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Tanya Coutray

Walmart analytics pro Tanya Coutray shares breakthrough advice

Tanya Coutray, senior director of business intelligence and analytics for Walmart's Global People Division, graduated from Virginia Tech with bachelor and master's degrees in mathematics, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. In October 2016, she visited campus to speak with students as part of the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics Insights from Industry Lecture Series. She spoke on the types of analytics carried out at Wal-Mart, and their complexities of scope and scale. She told students during a question-and-answer session to not fear failure. "If you don't do that, you are never going to have any breakthrough moments. You have to fail and fail fast and alter your direction and keep going in order to get to breakthrough moments." In the photo above, Coutray poses with her advisor, John Burns, the Hatcher Professor of Mathematics, who carried with him a photograph of himself and Coutray from her 1994 graduation.