Ty Waters

With an unorthodox double major in finance and music, Ty Waters found a place that celebrates him for exactly who he is.



Hard to beat for finding your rhythm

While Ty Waters was searching for the right college, one thing about the University of Iowa stood above the rest: their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“It’s kind of a buzzword, but at Tippie there are programs—like BizEdge—that I’d be considered for as an underrepresented person. That was not true of the other schools I looked at,” he explains.

He also noted that underrepresented groups hold leadership positions here, which gave him confidence that he could also achieve great things.

“There are professors who have travelled all around the world, and who’ve come from different backgrounds. We have women in leadership, faculty of different ethnicities, and a Black in Business organization. There are people here who are underrecognized elsewhere but have a place at Tippie.”

Connecting beyond COVID

As a commuter student starting classes in the midst of COVID, it wasn’t easy to begin his first year at Tippie. But Ty’s BizEdge mentor made sure that he stayed connected to his peers and was able to access help in choosing a major and polishing his resume.

“Without BizEdge, I probably wouldn’t have met a single person my first semester,” he admits.

And when he was invited to play trombone in the Bluecoats, an elite touring performance group, while also knee-deep in his financial accounting course, his mentor had his back once again.

“We talked through the concepts and worked on the issues together. She showed confidence that I could do something that I viewed as impossible,” he says. “She convinced me that I could succeed at both.”

A culture of comradery

Ty’s challenging double major in music and finance didn’t hold him back from aiming high. In his first year on campus, he was invited to join the Hawkinson Institute, an investment banking program that prepares high-potential students for demanding, elite positions in banking, sales and trading, and related sectors.

Ty Waters
“It’s a wholesome culture where everyone helps everyone else out. From mock interviews to preparing for internships, we’re all in this together.”

Now that he’s landing an internship in real estate at Aegon Asset Management, Ty can’t recommend Hawkinson enough.

“Recently someone asked me, ‘If I want to be in investment banking, should I transfer to a private school now?’ I laughed and said you don’t need to transfer, we have Hawkinson right here!”

Majors in harmony

While the mix of music and math might seem an anomaly to some, according to Ty, both can be boiled down to stories and numbers.

“I am very much a story person when it comes to music—I barely know my scales,” he admits, “but I can speak to the numbers when it comes to business. I like analyzing them and having them to build a story from.”

With his family background in real estate, and the new skills he’s picked up at Tippie, Ty is looking forward to a future career in real estate valuation.

“I enjoy valuing real estate more than anything else—looking at things like what’s the land value, what’s the dwelling value, and what causes that? How do you value something based on location? How can you compare retail to industrial to residential real estate?” He laughs. “It keeps getting more and more interesting the more I learn.”

Ultimately, Ty would love to retire early after a career in real estate and spin off his second phase as a professional trombonist. For now, as a thriving member of the Tippie student body, active in the Hawkinson Institute, and preparing to start his dream internship, he’s happy to have found a college that celebrates him for exactly who he is.