Max Nehrig ‘02 studied marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, graduating in 2006. He moved back to St. Louis to work in the marketing department at Anheuser Busch for a year and then moved to New York City in 2008 and has been there ever since. After working for Wolff Shoe Company in sales and marketing for five years, Max transitioned into real estate in 2015. He is now a licensed agent with New York’s #1 firm, The Corcoran Group, and focuses on luxury residential properties throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Max quickly earned a sterling reputation in the industry. In his first year, he did over $10 million in sales and received the “Rising Star” award from his firm. In 2018, he and his business partner set a record for the largest deal ever recorded in the West Village, selling a penthouse for $43 million. Last year, with New York still facing challenges with Covid, Max did over $100 million in sales.
Describe how Whitfield prepared you for college (and beyond).
When I went to college, I felt like I had an edge over my peers, particularly in communication skills such as writing and public speaking. Whitfield helped me build a sense of confidence in myself at a young age by developing those skills through its curriculum and programs. Every morning at assembly, there was an opportunity for any student to make an announcement to the entire school. That early-on exposure to public speaking helped me learn to think on my feet, read an audience, and gain confidence. Through project-based learning and small class sizes, I also honed both my creative and critical thinking skills. In short, I began developing the skills at Whitfield that would prove to be essential in distinguishing myself from others and excelling in my profession and in life.
What are you most thankful for from your Whitfield experience, both in and outside of the classroom?
To this day, my best friends are my Whitfield classmates. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the core group of life-long friends I have. At Whitfield, you are in a more intimate setting with smaller classes where you grow with your classmates during such a formative time in your life that you create unbreakable bonds.
I also gained a strong sense for visual composition that I honed in photography class, which has been so beneficial in my business, including staging homes, photoshoots, and seeing the fine details of a property that others often miss.
What are some of your favorite Whitfield memories?
I loved the social events! Everything from Spirit Week to Prom to Field Day. Attending State Championship soccer and basketball games. The authentic opportunities to have fun, express our school spirit, and build a strong sense of community meant a great deal to me.
What skills do you use in your career that you began forming at Whitfield?
The top skill would be critical thinking. Negotiating deals is a very complex process with a lot of moving parts and different strategies you can apply. Specifically, my math and analytical skills are essential when determining property values. It’s not just running numbers though; I have to get creative and evaluate different angles and approaches.
Second, my writing skills are very strong thanks to the multiple draft writing process and student-teacher conferencing while at Whitfield. Today, I am constantly employing those skills in marketing my listings and myself and when communicating with clients and other brokers. There is no margin for error in this.
Last, I would say that the repeatedly-practiced presentation skills across subjects laid a solid foundation for my work now presenting properties to prospective buyers, both in terms of my ability to communicate clearly and succinctly and to connect with clients through my enthusiasm and confidence.
What opportunities did Whitfield provide you that you might not have had elsewhere?
My senior year internship at Plaza Motors was an incredible opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a business right as I was entering college to study business. I also had a summer internship with a fellow classmate at his dad’s company in Oxford, England the summer after junior year, thanks to Whitfield networking. So, I entered college with two internships under my belt, which was a huge advantage and distinguishing factor over other freshmen with no business experience at all.
Describe your career.
Essentially, I sell New York, and there is no product about which I could feel more passionate. I transact all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a particular expertise in luxury properties in the neighborhoods of Soho, Tribeca, West Village, and Chelsea. I’ve always had an appreciation and eye for design and aesthetics, and it is such a thrill to get to see and sell the hidden gems behind the outside walls of the buildings we are surrounded by.
While I hang my license with The Corcoran Group, I am an independent contractor, so I have full autonomy, and there’s an entrepreneurial spirit to my business, which I love. In real estate, no two days are the same and no two deals are the same, so you are constantly learning and adapting. There’s a perfect balance between being out in the field showing properties and at my desk conducting research, marketing my listings, communicating with my clients, and making deals.
Above all else, real estate is a relationship business, and I am continually drawn to the social engagement at the heart of my work. Referrals and repeat clients are key. The longer you are in the real estate business, the more rewarding it becomes. I know it will be my lifelong career.