Spotlight on Seda Savas, SC President

Seda Savas

Seda Savas

Spotlight on Student Council President: Seda Savas

By Amy Beck

Seda Savas is committed to improving communication on MIIS’ campus. She ran for Student Council president on the platform that she would improve student-student communication and student-administration communication. But her dedication to communication seems to come from somewhere else: a commitment to efficient and effective management. For Seda, it’s all about making it work.

Anyone who has seen Seda run a meeting can attest to her ‘make it happen’ attitude. She knows how take a brainstorming session and turn it into an outline of actions. Her entire life is organized on a palm pilot, which she cannot live without. Accompanying her palm pilot in her purse is a fold-out keyboard that the palm pilot plugs into. She laughs when someone gawks at her keyboard (which happens a lot).

Seda grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, arriving in the US for the first time in 2001 to attend college. She looked for small liberal arts colleges with a strong focus in theatre and ended up at Middlebury College. Her undergraduate focus was Theatre, but the importance of international and cross-cultural understanding played a strong role.

The Fever by Wallace Shawn was her favorite play to participate in. She explains that it “speaks to the average white middle income guy; it could be anyone who grew up with privileges: the privileges of having a nice day without worrying what bomb’s going to explode next door.” When asked why this particular play was so important to her, she responded, “It really challenges the [main character’s] view of the world.” By the end of the play, the main character realizes that his actions have a butterfly-effect: his actions indirectly affect the rest of the world, for example, through his purchasing power.

So what is the link between social activism and theatre, and an MBA in International Business? She laughed at the question. “Management can be applied to anything.” But her experience in the non-profit world sheds light on the connection. After graduating from college in 2005, Seda moved to Washington D.C. to work for a non-profit theatre company writing grants and fundraising. Two years with the company taught her the importance of management. “The problem with many nonprofits today is that they are so poorly managed,” she commented. “You need business experience to be able to take advantage of the nonprofit world.” Seda decided it was time to pursue an MBA and take matters into her own hands. She said, “I want to be part of positive change, but [when an] organization is poorly run, [I think] that maybe this isn’t the way to do it.” Ultimately, Seda wants to apply her business skills to a socially responsible for-profit.

Having grown up in Istanbul, Seda has a deep affection for water. The Bosphorus Strait, the body of water dividing Asia and Europe, is what she misses most from home. Istanbul developed along banks of the strait, so unlike most coastal cities, in Istanbul, you’re never far from the water. “It’s such a big part of life. It is blue and beautiful.” A large component of city life is water oriented, from ferries to bridges and breathtaking views.

Get to know Seda:

  1. Favorite ice cream: Chocolate chip cookie dough
  2. Which restaurant on the wharf has the best clam chowder sample? Gilbert’s
  3. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be and why? Founder of Turkey, Ataturk
  4. What is your favorite thing to do in Monterey? Run – I’m training for a half marathon on November 9th.
  5. Favorite restaurant/food in Monterey? Naan wrap at the farmers market.
  6. Favorite night spot? Indian summer
  7. Favorite coffee shop: East Village
  8. Advice to first years? Don’t be afraid to take risks because you have nothing to lose and only two years here.
  9. Most embarrassing moment? When I was 9 years old, I had a test in school and a boy in my class found a copy of the blank test. He began reading the questions aloud and I answered them, not thinking anything of it. The teacher walked in and caught us, accusing us of cheating. But I had no conception of cheating, and was devastated.
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