Consultancy, Eastern Europe
Milan spurned a career playing football for the former Yugoslavia under-16s national team, instead returning to finish his studies and pursuing a career with Mace developing large-scale infrastructure projects in south-east Europe.
- How did your career lead you to Mace?
After graduating in civil engineering I joined a contracting company in Belgrade, Serbia, to get a feel for working on a construction site. I realised that project management was something I wanted to get into and moved to an international consulting company, where I worked on the design of the biggest motorway project in south-east Europe, running from Bar in Montenegro to Belgrade.
I then became interested in funding and developing projects and went to work for the World Bank’s International Financing Corporation, evaluating different projects for their investment potential. I returned to consultancy in Serbia, and worked on the longest bridge across the Danube. I joined Mace in 2009 as a project manager.
Alongside my work Mace I also spend a day or two a month as a consultant within an EU project programme team that evaluates grants for improving local infrastructure in Serbia. I get to work with highly experienced international experts in different field of expertise, so I can use the knowledge within my role at Mace. It also helps to raise the profile of Mace within this area of consultancy business.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
My role is split between business development and managing a variety of projects across south-east Europe, including a new luxury hotel and resort in Croatia.
I love the feeling you get when you're negotiating and finally win a new project. It takes a lot of time, passion and energy and there're no words to express the feeling you get when you win a new project and start working on it. All projects start as an opportunity and as a piece of paper, but soon can become reality.
I also get the opportunity to travel around the globe meeting lots of interesting and important people from business.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
- A strong nerve! To negotiate well, you need to have a good understanding of what the investors the other side of the table need. The best possible combination is to have an understanding of all the technical issues, as well as the financial opportunities and risks on projects - and a lot of patience.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- I was a professional football player in Serbia, Hungary and Austria, playing for two or three teams in the top leagues. I also played for the Yugoslav under-16 national side. I stopped playing as I needed to come back to Serbia to finish my studies. I still play, but only with my friends, not internationally!
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
- I’d be playing football!
“There are no words to express the feeling you get when you win a new project and start working on it. All projects start as an opportunity and as a piece of paper, but soon can become reality.”