Unobstructed Thoughts

Input from the Intern


I log on to my desktop and head straight for Microsoft Outlook. I save a few fact sheets, presentation decks, and performance reports, then I open my “News” folder and play catch-up with the markets. Reading makes my morning—it jump-starts my workday with analyses and op-eds from top financial research firms.

After reading, I’ll usually step onto a call from a fund on our watchlist and take notes, or perhaps I’ll wrestle with a new report in Excel, or maybe I’ll edit a blog post. I may even get to sit in on a meeting with a representative of a well-known fund. I’m always excited for what the day will bring, no matter what’s on the agenda.

Monday’s my favorite day at HighTower Westchester, because the team always begins with a group meeting. This meeting recaps the past week’s events, but it also helps the team check-in on a personal level. The team is meticulous about business, going over the largest themes and smallest details; however, the air is as light as a feather. They joke, they smile, they treat each other like fellow human beings, not automatons in the cubicle next-door. This is the best thing about HighTower Westchester: they treat each other how one would want to be treated, not just how one should be treated.

My internship at HighTower Westchester has helped me realize that I want to work on a team. HighTower Westchester’s atmosphere weighs the perfect balance between focus and comradery; they help each other with tasks not because they’re asked to, but because they want to. They understand that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. I want to build my career in an environment like HighTower Westchester because I want to surround myself with people that radiate respect and positivity.

HighTower Westchester surprised me the most by giving me time to assess my abilities. Whether it was calling IT about a technical difficulty or struggling to outline a blog post with new terminology, the challenges I received at HighTower Westchester helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses. One of my newfound strengths presented itself during a recent IT session: troubleshooting. Following multiple calls, emails, and screen-shares, I learned how to troubleshoot different problems. More than dotting i’s and crossing t’s, troubleshooting is when you retrace your steps, try out new steps, and use everyone’s favorite Alphabet-owned search engine before you ask for assistance. By troubleshooting to solve various problems, I gained a sense of independence and belonging at HighTower Westchester.

Unfortunately, this independence also revealed one of my weaknesses: I get discouraged when I can’t immediately master a new task. A few weeks ago, I used Fidelity Wealthscape to run and download reports from several quarters into Excel. I thought I was on a roll—I felt so proud of myself, so accomplished, so productive—until I realized that I ran the reports incorrectly. Initially I felt let-down, but I pushed that aside and asked for help. The HighTower Westchester team is always friendly, so I could’ve asked for help at any time, but it was that pesky idea of “I have to complete this right now” that held me back. When encountering a new problem, I first try to figure it out on my own, but now I know that there’s no shame in asking for another set of eyes to look over your work. Everyone had to start at the bottom at some point; I can’t expect myself to go from 0 to 100 overnight.

I also have to thank the HighTower Westchester team for giving me many unexpected opportunities—how many interns got to see the Yale Club this summer? —but also for giving me the opportunity to learn through firsthand experience. Thank you for pushing me to try new tasks, no matter how daunting, such as building a whole spreadsheet out of formulas or playing around in the presentation studio of Morningstar Direct. Thank you for supporting my collegiate endeavors, even as they take me off the beaten business path. Thank you for treating me like a team player, instead of a water boy.

HighTower Westchester helped me grow personally and professionally. When I started there in May, I never thought that I’d be able to take notes on call replay without stopping every 45 seconds. Now, I can take accurate notes on a live call on my own, even if the speaker talks at a speed fit for the Guinness Book of World Records. I still have a lot to learn—like when volatility can be useful—but I’m comfortable knowing that I’ve come a long way.

For future interns, let’s be honest: You want to intern because it’ll look good on your resumé, but you should intern to expand your horizons, to test-drive a new industry, to learn about the wonderful world around you. HighTower Westchester may not be the place for you, but if you’re looking for a group of knowledgeable, approachable people, 440 Mamaroneck Avenue is a great place to start.

Caroline Mullooly – Intern – HighTower Westchester

Hightower Westchester is registered with Hightower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC, and with Hightower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through Hightower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through Hightower Advisors, LLC.

This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. No investment process is free of risk, and there is no guarantee that the investment process or the investment opportunities referenced herein will be profitable. Past performance is not indicative of current or future performance and is not a guarantee. The investment opportunities referenced herein may not be suitable for all investors.

All data and information reference herein are from sources believed to be reliable. Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, or other information contained in this research is provided as general market commentary, it does not constitute investment advice. The team and Hightower shall not in any way be liable for claims, and make no expressed or implied representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the data and other information, or for statements or errors contained in or omissions from the obtained data and information referenced herein. The data and information are provided as of the date referenced. Such data and information are subject to change without notice.

This document was created for informational purposes only; the opinions expressed are solely those of the team and do not represent those of Hightower Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates.