Our Stories

Plugging In

Bradford builds finance knowledge and a network for the future

Lauren Bradford
Management Consulting Associate, Healthcare Transaction Advisory Group, Berkeley Research Group

Vanderbilt MS Finance 2023

Lauren Bradford is passionate about building human connections, unplugging from technology, and empowering women. While still in high school, she launched an initiative called “Unplug: The Digital Diet Plan,” designed to help people of all ages identify overconsumption of technology and find balance. She partnered with the Alabama State Department of Education to create a public school curriculum that educates students on how to integrate technology into their lives in a healthy way. In the summer of 2022, she presented the program as a model to the U.S. Department of Education.

After arriving at Vanderbilt, Lauren launched another initiative around her passions—“Own It: Empowering the Women of Vanderbilt Owen”—alongside Assistant Dean Cherrie Wilkerson. “Having the opportunity to step into a leadership role and to facilitate connections and education for the women of the specialized master's programs was incredibly rewarding,” Lauren says. “We used this program as a way to facilitate the growth of our network and to learn what it truly means to empower and cheer for other women in minority positions.”

Lauren was attracted to the Vanderbilt MSF program after majoring in finance as an undergraduate. “I earned my degree in three years, and I wanted to continue to grow in my finance knowledge. I felt hungry to learn more before stepping into my full-time career. And I wanted to be in management consulting within the healthcare industry, so Nashville was a great place to grow my network.”

But “plugging in” may have been the biggest benefit of all. “Vanderbilt has given me an incredibly strong network of ambitious people to lean on, and having actual accessibility to professors has been a game changer,” Lauren says. “If you invest in relationships here, they will invest in you.”

Fun Fact: In the course of serving as Miss Alabama from 2021-2022 (she also was first runner-up in the 2022 Miss America pageant), Lauren earned enough scholarship money to pay for her graduate business degree at Vanderbilt.

“If you invest in relationships here, they will invest in you.”