Daniel Poncer, an undergraduate in the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, is doing all the right things to succeed as a student and in a career in finance.
Tom Snee
Tim Schoon

Daniel Poncer knew he wanted to major in finance when he went to college. His father was a vice president on the Chicago Board of Trade, after all, so money and finance were common topics for discussion in the family for as long as he can remember. The only question was, what college would he go to?

The answer became obvious after he participated in the University of Iowa’s Tippie Gateway program.

“I had a great experience and made a lot of connections with the advisers,” says Poncer, a native of Crestwood, Illinois, who participated in the program as a student at Marist High School in Chicago. “It showed me the faculty care about the performance of their students and really want to connect with us. Being on campus and making those connections was huge for me.”

Get a head start via Tippie Gateway

The Gateway Program is a free, on-campus summer experience designed to increase understanding of business majors for high school juniors from backgrounds underrepresented in business. Experience life on campus. Get a sense of what you can do with a business degree. Meet Tippie students, professors, alumni, and business professionals. The program plans to resume in summer 2021, with applications available in March 2021.

Tippie Gateway is a free, weeklong summer immersive program on the Iowa campus sponsored by the Tippie College of Business that provides a glimpse of the college experience to high school juniors from groups underrepresented in higher education. During students’ stays in Iowa City, they take part in business simulations and group projects and interact with Tippie students, professors, alumni, and business professionals, including those from sponsors Wells Fargo and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

“Tippie Gateway participants are exposed to the campus, professors, and successful alumni in business, and will learn more about the majors offered in the Tippie College of Business,” says Gabriela Rivera, associate director of diversity, inclusion, and student support in the Tippie College and Poncer’s academic adviser. “They’ll discover career opportunities in business by hearing from Tippie alumni and local professionals, and get hands-on business experience with a business case study.”

The experience sold Poncer on the University of Iowa, and his experience since arriving on campus in fall of 2018 has reinforced his decision. He’s added accounting to his finance major and joined numerous student groups, including Dance Marathon, Hawk Trade, the Multicultural Business Student Association, and Sigma Chi fraternity. He was also selected to join the prestigious Hawkinson Institute for Business Finance, a three-year program that trains competitively selected finance majors for careers as investment bankers.

By the end of his sophomore year, Poncer had already arranged a summer internship with PWC, as well as internship for summer 2021 with Barclays in Chicago.

Brian Richman, the faculty director of the Hawkinson Institute, is not surprised by Poncer’s professional success.

“[BizEdge] was one of the most worthwhile programs I’ve ever participated in. My mentor helped connect me to people on campus to help me adjust, and he was someone to smile to and say ‘hi’ when we saw each other on campus.”

Daniel Poncer
undergraduate student in the Tippie College of Business

“One of the things that distinguishes Dan is his work ethic,” says Richman, professor of practice of finance in the Tippie College and a former investment banker himself. “Whether he’s studying for an accounting exam, preparing for investment banking interviews or solving a problem as treasurer of his fraternity, he always puts in exceptional effort.”

Poncer also believes in helping the next generation of Latino students as a mentor for BizEdge, a mentorship program that helps Tippie students of color and first-generation students connect and build community, develop their educational and professional networks, and excel in the classroom. 

“It was one of the most worthwhile programs I’ve ever participated in,” says Poncer. “My mentor helped connect me to people on campus to help me adjust, and he was someone to smile to and say ‘hi’ when we saw each other on campus.”

Now, he says, as a mentor, he can help new students feel just as home on campus as he is, connecting them to new friends and helping them adjust to a new way of life.

He also credits Rivera with cheering him on through his academic career and helping him stay focused during the inevitable difficult times.

“Honestly, she’s like a second mom to me,” says Poncer, who first met Rivera while still in high school participating in the Tippie Gateway program. “She’s always there with a high-five or to pick you up. If I’m worried, she calms me down. She’s been there in so many ways for me over the years.”

“Dan is ambitious, driven, highly motivated, and always takes advantage of the opportunities presented to him,” says Rivera. “He’s doing all the right things to prepare himself for the future and land a good job.”