Bridgewater Associates Careers Applications

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.

Bridgewater Overview

Bridgewater is a global hedge fund operator, founded by Ray Dalio, an infamous billionaire. His hedge fund, located in Westport, CT, has at one point been the largest in the world. The company is known for its policy called radical transparency, which is described in the picture below from the company website.

Bridgewater Analyst Salary & Bonus

  • Strategy: Global Macro
  • AUM: $160.0 billion

Analyst Compensation

  • Average base: $108.9k
  • Average bonus: 22.0k
  • Total average compensation: $130.9k

Read more about Hedge Fund Rankings on WSO.

Culture of Bridgewater Associates

Our users shared positive and negative culture points about BWA below.

Many users shared that the firm wants people who will question processes and suggest ways to do things better. Going against the grain and questioning conventional wisdom is critical for employees at the firm.

Bridgewater attempts to access this in the interview process as described by a user below. For one of the earlier rounds, there is a group debate on a common topic that doesn't require a lot of previous knowledge (ex. "Television hurts American community"). You then debate it with 6-8 other people for a period of time. This is obviously a forum in which to test your ability to question the group. This is not an experience that you can prepare for; however, our users highlighted that prior speech/debate experience will come in handy for these interviews.

However, not all Bridgewater employees enjoy the firm's odd culture.

One user shared that they felt that Ray Dalio is the only real draw of the firm and that those that work there are not nearly as intelligent.

Bridgewater Associates Exit Opps

When it comes to exit opportunities for BWA - many users pointed out the unique culture and strategy that the company is known for makes employees somewhat less marketable when they pursue other opportunities.

Determined:
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.

That being said, the company is prestigious and high profile which should be well respected if you are looking to move within the HF world and you are able to get around the non-compete contract that they typically enforce.

Read More About Bridgewater on WSO

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Comments (212)

Best Response
Oct 26, 2009 - 2:00am
Ovechkin, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 11, 2009 - 11:16pm
faisaljafri, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 12, 2009 - 1:27pm
dunston17, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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/bridgewater-tops-ranking-of-hedge-fund-managers/

Oct 12, 2009 - 3:15pm
UBmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 14, 2009 - 11:04am
Hamiltonian Path, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 14, 2009 - 1:48pm
dunston17, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 20, 2009 - 9:13am
propeller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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!

Oct 20, 2009 - 9:33am
kanon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 26, 2009 - 2:58pm
mrc49, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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
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Nov 5, 2009 - 6:21pm
bloom001, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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...

Nov 26, 2009 - 4:52pm
Tn11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:10am
Confusil, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater - What is comp like? (Originally Posted: 11/11/2006)

Anyone know anything about Bridgewater Associates? Is it a good place to work straight out of college (Investment Associate position)? Does it look good on the resume? What is comp like?

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:15am
tuneman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:16am
Confusil, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:17am
johndoe88, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:19am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 12:20am
lakerlax, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater - Any thoughts? (Originally Posted: 12/13/2006)

Anyone know anything? Any thoughts?

Other than that pay is awesome (above BB for sure)

And that you are in sh*thole Connecticut?

I'm at a target school for summer interns, but I heard from a friend about special interviews going on 2 weeks before they come to campus at Bridgewater to try to fill some slots before hand. So kind of have to act quick.

Any thoughts versus GS/Other BBs? Or any thoughts on Interviews?

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:21am
-----, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

  • 1
Oct 22, 2015 - 12:22am
lakerlax, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:23am
Confusil, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:26am
consultant16180, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What's the deal with Bridgewater Associates? (Originally Posted: 07/27/2007)

Good? Bad?

A guy from my brother's graduating class from a few years ago has been working there. I didn't know he was interested in finance and I was surprised he got a job at a hedge fund. He tells me his compensation is higher than IB and always has been -- even when he started.

Is this true? Why does this fund take undergrads? What is their function there?

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:28am
Dfan123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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 <span class="keyword_link"><a href="http://tinyurl.com/432ywy8" target="_blank">portfolio management</a></span> problems they face How to build high-return, low-risk investment portfolios through diversification of asset class returns and active <span class="keyword_link"><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading-overview">trading</a></span> 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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:31am
trdr1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:32am
consultant16180, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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?!

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:39am
hf_guy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:40am
Closer121, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:42am
YoungHedge, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater Associates Career Choice (Originally Posted: 03/22/2010)

I recently finished my first round interview with Bridgewater Associates for a Trading Associate position. This seems like an excellent opportunity to start a career in Asset Management/hedge funds, but I heard and read some negative things about the company's "constructive criticism" based culture. I have no problems handling criticism and arguments, but the main part that is giving second thoughts is the lack of involvement in investing decisions by the trading department as a whole (even in more senior positions). As someone who plans on being a future fund manager, would Bridgewater be the right place to start my career out of college? Since I am from a non-target school, I think it is a great opportunity as long as it can lead toward my long run goals of portfolio management.

