take undergrads...there are quite a few firms taking undergrads. Previously, HFs were very small shops, with nearly no infrastructure. They didn't have the capabilities of training new guys. Quite a few firms have built them up now and are able to take on undergrads. Citadel, DE Shaw, Bridgewater, SAC are just a few shops taking them.

SAC takes undergrads?!

10/22/15
10/22/15

lol at the guy asking if Bridgewater is legit

10/22/15

"So these guys are legit? "
Are you honestly considering a career in hedge fund.

10/22/15
mass_banker:

"So these guys are legit? "
Are you honestly considering a career in hedge fund.

I am not considering a career in hedge funds. I am asking because my knowledge of hedge funds is limited and I think I remember these guys recruiting at my target.

Thanks for the help guys.

10/22/15

SAC goes to UMASS- Amherst....that's a huge surprise...

10/22/15

It really depends on what you want to do longer term with your career. Of course, it is hard to know if you are just coming out of college. If you are interested in trading and like the fast paced nature of the markets, starting at a hedge fund could be a good move. The training should be pretty solid and with firm's like D.E. Shaw and Bridgeater they will mold you into exactly what they need to make you useful for the firm. If you are smart, add value and they like you, your position and pay could increase quickly (especially with one of the guys you mentioned). If you think you may have more interest in pursuing PE longer term definitely go the IB route. IB offers great training for a career in finance (PE, RE, HF, Equity Research, Corporate, etc.) and could help you land a variety of jobs down the road.

10/22/15

I mean, D.E. Shaw and B-Water would teach you a very different skillset than what IBD would. Now if you were thinking of a HF like ESL, or Lone Pine, those are very similar to IB so they would give you the exit options of PE, other HF, Asset Management, Research, etc.

These aren't interchangable places to work so you have to decide what you want to do. Do you want to trade? If so, GS TMT, Industrials or MS M&A won't help in the slightest. I think you just need to think hard about what you want to do and what you are best suited for. Good luck.

-J

10/22/15

What about a PE branch of a D.E. Shaw or Bridgewater?

10/22/15

unless you have other amazing options take it and dont think twice.

10/22/15

I agree. In this market a bird in the hand beats two in a bush.

10/22/15

theyre one of the biggest and one of the more prestigious hedge funds ... they pay amazing and have a cool culture. whats there to not like? many kids would take them over GS/MS IBD

10/22/15

You come from a non-target school and landed with the biggest hedge fund in the world. Fuck culture - celebrate. Congrats!

10/22/15

Bridgewater is a very prestigious hedge fund. I would gladly take it over most group at GS or MS. Unless you have offers from a place like DE Shaw or Citadel, you should accept their offer.

10/22/15

As a Trading Associate, your job will be trading (i.e. executing trades and coming up with ideas to reduce slippage, etc), not investment analysis or anything. But this doesn't mean you can't make money. Somehow Bridgewater now manages 40B in HF strategies, which is an insane amount of money in the hedge fund world. I am sure the guys managing trading there are making tens of millions a year, even though the role is pretty much execution only.

As you are from a nontarget, you are lucky to have this. I personally would prefer banking, but that is just due to my interest in valuation.

10/22/15
CashCow:

As a Trading Associate, your job will be trading (i.e. executing trades and coming up with ideas to reduce slippage, etc), not investment analysis or anything. But this doesn't mean you can't make money. Somehow Bridgewater now manages 40B in HF strategies, which is an insane amount of money in the hedge fund world. I am sure the guys managing trading there are making tens of millions a year, even though the role is pretty much execution only.

As you are from a nontarget, you are lucky to have this. I personally would prefer banking, but that is just due to my interest in valuation.

A guy managing execution trades is not making "tens of millions a year." The only people who actually bring home that much, at Bridgewater or any other top hedge fund, are the main partners.

10/22/15

congrats on the interview...what location is this for?

10/22/15
breakinginnew:

congrats on the interview...what location is this for?

Trading is based in Westport CT

10/22/15

my mistake...trading is only out of westport, ct, but if you are an undergrad isnt trading associate an experienced hire?

10/22/15

It's a good starting point. No matter what your friends may say, they're unlikely to get a proprietary mandate in their first few years at a bank/HF. As such, this is a great entry-level position, as it grants you trading experience within a recognizable firm.

After a couple of years, I would look to move to another fund where you can have some discretion. Execution-only trading isn't a great career, but it's not a bad start. Very few traders are allowed to take any real risk for their first few years, so you're not going to be massively behind your peers.

I interviewed for a more senior position at Bridgewater last year, but didn't take it because it didn't allow me any discretion within my trading decisions, and I am not entry-level any longer. Still, it's a well-known firm, it's trading, and it's buy-side.

You can easily parlay the experience to a better job 2 years down the road. Perhaps, if you're lucky, you can move from trading to research at Bridgewater. If you do each role for 2 years, you should be able to get a junior PM or prop trading position at a major firm. I would give you an interview on my team with those credentials.

10/22/15

just wondering--is entry level comp just as impressive for the trading positions as it is for the investment associate ones?

10/22/15
breakinginnew:

just wondering--is entry level comp just as impressive for the trading positions as it is for the investment associate ones?

What is the entry level comp for investment associates? Isn't it like $125 base?

10/22/15
breakinginnew:

just wondering--is entry level comp just as impressive for the trading positions as it is for the investment associate ones?

I would also like to know what the comp looks like for entry level trading associates?

10/22/15

You had a first round interview so you are still a long way from locking up a position. Bridgewater is fcking awesome and you would be fortunate/lucky to work there. 30+ year track record, Highly regarded by anyone who knows anything about finance. Dalio is the man. Great place to start a career.

10/22/15

Thanks for the input. I am aggressively preparing for my second round interview so it goes well and hopefully parlays to an offer. I did some additional research and I feel better about the firm and it will be an excellent starting point.

10/22/15

hey on the topic of bwater can anyone shed light on their massive AUM? the performance info i have on them seems mediocre, are they really good marketers / client service ppl?

10/22/15

i have read on here its 100k base and some nice signing location packages

10/22/15
breakinginnew:

i have read on here its 100k base and some nice signing location packages

Living in connecticut would stink. And westport is pretty far, so the commute from NYC would be a total pain in the ass.

