The Trip to the Big Apple By ATA CP’s Harrison Chiu
The Trip to The Big Apple
By: Harrison Chiu
It is very challenging nowadays to succeed in a field which you have not had any exposure or experience in. Many recent graduates from college are currently struggling to find the jobs that they want because they don’t have any experience. What future employers really want to see in future employees is some sort of experience, record, or exposure so they can be adequately prepared to excel in that job.
Over Spring Break, Alejandro Rodriguez (another ATA College Prep Student) and I were fortunate enough to have a life-changing internship at Morgan Stanley in New York City. We were interning at the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management group called the Scotto-Sorenson Group.
We arrived on the evening of Monday, March 13th, and immediately went to dinner with our host, Mr. Trapness, father of ATA CP alum Camilla Trapness. We didn’t realize this before getting in, but there were serious warnings of an incoming blizzard that was supposed to hit Manhattan the following day. Sure enough, blizzard Stella did hit, which turned traveling to the office into a nightmare. Alejandro and I first took the subway for nine blocks of the trip, but we still had at least three more to make it. Walking in the huge blizzard and seeing everyone wearing at least five layers, some snow boots, and gloves, Alejandro and I were just a couple of freezing teenagers in suits and dress shoes trying to make it in the office by 8 AM.
We arrived at Morgan Stanley with only six other people in the office at 7:56 AM. A financial advisor from their group came to meet us in the main room, and he brought us into their office, where we met the rest of the team. Alejandro and I were asked to shadow a little bit of everyone’s job, as each person plays a different yet pivotal role on the team. We joined conference calls with hedge fund managers and people in the oil industry, and we also partook in a meeting with a smaller company presenting their business model to some of the analysts on the floor. Apart from doing usual intern things, such as going to get the team coffee and lunch, taking care of their printing and copying, and delivering checks next door, Alejandro and I got to experience the feel of a major workforce on Wall Street first hand. The experience of listening to the team deal with their clients and each other is something I would never be able to get in a classroom setting, just like Mike Scotto, leader of the team says.
The Scotto-Sorensen group is one of the biggest teams at Morgan Stanley, managing $2 billion of assets. In wealth management, their job is to take funds from clients and invest those to reach their client’s financial goals, for which they make a fee and a fraction of the returns on investment. Brokers need to know the market and have to excel at communicating with their clients. After talking with a few guys from the team like financial advisor Mark McCooey, he says that knowing how to invest for income, mastering salesmanship and having clear communication with your clients are just a few of the major skills required for the job. Alejandro and I agreed that, if we are going to work in finance, the investment side of the business seems more appealing than the brokerage side.
You never know where life may take you. Everyone in the office had a unique path that got them to where they are now. John Sorensen, the co-founder of the group, got a low-ranked job and made his way up, but it all started from his being a young intern at Morgan Stanley. Mark McCooey was working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for many years before the growth of technology drove his decision to go into Wealth Management. Jimmy Janecek, a younger financial advisor apart of the team, was a former basketball player for NYU, and he was extremely interested in sports journalism and broadcasting. After a long time of contemplation, he chose to go where he had previous experience because of an internship and started working for Morgan Stanley. Some always saw themselves working in finance, but for others, it came as a surprise.
What I take away most about the four-day internship was that no matter what, successful people surround themselves with people who can elevate their level as well as elevate the teams. A strong team camaraderie is essential. To be honest, a desk job doesn’t sound that appealing to me, but when you have a great team culture like they have, it makes the experience a much more enjoyable and efficient one. Also, as Alejandro says, he “got exposure of the inner working of the financial world and realized the social importance of the industry.” Going out for dinner together at Bobby Vans steakhouse was a tremendous experience. The atmosphere was hilarious and charismatic, but when they needed to get things done, they did. We got to meet many people, and knowing those people will “build a network which will help [us] a ton so [we] can call upon them in the future,” Alejandro says. Although they are widely known as the loudest room on the floor who break the most rules out of anyone, they define finance.