I am not familiar with either university, but here’s how I’d go about getting a first impression.
- A look at the curriculum.
I am most familiar with math, so that’s usually the first major I look at. UNAM’s math major is pretty astonishing. It picks up at introductory calculus, which would be typical at selective-but-not-uber-selective American universities. The 4th year curriculum would be mostly graduate courses at American universities. If I saw these courses on the transcript of an American undergraduate student, I would be impressed.
ITESO does not teach a major I am super familiar with, but the engineering majors look comparable to the engineering majors at selective American universities.
- A look at rankings.
UNAM is among the highest-ranked universities in Mexico in national rankings. Often #1, or else #2 to the Tecnológico de Monterrey. In the international Times Higher Education ranking, it ranks like Stanford and surpasses UT Austin on the “industry income” scale, which measures how much money private industry is willing to pay for a partnership with the university and might be a good proxy for the quality of the work being done there. On the “education” subscale, which is partially based on a reputation survey and partially on metrics like student-to-staff ratios, UNAM ranks approximately like the University of Houston. Lower than UT Austin, higher than UT Dallas.
ITESO appears to be ranked in the top 10% of universites in Mexico, but it’s too small to be included in international university rankings.
- A look at international partnerships. Universities like to establish formal partnerships with universities in other countries that they consider their peers.
UNAM has undergraduate exchange programs with Harvard, UT Austin, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of California. All excellent American universities that wouldn’t send their students to a sub-par foreign university or invite under-achieving foreigners to their own campus.
ITESO has exchange programs with the Idaho State, Western Michigan and the University of San Diego.
In conclusion, UNAM appears to be an excellent university. ITESO is more difficult to judge from a distance. You said that you “would be surprised” if their academic merits exceeded schools like Texas A&M or UT Dallas. Why is that?