10/22/15

well its 20 minutes from stamford and theres a decent amount of stuff going on there...you could just live there and easily train it to nyc whenever

10/22/15

westport is basically stamford...

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10/22/15

You should read more about them just using Google search and WSO search. I've never worked there, but I've read that they foster a unique and sometimes cult-like culture. I think the comps decent though, and it's definitely a house-hold name. Mike

10/22/15

Damn hard to get into. And they got their own culture which you should research. Fit is even more important here than anywhere else.

10/22/15

Yes, I've heard they are big on fit rather than "pedigree"

10/22/15

Read Dalio's Principles and Philosophy should you get an interview there. I think Bridgewater is the Apple of the finance world from a culture sense. Seems like everyone worships Dalio/Jobs and his principles and thinks they are individually awesome when in reality they are just another cog in some huge machine in which everyone invests for name/look moreso than actual consistently stellar performance.

Consultant to a Fortune 50 Company

10/22/15

http://www.onedayonejob.com/jobs/bridgewater-assoc...

This should help you. After reading that I'm sure a lot of people will not want to work there...

10/22/15

wtf? he obviously hires people who are smarter than he is. that's the strategy for any portfolio manager, even if you're named jim simons. you're going to want other people to do the work.

10/22/15

Well, I'm sure he'd hire some pretty smart people to delegate the work to. Yet, I'm unsure how he'd overlook a strategy when he himself is unsure of its intricacies. If that were the case, his employees could easily exploit his ignorance, or form their own HF.

I win here, I win there...

10/22/15

it was either dalio or simons who were quoted as having said they only hire people as smart or smarter than they are

you can understand the intricacies and have the good qualitative mind behind it but just not know how to crunch the numbers. i can idealize a trading program or strategy as a trader but doesnt mean i know how to write it, nor does the engineer necessarily understand the trading strategy

but they do global macro across everything last time i checked

10/22/15

Yeah they blow hard. I'd work there for $200k straight out of college though as long as there are solid exit opps. What are they paying these days?

10/22/15

"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."

Wow,seems like IBD...

10/22/15

Kind of crazy that they could pull off a year like the last when you hear these things about the culture.

10/22/15

The amount of genius in their office can probably overcome the petty bickering in terms of raking in the dough. It seems that that much genius also affects the culture negatively. It doesn't seem "open", just like everybody has a reason to bitch about everybody else, and "geniuses" love to do that.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

10/22/15

Not sure how I feel about Bridgewater. Obviously they've got a lot of brainpower and have performed well, but as has been noted they have a lot of headcount, especially at a junior level, and I've never heard a junior person articulate what they personally do in the investment process. Also while everyone wants to mold their young employees, going somewhere that far in left field both in terms of culture and investment process has to have an impact on your options down the road.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

Kenny: Being in industry do the things that were said in OPs quote sound similar to what you've heard?

I read some long thread of comments off some site a while back, sounded similar to that, maybe was even the same site. I just can't imagine such a large firm (HF-relative, of course) taking such a skewed cultural stance...

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

10/22/15

I've known two people who work or worked at BW well enough to ask about this, one who's currently there in what (best I could tell) was a non-investing role, but again, kind of a weird organizational structure even aside from the culture. The other was promised investing-related work but felt like he wasn't getting much from it and left for a trading position after <1 year. Both are very smart/pedigreed, neither really liked the culture. The one who left said it was weird but wasn't the main reason he left, the one who was still there definitely felt like they were put in unnecessarily adversarial situations but didn't intend to leave because of it. Both people started right out of school along with a lot of other elite grads.

One thing that's sort of strange is how few former Bridgewater people I've meet given the number of people they have and the alleged turnover. Maybe it's because they like to hire non-finance grads, I dunno. I know they're not in debt so they wouldn't necessarily run in the same circles day-to-day, but I feel like I meet people from other big platforms here and there but the only former BW people I know other than the one noted above were in legal, compliance, reporting, etc. I really can't say I've ever met someone who could articulate what they did to contribute to the investment process.

Anyway I can't claim to have a lot of answers as I only have my own (small) sample set, but the original post is definitely not out of line with their reputation.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

Of all the big crazy supercool HFs they seem like they'd be the least appealing one to work for... that said, working there would likely still be pretty awesome and you'd probably learn a lot and have insane exit opps to other funds

10/22/15

Not a lot changes in 1-2 years. They've been kicking ass recently. Culture is still weird. Comp is excellent. A top HF like BW is THE exit opp. Where do you want to go after (other than maybe starting your own operation)?

-MBP

10/22/15

What would a lateral hire be taking in, all in? Not sure if starting my own op is the route I want to take, thinking more short term for the moment and if this would be the 'right' move.

10/22/15
10/22/15
Stringer Bell:

Weirdo #1:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

Weirdo #2:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

The first one...good lord did she really start crying?

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

10/22/15
blackfinancier:
Stringer Bell:

Weirdo #1:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

Weirdo #2:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

The first one...good lord did she really start crying?

I actually felt really sorry for her. Even her family essentially closed their doors on her, yet her colleagues were by her side during her time of need which I'd imagine is usually quite rare. Heck, even your friends will desert you when you reach your lows so I think that's quite awesome and speaks a lot about the cultures at BW.

10/22/15
Stringer Bell:

Weirdo #1:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

Weirdo #2:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

Hard to watch.

Dalio's obviously been doing something right but BW really doesn't sound like my idea of a good time. There are plenty of other great macro shops that don't have employees posting videos of themselves experiencing an emotional breakdown.

10/22/15

I believe they pay 120k for their investment associate position out of UG

10/22/15

They definitely pay above market comp, but that comp compensates for isolating you in what appears to be a social experiment in org design.

Life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

10/22/15

I am actually intrigued at the "idea" of BW's culture but I'm always skeptical of the ability of social experiments to work in the longer-run, especially one built on the idea of a completely flat structure that obviously doesn't reflect actual power/influence.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

I used to think it was similar to a cult but when I took the time to read his principles, he doesn't really say anything outlandish. I can agree with most that he has written in there. He never takes their position for granted, is self-aware and knows that he is going to be wrong somewhere. They learn from their mistakes rather than ignore them, definitely an intriguing firm.

