Every Day is “Global” at ICU.

Global ICU

Global Alumni

Round-Table Talk with ICU Alumni Working for Google Japan LLC (2/2) 

Momoko Fukuyo
Division of Arts and Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2015), Majors in Psychology and Biology

Mark Ryo Shillaw
Division of Arts and Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2015), Major in Politics
Earned Master's Degree in International Politics Security Studies from Aberystwyth University, UK, in 2016

Mauricio Jose Carlos Guerrero
Division of Arts and Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2016), Major in Global Studies


With its Internet-based services and products, Google has been providing the world with one innovation after another. Three alumni who, immediately after graduation joined this global corporation, which continues to lead the IT scene, sat down to speak with us about the skills they fostered at ICU and are putting to good use in their current work.

"Yes, and..." Rather Than "No, But..." - What ICU and Google Have in Common

The atmosphere at Google is the same as the atmosphere at ICU

- What was behind your decision to join Google and what are your impressions of the company, now that you actually work there?

Guerrero: The focus of my search for a job was "What kind of environment can I work in?" rather than "What kind of work can I do?" Listening to what people were saying at the company briefing session and calling on an ICU alumnus working at Google, I could sense that the company's employees were brimming with intellectual curiosity, and there was an atmosphere of freedom that respected various ways of thinking, and this gave me an image of a positive future and the desire to work in an environment like this. What appealed to me was the atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and freedom, which were very similar to the reasons I was attracted to ICU.

Fukuyo: I, too, thought that the company's atmosphere might be a good fit for me. I listened to the company's briefing at the Joint On-Campus Job Fair that was held on the ICU campus and filed an application. I remember that the interviews and group discussions were very enjoyable. I felt that many of the people, not only the employees of the company but also the students who joined the discussion, were "really interesting people."

Shillaw: When I think about the reason for joining this company, I am reminded of the time I visited ICU for an open campus tour. As uniforms were not worn at the high school I attended, I went to the ICU open campus wearing my ordinary attire with sandals on my feet, while all around me were other high school students in their school uniforms. I remember clearly that, at the time, an ICU student walked by me and said, "You are definitely going to enroll at ICU." When I started searching for a job, I had a talk with Carlos, who was already working at Google. When he said, "You can come to the office wearing sandals (laugh)," my intuition told me this was the place for me.

Guerrero: Because one is an academic body and the other is a business, there are, of course, points of difference. But I feel there are some aspects where ICU and Google are substantively similar. I myself truly feel that developing the knowledge and skills I gained at the university is enabling me to contribute to finding solutions to problems our clients face. The highly diverse backgrounds of the employees are a really interesting aspect of Google. There are many opportunities for me to meet employees who have had surprising careers, such as a person who used to run a company and another who used to be a background dancer for a famous music artist.

Shillaw: Among those who started at Google at the same time I did is a person who had been doing research on meteorites for a PhD and another who was a jazz singer. Google is a place where a wide variety of completely different individuals and skills create synergy while respecting one another. I believe it is for this reason that Google is able to create so much innovation.

Fukuyo: I think one of Google's fortes is everyone working there is excited to be there and enjoys their work. Before I joined Google, I had received an unofficial offer from another company. I consulted with an HR person at Google about this, and this person gave me advice until I came to a decision. During our discussions, this HR person said to me, "You should make a decision based on what will make your life happy," and this left a strong impression. I recall being very much attracted to the idea that your work should not only be about doing a job, but rather, it should be an element that enables you to be happy each and every day, and that Google is a company where people like this work.


Putting What is Learned at ICU to Use Toward Each Individual's Future

- What are your future goals?

Fukuyo: I would like to become able to get a project started from scratch by myself. In order to do this, I am going to need various skills. In that respect, at Google I have opportunities to be involved in a number of projects at the same time. By taking on new challenges time and again, I would like to accumulate the skills and know-how that are needed to start up projects. At present, my work primarily requires me to solve issues that are immediately at hand, but in the future, I hope to become able to support more long-term businesses.

