Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

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Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)
200 px
Official seal
Established 6 September 1943 [1]
Type Private
President Salvador Alva Gómez
Rector David Noel Ramírez Padilla
Academic staff
8,567 (2010)[2]
Students 90,173 (2010)[2]
Undergraduates 49,498 (2010)[2]
Postgraduates 17,136 (2010)[2]
Location Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Campus 31 across Mexico; mostly urban [3]
Colors White and blue          
Athletics Borregos Salvajes (Rams)
Affiliations SACS, APRU, Universitas 21, ECIU, ANUIES, CUDI, FIMPES
High school students account for the difference between its total number of students and the sum of graduate and undergraduate students.

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) (in English: Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education) is a private, nonsectarian and coeducational multi-campus university based in Monterrey, Mexico. Founded in 1943 by leading regional industrialists, ITESM has since grown to include 31 campi in 25 cities throughout the country[3] and its wealth, influence and widespread recognition have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the Spanish speaking world.

One of the most academically recognized universities in Latin America, it is oftentimes ranked amongst the 100 best universities [4][5] in the world and amongst the 7 best universities in the region.[6] It is also known for its strong reputation amongst employers, and for being the only university in Mexico and Latin America (and one amongst only 45 in the world) to count with 5 QS Stars.[7]

ITESM is known for becoming the first university ever connected to the Internet in Latin America[8] and the Spanish-speaking world,[9][nb 1] having one of the top graduate business schools in the region[10] and being one of the leaders in patent applications among Mexican universities.[11]


Early years

The Institute was founded on 6 September 1943 by a group of local businessmen led by Eugenio Garza Sada, a moneyed heir of a brewing conglomerate who was interested in creating an institution that could provide highly skilled personnel — both university graduates and technicians— to the booming Monterrey corporations of the 1940s.[12] The group was structured into a non-profit organization called Enseñanza e Investigación Superior A.C. (EISAC) and recruited several academicians led by León Ávalos y Vez, an MIT alumnus and then director-general of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering of the National Polytechnic Institute, who designed its first academic programs and served as its first director-general.[13]

In its early years the Institute operated at Abasolo 858 Oriente in a large, two-story house located a block and a half away from Zaragoza Square, behind the city's Metropolitan Cathedral.[13] As these facilities soon proved to be insufficient, it started renting out adjacent buildings and by 1945 it became apparent that a university campus was necessary. For that reason, a master plan was commissioned to Enrique de la Mora and on 3 February 1947 what would later be known as its Monterrey Campus was inaugurated by Mexican President Miguel Alemán Valdés.[1]

Because the operations of the local companies were highly reliant on U.S. markets, investments, and technology; internationalization became one of its earliest priorities. In 1950 it became the first foreign university in history to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS),[14] one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education. Its foreign accreditation would end up being a decisive influence in its development, as it was forced to submit itself to external evaluation earlier than most Mexican universities (1967)[14] and unlocked additional sources of revenue, such as tuition funds from foreign students interested in taking summer courses in Mexico for full-academic credit.[14]


The Eugenio Garza Sada Memorial honors the Institute's chief founder and promoter at the Monterrey Campus

Its growth outside the city of Monterrey began in the late-1960s, when both its rector and head of academics lobbied for expansion. A first attempt, funded a few years earlier by several businessmen from Mexicali, Baja California, was staffed and organized by the Institute but faced opposition from the Board of Trustees once the federal government refused any additional subsidy[15] and members of the Board cast doubt on its ability to get funds as an out-of-state university. At the end the project was renamed Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (CETYS) and grew into a fully independent institution.[13][16]

Aside from the CETYS experiment and the 150 hectares bought in 1951 for the agricultural program's experimental facilities in nearby Apodaca, Nuevo León, no other expansion outside Monterrey was attempted until 1967, when a school of maritime studies was built in the port of Guaymas, Sonora. Shortly thereafter, premises were built in Obregón and courses began to be offered in Mexico City. Those premises and the ones that followed, then called external units, were fully dependent on the Monterrey Campus until 1984, when they were restructured as semi-independent campuses and reorganized in regional rectorates (see Organization).