10/22/15

Holy shit look who works at Bridgewater now: http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul.... Anyone who's seen Inside Job should recognize him (Hint: "Can we turn this camera off")

10/22/15

"I am actually intrigued at the "idea" of BW's culture but I'm always skeptical of the ability of social experiments to work in the longer-run, especially one built on the idea of a completely flat structure that obviously doesn't reflect actual power/influence."

Think I'm more skeptical of a company, albeit hugely sucessful, built on the structure of a crazy persons space cadet philosophy.

10/22/15

I think the idea that people are confronted on shit and things are aired out and fixed on the spot is an incredible idea but there's always ego involved and I somehow doubt it's evenly applied throughout the firm.

Half serious question, do you even have exit opps after leaving Bridgewater or do people think you're a nut? Would fit be a serious issue if someone was at Bridgewater for a few years?

10/22/15

^^ seriously? You worked for one of the most profitable and high profile hedge funds in the world. Not to mention they're one of the most selective places to work for in the financial world. Comming out I'd think one could land one's feet. People who leave there are either:

a) incredibly smart, too werid for your shop, and suck at their job

b) incredibly smart, normal / couldn't drink the cool-aide, may or may not suck at their job

10/22/15

That's why I said I was half serious. I share your viewpoint and think that people would generally fall under those two categories. Actually, I guess I'm more curious about what other firms think of their culture and I guess this probably wouldn't be the best place to find that out. If their culture can be attributed to their success and funds are famous for herding, why haven't other firms followed suit?

10/22/15

^^ wasn't trying to be rude. Just bored at work looking for an arguement ha. Who knows why, but I do think Ray (founder) is pretty genious, uniquely in a way that has made him a ton of money. From everything I've heard him say, he uses sound science and applies it to a very practical and succinct world view. Making the complexities of the market straight forward (maybe wrong term) and being sucessful seems harder by orders of magnitude than any phd level physics quant strategy. I'm neither so, just a guess.

10/22/15

Hah, didn't mean to imply you were being rude. I'm bored at work too. Dude is definitely a genius and reading some of the DAILY OBSERVATIONS and hearing him talk he really breaks things down and gives the illusion of simplicity. As we all know, timing is the only difficult thing then. Another remarkable thing is the returns they're getting with the size of the fund. Shit is unreal. Anyone know how much is under the Pure Alpha fund?

10/22/15

^ I'm sure the Ray D. is a legit investment genius. Investment geniuses may not be great managers, to me it seems like a place run based on hierarchy and title unofficially as opposed to officially. Think about how many banks and consulting firms have "flat, meritocratic structures" then think about how many times you've heard, I'm the MD, we do it my way.

Life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

10/22/15
wikit:

Think about how many banks and consulting firms have "flat, meritocratic structures"

Zero. You can't have a flat hierarchy with thousands of employees.

10/22/15

I find it a little hard to say he is a genius...he has been long the bond market in size this year and as such he has made a ton of money. Great trade, yes....but let's not get crazy calling people geniuses. I have posted three times about Paulsen in the last ten minutes, but let's remember that a year ago Paulsen was a "genius" and now he is caught short financials, long gold, and with pages and pages of worthless payers on the US long end. I dont really believe in geniuses I do believe in good traders and I think Diallo has a solid long-term track record that indicates he is an excellent trader.

10/22/15
Bondarb:

I find it a little hard to say he is a genius...he has been long the bond market in size this year and as such he has made a ton of money. Great trade, yes....but let's not get crazy calling people geniuses. I have posted three times about Paulsen in the last ten minutes, but let's remember that a year ago Paulsen was a "genius" and now he is caught short financials, long gold, and with pages and pages of worthless payers on the US long end. I dont really believe in geniuses I do believe in good traders and I think Diallo has a solid long-term track record that indicates he is an excellent trader.

Bondarb nailed it again. Because finance is not an objective truth like math/physics, there are very few legit geniuses in my opinion. In the investing arena, I would say that soros and Buffett are the only true geniuses.

10/22/15
Brady4MVP:
Bondarb:

I find it a little hard to say he is a genius...he has been long the bond market in size this year and as such he has made a ton of money. Great trade, yes....but let's not get crazy calling people geniuses. I have posted three times about Paulsen in the last ten minutes, but let's remember that a year ago Paulsen was a "genius" and now he is caught short financials, long gold, and with pages and pages of worthless payers on the US long end. I dont really believe in geniuses I do believe in good traders and I think Diallo has a solid long-term track record that indicates he is an excellent trader.

Bondarb nailed it again. Because finance is not an objective truth like math/physics, there are very few legit geniuses in my opinion. In the investing arena, I would say that soros and Buffett are the only true geniuses.

soros just hit a home run with one bet.

10/22/15
georgiettapeabody:
Brady4MVP:
Bondarb:

I find it a little hard to say he is a genius...he has been long the bond market in size this year and as such he has made a ton of money. Great trade, yes....but let's not get crazy calling people geniuses. I have posted three times about Paulsen in the last ten minutes, but let's remember that a year ago Paulsen was a "genius" and now he is caught short financials, long gold, and with pages and pages of worthless payers on the US long end. I dont really believe in geniuses I do believe in good traders and I think Diallo has a solid long-term track record that indicates he is an excellent trader.

Bondarb nailed it again. Because finance is not an objective truth like math/physics, there are very few legit geniuses in my opinion. In the investing arena, I would say that soros and Buffett are the only true geniuses.

soros just hit a home run with one bet.

Do you mean just now or are you completely clueless as to what Soros' career has been?

10/22/15
Bondarb:

I find it a little hard to say he is a genius...he has been long the bond market in size this year and as such he has made a ton of money. Great trade, yes....but let's not get crazy calling people geniuses. I have posted three times about Paulsen in the last ten minutes, but let's remember that a year ago Paulsen was a "genius" and now he is caught short financials, long gold, and with pages and pages of worthless payers on the US long end. I dont really believe in geniuses I do believe in good traders and I think Diallo has a solid long-term track record that indicates he is an excellent trader.

