By Steve Seepersaud
Rory Clark ’05 says one of his most exciting experiences at Binghamton University was the business plan competition in his entrepreneurship class. Though he didn’t win, he says what he gained was far more valuable than the $5,000 first prize.
Following a brief career as a corporate attorney, Clark leveraged his entrepreneurship education to launch a real estate brokerage. Within two years, he brought his company under the umbrella of Halstead Real Estate in New York, where he is a licensed associate real estate broker.
“I bought my first apartment in Manhattan in law school and was enthralled with the process and energy in real estate,” Clark said. “While practicing law, I worked on a few real estate transactions and I knew many of the legal skills I acquired would translate well to real estate, so I decided to start a brokerage working with anyone buying, selling or renting residential real estate in the city.”
Clark is consistently in Halstead’s Producer’s Council for being in the top two percent companywide. He has also been named one of the state’s best agents by REAL Trends America, a national brokerage services firm. Those would certainly be noteworthy accomplishments in any market; however, it’s especially remarkable considering Manhattan has nearly 33,000 licensed real estate brokers. How does he stand out? Clark credits his legal background for the additional perspective it gives him, as well as his high level of service to clients.
“This career is an 11 out of 10 for competitiveness,” Clark said. “As in many other fields, the 80-20 rule generally applies. Eighty percent of the business is done by 20 percent of the agents. Look at enough properties and you see the same agent names over and over again. Our world is shifting to a gig economy and we are each the CEO of our own career. We each have to create and control our personal brand to attract the right clients to best serve their real estate needs.”
“I’m a people person,” he continued. “That’s what I liked about being a lawyer. People call because they need help getting through a stressful period. Either something bad happened, or they’re doing something complicated. As a broker, my job is half-broker, half-therapist sometimes. I enjoy giving people advice to help with the most expensive transaction in their lives.”
Clark also enjoys helping students and alumni. As a former Alumni Association board member and co-chair of the Metro New York Chapter during its relaunch, he supported a variety of networking programs and volunteered to speak with students about careers.
“Everybody says this, but I think you have to pay it forward,” Clark said. “When I was a student, I’d reach out to alumni and I found it kind of daunting and sometimes I wouldn’t hear back. So, I do think the access to alumni is important. If we can help the students develop successful careers, it elevates the Binghamton brand and then they become the next generation of alumni who help the new students coming in.”