In 1987, when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools demanded faculty members with master's degrees to lecture 100% of its undergraduate courses,[17] the Institute invested considerably in both distance learning and computer network technologies and training, effectively becoming, on 1 February 1989, the first university ever connected to the Internet in both Latin America[8] and the Spanish-speaking world.[9] Such efforts contributed to the creation of its former Virtual University a few years later and allowed it to become the first country-code top level domain registry in Mexico; first by itself from 1989 to 1995, and then as a major shareholder of NIC Mexico, the current national registry.[18]


The Institute has campuses in twenty-five Mexican cities (see: Campuses by region)

There are thirty-one campuses of the Institute distributed in twenty-five Mexican cities. Each campus is relatively independent but shares a national academic curriculum (see Academics). The flagship campus is located in Monterrey, where the national, system-wide rectorate is located. Most of them deliver both high school and undergraduate education, some offer postgraduate programs and only five (Cumbres, Eugenio Garza Sada, Eugenio Garza Lagüera, Santa Catarina and Valle Alto) deliver high school courses exclusively. Nevertheless, curricular and extension courses and seminars are usually available at most facilities.

Campuses by region

As of November 2013, campuses were divided into the following Mexican regions:[19]

Former campuses include Colima (nowadays an external preparatory school of the Guadalajara Campus), Guaymas (transferred to TecMilenio University in the early 2000s) and Mazatlán (transferred to TecMilenio University in 2009).[20]

Other infrastructure

The Rectorate (left) and the CETEC towers at the Monterrey Campus

In addition to the campuses, the Institute manages:


The Old Library Building, current Rectorate, was designed by Enrique de la Mora, displays a bas relief by Jorge González Camarena and holds one of the largest collections of Don Quixote incunabula, an original edition of L'Encyclopédie and other bibliographical treasures[1]

All campuses are sponsored by non-profit organizations composed primarily of local businesspeople. The Monterrey Campus is sponsored by Enseñanza e Investigación Superior, A.C. (EISAC), which co-sponsored the system as a whole until a newly built organization, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, A.C. (ITESM AC) overtook those responsibilities.[16] Such organizations (effectively serving as boards of trustees) are responsible for electing the rectors or directors of a particular campus. Since February 2012, the president of ITESMAC is José Antonio Fernández, a class of 1976 alumnus and current chairman and CEO of FEMSA, Latin America's largest beverage company.[23][24] Former presidents include the founder, Eugenio Garza Sada (1943–73) and his son, Eugenio Garza Lagüera (1973–97), who both served as chairman of the board of what would later be called FEMSA, and Lorenzo Zambrano (1997-2012), a class of 1966 alumnus and until his passing, head of Cemex, the World's third largest cement producer.[25]

Former heads of the Institute include:

The Tecnológico de Monterrey President is Salvador Alva Gómez, former president of PepsiCo Foods & Beverages Latin America.[28]

And the rector for the Tecnológico de Monterrey is David Noel Ramírez Padilla. [29] David Noel was appointed the rector of the Tecnológico de Monterrey in 2010 and officially took over in January 2011.[30][31] His administrative philosophy is that of mentorship, promoting development through teamwork.[30] During his administrative career he has stressed research as a way to confront many of Mexico’s problems, especially to the socioeconomically marginalized. He has also worked to establish the creation of technological parks and programs to promote entrepreneurism to spur development in various regions of Mexico.[29]

High schools

Following the historical trend of Mexico's largest universities,[32] the Institute sponsors several high schools that share one or more national curricula: bilingual, bicultural, multicultural and/or International Baccalaureate, which is administered from Geneva, Switzerland.[33] As of May 2010, over 23,000 students in several campuses were registered as high school students within the system.[2]


The oldest academic building in the Monterrey Campus, Aulas I, and the towers of the Center of Advanced Production Technology (CETEC), which house several research centers

Academically, the university is organized into several departments and divisions —as opposed to the traditional faculty school scheme used by most Mexican public universities— and it was the first Mexican university in history to divide the academic year in semesters. Current academic calendar for both high school and undergraduate students is composed of two semesters running from August to December and from January to May (each lasting 16 weeks) and an optional summer session from June to July, where at most two courses can be taken in an intensive basis.