Spot on. During my internship I was asked by a director on my desk if I thought I was smart or even a genius. My response was basically a polite way of saying, "why the fuck does it matter?" Being disciplined with a plan and having a general idea of how the world works (and not some memorized pseudo-Keynes version from ECON 201 either) is what makes a difference. Speaking from the role of a trader doing sell-side work (that barely makes any markets) no one really gives a fuck who the smartest one on the desk is. Actually, I don't think it even crosses anyone's mind. It is fucking fantastic. Shit, even Dalio went to LIU or CW Post for undergrad, and got started in livestock research. This is not where the cream of Wall Street's crop starts....or ever has started.

I don't think I would fit in with the headgames that I read about, and don't know anyone who actually makes investment decisions at the fund, but no one can take away his success on a year to year basis.

I guess I can use myself as an example. I like to trade. I did it at a variety of intensity levels in undergrad (at a total non-target if that matters). I want to understand how the world works and how things are made. However, I am definitely not intelligent enough to be an engineer. I really do enjoy trying to figure out what will happen and expressing it with trade ideas and betting on the success/failure of policymakers around the world (mostly failure though). There are people who are much smarter than me who stick around in spite of their lack of desire to be here. These people are dangerous, but I can't say many make it past the analyst or associate level, and few will ever clear a paycheck worth the stress of hating their job. I will take savvy over genius any day. And while there are a ton of smart people on any given campus, very few lack the intestinal fortitude to be trusted when it is time to think outside the herd. This could be due to Tiger Moms but that is for a different thread.

10/22/15

Well said, Bondarb.

10/22/15

Well said, Bondarb.

10/22/15

I was interested in this place out of undergrad. My school has (had?) a few alums there, so I contacted them.

During both of my informational interviews, they told me explicitly not to even apply there. They mentioned the pay was good, as was the name on the resume, but that the culture was pure hell.

Outside of a few BigLaw firms, this was the only time when alumni have actively advised me against going to their firm. They kept reiterating how much they couldn't wait to get out. It was almost unsettling. Even BB analysts are generally quick to talk about how great their firm is.

I am sure it is a great fit for a certain type of person, but I would think carefully about it. This is definitely not like a bank, where :"culture" is just a marketing tool. There is a firmwide culture, and you really need to fit in. I am not saying don't go there, just be aware.

Edit: Just saw:

Stringer Bell:

Weirdo #1:
http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/cul...

What was going on there? Was it just me, or did you get the impression she liked her "work family" more than her actual family? And why is she crying? I literally cannot even think of a job that would make me cry to talk about it.

10/22/15

probably mostly clueless, but i agree with someone above who said they mostly dont believe in 'investing geniuses' or something along those lines, soros and buffet (for me) no exception. obviously brilliant men, but don't know if I would put them in the same bucket as the stephen hawkings, einsteins, newtons of the world. personal perspective that's all.

10/22/15
georgiettapeabody:

probably mostly clueless, but i agree with someone above who said they mostly dont believe in 'investing geniuses' or something along those lines, soros and buffet (for me) no exception. obviously brilliant men, but don't know if I would put them in the same bucket as the stephen hawkings, einsteins, newtons of the world. personal perspective that's all.

That's well and good but Soros' record speaks speaks for itself (until he stopped caring/showing up in the late 90's), and is far, far more than just breaking the pound.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

Soros did not just a hit a home run with one bet. He has a 25 year track record. But I wouldnt even call him a genius. He has been discplined enuff to not blow up and a few of his ideas have tuned into massive winners which he has had the balls to add to as they went his way. To me this has nothing to do with being a "genius"...but the qualities of discipline, humblemess, agressiveness, etc come together in the same person much less often then "genius" (ie very high IQ) so these guys are rare.

10/22/15

I don't have my copy with me but the Scott Bessent interview in "Inside the House of Money" is great. He talks about working for Soros vs. Druckenmiller. He said that Soros is probably only right 30-35% of the time, but when he is right he hits home runs. Probably the best way to sum it up. Also a great time to go back and reread, as Bessent is now CIO at Soros.

10/22/15

Great interview, I thought it was interesting that Bessent considered Druckenmiller and Roditi to be the greatest investors he's ever known.

10/22/15

i rate dalio just as highly as soros and Buffett. dalio spent less than 5 years on wall st and made his money entirely legitimately/honestly. on the other hand soros had his friends in europe feeding him insider info back in the day and got a lot of credit for work being done by the likes of Druckenmiller, whilst folksy common stock investor buffett has had a few questionable plays himself, e.g. silver.

10/22/15

Bridgewater is a great place to work at post-college. But they have a very unique culture, and you either get it or you don't. The latter type usually leave within 2 years. Sick compensation for those who stay and thrive.

10/22/15

Bridgewater is currently killing it, one of the best fund. But you're right, it's a special cutlure and not everyone would enjoy working in such an atmosphere. It's all boils down to what YOU want.

10/22/15

I thought the people were crazy douchey. It's probably a great place to work for people on the "spectrum".

10/22/15

I just checked our directory, and there are no former Bridgewater employees in either MBA class (2012 or 2013) at HBS. There are three 2nd year students who interned there last summer, but that's it and none of the three are going back. Makes it doubtful they actually have their choice of b-schools, unless there are a ton of them at GSB.

I've actually heard that Bridgewater's "special" culture is actually somewhat toxic on the resume as well, but I don't work in finance so I can't verify this one first-hand.

10/22/15
redninja:

I just checked our directory, and there are no former Bridgewater employees in either MBA class (2012 or 2013) at HBS. There are three 2nd year students who interned there last summer, but that's it and none of the three are going back. Makes it doubtful they actually have their choice of b-schools, unless there are a ton of them at GSB.

I've actually heard that Bridgewater's "special" culture is actually somewhat toxic on the resume as well, but I don't work in finance so I can't verify this one first-hand.

Redninja, thanks for this input. That's quite interesting. I did see several HBS and Stanford GSB members of class of 2011 who are now senior investment associates at Bridgewater. But that's very different from trading. Supposedly they only hire like 5 mba's per year.

10/22/15
redninja:

I just checked our directory, and there are no former Bridgewater employees in either MBA class (2012 or 2013) at HBS. There are three 2nd year students who interned there last summer, but that's it and none of the three are going back. Makes it doubtful they actually have their choice of b-schools, unless there are a ton of them at GSB.

I've actually heard that Bridgewater's "special" culture is actually somewhat toxic on the resume as well, but I don't work in finance so I can't verify this one first-hand.

