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Masters in Conservation Leadership

Students on the Masters

Student experience: Casandra Tania (2018-19)

Casandra Tania from the 18-19 cohort answers some questions to give you first-hand experience on what it was like to take the Masters in Conservation Leadership.


Cohort life

My cohort consisted of 17 people from 16 countries. It was a very diverse group. We often had different views on how to approach conservation challenges. However, most of my friends and I feel that we learnt so much from each other. We could have a hot debate with no conclusion, but the discussion itself definitely triggered questioning of our own ideals and making us realize on the complexities of conservation – something that someone from natural science background like me often does not realise.

Not only was it great for discussing and challenging each other’s conservation ideals, my cohort is also my hang-out friends. I enjoyed the time we spent together from having movie nights to swimming in Grantchester during UK’s hottest day! I miss them a lot…


Studying in the David Attenborough Building (DAB)

I must say that I loved being a part of the DAB community! Most people are very friendly, lovely, and passionate about conservation. There was always dynamic discussion and brainstorming here and there on how to make conservation more accessible and impactful. Cake day every Wednesday when DAB members can have free biscuits or other sweet treats, while mingling was my guilty pleasure! Lastly, the green wall was absolutely a feast for my eyes.


Course structure

I really enjoyed the lectures given throughout Michaelmas and Lent terms when the lecturers were actually different every single day. Our lectures usually lasted longer than planned due to the raised questions and discussion.

Nevertheless, the placement was my favourite. It was the time when we dove into topics that we were interested in and tried to do as much as humanely possible within less than four months. After more than six months criticising and building arguments on several conservation issues, I feel the placement was the only time, other than the consultancy project during Lent term, when I could actually put my hands on something and make it mine. Honestly, I enjoyed placement report writing much more than essay writing!


Things you got that you never expected?

I never realised how much confidence I gained after finishing the course until I have started to work again. I started my career as a marine biologist working at local and national scale. As my career progressed I realised that my marine biology background was not enough to tackle the complexity of conservation problems. Before enrolling in the course, I had some internal conflicts and felt like I was at a crossroads. I used the course as a reflecting period to figure out my next step, while learning different facets of conservation. The course has given me a better picture of conservation and courage to challenge myself to work at larger scale conservation.


Life after graduation

I was very fortunate to have Mark Rose, Fauna and Flora Internationals CEO, as my professional mentor during the course. With him, I shared and discussed my future ambition that he kindly listened and gave advice to. He realised my ambition would take some time to materialise. So, while I looked for other opportunities out there, he generously offered me an internship where I could use what I already know, while learning new things and experiencing FFI as an organisation. I learnt so much during the internship and broadened my network especially within FFI. It was a perfect opportunity until I finally land my current job which is Regional Biodiversity Specialist at PEMSA.