As you may have heard, Bridgewater Associates is a hedge fund committed to probing the depths of any situation until it finds the truth. And, when one makes it his or her business to go after the truth, one must be persistent, and not take no for an answer. For example, at other funds, recruiters would probably not care to find out why any given individual chose not to work them, especially if said person had never even gone through the interview process in the first place, whereas Bridgewater simply rejects your rejection and demands a detailed list of valid reasons why you've chosen not to even consider what life could be like with BDubs. Last August, we learned of a Dartmouth student who was paid $100 to "explain why she did not want to work for them" and today, a Yale senior** relates being crammed into a hotel room to do the same.
Last May, one of the largest hedge funds in the world paid me $100 to eat gourmet popcorn and explain why I wasn’t applying for one of its (lucrative!) jobs. As I sat in a hotel suite with six other Yale students – musicians, biologists, dramatists, other-ists – and answered questions about my future plans, I got this uneasy feeling that the man in the beautiful suit was going to take my Hopes and Dreams back to some lab to figure out the best way to crush them.
Unfortunately for B-Water, the $100, popcorn, and a rousing point-counterpoint experiment ("I don't want to work at a hedge fund" "I don't think that's true") don't work on everyone.
And indeed, they have it down to a science. Each fall, our country’s top-tier banks and consulting firms cram New Haven’s best hotels with the best and brightest to lure them with a series of superlatives: the greatest job, the most money, the easiest application, the fanciest popcorn. They’re good at it. They’re unbelievably, remarkably, terrifyingly good at it. Every year around 25 percent of employed Yale graduates enter the consulting and finance industries. At Harvard and Stanford, the numbers are even higher. Twenty-five percent is not a joke. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of talent and energy and potential that could be used somewhere other than crunching numbers to generate wealth. Perhaps there won’t be fancy popcorn at some other job – but it’s about time we started popping it for ourselves.
Next time stock up on the Chocolate Drizzle Caramel flavor.
**Bridgewater has said that it prefers to hire young employees directly out of school, rather than when they've been in the business for 10-15 years and have formed too many ideas of their own.
Another View: The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting [Dealbook via BI]
Earlier: Dartmouth Undergrad Has A Bone To Pick With Ray Dalio, ‘Faceless Hedge Funds,’ The Dartmouth Board, And Peers Who Flock To Wall Street To ‘Perpetuate Class-Based Systems Of Power And Dominance’