Bridgewater Associates Employee Reviews about "radical"

Updated Dec 29, 2020

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3.9
81%
Recommend to a Friend
91%
Approve of CEO
Bridgewater Associates CEO David McCormick
David McCormick
39 Ratings
Pros
  • "Work with exceptionally smart people, you get out of it what you put into it(in 63 reviews)

  • "Comp, benefits are second to none, free food, good people(in 28 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Potentially poor work life balance(in 31 reviews)

  • "Long hours, not a ton of work life/balance particularly if you want to go far, career pathing could use some work, location isn't ideal(in 18 reviews)

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    Reviews about "radical"

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    1. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Manager

      Dec 29, 2020 - Senior Procurement Operations Manager in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Transparent Culture fostered meaningful work and meaningful relationships.

      Cons

      The Radical Transparent and discussions often were prolonged and prohibited getting things done.

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    2. 3.0
      Former Intern, less than 1 year

      Great pay, smart people, somewhat boring work, dysfunctional bureaucracy

      Oct 14, 2020 - Investment Associate Intern in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Very high pay, lots of smart people, hours are pretty short

      Cons

      They call it the 'machine' for a reason, you're just a cog. Management structure very ineffective, few if any employees live up to the radical transparency ideal

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    3. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Incredibly stimulating work environment

      Sep 16, 2020 - Project Manager in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Incredible people - Passion and drive - Exponential personal and professional development

      Cons

      - Emotional turmoil inter- and intra- personally due to the radical nature of the culture - Company is an insulated "bubble" that's fenced off to the rest of the world (with the exception of the malicious media)

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      1 person found this review helpful
    4. 3.0
      Former Contractor, less than 1 year

      Weird atmosphere, but enjoyable on the right team

      Aug 17, 2016 - Anonymous Contractor in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Everyone at Bridgewater is there because they like the company culture of radical transparency, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. BW definitely does take care of their people, offering free lunch every day, snacks, coffee/tea, weekly barbecues in the summer, and big parties/company-wide events multiple times a year. It's an atmosphere where you'll be expected to constantly strive for your next big accomplishment, and to always speak your mind whether you're talking to a peer or the CEO.

      Cons

      Radical transparency can lead to excessive rudeness, vendettas, and a cutthroat environment where even the smallest of mistakes can be dissected for hours. The need to constantly strive and achieve can not only be draining, but may cause managers to push you out of positions before you're ready and into stressful new opportunities without your consent. Also, many employee perks are available to full-time employees only, not contractors (everything from admittance to some company-wide events to the privilege of parking on-site at some locations). On the right team, Bridgewater is a great experience, if your manager is willing to listen and work with you on your goals, desires, and working style.

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    5. 3.0
      Former Employee

      If you have a thick skin.....

      Apr 29, 2016 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Smart Talent pool Learn a lot about yourself

      Cons

      You need a thick skin - the "radical transparency" and truth can verge on being abusive Everything is done by committee so takes an inordinate amount of time which gets quite frustrating Smart unscrupulous people game the system

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      6 people found this review helpful
    6. 1.0
      Former Employee

      creepy...

      Aug 16, 2015 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Food, perks, hours better than some other finance options, some smart people

      Cons

      "Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the Party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts. The key word here is black-white. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary." Basically sums up the bridgewater experience. If you're interested in working at a big hedge fund, fine, just don't go in with some naive expectation of "radical truth," "radical transparency," and "an idea meritocracy" as they advertise--unless, of course, the "radical truth" equates to whatever Ray Dalio or his loyal minions say.. They have their own ridiculous version of Newspeak hand-crafted by Ray, including phrases like "getting to the other side" by overcoming your "blindspots and ego barriers," which essentially amounts to blindly adhering to whatever your masters believe while ignoring any attempts at logic. All this is made harder to stomach by the weirdly moralistic culture that you have to applaud as "holier than" the rest of wall street (holy is an apt word here, as one must respect Ray's Principles as though they are the Word of God). A deceptively awful place for any intelligent/curious person to work, where the best case scenario is that you are a relatively well-paid and only sometimes harassed yes-man doing pointless work that won't impact any investment decisions

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      25 people found this review helpful
    7. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Great People, Crazy Place

      Jun 1, 2015 - Project Manager in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      amazing coworkers, terrific benefits, stimulating work (depending on your role and department), a lot of investment in training new employees--to a certain extent, the culture. it's very cool to be able to question the way things are done, and if you're good at getting along in the culture there is a ton of opportunity

      Cons

      things get a little crazy there--the emphasis on radical honesty and getting to the true root of problems starts out cool, but can end up occupying an insane amount of your time.