In addition, what do business schools think about the firm? And if I have no chance of any input of investing decisions in the long run, what some exit opportunities in investment management that are available for someone working there after a few years.

  • 2
Oct 22, 2015 - 12:48am
CashCow, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:57am
Brady4MVP, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:51am
brotherbear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:03am
vouts13, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:54am
junkbondswap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:55am
YoungHedge, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:56am
MarginCalling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:04am
firefighter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater associates - How legit is this firm vs other hedge funds? (Originally Posted: 02/27/2011)

how legit is Bridgewater Associates vs. the other hedge funds? i know they are very big, if not the biggest, but are they considered on the same level as soros, moore, paulson or in the same tier in macro funds what greenlight, Third Point, tiger global are to event or L/S funds?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:05am
MCC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:08am
alexpasch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:09am
equity_player, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:10am
Bi-Winning, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater Associates - World's largest hedge fund? (Originally Posted: 03/05/2011)

Bridgewater has been getting a lot of media attention for all the wrong reasons as of late. As such, I was curious about Bridgewater's trading strategies and the markets that they trade. From the interview, it was quite clear that Ray Dalio uses Global Macro. However, I was in for a surprise- they also seem to use Quantitative strategies. I found this a bit strange given Ray's background (BA in Finance from Long Island Uni and MBA from the H-Bomb).

How did Ray attain the mathematical competency to unleash his quantitative global macro strategies with a business major? Does he handle the global macro strategies and fund management while some Putnam fellows burn in the math?

I'm just curious as to how things work in the world's largest hedge fund.

I win here, I win there...
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:11am
laudrup10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:12am
Bi-Winning, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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...
  • 1
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:13am
shorttheworld, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:14am
DurbanDiMangus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater Associates - Details on working here (Originally Posted: 05/13/2011)

Reading some very insightful posts on Bridgewater Associates (BW)

Name Withheld:
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.

And another:

Name Withheld:
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.

Source: http://www.onedayonejob.com/jobs/Bridgewater-associates/

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:15am
Schwarzmanegger, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:16am
SalGr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"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...

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:18am
D M, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:19am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:20am
D M, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:21am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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 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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:22am
International Pymp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:24am
manbearpig, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:25am
georgiettapeabody, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:26am
Stringer Bell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Weirdo #1:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-annie.aspx

Weirdo #2:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-john.aspx

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:27am
bfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Stringer Bell:
Weirdo #1:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-annie.aspx

Weirdo #2:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-john.aspx

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:47am
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Stringer Bell:
Weirdo #1:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-annie.aspx

Weirdo #2:

http://www.bwater.com/home/culture--principles/culture-videos/culture-video-john.aspx

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:28am
tails379, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:29am
wikit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:31am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:32am
Ben Shalom Bernanke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:33am
JeffSkilling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:34am
Stringer Bell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"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.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:35am
whatwhatwhat, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:36am
Stringer Bell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^^ 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

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:37am
whatwhatwhat, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:38am
Stringer Bell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^^ 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.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:39am
whatwhatwhat, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:40am
wikit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^ 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.
Oct 22, 2015 - 1:42am
Bondarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:46am
Brady4MVP, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:48am
Jesse.Livermore, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:45am
West Coast rainmaker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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/culture-videos/culture-video-annie.aspx

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:51am
georgiettapeabody, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:52am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:53am
Bondarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:54am
Gray Fox, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:56am
LLcoolJ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 1:57am
UncleMilty, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater posts 23% (Originally Posted: 01/27/2012)

I don't really care all too much for DealBook, but http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/in-punishing-year-for-hedge-funds-biggest-one-thrived/

So, considering performance, is Bridgewater a good place to try and break in? Or is it just too bats**t crazy a place, with all that yoga?

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is." - Oscar Wilde "Seriously, psychology is for those with two x chromosomes." - RagnarDanneskjold
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Oct 22, 2015 - 1:59am
TheSquale, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:02am
...., what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:04am
Derivatives, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:12am
kanon, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:03am
Determined, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 2:05am
Maximus Decimus Meridius, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:06am
Derivatives, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:08am
bfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:16am
she_monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:19am
SanityCheck, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:20am
UK2013plus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:22am
roofstreet, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bridgewater exit OPS (Originally Posted: 01/06/2013)

Potential exit ops from a non-trading role at Bridgewater?

"...the art of good business, is being a good middle man, putting people togeather. It's all about honor and respect."
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Oct 22, 2015 - 2:25am
xqtrack, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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...