Guerrero: Personally, I do not often set specific goals. I have always made decisions from the perspective of "how I want to live" rather than "what I want to do," and this is how I made the decision with regard to ICU and Google. However, I won't be changing my stance of constantly continuing to learn or putting every possible effort in tackling matters that are in front of me. While both my parents are Peruvian and I grew up in Japan, I can easily imagine myself engaging in activities outside of Japan. But even that is not a firm decision and it does not mean that I am thinking, "I absolutely have to get out of Japan." I would certainly like to be able to live my life as it naturally happens and in a way that allows me to be myself.

Shillaw: I don't set specific goals, either, but I am always vaguely wondering, "What should I learn next?" At present, my interests have turned to medicine, and I hope to study genome editing and gain knowledge about genomics. It would be great if what I learned would lead to a business. I'm sure that I will be making inputs and outputs over and over throughout my life.


- Could you give a message to students who are currently studying at ICU and high school students who are planning to sit for ICU's entrance examination?

Shillaw: It is possible, of course, to study some specific fields in depth at ICU. However, as ICU is a liberal arts university, I hope you will learn in various fields, and experience for yourself "how to learn" things. Something you think is interesting may be uninteresting to the people around you. Even for situations like this, you can always find someone at ICU who shares your interest and will think about it together with you. I think ICU has a truly wonderful environment for people who are brimming with intellectual curiosity or who want to closely examine, think about, and discuss obscure things.

Guerrero: At ICU, if you acquire an attitude from a liberal arts education and critical thinking that enables you to view matters from various perspectives and with a critical eye, there will be times when you feel compelled to look back once again at choices you thought were best when you were in high school or ponder various things about yourself. Looking back at my life as a student at ICU, I seem to recall that those were very tough times, as I had many doubts and worries, and thought about many things. But I am certain that the amount I learned is greater by the amount I spent thinking. I may have spent less time on one particular academic field at ICU compared with students at other universities. But I believe the trade-off is that the balanced knowledge I acquired will serve me better in the future and I gained strengths that will be important for living my life.

Fukuyo: Google and ICU are similar in many ways. It could even be said that the people who belong to Google and ICU share similar fundamental ways of thinking. The people at Google have a mindset exemplified by, "Yes, and... (Well, let me see...Oh, there is also this..."), rather than a mindset of, "No, but ... (No, that's not it...)." It's the same at ICU. When you encounter various values, it is important, above all else, to accept different values. There is no such thing as "it is wrong." I hope the students at ICU are exposed to various values through conversations with teachers and other students, and gain one awareness after another in their own way.



Momoko Fukuyo

Majors in Psychology and Biology

Graduated from Cobequid Educational Center (Canada).
She was in Canada for the three years of high school to study language. Following graduation from high school, she enrolled at Toronto University in September 2011 with the aim of having a career in medicine. Subsequently, due to family issues, she had to return to Japan. She transferred to ICU in September 2012. She graduated with a double major in psychology and biology, writing her senior thesis on the state of brain activity when processing a second language.

Mark Ryo Shillaw

Major in Politics

Graduated from Nanzan Kokusai Senior High School (Aichi Prefecture).
His father is English and his mother is Korean, and he was educated in the Japanese school system. He passed the ICU Special Admissions and enrolled in College of Liberal Arts in April 2011. While he was at ICU, he was active as a student peer advisor (ICU Brothers and Sisters: IBS), providing registration advice to students. He wrote his senior thesis on copenhagen school and welsh school: logical development of discourse of security.

Mauricio Jose Carlos Guerrero

Major in Global Studies

Graduated from Shizuoka Prefecture Mishima Minami High School (Shizuoka Prefecture).
Both of his parents are Peruvian. He was born in Peru and educated in the Japanese school system. Passing the general entrance examination for admission to ICU, he enrolled in College of Liberal Arts in April 2012. In addition to his academic work as a student, he was active as a youth member of the global nongovernmental organization Plan International. He wrote his senior thesis on media consumption and identities of south americans living in Japan.