Drnovšek was born in the northeastern city of Celje on 17 May 1950. He studied economics, graduating from the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Economics. He finished his doctoral studies at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Maribor, writing a doctoral thesis entitled "The International Monetary Fund and Yugoslavia." He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Boston in 1994, and one from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999. After his doctoral studies he took a job with a construction company in Zagorje. He served for one year as an economic advisor to the Yugoslav embassy in Cairo, and then went on to study at the Oslo Institute for International Economics. In the early 1980s, Drnovšek was the director of a branch of the Ljubljanska Banka in Trbovlje. Drnovšek has written many articles on loans, monetary policy, and international financial relations, focusing on the world debt crisis. In 1995, he was awarded the Prix de la Méditerranée in recognition for his achievements in politics and economics. Drnovšek is a frequent lecturer and a guest of honor at universities and international organizations. He published an autobiography, "My Truth," in 1996. He is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and also speaks German, Italian, and Croatian. His favorite hobbies are jogging, tennis, and cross-country skiing. Drnovšek had a cancerous kidney removed in 1999, and in early 2002 he announced he had a rare lung tumor, which doctors said was in remission; Drnovšek maintains, however, that he is fit for the presidency.