From Mining For Metals To Mining For Data: Lynnette Hutson ’07 MS ’20 MSBA


We live in a time when advancements in technology occur so rapidly that it can be difficult to stay informed and knowledgeable about the latest tools and trends. In a number of industries, this causes a chasm to open—a gap between the technology an industry wants to use and the capability of the workers to harness the capabilities of the technology. Lynnette Hutson ’07 MS ’20 MSBA has experienced this firsthand during her career in the mining industry. 


Lynnette Hutson ’07 MS ’20 MSBA

“I began my career as a geologist, but then moved into the field of geostatistics, where I helped to figure out how much gold might be in the ground, using algorithms similar to what is used to predict the weather,” says Hutson. While in this role, she became intrigued by the business aspects of the industry, which led her into a role as a business analyst where she analyzed data and looked for strategic opportunities. It was this role that inspired her to consider returning to school. 

“While I had been working with consultants to use technology to find ways to improve a business, I did not have any of that knowledge myself," says Hutson. “I had plenty of industry knowledge, but I seemed to be missing a piece of the puzzle.” Her husband was starting a new job in Arizona, her company was reorganizing and Hutson longed to return to Tucson—instilled from her time at the University of Arizona during her master’s in geology degree. So—the Eller College was the perfect fit. 

Eller’s master’s in business analytics program helped Hutson to develop a number of new skills—including how to code, build databases and harness the power of big data—and also helped her develop a plan for the future of her career, including starting a PhD through the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering in the College of Engineering, where she is continuing her research on how data and technology can help advance the mining industry.  

“I have seen more than one project go sideways in part because of a lack of data literacy among decision makers,” says Hutson. “I firmly believe that in order for companies outside of the tech sector to fully realize the insights and productivity improvements that analytics tools promise, there is an acute need for more workers to have good data management skills.”