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The difference between interviewing at Citadel and Bridgewater

If you're an engineer and you're thinking of working for a hedge fund, and are more specifically thinking of working for the hedge funds Bridgewater or Citadel, then a man who has worked for both has some advice for you.

Christopher Kennedy is Citadel's outgoing chief information security officer. Before he spent nearly two and a half years at Citadel, he spent nearly five and a half years at Bridgewater as head of technology security. In a newly released podcast about all things security, Chris speaks to his old buddy Jason Lord, who also worked for Bridgewater, about their time in hedge funds, their time as US marines, and what it was like interviewing at the two hedge funds he worked for. 

When he joined Bridgewater, Kennedy said he had around 58 hours of interviews. "They flew me up four times because of the indecision," he says. "They had to have business buy-in, exec buy-in. IT buy-in and then culture buy-in." At Bridgewater, Kennedy said the most important thing was "culture fit" and that this took precedence over "tech acumen;" he was put through a lot of tests to gauge his behavior.

By comparison, at Citadel, Kennedy says the main focus in the interview process was his technological expertise: "They were super tech focused," he says, while acknowledging that his "cultural sophistication" helped too. 

Kennedy says that both hedge funds were "very intellectually challenging places," and that working for them was kind of stressful. This can make it hard for funds to hire people. - First they need to find people who can do the job, then they need to find people who want to do the job, and then they need to find people they like.

You have to deal with the "sh*t", says Kennedy, adding that soon after he arrived at Citadel he learned that "40% of the NASDAQ opened every morning on Citadel kit," and that if there were a security breach there could be a "global economic event." Knowing that responsibility was on his shoulders was "scary," he added. 

Citadel declined to comment for this article. Bridgewater may have tweaked its recruitment process given that Kennedy interviewed there 10 years ago and Ray Dalio has now left. 

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Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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