Interesting - I have a friend at HBS right now who interned at Bridgewater and looks like she isn't going back. Haven't had a chance to ask her about BW's 'special culture' we've all read about though.

10/22/15

.

10/22/15

Redninja is right. The unique culture and strategies implemented at Bridgewater actually reduce the marketability of its employees. It's a very specialized group of individuals with very specific skill sets. Traders in general don't usually get their pick of b-schools because they develop skills that schools do not necessarily know how to value.

Disclaimer: This is all based on what I've heard from others.

Talent is hitting a target no one can hit.
Genius is hitting a target no one can see.

10/22/15

It's not safe to say that a Bridgewater trader can go anywhere he wants afterwards. They are just execution traders. Probably they would only be able to go to a similar role.
The point raised by redninja is interesting. However, if you are getting out of Bridgewater you should be able to spin it like you are leaving because of the culture ans you should be fine right?

10/22/15
Maximus Decimus Meridius:

It's not safe to say that a Bridgewater trader can go anywhere he wants afterwards. They are just execution traders. Probably they would only be able to go to a similar role.
The point raised by redninja is interesting. However, if you are getting out of Bridgewater you should be able to spin it like you are leaving because of the culture ans you should be fine right?

Yeah, this seems right. Bridgewater on resume is super impressive even if it's just execution trading.

10/22/15

Why would anyone from Bridgewater leave it to go to HBS? Really wtf would you gain...

10/22/15
marcellus_wallace:

Why would anyone from Bridgewater leave it to go to HBS? Really wtf would you gain...

This.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

10/22/15
marcellus_wallace:

Why would anyone from Bridgewater leave it to go to HBS? Really wtf would you gain...

For a career transition and network, i guess.

Bridgewater trader is mostly execution, so i could see someone getting bored after 1-2 years.

10/22/15
Derivatives:
marcellus_wallace:

Why would anyone from Bridgewater leave it to go to HBS? Really wtf would you gain...

For a career transition and network, i guess.

Bridgewater trader is mostly execution, so i could see someone getting bored after 1-2 years.

I don't understand what you are trying to make execution mean here...

Also, you're usually not going to want to join Bridgewater unless you are absolutely sure you want to be a trader...

10/22/15
whitemamba1309:
Derivatives:
marcellus_wallace:

Why would anyone from Bridgewater leave it to go to HBS? Really wtf would you gain...

For a career transition and network, i guess.

Bridgewater trader is mostly execution, so i could see someone getting bored after 1-2 years.

I don't understand what you are trying to make execution mean here...

Also, you're usually not going to want to join Bridgewater unless you are absolutely sure you want to be a trader...

Bridgewater has other roles beside trader. The senior investment associate role, which is post-MBA, seems pretty good because you work on cutting edge macro investment research.

10/22/15

hows the mobility within bwater after robotic execution for a few years?

10/22/15

hows the mobility within bwater after robotic execution for a few years?

10/22/15

^ No I don't think so... But haven't spoken in awhile, so who knows.

10/22/15

There really is no exit opps. Bridgewater traders tend to stay there for a long time or leave within the first year or so because they can't stand it. The final interview at their office was bizarre to say the least.

10/22/15

Brady is correct

10/22/15

I'm pretty sure their contract (trader or otherwise) has a 2-year noncomp.. ie. if you 'exit', you got nowhere to go for 2 years and I'm being told bwater actually holds exemployees pretty accountable if they violate the non-comp. Something to consider if you are ever thinking about getting a job there

And ditto on the weird culture

10/22/15

I interviewed for an investment role at Bridgewater and instead had some trader guys pitch me in the second round. The trading job at Bridgewater is even more unimpressive than the other roles they have. It is pure execution. You don't even need to know what you're buying, just that you should buy it in the right bloc quantities and at the best price. It is extremely boring and most are unhappy.

Combined with the fact that Bridgewater pays nowhere near "real" hedge fund experiences and you can see why most kids hate it there or have trouble finding other jobs.

10/22/15

this may be a stupid question, but are the traders at Bridgewater "only" execution traders (so just execute trades for their portfolio managers) or do they have like prop mandates they manage? because I guess it makes a significant difference whether you are trading on your behalf (so also have to make investment decisions) or are just executing trades

10/22/15

Read up on Jonestown.

Realpost: what is the role, more specifically?

10/22/15

Exit ops from an investment associate role within their research group?

10/22/15

very tough. For two reasons:

1) their non-competes are notoriously long (I think over 1 or 2 years) and they enforce them and litigate over them all the time. If you leave Bwater as an investment associate, you will not be going to another macro fund for at least that amount of time.

2) I get the feeling investment associate jobs are not that transferable anyways, because most IAs there don't seem to actually do much real investing, as opposed to general research for marketing purposes and to support the very few people at the firm who call most of the shots. But this is more of a guess based on rumors...

10/22/15

xqtrack:

very tough. For two reasons:

1) their non-competes are notoriously long (I think over 1 or 2 years) and they enforce them and litigate over them all the time. If you leave Bwater as an investment associate, you will not be going to another macro fund for at least that amount of time.

2) I get the feeling investment associate jobs are not that transferable anyways, because most IAs there don't seem to actually do much real investing, as opposed to general research for marketing purposes and to support the very few people at the firm who call most of the shots. But this is more of a guess based on rumors...

Here is a legal opinion of a federal judge taking a legal dump on Bridgewater's non-compete in 2003. Somehow, it seems, not much has changed even from then: http://www.efalken.com/papers/motions/trideBridgew...

10/22/15

For what it's worth: don't work at Bridgewater if you have any other remotely viable option.

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
10/22/15

Nevermind exit opps... you should do a quick read on Bridgewater's culture. Plenty of threads on WSO and other forums. Like this for example: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Bridgewater-Associates-Reviews-E117647.htm

A bit alarming when a popular term used to describe a firm across forums/blogs/general mediums is "cult"

10/22/15

I'll say this, for a fund of its size (both AUM and headcount) you run into very few ex-BW folks.
I'll say one other thing, the few junior BW people I've met have not really been able to articulate what exactly it is they do as part of the investment process. This jives with what XQTrack said and with the general sentiment I've observed.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.

10/22/15

I don't think Bridgewater is a sustainable place to work.