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      10 people found this review helpful
    8. 4.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Intense, challenging, and invigorating experience

      Nov 27, 2013 - Investment Associate in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I'm a 22 year Investment Associate at Bridgewater-- my first job out of college. I also interned as a Management Associate during college, so have had the somewhat unique experience of operating in both roles. Pros: - In my experience, the people have been hands down the best part of the job. I'm surrounded by a group that is incredibly smart, funny, willing to work hard, be challenged and have fun. A true community. - The firm encourages "acting like an owner," and so there are real opportunities and freedom to shape things that are bad. I think this creates a pretty cool, entrepreneurial environment (despite the size of the company) - There is a huge emphasis on personal/professional development at all levels, but I can speak best to the development of young Investment and Management Associates. I had weeks of intensive training before starting my job, I'm taking an investment class that spans the entire year, and get copious feedback on all aspects of my performance. People care enough about you and your trajectory to really invest the time to help you get better. - Interesting, challenging work. Throughout their time here, people assume as much responsibility as they can handle, so there's never a dull moment. And, if you are finding your work dull, you have the freedom to explore other opportunities within the firm. - The little things rock: fully stocked kitchen, catered lunch, bussing from NYC to connecticut, gyms, beautiful offices, great benefits, business casual dress code

      Cons

      - The firm's culture calls for achieving excellence through radical honesty and transparency-- which means a lot of negative feedback. This can be really hard, and hurt sometimes. Intellectually, I think it's a good way to operate but that doesn't mean it's not a challenge. - There is very little racial or gender diversity among the Investment Associate community. The gender ratio among Investment Associates is very bad. While there are ongoing efforts to figure out why this is the case, as a woman, the atmosphere can feel very masculine and alienating at times. - The hours are long (not like investment banking, but not a 9-5 either), and the commute from NYC to Westport CT is long. Many people have two places-- one in Connecticut and one in the city for the weekends.

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      1 person found this review helpful
    9. 1.0
      Current Employee

      Pros

      you get fresh cafeteria food for lunch, but it becomes boring very quickly and everyone gains 10-15 lbs due to over-eating since it's free.

      Cons

      this place is truly a hypocrisy; everything they say in the principle about trust in truth and radical transparency is so untrue and the opposite of what they do. Everyone jumps to conclusions and judgments almost immediately with no open-mindedness, discovery for truth and independent thinking. What is even worse is the immediate conclusions/judgments are always an assassination on a persons character/values/morals and oddly enough everyone always agrees with the person asserting the conclusions. It is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced and wish for no one else to ever experience this. It's such a unprofessional atmosphere too... everyone cursing, commenting about other and talking about others negatively behind there backs (but people at Bridgewater call this 'triangulating'.. to act like they aren't gossiping... but it's the same thing!). This place is borderline inhumane with the constant harassment and assassination and attacks on people's character, morals and values.

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      18 people found this review helpful
    10. 2.0
      Former Employee

      Politics and Bureaucracy as usual, deserving of the label of "cult"

      Jun 7, 2011 - Senior Technology Professional in Westport, CT
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The compensation and benefits are extremely competitive. The free food and coffee are great. The people are all really smart (or appear to be). Other than that I came away with pretty much nothing good to say about the place.

      Cons

      The CULTure is absolutely insane. On paper, Ray Dalio's principles sound like a great ideas, and they were a big part of why I took the job. The reality is that not all people are hyper-logical and able to show no emotion when given criticism, especially if that criticism is politically motivated. The place is trying to grow way too fast, and Dalio's concepts can only really work in a small group setting. They will never scale to a larger company, and the reality is that the place has all the usual politics that any organization of similar size will have. Noone trusts anyone, and their absolutely paranoid approach to both physical and technological security is holding them back from making progress in the IT department, which is easily the worst disaster I've ever seen or heard of in my career. Nothing is automated, and every last trivial decision gets "probed" endlessly, making the simplest decisions take forever. There is a "shadow culture" among the consultants, too, and this is sad: they hire "subject matter experts" and then don't trust them, since they aren't employees. I talked to a lot of old-time geeks like myself who were there to do what was asked of them, take the $$, and get out, even if they thought what they were doing was strategically wrong for the company. This was especially true of the IT consultants. BW is reinventing every single IT wheel, and most of them are coming out square. If you're considering this place, read all the reviews posted here on glassdoor.com, and read the ENTIRE principles document on the BW website. Those are just good ideas, they are the law in that place, and the degree to which you will be successful at BW depends on the degree to which you can live these principles, with no exceptions. You need to be sure you understand what "radical transparency" means, too. Be prepared to have your weaknesses documented and exposed for the entire company to see. if you're lucky, you might end up being a case study video that everyone is required to watch for further indoctrination. If you have a conflict with someone senior to you, they can get rid of you pretty easily by getting you to admit that you have a problem with one of more of the core principles. This is politics as usual, and precisely why I only lasted a few months (which is not that unusual). For someone who can drink the kool-aid and adopt the culture, the place might be a great fit (lots of the people there for the long run did seem pretty happy with their jobs, but maybe they just came to terms with it, in order to take home the $$).

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      34 people found this review helpful
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