Professional Profile: Robert Skoro

Robert Skoro dropped out of high school at 18. But today, he is the Senior Anthropologist at Olson Agency in Minneapolis. He has been married for six and a half years and has a 3-year-old daughter, with one more baby on the way. He also has two cats—that are cuddly, but occasionally destroy things around his house. In his freetime, Skoro enjoys building and remodeling rooms in his house, spending time with his family, and cooking—he really loves food. Although now he lives in South Minneapolis (and considers himself a Minneapolis-native), he also lived on the east coast for a few years and lived in China from 2009 to 2012. 

From age 18 to 26, Skoro played bass guitar professionally. After eight years of touring across the country (and playing with the Decemberists once!), he discovered his passion: the culture of food. He decided to enroll in the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts. Skoro double majored in anthropology and food science and nutrition. Immediately upon graduating, Skoro attended graduate school in the University of Minnesota College of Food Science and Engineering for two years.


In his studies, Skoro learned that culture, politics, and biology all intersect and interact with food. Certain cultural values and traditions affect what we put into our bodies. For example, for a long time cholesterol was seen as something bad for our consumption—think about Cheerios low-cholesterol equals heart healthy campaign. Over time, scientists realized that our bodies process cholesterol way faster than our bodies can consume it. Consuming cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad for us—whereas oxidized fats (fried foods) are bad for our bodies.

As a senior anthropologist for a marketing agency, Skoro has had the opportunity to apply acquired academic skills to real world scenarios. He believes that his liberal arts degrees helps him approach research in a unique and innovative way that complements traditional research practices. Anthropology teaches students to think critically, analyze, make connections, and determine overall cultural practices through ethnography*. In Skoro’s opinion, there is a great need for social scientists in market research. As a human-centered discipline, anthropology is a great resource to have when determining how consumers purchase goods.

For those of you who are interested in taking the knowledge you have gained through the Liberal Arts and applying it in the business world, here is Skoro’s advice:

Push your interests as far as you can and connect them to a broader range of people. Celebrate those interests; become really passionate about them. When you are asked to learn something new in a short amount of time, you can use that passion to understand new information with the same attention to detail.


*Ethnography means “writing about culture” or: observing and speaking with a culture or group, writing down your observations, and connecting or interpreting them later.


Scott MeyerComment