Bradley   Hoffman   ’82

Bradley Hoffman ’82

Co-chairman, Hoffman Auto Group

“You've got to love what you do.”
Current Location
Connecticut, United States
Family Entrepreneurship
Consumer Products – Retail

As a newly minted Babson graduate, Bradley Hoffman ’82 never dreamed of entering his family business, Hoffman Auto Group. But, a call from his father and one year on the job changed his view entirely. Now, as the company nears its 100th anniversary, he’s co-chairman, using his Babson education and a passion for developing talent to maintain the spirit of community, integrity, and family that Hoffman Auto Group was built on.

We spoke with Hoffman about his time at Babson, and his journey to the family business.

What brought you to Babson?

I grew up in a family of business, but wasn’t set on going into the family business myself—I loved the idea of someday operating a business of my own. That was my mindset. I knew I wanted to go to a business school to help me achieve that goal, so I applied to Babson early decision.

How did Babson prepare you for your career?

The community itself was an invaluable tool—being surrounded by like-minded people who shared a strong desire, determination, and passion for business. We talked about business morning, noon, and night.

I honed my entrepreneurial spirit while at Babson as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi. We had a variety of businesses we ran on campus that helped us learn by doing—operating a concession stand, a food delivery service, a laundry service, to name a few. We put everything we were learning in the classroom into practice.

One of the last classes I took as a student was Policy Formulation. For me, that class was transformational. We had to analyze companies from A to Z—I can still remember which companies I worked on. We looked at everything: the sales, marketing, finance, management, cash flow. It was a great segue as I left Babson and began my career. I would take that class again today in a heartbeat!

What made you decide to join the family business?

At 22, I took a cross-country road trip with friends. During that journey, I got a call from my father, the greatest salesmen I ever met. And, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I started selling automobiles at Hoffman Auto Group soon after, but had no aspirations of it being my long-term career.

Six months into the job, I thanked my father for the opportunity but told him it simply wasn’t the right fit for me. He encouraged me to give it six more months of time. He knew I would fall in love with the business, and I did. He was right.

I love people—that’s in my DNA. What really excites me is developing my team; being able to make someone better and see someone progress. That’s why my family was excited to have The Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development named in our honor. That is a tremendous resource for students, and can be a real difference maker in their lives. Having the right career is critical; you don’t want to wake up in 50 years and say you didn’t love your work. You’ve got to love what you do. It aligns directly with what we’re doing at Hoffman Auto Group.

What advice do you have for students considering Babson?

If you choose Babson, you’ll be attending the best business school in the country. And, when you get there, you’ll be surrounded by smart, passionate students who are wired like you, and have access to the best and brightest faculty around. You won’t get that at other places. Take advantage of this and you will put yourself on a path you will never regret.