As of 2010, the Institute offers 57 undergraduate degrees, of which 37 are taught in English and are generally awarded after nine semesters of study (except for Medicine and Architecture);[2] 53 master's degrees, generally lasting three to five semesters (and can also be structured in three-months terms),[2] and 10 doctorate degrees varying in length according to their academic field.[2]


Since 1969 the Institute requires every college applicant to achieve a minimum pass mark at an academic aptitude test (Prueba de Aptitud Académica, PAA) delivered by The College Board, a not-for-profit examination board in the United States.[34] However, each campus is free to request additional requirements; such as a grade average of 80 or 90 in high school (on a 100-point scale) for those willing to transfer or apply to the Monterrey Campus.[35] As of January 2008, 50% of the freshman class at the Monterrey Campus had an average grade of 90 and 25% had an average grade of 95 out of 100 at high school level.[36] As for the graduate schools, the requirements may vary according to the discipline, such as a grade average of 80/100 and 550-points in both the GMAT and the TOEFL for some programs at its Graduate Business School (EGADE).[37]


The International Center for Advanced Learning (CIAP)

Studies at the Tech are officially accredited by the Secretariat of Public Education of Mexico (Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP) and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)[38] of the United States. On November 2008, its graduate business school (EGADE) became one of the 34 business schools in the world to hold simultaneous accreditation of its programs by the AACSB of the United States, the Association of MBAs of the United Kingdom and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)[39] while the Institute became the first Latin American university in history to receive full-accreditation on some of its engineering programs by ABET (as opposed to the traditional substantially-equivalent designation given to most schools outside the United States).[40]

The quality of its programs is also audited by the Institute of Food Technologists, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and by the national accrediting councils of Mexico, such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (Consejo para la Acreditación de la Educación Superior, COPAES) and the Inter-Institutional Committees for Higher Education Evaluation (Comités Interinstitucionales de Evaluación de la Educación Superior, CIEES).[41]

As of 2010, 215 undergraduate degrees (99.5%) were accredited by national accrediting councils and 41 were accredited by international accrediting agencies.[2] As for graduate degrees, 8 were accredited by international accrediting agencies and 53 (64%) were listed in the National Census of High-Quality Postgraduate Studies (Padrón Nacional de Posgrados de Calidad, PNPC) by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT).[2]

Academic memberships

Its 1,600 square metres (17,000 sq ft) Center for Advanced Design at the Guadalajara Campus[42]

The Institute is the only Latin American institution at the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) —an organization committed to innovations in both teaching and learning[43]— and at Universitas 21; an international network of research-intensive universities established as an "international reference point and resource for strategic thinking on issues of global significance."[44] It is also the only Mexican university, along the National Autonomous University of Mexico, to be enrolled at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, an international consortium of leading research universities including Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and Caltech.[45] The Institute was also the first private university to become a member of the National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education of Mexico (ANUIES) back when it was composed entirely by public universities (1958)[14] and is a full member of the Mexican Federation of Private Institutions of Higher Education (Federación de Instituciones Mexicanas Particulares de Educación Superior, FIMPES).


The Institute has over 8,500 professors at high school, undergraduate and postgraduate levels: 32.8% full-time, 67.2% part-time, and all of them have the appropriate academic credentials to lecture at their corresponding academic level according to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[2] As of December 2009 some 621 professors taught courses, worked in international projects or attended seminars or congresses at foreign universities while some 818 foreign professors read courses at the Tech.[2] As for their academic development, its faculty training program was bestowed with the 2004 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education by the Institute of International Education.[46]


The Institute has at least thirty-three libraries in twenty-five Mexican cities holding over 2.4 million books, publications, and 46 types of electronic databases with at least 51,000 specialized magazines and academic journals and over 9000 e-books.[47] Its Cervantean Library, named after Miguel de Cervantes and located in the current rectorate, holds one of the largest collections of Don Quixote incunabula, an original edition of L'Encyclopédie, and the Mario Pani Archives, and other bibliographical treasures while the main library of the Monterrey Campus holds the personal collections of archaeologist Ignacio Bernal.[48]


