Well-th Blog

How Hightower’s Collaborative, Hands-On Culture Turned a Summer Internship into a Full-Time Career

Internships are a great way for young people to gain experience in the workplace, learn new skills and expand their professional networks. While some companies may use their interns for coffee fetching and not much else, Hightower’s paid internship program is different. Just ask Mary Clare Crue and Natalie Wheeler, who spent the summer of 2020 as interns in Hightower’s HR and Marketing departments before being hired on as full-time employees this past Spring.

We talked with Mary Clare and Natalie about their experiences as Hightower interns, the importance of culture, and why they’ll never stop asking questions. Read below for the conversation, which has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Why did you initially decide to apply for a Hightower internship?

Mary Clare: Last summer, I had just finished my junior year of college and was looking to get some internship experience in Chicago. This was right around the time that COVID hit, so a lot of companies were cancelling their internship programs. My dad came across a posting for a human resources internship at Hightower and sent it my way – I took a look, and it was perfect. I was an HR/Marketing major but I didn’t have any background in wealth management, and I thought this would be a great way to learn about that industry while getting some valuable work experience.

Natalie: I had also just wrapped up my junior year, and I hadn’t yet had an internship. Mary Clare and I are friends, and so after she got the internship in HR, she suggested I also apply for the open internship in the Hightower Marketing department. I didn’t have any internship experience, and the job description seemed so broad and exciting – there was graphic design, project management, writing; it offered a way for me to gain experience in every aspect of marketing, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door and understand what I liked and disliked about marketing in practice.

Tell me about your experience as interns.

Mary Clare: Well, we were Hightower’s first-ever class of virtual interns, so that was pretty crazy! Even today, we have only ever known Hightower as a virtual workplace, neither of us has ever been into the office. That was a challenge initially, but so worth it – even virtually I feel like the internship gave me exposure to everything the HR world has to offer. I learned how to recruit, onboard, do payroll, screen resumes, sit on phone interviews – everything! They really did give opportunities for us to be involved in the company’s day-to-day operations. That was amazing, because I’ve had internships in the past where I pretty much did nothing but fill out Excel sheets. I didn’t feel like I was a part of something bigger. But being an intern at Hightower was a whole different experience. It felt like I had a real, corporate job where I could provide value.

Natalie: As a Hightower intern, you gain valuable, hands-on experience. You’re not just doing busywork. I had the opportunity to gain new skills and really explore my strengths and weaknesses, ask questions and take risks. It helped me develop my confidence and gave me a way to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations.

What was the most important thing you learned as a Hightower intern?

Mary Clare: Interning at Hightower gave me a crash course in how to roll up my sleeves and get things done. Especially being in HR, we are kind of thrown in a lot of different directions. There’s no such thing as “that’s not my job” here, because there’s always a way you can help. It taught me to seize every opportunity to solve problems and ask my coworkers what work I could take off their plates. It’s such a collaborative, fast-paced environment and the internship showed me the value of working together, and how that benefits the company as a whole.

Natalie: I have two solid learnings: First and foremost, this internship taught me how to communicate, especially in this virtual world. It’s been so important to keep an open line of communication, not only with your manager but also with everyone else at the company. I work with advisors and the corporate team, so I need to be able to easily talk to everyone at the drop of a hat. The other thing I learned is how to be a self-starter. There have been so many times when I’ve been asked to do something and I didn’t know how, but I did research, asked questions, and figured it out. Giving yourself the opportunity to learn is so important.

At what point in your internship did you decide you wanted to work at Hightower full time?

Natalie: Toward the end of the summer, I was working on a project with an advisor and they emailed my supervisor to tell them I was doing a good job. That felt amazing. I was given so much responsibility and room to grow as an intern and I remember feeling very accomplished at that moment. It was so rewarding. I thought to myself, “If I can do all this in a two-month internship, I know I can make a difference and thrive at this company long-term.”

Mary Clare: At the end of my internship, my supervisor reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in staying on throughout my senior year to help onboard some new firms. I was happy she asked, because it meant I’d been doing a good job. It felt great to know that I was a valuable member of the team. Both of us ended up working for Hightower part-time throughout our senior year, and I think the moment she reached out to ask was the moment I realized I could see myself working at Hightower after I graduated.

What advice to you have for young people who are considering an internship?

Mary Clare: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. One great thing about Hightower is that I feel as comfortable talking with executive leadership as I do speaking with Natalie – everyone is so open and willing to help, that I feel like I am always asking questions. My manager says there is no such thing as a stupid question, and she’s right. You don’t learn if you don’t ask questions.

Natalie: My advice is to always be on the lookout for new things to learn. You need to have drive and a desire to learn. Also – communicate! If you’re not being challenged or if you’re not excited about what you’re doing, reach out to your supervisor and ask to take on bigger projects. Sit in meetings on other teams, and volunteer to take on more work than what you’re given.

To learn more about how to create a successful internship program at your firm, reach out to marketing@hightoweradvisors.com for a how-to guide.

Marketing 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.

Hightower Advisors 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.

Hightower Logo

200 W Madison, 25th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 962-3800

Legal & Privacy
Web Accessibility Policy

Securities offered through Hightower Securities, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, Hightower Advisors, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser. brokercheck.finra.org
©2021 Hightower Advisors. All Rights Reserved.