CLAgency Alumni Spotlight: Kyle Tsuchiya

August 28, 2018

Kyle Tsuchiya, a 2018 University of Minnesota graduate, beloved CLAgency Alumni, and current "Otern" at Olson, reflects on his time at the U and shares with us some special post-graduation insights.

What was your UMN experience like?

I (somehow) graduated summa cum laude with a degree in journalism - strategic communication and a minor in studies in cinema and media culture. Besides being involved with CLAgency, I served as a student leader for the University of Minnesota Drumline!

Tell us more about you! Like what you love and what you do outside of work?

In addition to marketing/advertising, I have a passion for drumming! This passion of mine has given me some amazing opportunities, including winning the 2016 Drum Corps International World Championship with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, performing in Carnegie Hall, and performing in the Super Bowl LII halftime show with Justin Timberlake (he touched my shoulder during a rehearsal, and I obviously haven’t showered since).

If I’m not drumming, you can find me at a brewery with my friends, cheering on Minnesota sports teams, or playing shortstop for an intramural softball team.

Pizza. I also love pizza.

Where are you working these days? How was the transition from graduation to a full-time job?

I’m currently a brand strategy “Otern” at ICF Olson, and it’s been an amazing experience thus far. Working full-time differs quite a bit from student life, but in many ways, I actually find it easier. Working 8+ hours a day seems daunting at first, but when you’re doing something you truly enjoy and you’re surrounded by cool people, those 8 hours go by in a flash. Having no homework is nice too. :)

Did CLAgency prepare you for life after graduation? In what ways?

When I joined CLAgency for the spring semester of 2016, little did I realize how much CLAgency would prepare me to take on life post-graduation. Not only did it give me real agency experience doing work for real clients (which seemed to be quite impressive to all of my potential future employers), but it also helped me understand the value of my liberal arts education, and it connected me with people that I admire and hope to remain in touch with for years to come.

Any advice for us?


Just kidding. I have two things.

  1. As I neared graduation, I started to fully grasp how beneficial it is to simply know and have conversations with people. You can learn so much from just a 30 minute conversation over coffee with an industry pro, and you never know where that connection could lead you. People are often more than willing to help you advance your career, BUT you have to make an effort to find and connect with them. Don’t know where to start? Talk to your family… Chances are at least one of your relatives is connected to someone that works in an industry you’re interested in, and they’re probably more than willing to sit down and chat with you.
  2. Be yourself (unless, of course, you’re a terrible person… which you’re not). Don’t sacrifice who you are in order to fit a mold that you think will make you seem more “likable” or “hireable” to potential future employers. Yes, you are ‘hard-working’, ‘responsible’, and a ‘go-getter’, but so is everyone else. Your unique personality, background, and perspective are what make you valuable. Take the time to learn about potential places of employment and find one that will embrace you for who you are.