Gerardo Silveyra
Director of Engineering School
ITESM, Chihuahua Campus
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View from the Top

Turning Students into Automotive Entrepeneurs

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 11:54

Q: What are the ambitions of the engineering school to support the automotive industry in Chihuahua?

A: We are keen on supporting all the industries and clusters that make Chihuahua tick, and automotive is among the most important. We are closely involved with the cluster as the university is able to help it in one of its prime directives: innovation. ITESM is in the process of updating its education methods. We are investing in different technological platforms, such as smartphones and tablets used in class, and we want to bring this modern approach to the automotive projects we work on. Another focus is how to get our students involved in real industry projects. From there, we began developing technological parks and partnered up with Visteon, an automotive design company. Over the last six years, we have been involved in 80 projects with automotive companies.

Q: How is ITESM working with the industry to assure that its curriculum conforms to real needs?

A: We have developed advisory councils with industry leaders where we can identify their needs. We have noted that the industry is not looking to hire people with highly specialized skills. Companies are looking for soft skills, like teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical capability, as specific knowledge can be acquired by working in the industry. We are focused on developing those skills among all of our students. We also allow our professors to be involved in real projects to keep updating their knowledge. The technological park has around 25 companies which allow professors to work alongside them.

Q: How does ITESM help students who want to start their own automotive companies?

A: We want to turn our students into entrepreneurs who develop their own companies. We view an entrepreneur as someone with a positive attitude toward problem- solving. Our students need to develop their own ideas and companies to support the automotive industry.