23 intense questions you’ll have to answer if you want to work at the world’s largest hedge fund

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Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio.
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REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund in the world.

It’s also known for an intense corporate culture of radical truth and radical transparency.

“I’m sure our reputation on the Street is that we’re completely insane,” one employee told New York magazine’s Kevin Roose back in 2011.

That reputation comes from the top.

In his legendary manifesto, “Principles,” Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio asks, among other things, that employees “humiliate themselves” in pursuit of truth, and he also compares the process of self-improvement to “when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest,” Roose reports.

It’s an understatement to say that Bridgewater Associates is not right for everyone. So how do they find the perfect young hyenas for the job? That starts with a grueling interview process.

“We ask people questions that actually don’t have a right or wrong answer, such as: Should there be a market for transplant organs?” Dalio tells Bloomberg. “The answer doesn’t really matter. It’s totally great if the person’s thinking on the subject ends in a different place than the beginning, because moving forward together to get at the best answer is more important than being right from the outset.”

We sifted through reports from Glassdoorto find some of the diciest, trickiest, and most intense interview questions Bridgewater could throw your way. Whether you’re applying to be a summer associate or a manager (or just looking to spice up your conversation at dinner parties), here are a few questions worth mulling over in advance:

This is an update of an article originally written by Rachel Sugar.


“Would you sell cigarettes to a smoker even if it was bad for them?” — Reporting associate candidate

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“Are there any circumstances under which torture is justified?” — Facilities manager candidate

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“If you had to push a button to eliminate death, will you push it?” — Management associate candidate

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“When, if ever, is lying permissible?” — Summer investment associate candidate

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Carmella Fernando/Flickr

“Are you trapped in your life?” — Investment associate candidate

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“Should pharmaceutical companies be allowed to advertise on television and popular media?” — Summer investment associate candidate

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“What is your view of affirmative action in medical schools?” — Management/investment associate candidate

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Phalinn Ooi/flickr

“Would the world be better off with an open border policy?” — Investment associate candidate

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Tony Webster/Flickr

“What’s your biggest regret?” — Management associate candidate

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Flickr/Tri Nguyen

“Should hate crimes be punished more strictly than regular crimes?” — Investment associate candidate

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“Is television damaging to society?” — Summer investment associate candidate

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“What’s your biggest flaw? Do you think what you’re doing is really fixing that flaw, or just addressing the surface level?” — Technology associate intern candidate

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“Should participation in a team sport be mandated for young children?” — Management associate candidate

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“How do you think people perceive you?” — Business support associate candidate

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Hsing Wei/flickr

“Should the US be allowed to kill civilians using drone strikes?” — Investment associate candidate


“Why didn’t you just quit your former job when it was clear you were not happy?” — Recruiter candidate

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Reuters

“Should Ebola patients be quarantined? Where does that end? Should all people with illnesses be quarantined?” — Management associate candidate

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“Should we compensate college athletes?” — Associate client adviser candidate


“Do businesses have social corporate responsibility?” — Summer investment associate candidate

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“What could you not be relied on for?” — Business support associate candidate

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“Tell us about an altercation you had with a boss or superior.” — Administrative assistant candidate

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“If you could genetically modify your children, would you, and with what conditions?” — Summer investment associate candidate

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Flickr/Nana B Agyei

“Why shouldn’t we hire you?” — Manager candidate

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Reuters