I think the "truth library" that anybody can visit and find personnel records on *anyone* is a little too weird for me.

I think it's possible to run a successful hedge fund while having employees tell each other the truth but putting it a little more nicely than Bridgewater encourages its employees to.

I do think you have to work about as hard as the guys at Bridgewater to generate good returns.

10/22/15

Only big problem with BW is the non-compete agreements they make you sign after your offer, and how little your transferable skills are if you want to move to other hedge funds as an investor. Huge research factory with lot of bureaucracy across the company, takes them a lot of time to make decisions top down... As for performance, it's been one of the top performing hedge funds in the industry since inception, so Dalio can be as arrogant as he wishes. He has a much better understanding of the economy than the majority of fund managers at present.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

10/22/15

SonnyZH:

Only big problem with BW is the non-compete agreements they make you sign after your offer, and how little your transferable skills are if you want to move to other hedge funds as an investor. Huge research factory with lot of bureaucracy across the company, takes them a lot of time to make decisions top down

This is pretty much in line with my understanding of what it's like working at Bridgewater.

For what it's worth, I would not work there if given an offer to.

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
10/22/15

Regarding the being at the right place at the right time comment... I think a fundamental part of being a rockstar investor is knowing when the right place is becoming the wrong place and leaving before it does, and sensing when the wrong time is becoming the right time and getting there before the big hand strikes the right hour.

10/22/15

how would you compare an offer there vs a comparable investment position at a top single manager hedge fund (tiger global, Eton Park, glenview, and the like?)

10/22/15

wso_user:

how would you compare an offer there vs a comparable investment position at a top single manager hedge fund (tiger global, Eton Park, glenview, and the like?)

I'm almost positive (don't work in the industry, aspiring to in the future) that experience at Bridgewater is almost looked down upon by rival hedge funds. The culture is weird, and as SonnyZH said above, the skills are relatively non-transferrable. Most of the big decisions are made by the top guys, and I get the impression that as an analyst you don't really get to see the decision-making process in action so what then do you learn exactly that's useful somewhere else?

I personally wouldn't take an offer there if I got one. I wouldn't ever get an offer anyway because I would never take an interview.

10/22/15

equityandexuberance:

wso_user:

how would you compare an offer there vs a comparable investment position at a top single manager hedge fund (tiger global, Eton Park, glenview, and the like?)

I'm almost positive (don't work in the industry, aspiring to in the future) that experience at Bridgewater is almost looked down upon by rival hedge funds. The culture is weird, and as SonnyZH said above, the skills are relatively non-transferrable. Most of the big decisions are made by the top guys, and I get the impression that as an analyst you don't really get to see the decision-making process in action so what then do you learn exactly that's useful somewhere else?

I personally wouldn't take an offer there if I got one. I wouldn't ever get an offer anyway because I would never take an interview.

You don't, people don't know what others are doing. In the sense that you will work with your team/heads but cannot describe in much detail what other desks/depts. do in their day to day.

As for All Weather, essentially it is levering up bonds. Dalio has greatly benefited from the bull market, with All Weather averaging around 8% a year. They have rebalanced recently though... If you're interested in risk parity construction (these diversified ''streams''), check out AQR's papers. Lot more stuff out there available than BW's DO.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

10/22/15

wso_user:

how would you compare an offer there vs a comparable investment position at a top single manager hedge fund (tiger global, Eton Park, glenview, and the like?)


Given bw does macro and these guys do ls it's a bit of a silly comparison
10/22/15

sanctimonious arrogance
.

^^^ Nicely said.

"I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
"Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
Omnia

10/22/15

Ray Dalio is at least as good as he seems to be. He successfully predicted 2008 and, if his appearance on TV indicates his actual opinion, seems to have called the tumble in bond markets in "the second half of 2013." It's incredibly unlikely that the secret sauce is just "long bonds and long gold."

Anyone who has actually worked there would almost certainly not post anything not already said on the forum. According to LinkedIn, their head of security used to run the Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism programs for the FBI.

10/22/15

SlyGuy:

Ray Dalio is at least as good as he seems to be. He successfully predicted 2008 and, if his appearance on TV indicates his actual opinion, seems to have called the tumble in bond markets in "the second half of 2013." It's incredibly unlikely that the secret sauce is just "long bonds and long gold."

Anyone who has actually worked there would almost certainly not post anything not already said on the forum. According to LinkedIn, their head of security used to run the Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism programs for the FBI.

I will absolutely give him that. He did see 2008 coming and positioned himself well for the downturn, up 12 percent that year. He has a genius level understanding of the world economy. Although those are probably the kind of returns you would have gotten if he turned down the juice to deal with the volatility and was almost entirely long treasuries, gold, and the yen (that's exactly what he told the reporter who wrote Alpha Masters). He also told her the repositioning (D-Process, what an arrogant name) was triggered automatically when high yield and mbs spreads widened to enough of an extent.

Yet, even if he saw the yield increases coming, he was not positioned with enough hedging... all weather was down 6 percent in June as of June 24 from that Reuters article, although that could have been due to the gold in the portfolio with that much juice. On a side note, I don't know how the guy can go to sleep at night averaging 3-4x leverage since pure alpha's inception.

That is scary stuff. I didn't know it was THAT bad. The money could never be enough for me to deal with working at a place like that. That reminds me of how SAC snooped on its PMs to make sure they weren't hoarding their best ideas from Cohen.

10/22/15

equityandexuberance:

SlyGuy:

Ray Dalio is at least as good as he seems to be. He successfully predicted 2008 and, if his appearance on TV indicates his actual opinion, seems to have called the tumble in bond markets in "the second half of 2013." It's incredibly unlikely that the secret sauce is just "long bonds and long gold."

Anyone who has actually worked there would almost certainly not post anything not already said on the forum. According to LinkedIn, their head of security used to run the Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism programs for the FBI.

I will absolutely give him that. He did see 2008 coming and positioned himself well for the downturn, up 12 percent that year. He has a genius level understanding of the world economy. Although those are probably the kind of returns you would have gotten if he turned down the juice to deal with the volatility and was almost entirely long treasuries, gold, and the yen (that's exactly what he told the reporter who wrote Alpha Masters). He also told her the repositioning (D-Process, what an arrogant name) was triggered automatically when high yield and mbs spreads widened to enough of an extent.

