In an extremely rare occurrence, the largest hedge fund in the world – with more than $150bn under management – sent a letter to investors letting them know that it will be laying off a lot of people.
The client-directed missive signed by all of Bridgewater Associates’ senior executives, including founder Ray Dalio, provides context for the planned job cuts. Back in 2003, Bridgewater had just 150 employees; in 2011, it had grown to 1,100; the firm currently has 1,700 people working there. The note reveals that about 70% of that meteoric headcount growth was in non-investment areas, which the letter admitted “became bloated, inefficient, and bureaucratic.”
The following are the key passages: “…we will be conducting a renovation to improve efficiencies at Bridgewater, especially in the non-investment areas such as Technology, Recruiting, Facilities, and Management Services….
“To be clear, this renovation is coming at a time when our fundamentals are very strong: Our investment process is better than ever, our financial position is rock solid, our key employees who built the firm wouldn't want to work anywhere else, and our clients remain confident in us (as expressed in their collectively investing $22.5 billion in new money since 2015). We are making these changes as a part of the ongoing process of constant improvement that has been the key to our success over the past 40 years.”
So, nothing to see here, and nothing to worry about…if you’re an investor. But what if you work in one of Bridewater’s “non-investment areas”? That’s another story, and it may be time to polish up your resume, which – looking at the bright side – should look pretty impressive to other potential employers given that it has Bridgewater featured prominently on it.
Separately, if you’d like to be an investment banking summer analyst at Goldman Sachs next year, it can’t hurt to start preparing now. Yes, it is that competitive, so you should apply as soon as possible.
Helpfully, Bloomberg has provided students with a cheat sheet to help them ace the interview process (assuming they make the initial cut and actually get a call to set up an initial video interview). In case you're wondering, these tips have come from HR.
- Do be authentic. “There is a difference between being prepared and being rehearsed.”
- Do show long-term interest. If it’s evident someone is “looking to use Goldman as a vehicle to go elsewhere ... that’s probably a candidate we would pass on.”
- Don’t get trapped inside “I.” “Having a good example of how you approach things in team dynamics is important.”
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