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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.

Hedge Fund Interview Course

Best Response
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 <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.

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...

Hedge Fund Interview Course

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

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equit...

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.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equit...

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

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equit...

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.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equit...

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.