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Madison Larson credits the Harbert Office of Professional and Career Development for advancing her career options, including helping her get an internship with the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium.
By her own account, Harbert College of Business senior Madison Larson thrives in high-stakes environments, having played competitive ice hockey since the age of six and later playing several years as a member of the Washington Pride, a college prep National Women’s Hockey League team.
“I’m drawn to competition, and I like being part of a team,” said Larson, a marketing senior who dreamed about someday working in the professional sports field when she started at Auburn in the summer of 2019.
Larson recalls an ah-ha moment her first year when marketing faculty member Emory Serviss asked the students in his large introductory marketing class who wanted to work in sports.
“Every single hand went up,” she said. “That was the moment I realized I’m going to do it, but I have to be better than everyone else in the room.”
By the end of freshman year, Larson had landed an internship with Auburn Athletics, where she initially worked with the media relations team writing and performing website maintenance.
One of her favorite campus roles, though, has been a director of outreach internship for Aubie, the beloved Tiger mascot. Larson helps organize and manage Aubie’s many appearances on and off campus—everything from a Mardi Gras parade in Fairhope, Alabama, to the annual Aubie Claus photo fundraising event.
While the AU Athletics internship played a huge role in establishing her credibility with other potential sports employers, Larson said, working as a student associate in Harbert’s Office of Professional and Career Development near the end of her sophomore year was a life-changing experience.
Another internship allowed Larson to serve as director of outreach for Aubie, Auburn's
“[OPCD staff] held me accountable when I said I’d do two informational interviews each week with professional sports teams,” Larson said. “They gave me the confidence when people said being a woman or being in college would prevent me from working for a pro team. They told me if I wanted to do it, then I could. I’ve used all the resources from that office.”
Those resources include evaluating a student’s personality and skills to determine the best major, student-alumni mentoring opportunities through Auburn Connects, participating in mock interviews, and Harbert Career Fairs and various networking events like Lunch and Learns with employers.
“After working as a student associate in the OPCD, I learned how to interact with employers, successfully interview, network, and was given direct access to invaluable mentorship by advisors in the OPCD,” said Larson.
One of those advisors was Marianne McCarley, Assistant Director of Career Coaching at OPCD, which she says, handles the most student appointments of any career office on campus.
“The OPCD has a well-trained team of coaches who can help students with everything from resumes and interviews to job offer negotiations and etiquette dinners,” said McCarley. “Madison is one of those students who gets the most out of every opportunity, so while she was working in the OPCD she would often engage with the career coaches, by discussing her career prospects or interview guidance, and then she did the work required to be an incredible candidate.”
Since she began working in OPCD, Larson has worked with ESPN and SEC Network, where she served as a spotter for gymnastics broadcasts.
“This internship enabled me to speak with professional sports teams,” said Larson, who subsequently worked as a college ambassador selling group ticket packages for the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team.
In the summer of 2022, Larson worked as an operations intern with the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium team, which hosted an array of events including stadium tours, big-name concerts like def leppard and The Weekend, Formula One racing, and Miami Dolphins pre-season football games.
“I loved being a part of operations and what goes on behind the scenes,” Larson said. “My written communication skills improved a lot. For every event, my job was to get the timeline and staffing information from each department—housekeeping, finance, production, marketing, and sales—and put it into one document, edit it, and then present it to hundreds of people like the front office, football team, or concert people.”
Looking back on her decision to attend Auburn, Larson says she’s glad she challenged herself to attend the university, despite not knowing anyone else when she arrived as a freshman.
“I love putting myself in uncomfortable situations and figuring it out,” said Larson, who grew up in Maryland. “I [came to] Auburn because I had never experienced the south before, and I wanted to see what it was like. Now, I couldn't even imagine not going to Auburn because I love it here so much.”