Bridgewater Associates is one of the largest hedge-fund managers in the world. The Westport-Conn.-based firm is a quant shop and most of its clients are institutions.
Bridgewater ranked No. 1 in Absolute Return magazine's 2009 annual industry report card. Pensions & Investments has called its All Weather fund the "marquee name among diversified beta strategies" and the "800-pound gorilla" in the space. The firm, founded by former futures trader Ray Dalio at age 25, has been developing its alpha- and beta-focused strategies for more than 40 years.
Bridgewater has a strong culture of continuous improvement and the tone is set from the top. He lays out his philosophy on the firm's Web site: Conflict is a "terrific thing," and is to be demanded. Subordinates are encouraged to argue with superiors if they have a better way of doing things. More bold words from Dalio: "If faced with the choice between pursuing excellence and making lots of money, I'd choose the excellence, though they are integrally tied." Dalio is a bow hunter who meditates five times a week, according to Forbes.
Bridgewater's Web site gives a glimpse of the kind of candidates it's looking for. Check out its offerings, including Ray Dalio's personal philosophy, the firm's investment philosophy and in-depth employee profiles. The profiles show that many of its top associates took atypical career paths, revealing where they came from, how they got to where they are and insight in how to replicate their journeys.
If you're interviewing at Bridgewater, you may want to know that Dalio's son, Matt Dalio, founded the China Care Foundation to provide medical care and assistance to orphans in China.