Rafael Guerra, a Student Who Transformed Challenges into Commitment

What is a commitment other than the transformation of a promise into reality? Day after day, our institution seeks to educate the brightest minds in Mexico in order to create, together with them, a freer, more just and prosperous society. But ITAM is aware that a great number of talented young people in our society face economic difficulties.

Our commitment is rooted in the innumerable efforts we make to reach out to them and offer them both scholarships and the opportunities necessary for them to become successful, to fulfill their dreams and their academic goals. This commitment to the country’s development translates not only into providing the best education for our students, but also supporting them when they encounter obstacles along the way. That was the case of Rafael Guerra, a student of excellence in the undergraduate program in economics, who found himself in a serious economic situation as a result of an accident.

Rafael’s Story of Commitment

Rafael’s story begins long before he started studying at ITAM. Originally from Martínez de la Torre, Veracruz, Guerra realized at a young age that opportunities for improvement in such a small town were limited, so he decided to seek out educational institutions that would allow him to excel and achieve his goals.

That is how he found ITAM. In the beginning he was interested in studying actuarial science, but after looking into the different academic programs offered at our institution, he realized his affinity for the economics-administrative field, and therefore decided to study Economics. He is currently in the process of obtaining his graduate diploma.


Rafael Guerra before entering ITAM. PHOTO: courtesy of Rafael Guerra
Rafael Guerra before entering ITAM. PHOTO: courtesy of Rafael Guerra

From the beginning, and thanks to an academic scholarship, Rafa was able to concentrate on his classes and begin new projects, including his outstanding participation in the Economics II laboratory and in the 1st National Competition: Resolution of a Public Health Case, with the team led by Professor Sofía Charvel.

On October 2 and 3, 2014, a group of ITAM students from different departments participated in the 1st National Competition: Resolution of a Public Health Case, an event organized by ITAM, the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) and CIDE held at the facilities of the INSP Campus Cuernavaca. The ITAM team was made up of Valeria Mendiola (Economics), Rafael Guerra (Economics), Diego Pineda (Economics and Political Science), Carolina Mercado (Law) and Manola Osés (Political Science) and was directed and guided by Professor Sofía Charvel.

ITAM Communication Office. May 22, 2015.

ITAM was a comprehensive training experience for Rafa, who continued his vocation collaborating as a research assistant at the Center for Economic Research (CIE), a task that he later complemented, in the same position, with Christiane Fábrega, professor of the Department of Economics. And, he always maintained an excellent grade average, as well as an outstanding participation in sports activities.

After an unfortunate accident, Rafael was granted the Javier Beristain Iturbide scholarship, one of ITAM’s many financial aid programs, which provided him with the opportunity to continue his studies and excel due to his palpable and constant commitment to the institute.

The new scholarship that Rafa received was framed in the spirit of solidarity of the man who this assistance program is named after. The trust, in memory of Javier Beristain Iturbide, was founded in 2009 in order to honor the memory of the former president of ITAM (1972-1991), a man who was convinced that Mexico needed to become “a more just country,” with “quality education on all levels and in all corners of the country.”

Rafael’s Commitment with the Future

Concluding his studies, he reached the culmination of his dreams. On June 1, 2018, the team that Rafael Guerra Cabrera created with other ITAM students were the winners of the Reto Banxico 2018. After his success, the new graduate wrote a letter to the committee of the Javier Beristain scholarship. In it, he not only expressed his appreciation for the attention and support that he received, but he stressed the importance of closing the education opportunity gap for the youth in our country.

At the same time, Rafael Guerra Cabrera affirmed his conviction that it is time to give back to society the opportunities that he has benefitted from, and that one day he hopes to become a donor to one of the ITAM scholarship programs, reaffirming his proud commitment to the moral principles of our institution.

Because of the intensity and depth of his words, we reproduce this fragment of his speech:

“These scholarships break one of the barriers that, in my opinion, abound in our country, which is that of the poor economic conditions of quality students in different states of Mexico. I believe that, in the long term, quality education should not depend on the economic situation, but rather on the talent and potential that the student has to get ahead.”

                                                                                            Rafael Guerra Cabrera

We know that, like Rafa, there are thousands of students in this country who stand out for their academic ability but, unfortunately, often cannot continue their education due to their economic situation. The scholarship programs of ITAM seek to prevent the best talents in the country from giving up on continuing their education at a high-level institution as much as possible.

It is time, then, to get to know the impressions of an ITAM student who was able to fulfill his academic goals thanks to the double commitment of an educational institution of excellence and a young man with scarce economic resources willing to fight for his convictions. Congratulations Rafa!

Promises we make real: this is our institutional commitment and, with the invaluable support of our donors, we will continue to strive to provide all the support that talented young people need for a better future for all Mexicans.



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