An investigation into the demands for, composition and viability of a specialised MBA in nature conservation management.
This report reflects the results of and conclusions and recommendations arising from an investigation into the demand for, composition of and financial viability of a new, specialized, or niche MBA in Nature Conservation Management, to be offered by the Pietermaritzburg section of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate School of Business. The report finds that nature conservation, whilst almost universally recognized as a highly desirable, if not crucial element of government responsibility, is increasingly being expected to pay its own way. This dichotomy is forcing nature conservation and protected area managers into a dual role encompassing both the science and practice of nature conservation and protected area management on the one hand and business management on the other, at least at the very highest levels of management. It is submitted that the report provides clear evidence of the need for such a programme aimed at providing senior nature conservation and protected area managers with a suite of relevant business skills including financial management; resource economics; human resource management; project management; ecotourism development, marketing and management and the like. Whilst the report ultimately recommends the implementation of the niche programme, it recognizes two concerns. • Given the very small pool of nature conservation professionals in the region and the chronic underfunding of nature conservation agencies, it is not certain that programme would, on its own, be financially viable. • The reaccreditaion process undertaken by the Department of Education has set back the university's MBA programme by several years and now is clearly not the time to attempt to launch a new offering.