At 36, Yugoslav native Bozidar Djelic was charting a spectacular career. A graduate of France's prestigious Institut d'Etudes Politiques and holder of two master's degrees from Harvard, Djelic had landed a coveted partner's slot at McKinsey & Co., heading the firm's consulting venture for e-business, @McKinsey.
But last October, as his countrymen toppled strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Djelic knew everything was about to change. Within days, he received a call from his old friend and newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Miroljub Labus. "He said, `Bozidar, get your ass down here. We need you,"' Djelic recalls.
So Djelic left his family for what he thought would be a short stint as Yugoslavia's lead negotiator with international financial institutions. Then in January came elections in Serbia, the larger of the two Yugoslav republics. The new Serb government offered Djelic the job of Finance & Economics Minister.
Now he is busy trying to piece together Serbia's economy, shattered by war and international sanctions. He's auditing the books and uncovering corruption by the former Milosevic regime. He's streamlining the tax system and hoping to attract investment.
The pressure is high, but Djelic seems to be having fun. "We work a lot of late nights here. It's like Goldman Sachs, but without the bonuses," the boyish minister jokes. If Djelic rehabilitates Serbia's prostrate economy, the whole country will get a bonus.