Yet, even if he saw the yield increases coming, he was not positioned with enough hedging... all weather was down 6 percent in June as of June 24 from that Reuters article, although that could have been due to the gold in the portfolio with that much juice. On a side note, I don't know how the guy can go to sleep at night averaging 3-4x leverage since pure alpha's inception.

That is scary stuff. I didn't know it was THAT bad. The money could never be enough for me to deal with working at a place like that. That reminds me of how SAC snooped on its PMs to make sure they weren't hoarding their best ideas from Cohen.

All Weather is a strategic (ie., mainly passive) fund. The asset allocation mix, with limited exceptions, does not change. It seeks only to generate beta returns. Ray Dalio expresses his tactical "alpha" views in...Pure Alpha (note the name). Even if he thought bonds were going to tank...AW's portfolio wouldn't change. The idea behind All Weather is that the fund would have the same long-term risk adjusted returns even if he were to not exist. He originally made it to safeguards his family's assets over a generational time span. All Weather is not a 2/20 hedge fund in even the remotest meaningful sense. Pure Alpha is.

Also, 3-4x leverage is NOT a lot of leverage when dealing with currencies or bonds, especially if you do things like relative value bond trading. And macro funds like BW tend to deal with those types of trades fairly often.

10/22/15

Right on all counts. That was all covered in the book. I'm still a skeptic though. On one hand you have what I believe to be a marketing spiel about all weather being a pure beta return investment, and pure alpha being the more traditional 2 and 20 fund. But if he's holding emergency meetings with the co-CEOs when things recently turned south and losing 6% in 3 weeks, that doesn't seem all that low risk. There's certainly a decent amount of leverage in all weather. Risk parity doesn't work without leverage.

What you say about the amount of leverage is true, but he does more with bonds than currencies and since 2006 is not limited by asset class. Also, just because leveraging up bonds and making 2 and 20 has worked in the past does not mean it will continue to work. We should not forget LTCM. If I wanted to be more risk averse, I would personally prefer L/S value vs. global macro, even if its risk parity. The leverage is inherently risky even if the asset classes that make up the majority of assets typically are less so.

Edit: And with the NDAs, nobody really knows how they make their money. Their 13F shows they do a substantial amount of equity trading, plus the gold volatility; even if they have the majority of their holdings in bonds and currencies, that's a lot of leverage.

10/22/15

equityandexuberance:

Right on all counts. That was all covered in the book. I'm still a skeptic though. On one hand you have what I believe to be a marketing spiel about all weather being a pure beta return investment, and pure alpha being the more traditional 2 and 20 fund. But if he's holding emergency meetings with the co-CEOs when things recently turned south and losing 6% in 3 weeks, that doesn't seem all that low risk. There's certainly a decent amount of leverage in all weather. Risk parity doesn't work without leverage.

What you say about the amount of leverage is true, but he does more with bonds than currencies and since 2006 is not limited by asset class. Also, just because leveraging up bonds and making 2 and 20 has worked in the past does not mean it will continue to work. We should not forget LTCM. If I wanted to be more risk averse, I would personally prefer L/S value vs. global macro, even if its risk parity. The leverage is inherently risky even if the asset classes that make up the majority of assets typically are less so.

Edit: And with the NDAs, nobody really knows how they make their money. Their 13F shows they do a substantial amount of equity trading, plus the gold volatility; even if they have the majority of their holdings in bonds and currencies, that's a lot of leverage.

Why do you assume he would only ever be long bonds? You can just as easily lever them short with futures

10/22/15

have a buddy that works there, he says it's like a cult but worse.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

10/22/15

Bridgewater experience is more relevant for Asset Management, but I think MBB is a better experience, more flexible, and great, exit opps. If I had the choice between MBB and Bridgewater, I think I'd do MBB.

10/22/15

Are we talking of MBB as in McKinsey Bain & BCG? I don't get it

10/22/15

Teddy? Bust.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

10/22/15

Also interested. In a similar situation. Anyone have any additional commentary?

10/22/15

not sure how you turn Bwater down given you'd like to work in AM/HF long term. congrats!

10/22/15

Mainly because I'm not sure how long I would last and I don't see positive exit opportunities from my research.

10/22/15

depends on what role you're being offered

10/22/15

Have you seen investment associates being marketable to other funds?

10/22/15

I know two people who worked there, one of whom later became a fellow analyst (same bank, different group).

Obviously it's probably a biased subset since these are the people who left vs. those who stayed but feel free to PM me with questions.

10/22/15

i have trouble believing that their guys are literally dead money trying to recruit at other firms. also, if it is as bad as you say you will probably have good PMs leaving to start their own firms (a la tiger cubs) before long, so you'll have opportunity to follow a mentor there. if you weren't sure what you wanted to do with your career that would be one thing but given you want to work on the buyside i don't see how there's a decision here.

10/22/15

I think their stringent non-compete contracts prevent top employees from leaving to start their own funds

10/22/15

Not sure how familiar you are with Bridgwater but I think the point of the post is their non-compete clauses etc make it extremely hard to go out on your own and maybe even leave to other funds as an analyst/investment associate - not as simple as saying follow a great pm who is leaving because that's an exceptional situation

10/22/15

Bridgewater has tons of roles. Unless you're an actual investment associate or portfolio strategist, you're not going to be directly involved in the investment or research process. By and large, due to the company's unique culture and way that it's run, you don't really come out of Bridgewater with transferable skillsets.

10/22/15

I have an Investment Associate offer. Would I come out with a transferable skill set?

10/22/15

I have an Investment Associate offer. Would I come out with a transferable skill set?

10/22/15

No. But that's the only job at Bwater worth taking, in my opinion, since you are doing actual investment research. The pay is good, and if you can survive there, you will be making an insane amount of money. For instance, I know a guy who used to be the head of research there while in his early 30's. He's now retired and doing his own thing. Another guy I know joined Bwater straight out of undergrad as an investment associate and is now a senior portfolio strategist. I would be shocked if he's making less than $5 million/year.