Its graduate business school, EGADE, is ranked among the best business schools in the world by several sources (see rankings)

Overall, the Institute is the only Mexican university besides the National Autonomous University of Mexico to be ranked at the 2010 QS World University Rankings, in which it was classified #65 worldwide at its Employer's Review, #269 in Engineering and Information Technology, #232 in Social Sciences and #387 at its overall ranking.[49] In the 2010 International Professional Ranking of World Universities, developed by the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, it ranked 224 out of 390 worldwide.[50]

Among its graduate schools, EGADE has been ranked 7th among the best business schools outside the United States according to the Wall Street Journal (2006),[51] 4th in the world in business ethics and social-responsibility programs according to BusinessWeek magazine (2005),[52] among the 100 best graduate business schools in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2009)[53] and its OneMBA program, delivered in partnership with four different institutions (see Joint programs and international partnerships below) was ranked 27 worldwide by the Financial Times in its 2009 Executive Master in Business Administration rankings.[54]

Joint programs and international partnerships

Student-created video documenting Tec's collaboration with Wikipedia

Some of its academic programs are offered as joint degrees or in partnership with foreign universities:

Ricardo Legorreta designed the EGAP CEMEX building, which houses the Graduate School of Public Administration and Public Policy, at San Pedro Garza García, a suburb of Monterrey[57]


Its Femsa Biotechnology Center (left) is the leading source of patent applications among its research centers[62] In 2008 the Tech was the leading patent applicant among Mexican universities[63] and generated three times as many international patents as its closest competitors.[64]

Although some of the founding members of its faculty were prominent researchers (first rector León Ávalos y Vez had formed a National Commission on Science and served as director-general of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering of the National Polytechnic Institute) formal research activities at the Tech did not start until 1951, when its Institute of Industrial Research was founded in close collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas —one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organizations in the United States.[65]

Notwithstanding some reputable achievements, throughout most of the 20th century its research activities —normally financed independently or under private sponsorship— were rather scarce in comparison to public universities such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico or the National Polytechnic Institute, whose budgets make up to 30% of the federal spending in higher education and, as such, are heavily financed by the government through the federal budget.[66]

Despite its inherent difficulties to secure research funds in a developing country where private sponsorship barely accounts for 1.1% of the national spending on science,[67] a new institutional mission in 2005 made social and scientific research in Mexico's strategic areas one of its top priorities for the next decade. As a result, new corporate endowments and funds were committed, new research programs were created (including the first research program financed by Google in Latin America)[68] and important labs and infrastructure have been built, such as the US$ 43 million Femsa Biotechnology Center,[69] the Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Femsa Foundation),[70] the Motorola Research and Development Center on Home & Networks Mobility,[71] its MXN $24 million Center for Advanced Design at the Guadalajara Campus[42] and, in association with the Mainz Institute of Microtechnology of Germany (IMM), the first center of chemical micro process engineering in Latin America.[72]

Additionally, the Institute developed a researcher-friendly patent scheme that aims to attract talented researchers and reduce the national brain drain. The scheme, in which the researcher may receive up to 30% of the patent licencing income,[73] works in combination with its internal MXN$ 100,000 Rómulo Garza Prize and its national MXN$ 200,000 Luis Elizondo Prize and has allowed it to became the leading patent applicant among Mexican universities since 2006.[11]

Student life

An American football player from the State of Mexico Campus overlooks the playing field. Teams from the Institute won every single American Football Collegiate Championship in Mexico from 1998 to 2008[74]

Student life, traditions and activities vary notably among campuses. Generally speaking, student involvement is encouraged by the local campus through an office of student affairs, which supervises most of the student clubs, regional associations and its student federation.

