Bridgewater vs PEAK6 Investment

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Hi guys,

I recently received an offer from Bridgewater associates for their investment engineer role and Peak6 Investments for their Trading associate role. Both offers are really good in terms of money but that's not really my concern.

I was wondering if you guys could weigh up Bridgewater vs prop trading in general. It would be great to get some outside opinion on this as I am really unsure about which route to go. Bridgewater seems like it will be a great name on my resume but I am very unsure about the culture and if I will be a good fit there. PEAK6 was really nice though. It seemed like I will get a lot of freedom to trade and learn a lot. Really very unsure and would love some help.

Thanks!

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Comments (16)

 
Nov 2, 2015 - 11:47am

Bridgewater, hands down. You can easily switch back to prop trading in a few years if you think you want to give it a shot (or get an MBA or switch to a bank, etc). You won't be able to move anywhere if you start at peak6 and the name matters a lot for other opportunities. Only take peak6 if you know you want to prop trade and are relatively certain you won't need/want to do anything else.

 
Nov 3, 2015 - 12:29am

I know Bridgewater is an awesome name but I do really want to trade and I loved PEAK6's strategy. Also I think PEAK6 has a good name in the prop trading world. I think because of the culture I would get fucked at Bridgewater and lose confidence in myself. PEAK6 seemed more nurturing. Is it really that hard to get out of prop trading? Are the exit opps that bad?

 
Nov 5, 2015 - 9:22am

kingpin1234:

I know Bridgewater is an awesome name but I do really want to trade and I loved PEAK6's strategy. Also I think PEAK6 has a good name in the prop trading world. I think because of the culture I would get fucked at Bridgewater and lose confidence in myself. PEAK6 seemed more nurturing. Is it really that hard to get out of prop trading? Are the exit opps that bad?

I would suggest that you take some time and look at the glassdoor reviews for both firms:

Peak6: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/PEAK6-Investments-Reviews-E13323.htm
Bridgewater: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Bridgewater-Associates-Reviews-E117647.htm

Also compare both firms reviews to other comparable firms to gain some perspective. Bridgewater's reviews are rough but peak6 has some of the worst in the entire prop trading space.

 
Nov 3, 2015 - 12:27am

I didn't think I would. The culture was really rough for me and I didn't think I would enjoy it at all. PEAK6 was so much more nicer and I felt that they would let me fail a lot initially by allowing me to trade with a smaller amount of capital. I feel like Bridgewater would formulate an opinion about me almost immediately if I didn't start off by performing well. Im sure Bridgewater is wonderful but I dont think its right for me at this time. I also had a torrid internship where I performed poorly and so I need an environment where people will teach me and take it easy on me for the first few weeks and help me out. PEAK6 seemed like they would do that and I didn't get that vibe from Bridgewater.

 
Nov 7, 2015 - 1:52pm

Sort of a tough call in that both are not particularly desirable places to work. I would've gone with Bwater though.

Chicago prop trading is NOT a space you want to build a career in unless you're a talented quant working at a firm such as Jump, Teza, a few others. There aren't that many opportunities to make easy money, the firms aren't that well run, and most importantly you don't develop transferable skills that you can leverage later in your career. I know the youngsters on here all swear that they are destined to be traders for life (I felt the same way at one point), but I'm willing to bet a lot of money that you guys will change your tune in the coming years. Despite its many flaws, Bwater is a HUGE name, and at the very least that name will allow you to get other opportunities in finance or go to a pretty good b-school if you choose that route.

 
Nov 7, 2015 - 2:51pm

Yeah, thanks for your input. I guess you are right. However, I really didn't see myself at Bridgewater and would have either quit or been fired within a year. At least with a prop shop I can still do something that I like (for now at least) for a couple of years and then if need be go to a M.Fin program or a MFE program and trade at a bank or something. I totally agree with you on everything you have said and I don't think I would want to trade for the rest of my life but I am hoping that for a couple of years PEAK6 is good so that I can go and do my masters or move somewhere else.

Do you know if it is easy to transition from a prop shop to a hedge fund or a bank?

 
Nov 7, 2015 - 3:53pm

undefined:

Yeah, thanks for your input. I guess you are right. However, I really didn't see myself at Bridgewater and would have either quit or been fired within a year. At least with a prop shop I can still do something that I like (for now at least) for a couple of years and then if need be go to a M.Fin program or a MFE program and trade at a bank or something. I totally agree with you on everything you have said and I don't think I would want to trade for the rest of my life but I am hoping that for a couple of years PEAK6 is good so that I can go and do my masters or move somewhere else.

Do you know if it is easy to transition from a prop shop to a hedge fund or a bank?

It's very difficult to transition from a prop shop to a solid bank or hedge fund. I know tons of bwater guys who managed to move around.

 
Nov 9, 2015 - 11:54am

undefined:

Do you know if it is easy to transition from a prop shop to a hedge fund or a bank?

It's exceptionally rare and very difficult to make this transition. MBAGrad2015 is right on point. I only know 2-3 guys who have transitioned from prop firm to bank trading and 2 of them came from firms that basically no one ever leaves (2 of the top trading firms). The 3rd guy actually got fired but had great contacts and is a super smart dude and was recruiting to move back to NYC for over a year.

My general feeling is that an extra degree of some sort is required if you want to transition after prop trading.

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