IN A DIFFERENT CLASS
Switching from a curriculum based on courses to one designed around challenges is just one of the ways in which Tecnológico de Monterrey is transforming how it teaches. Such changes are part of Educational Model Tec 21, an initiative developed by the university to ensure that its graduates are equipped to become leaders in a rapidly changing world.
Tecnológico de Monterrey was founded by a group of entrepreneurs and businessmen in 1943 and quickly took a leading role in higher education in Mexico. Today it has 31 campuses across the country, with more than 55,000 undergraduates and around 5,000 graduate students. Some six per cent of students come from overseas and there is a focus on international mobility. To date 54 per cent of students have spent time studying abroad by the time they graduate, and by 2020 the university hopes this figure will rise to 75 per cent. Furthermore, with graduates in demand by some of the world’s top employers, many go on to work abroad.
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION
The university offers a comprehensive range of courses, from humanities to social sciences, but is known particularly for its business and engineering schools. And a commitment to fostering entrepreneurship permeates every area of Tecnológico de Monterrey. “Our founders were entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship has been embedded as part of our culture,” says David Garza, the university’s Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education. “We have incubators in all our campuses, we have an entrepreneurship major and we have technology parks.”
No surprise, then, that 20 per cent of students own or are partners in a company by the time they complete their studies. “Ten years after graduation that number climbs to 40 per cent,” says Garza, “and 25 years after graduation it’s close to 70 per cent.” He adds that 20 per cent of CEOs of top companies in Mexico are Tecnológico de Monterrey graduates, and its alumni is also strongly represented in government and among academics at some of the world’s top universities. David sees this “education of leaders” as one of the university’s key achievements, and says it aims to instil three key attributes; an entrepreneurial spirit, a humanistic outlook and the ability to be internationally competitive.
And with an eye on the rapidly changing world, Tecnológico de Monterrey is honing its education system. It has identified the skills future leaders now need and launched Educational Model Tec 21 to ensure its students develop them. As part of this, it is reshaping its curriculum around challenges rather than courses, challenges based on the kind of problems that organisations such as governments or NGOs might face. “Some of those challenges might require interdisciplinary knowledge,” says Garza, “and the knowledge and ideas the student needs to solve these challenges will come from different learning modules that they can take.” Other changes include a move to a pathways model, allowing students to explore a range of subjects before specialising.
The quality of education has always been one of the main attractions for students who choose Tecnológico de Monterrey, setting them on the road to high-flying careers. And by transforming the way it teaches, the university is ensuring it meets the demands of the modern world and continues to educate the leaders of tomorrow.