10/22/15

I know 1 guy there, 3 who quit. Have heard insanely negative things however the firm culture is specifically designed to prune the ranks and push out those who don't "acclimate". I Understand your concern as I've never seen a former bw guy at a fund, those I know who left did other things. Probably impossible to recruit given their isolated office location, etc. if you don't like the culture, I'd be hesitant. Is the strategy you're working in fundamental or more macro? If macro that's even tougher.... Despite the better bw optics, I think I personally might seriously do MBB.

10/22/15

Anyone else wonder why there is such a difference in performance between BW and AQR? On the surface they seem quite comparable - smart people, large AUM, systematic investment process. I find it hard to believe that what BW does is so unique that it's not being replicated anywhere else (in reference to the non-competes).

Best Response
10/22/15

Bridgewater is a great firm, with a lot of pros and cons:

Pros:
- you will get paid better there than at almost any other place especially as a junior person; you can do jobs where at other firms you would be paid 100-150k and at bridgewater you can make 2-5x as much for the same job
- people who like the culture and are smart do well, and everybody I know who works there hangs out with other bwater people as the majority of their social life, so they all like each other and get along well; bwater is their life, not just their job
- from what I hear, it's a meritocracy

Cons:
- culture is very difficult
- non-competes make it almost impossible to go elsewhere; 3yr noncompetes that they very rarely will waive
- you will not be doing a job with a transferable skillset anyways --> the vast majority of Investment Associates do general 'economic research' (a lot of it is client service and writing papers for clients to read that express the firm's views) or client service type jobs; they don't actually manage money. From what I understand most of the investment decisions are made by the 3 guys at the top, but I'm not at the firm
- they spy on their workers like whoa -- internal security is taken to another level
- and this last one is just guessing...but the place is run by somebody with a (deservedly) large ego. The firm claims to value dissent etc, but in my experience, those kinds of cultures usually actually end up with everybody agreeing with what the person up top says while everybody clamors to make the person next to them look dumb. But again, this is just based on what I've heard.

I'd caveat that again, I'm not at the firm, have never been inside, etc. All of the above is hearsay. Lest the cons look like they outweigh the pros, I'd say that 1) everybody I know who has managed to stay at Bridgewater and likes it would never dream of leaving, and 2) if I could do things over and had an offer with them (I interviewed over half a decade ago but never got past the first round), I likely would take it.

10/22/15

You said that only the top 3 folks at Bwater make investment decisions. I thought Bwater worked on algo/stat arb trading, is this wrong? If they do, how can only the top three be calling the shots? Thanks

10/22/15

Bankn:

You said that only the top 3 folks at Bwater make investment decisions. I thought Bwater worked on algo/stat arb trading, is this wrong? If they do, how can only the top three be calling the shots? Thanks

Bridgewater does little or none algo/stat arb. As far as I know, it doesn't have any quantitative strategies requiring math/CS/physics PhD.

It is a fundamental marco fund. You can say they are thinking more like economist than trader. Read Dalio's "how economy work" and you will see what I mean. (http://www.economicprinciples.org/)

The two largest strategies are alpha and all weather. I don't know what their Alpha strategy is doing exactly (very few people know) but my guess is macro direction trades (bet on interest rate, fx, equity market index up/down).

All weather is an alternative version of risk parity strategy. Basically pm need to understand how economy works like relationship among rates, commodity, equity, credit, fx etc and allocate your portfolio to optimize among all those in risk terms.

Like many other macro funds, it is pretty normal to have only a few persons see the big picture and decide a view for next several months. All other people are either doing support or strategy execution. Depend on the culture, junior analysts may learn a lot or very few.

If OP wants to do non-marco investing, I don't see any reasons joining Bridgewater instead of MBB. That being said, I always believe macro hf is on the crown of entire hf industry because it is the hardest and most fair playground for smart people.

10/22/15

Thanks for informing me, I have watched his economic principles movie (leverage/credit cycles, economic performance correlation etc.), not sure why i thought they may be algo based.

10/22/15

^ Good points, but just two quick corrections on the "Pros" side.

The pay is nowhere near that good. You're mostly pushing paper and not doing any real valuation / analysis, and you'll get paid like it. I had an offer a while ago but it seems like not much has changed for the junior roles in terms of pay. However, yes, you do make more than other people in these jobs since they would most likely be considered back office at another firm.

Not really a meritocracy. I think of a meritocracy as a sink or swim culture, which is more like revolving door hedge funds such as Citadel or ex-SAC.

Bridgewater kids stay and succeed because they drank the kool-aid, or because they were lucky or were good at firm politics. Meritocracy usually means good at your job, and since the job is mostly irrelevant to the firm's success, I think playing politics is the best option for any new employee.

10/22/15

All good points ppl have mentioned. I would only add a little more to nuance. If you want to evaluate companies as an investment professional then BWater is a waste of time. MBB would be much better as some funds love former consultants and you can make a case at just about any L/S fund for being a competitive applicant. If you aren't 90% sure you want to be an invesment professional, MBB is probably better as you have much more career flexibility in exit opps. From MBB almost any transition seems pretty natural. From Bridgewater you would probably only stay in Asset Management or go to B-school. it's obviously not impossible to do whatever you want after bwater (I know some ppl who did startups after) but no one is going to look at your resume and think anything other than asset management is a natural transition.

If you want to do macro then Bwater would be great. Althought you won't get to see everything(the inner circle is reserved for people with ridiculous non-competes) you will get a great macro introduction and learn how Bwater thinks about macro. That is value. You won't learn market mechanics most likely but you will be set up nicely to transition to an asset allocation role, strategist role, or perhaps a macro fund. I say perhaps because macro funds seem to like the S&T background and you don't really get that at Bwater since there is so much specialization and those who come up with insights don't trade and vice versa.

Unless you try and start your own fund immediately after leaving, you shouldn't worry about the non-compete. I've seen a few bwater people lateral at other places (fixed income shops and family offices). The non-compete gets serious after like 3 years but before then it's not as onerous as ppl make it seem and is routinely flouted....think about it. the place has like a 30% attrition rate. You think all those ppl just don't stay in finance becuse of bwater? Some of them do and we don't hear of it in the papers because it's not usually that serious (unless you are pretty senior and get to see the bigger picture.

caveat...never worked there...got deep into interview process and had a few friends work there.

10/22/15

No way a court would uphold a 3-year noncompete if you actually tested it.

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