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:28am
SlyGuy, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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/trideBridgewater.pdf

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:27am
kanon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:29am
Kenny_Powers_CFA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
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Oct 22, 2015 - 2:30am
equityandexuberance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thoughts on Bridgewater? (Originally Posted: 08/25/2013)

I know that working there is a shitty gig; I've heard the horror stories about egos and work/life balance like everyone else, but I was wondering what WSO thinks of their performance/where BA is headed in the future.

Been reading Alpha Masters and was completely dreading the Dalio section... even though its the first one I finally read it after all the other sections only cause I was bored on a plane. A few things really stick out to me about it.

I mean first of all, Dalio is really cooky but also really smart. But then all the crap about hundreds of "alpha streams" and the arrogant papers with names like "A Template for Understanding What's Goin On" really hurts his credibility though. Screams classic HBS bullshit to me.

Second, investment strategy. It seems like pure alpha and all weather are both heavily leveraged long gold, long bonds, directional carry bets, and stat arb derivatives/fixed income trading backed up with some really good computer systems, but when yields don't keep going down and gold doesn't keep going up, is the secret sauce gone?

Seems like Dalio has been in the right place at the right time. He started actively managing a pure bond fund in the late 80's when the beginning of the bond bull market that has existed up until the past few months began. Risk parity, headed by all weather, has gone to shit since then.

Quotes to back up the things said above:

"Bridgewater has always historically kept its leverage low by industry standards, about three to four times assets over equity over the life of the firm. By comparison, Lehman Brothers was more than 40 times leveraged before its collapse in 2008."

For one, lol does the girl who wrote this book know anything about hedge funds... comparing BA to a leverage-addicted bank at the peak of the boom, sometimes I wonder. 3-4x leveraged bonds and gold, yeah that would give you the kinda returns he's had.

"Bridgewater has been long as large position in gold since it was $200 an ounce and plans to keep the position in place."

Great timing not much else to say.

So Dalio is incredibly intelligent and also incredibly arrogant. Great returns, but there seems like an aspect of great timing to it. And god do you just zone out after a while trying to read this... I thought I got something out of every section of Alpha Masters but reading this made me that much more skeptical of Bridgewater. Will BA keep being successful or will Dalio's sanctimonious arrogance catch him in the backside and cause Bridgewater to go down in flames?

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:31am
IlliniProgrammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:32am
SonnyZH, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

[quote]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.[/quote]
  • 1
Oct 22, 2015 - 2:34am
Going Concern, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.
Oct 22, 2015 - 2:33am
Marcus_Halberstram, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Array
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Oct 22, 2015 - 2:35am
wso_user, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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?)

Array
Oct 22, 2015 - 2:37am
equityandexuberance, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:44am
leveredarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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
Oct 22, 2015 - 2:38am
SlyGuy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:41am
equityandexuberance, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:39am
Kenny Powers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.
Oct 22, 2015 - 2:46am
49erfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The Truth About Bridgewater? (Originally Posted: 11/02/2014)

I have read extensively about Bridgewater on WSO and other sites. The perception is negative from almost every angle. I have done research on LinkedIn, and I don't see former investment associates working at other funds. I have an offer, but what concerns me most is the exit opportunities. I know this is not the best mindset going into a job and is heavily criticized, but working at Bridgewater for more than 2 years would not appeal to me, unless somehow I acclimate. If your goal was to work in Asset Management or hedge funds in the long-term, would you take the offer or one at MBB?

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:53am
Cruncharoo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Teddy? Bust.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..
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Oct 22, 2015 - 2:56am
49erfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 2:59am
SanityCheck, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 3:00am
jankynoname, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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.

Oct 22, 2015 - 3:05am
notthehospitalER, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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

Oct 22, 2015 - 3:01am
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Oct 22, 2015 - 3:02am
49erfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Ab dolorem qui hic nisi non. Eum totam minus officiis unde et quod asperiores. Voluptate et repellat iure laborum sapiente laboriosam quasi sit.

Est nihil consequuntur praesentium voluptatum porro doloribus unde optio. Doloremque soluta temporibus quaerat delectus iusto provident. Consequuntur tempore est rerum dolorum.

Unde amet eum distinctio aut unde repellat quia qui. Rem mollitia iste eos ipsa sed. Vero et possimus sed maxime asperiores aut.

Oct 22, 2015 - 3:03am
49erfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Animi culpa culpa necessitatibus sed a. Sit animi iste nostrum earum labore vitae consequuntur enim. Eos eligendi quisquam cupiditate. Corrupti delectus qui blanditiis voluptatem est vero et. Maxime occaecati enim quasi. Earum at cupiditate eaque est assumenda.

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Oct 22, 2015 - 3:09am
xqtrack, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Oct 22, 2015 - 3:10am
SanityCheck, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Oct 22, 2015 - 3:11am
The Biz Kid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Oct 22, 2015 - 3:12am
mrb87, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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