Differentiate between the ‘signal’ and the ‘noise’. Hone your problem-solving skills, embrace the mess and make sense of it… continually!

Tillmann Lang

Tillmann Lang’s white T-shirt and fresh look, together with the lockers behind him on our call, led me to believe that he’d just finished a workout. He assured me that he hadn’t, panning his laptop around the office to prove it.

But Tillmann has nothing to prove. He studied maths and computer science at university, holds a PhD from ETH, worked as a consultant at McKinsey for eight years, and is currently CEO of an impact investing firm, Inyova, which he co-founded in 2017.

Tillmann left McKinsey following a promotion, without any real plans. “Leaving without an exit strategy is fairly unheard of, but I needed to plunge myself into the cold water to allow for opportunities to present themselves,” he said. He spent the next year meeting with engaging people, attending insightful events, and supporting friends with start-ups. Inyova arose through a conversation with his co-founder, while helping on another start-up.

What can others take from this journey, I asked? “For me it was about unlearning certain misconceptions, such as the idea that downtime is inefficient, or that our output mainly depends on the amount of hours we put in. But also learning new skills, like being able to differentiate between the ‘signal’ and the ‘noise’; to accept that there is no black and white – only grey, which can be messy. To then embrace the mess and make sense of it, continually, because the mess updates itself every second!”

I wondered what that might translate to MBAs setting out on a new path. “Hone your problem-solving skills, companies need bright minds to make sense of their grey zones,” Tillmann responded. “At Inyova, we look for people with exceptional abilities that can sift through the clutter, understand cross-functional drivers, and provide astute solutions for our investors.”

Tillmann Lang is Co-Founder & CEO at Inyova Impact Investing. We are delighted to have Tillmann as a member of our newly formed University of St.Gallen MBA "Future Skills Advisory Board".

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