Lauren Bradford will carry the crown of Miss Alabama for a year. However, her academic foundation earned at Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business will last a lifetime.
Bradford, who graduated in May with a degree in finance and was crowned Miss Alabama the night of June 12, hopes to parlay her education into a career in investment banking, strategy and management consulting.
“The Harbert College of Business has equipped me for the future by fulfilling a culture of hard work and engagement with professors and faculty,” said the Gulf Shores, Alabama, native who will compete in the Miss America Pageant in December.
“The finance program at the Harbert College is filled with professors and individuals who truly care about the outcome of their students and work to ensure they have the resources needed to obtain internships, networking opportunities and their desired careers.”
Bradford, who will begin pursuit of a Master of Science in finance at Vanderbilt University in 2022, made the most of her three years as a student as an active member of the Auburn University Financial Management Association, or FMA, and Harbert College’s Executive Society.
“FMA works to prepare students interested in competitive careers in finance for Fortune 500 and Wall Street jobs in fields such as investment banking, wealth management and strategy consulting,” she said.
“I have learned so much from this competitive environment and hope to carry these skills gained into my next season.”
Tracy Richard, director of Harbert College’s Integrated Financial Leadership Program and FMA faculty advisor, said Bradford’s skills “reach far beyond the classroom.”
“She’s a remarkable young woman who has the capacity to look at the big picture first and then drill down on meaningful ways to achieve desired outcomes,” Richard said. “FMA is so proud of all of Lauren’s achievements. We look forward to cheering on her successes as Miss Alabama, a Vanderbilt graduate student and a successful career woman, and wish her the best at the Miss America pageant.”
“Tracy Richard pours so much into ensuring her students obtain their dream internships and offers,” Bradford said. “I appreciate her level of dedication and intentionality to myself, the students of FMA and the finance program at Auburn University—she has truly impacted so many of us and charted a path for her students’ success. In the words of Tracy, ‘Finance rocks.’”
Though Bradford was deeply entrenched as a Harbert College student for three years, she remained active in the pageant scene, winning Miss Auburn University as a freshman in 2019 and Miss Jefferson County in 2020.
“After stepping into a role that I never expected to hold at the age of 18, I was emboldened by professors, faculty and members of the Auburn Family,” she said. “I learned so much about what it means to be an Auburn woman and stand for something bigger than myself.”
Bradford will spend the next 12 months traveling the state to engage in philanthropic efforts, attend events, give presentations, pitch her ideas, grow her social impact initiatives and meet people. Her exploits as Miss Alabama can be followed at missalabama.com.
“Representing the culture of belonging and community found at Auburn is humbling,” she added. “It is an honor I do not hold lightly, but with great reverence. As a 2021 graduate of Auburn University, I am so proud to now carry the spirit of the Auburn Family as Miss Alabama and as I compete for the job of Miss America this December.”
(Written by Joe McAdory)