Across Generations and Around the World, NYU Alumni Clubs Connect the NYU Network
A Conversation with Ricardo Dadoo (STERN ’84) [He/Him] and Chantal Kazay (STEINHARDT ’05) [She/Her]
The rhythmic beat of St. Marks flows from the East Village, the Stock Exchange bell shakes the classroom walls, and the warmth of Ray’s Pizza draws friends from across the city—this is New York City in the 1980s, where Ricardo Dadoo is a new student at NYU Stern. Decades later, at the turn of the 21st century with New York City’s skyline and the world changed forever, Chantal Kazay strolls through Washington Square on her way to class. She’s a freshman on NYU’s women’s basketball team who is ecstatic to start her university career on the East Coast.
These two alumni hail from different regions, different schools, and different versions of NYU and NYC—yet they both keep their Violet connection through NYU Alumni Clubs. Today, Ricardo leads the NYU Alumni Club in Mexico and Chantal is on the volunteer committee for the NYU Alumni Club in Chicago. With their respective clubs they host events, connect with industry experts, and foster a vibrant NYU community.
Ricardo and Chantal recently met via Zoom for a conversation about NYU through the years and the many ways connecting with NYU Alumni Clubs sparks new opportunities, friendships, and professional networks no matter where you land after graduation.
Meet Ricardo and Chantal
Chantal: My name is Chantal Kazay. My first semester at NYU was Fall 2001. I’m originally from Los Angeles, California. I wanted to attend school in another big city and play a sport at a university with great academics.
Ricardo: My name is Ricardo Dadoo, I graduated in 1984 with my MBA from NYU Stern. Education is very important in my family. We are an expat family originally from India and I grew up in several different countries. My family has been in Mexico for over 50 years and we’re very established within the Indian community in Mexico.
As the youngest in my family, there was a tremendous amount of pressure to attend a good graduate school. I decided that if I was accepted to NYU, then I would start an alumni club in Mexico because at the time, nearly 31 years ago, there was no NYU network there.
Ricardo: Chantal, since you started college in 2001, you were a freshman when 9/11 happened, correct?
Chantal: Yes, that’s correct. I was at NYU for less than a week when it happened. I was walking through Washington Square Park on my way to New Student Seminar and I saw the second plane hit. It wasn’t untilI arrived at class, which they canceled, that the reality sunk in. I tried to call my mom but you couldn’t get through to anyone. I was in shock.
Ricardo: What a tragedy. That is a moment in history you will never forget.
Chantal: Yes, it is. What about you, what was your first year at NYU?
Ricardo: In the 1980s, the business school was located downtown on Wall Street next to the New York Stock Exchange. It was very inspirational to be a student there. The school building was wall-to-wall with the stock exchange, so depending on the room you were in, you could feel the vibration of the bell when trading started and finished. Stern was, and still is today, one of the best business schools in the country.
Chantal: What was New York City like in the 80s?
Ricardo: It was really, really cool. There was a lot of music—punk, rock, new wave—and a whole bunch of clubs that have been written about like Studio 54 and Danceteria. And the music scene on St. Marks was huge.
What was New York City like in the 00s?
Chantal: New York City in the 2000s was pretty cool. H&M, UGGs, The Strokes, hip-hop and clubs in the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea were all the rage. I really enjoyed my college years. Those four years at NYU are probably my happiest so far.
Ricardo: What did you study at NYU, Chantal?
Chantal: I majored in interpersonal communications and played on the NYU Women’s Basketball team. I also gave tours to prospective students on campus and worked at La Maison Française on Washington Mews.
Ricardo: What a beautiful street!
Chantal: It is! As a student I traveled a lot for basketball but always focused on my grades because I knew I wanted to go to law school after NYU. Then, after graduating and taking some time off, I applied to law school and attended Loyola University Chicago, which is how I arrived here in Chicago.
It was important for me to find a sense of connection to NYU here in Chicago because I had such a great experience during my time as a student. Most of my close friends are still in New York, so I wanted to take on a leadership role in the Chicago club in order to get more involved with the community.
How about you, Ricardo?
Ricardo: I came back to Mexico and wanted to build up the NYU community here. Being involved with the club is fulfilling work—I meet prospective students and alumni from all different fields and industries.
When I started the Club there were just two alumni and now I am connected to about 600 alumni from all different backgrounds—from business and law to film and the arts—it is very fulfilling work and I’ve learned a lot from it.
My involvement with the club has helped me professionally, too. For example, I was invited to sit on the board of a company by a group of NYU alumni who founded a venture capital firm. I’m also part of a consulting project for the new Mexico City international airport and I invited a fellow NYU Stern graduate to be my partner.
Chantal: Yes, I agree. I joined the Alumni Club in Chicago because I was looking for a sense of connection to NYU similar to what I had when I was back in New York. I’m happy with the connections I’ve made with the people here in Chicago.
What is your experience with the Club in Mexico regarding the social and professional networks?
Ricardo: On the student and community side, part of my responsibility is to provide guidance to NYU applicants. Over the past 31 years, the word has gotten out that I enjoy giving advice to prospective students. My policy is to help everybody that comes to me.
Then on the alumni side, I’m involved with planning and hosting events. Our next event is going to be a drive-in movie and we’re hoping to view a film that is either produced or directed by a NYU graduate.
What do you do with Chicago club events?
Chantal: I got involved in the Club just before the pandemic, so we have been creating great virtual events. Luckily, in August, we have our first in-person event which will be a summer happy hour where new graduates moving back to Chicago or alumni already living in Chicago can connect.
What are some NYU Alumni Club in Mexico events?
Ricardo: I host events that will appeal to the NYU community. We’re hoping to have the CEO of Latin America WeWork join us as a guest speaker and we want to host a summer social event as well. All of my events are inclusive of alumni from all NYU schools, with the exception of one annual dinner for NYU Stern alumni.
What advice would you give to a recent NYU graduate?
Chantal: You’re not going to know everything at ages 21 or 22, so just breathe and give yourself some time, at least 10 years, to figure things out. While you do that, get involved with NYU Alumni Clubs—they can provide you with many personal and professional connections!
Ricardo: Reach out to the NYU alumni network and start developing some bonds; those connections will last a long time. Getting involved and knowing who your NYU peers are in your community can help you personally and professionally. Also, if you can, don’t take life too seriously!