The Institute goes great lengths to provide scholarships to those in need, awarding partial financial assistance to up to 47.65% of its student population.[2] However, with tuition fees of almost MXN $200,000 per academic year[75] (among the highest in Latin America according to Forbes magazine)[76] most of its student community comes from upper and upper-middle class and the overall atmosphere is arguably politically and socially conservative. For example, opposite-sex visits are forbidden in dormitories; attendance is taken daily at 10:00 p.m. in women's dormitories[77] and some high school staff in the Mexico City Campus has publicly admonished students for questioning conservative politicians during school visits[78] (although no disciplinary action was ever taken).[79]

The number of international students vary notably among campuses. As of December 2009, some 4,516 foreign students were studying in one of its campuses while 5,746 Tech students were taking courses in a foreign university.[2]


The Estadio Tecnológico, aside from hosting athletic and cultural events, hosts professional football matches since 1952[80] and served as an official venue for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship[81] and the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[82]

The Tech has a good record in college athletics, picking up over 18% of the medals at the 2007 national collegiate competition (Universiada)[83] and one of its campuses won every American Football Collegiate Championship in Mexico (ONEFA) from 1998 to 2008.[74] Such accomplishments were possible through the Institute's investments in sports facilities and personnel and a well-funded and comprehensive athletic scholarships program, which attracted a significant number of promising athletes but prompted allegations of talent drain by some of its rivals.[84] Before the 2009 season the Institute decided to part ways with the organization and create a new league;[85] however, the league didn't materialize after other breakaway universities decided to remain in the ONEFA.[86] The Institute asked to return to the organization, but the ONEFA Board decided that the request should be formally presented in its next ordinary meeting, after the 2009 season,[87] which its four teams ended up playing between themselves in a Tech-only championship.[88] For the 2010 season, the Institute decided not to participate in the ONEFA championship and, instead, asked the CONADEIP, a national athletic association of private educational institutions, to create an American football championship.[89]

Although there are local adaptations, since 1945 the system-wide sports mascot is the ram (borrego salvaje), traditionally embodied in a male bighorn sheep. A somewhat popular urban legend states that the mascot was chosen by the American football team on its way to a match, after spotting a male sheep on the road. According to the official sources, however, the mascot was chosen during an official contest held by students in the mid-1940s.[14]

Noted people

The Institute has graduated prominent and influential people in several areas.

Notable alumni include the current President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto who holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from EGADE Business School.[90]

From December 2006 to January 2009 both the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the Mexican Secretary of Economy (former Kelloggs' CEO Carlos Gutiérrez[91] and Gerardo Ruiz Mateos[92]) were Tech alumni. Other businesspeople include Cemex' CEO Lorenzo Zambrano,[93] FEMSA's CEO José Antonio Fernández,[94] Grupo Salinas' CEO Ricardo Salinas Pliego[95] and Casa Cuervo's CEO Juan Beckman.[96]

In science and technology, Alexander Balankin, former lecturer at the Mexico City Campus,[97] has received the 2005 UNESCO Science Prize for his works on Fractal Mechanics; Ernesto Enkerlin received UNESCO's 2005 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation for his involvement in sustainability[98] and two alumni have been members of the United States President's Information Technology Advisory Committee: Pedro Celis (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) and Héctor García Molina, former Director of Stanford University's Computer Science Department, 1999 ACM SIGMOD Innovations Award[99] and highest h-index in Computer Science.[100]

At least two late presidential candidates and democracy activists, Luis Donaldo Colosio and Manuel Clouthier, were former graduates. Over a dozen Mexican governors and cabinet members have attended classes at the Tech, including former Secretary of Commerce and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiator Herminio Blanco. In cultural affairs, Gabriel Zaid has distinguished himself as one of the leading Mexican intellectuals of the 20th century and in sports Fernando Platas and Víctor Estrada have both won Olympics medals, while former coach of Mexico's national football team, Miguel Mejía Barón, is in charge of the Football Department at Puebla.[101]

As for staff and faculty, at least two rectors or directors of different universities have been lecturers or members of the staff at the Tech. Luis Ernesto Derbez, a former Foreign Minister, is currently the Rector of the University of the Americas, Puebla. Enrique Cabrero Mendoza is the current head of The National Council for Science and Technology and a former rector of CIDE. In addition, the Ex-Rector Rafael Rangel Sostmann is member of the External Advisory Council of the World Bank Institute.


  1. The first connection from Spain was completed in mid-1990 (see Sanz) while the Institute was connected in February 1989 (see Islas).


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See also

List of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education faculty

List of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education alumni

Collaboration of ITESM campuses with Wikipedia/Wikimedia