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Alumnus named St. Louis Top 30 Under 30

February 10, 2010, Amanda Weaver

${image-alt} Nathan Stooke

Nathan Stooke is racing for the top, and the St. Louis business community is taking notice. The former Southern Illinois University MBA graduate was recently selected as one of the top 30 business people in the St. Louis area under 30 years old. The award recognized candidates who have exhibited an ambition and work ethic necessary to reach a high level of success at such a young age. Stooke, 33, is the CEO of Wisper, a company that provides wireless internet services to companies in Illinois and Missouri as well as installs flexible high-speed Internet hotspots in restaurants, hotels, business parks, and airports. Stooke expressed his gratitude when asked about the award, “It was great to be among one of the 30 people in St. Louis that won. When you read the bios of the other 29 people you start to see how special the award is. It was nice to meet the other winners and talk to them about their experiences. I think I am doing a good job as CEO, but then you have doubts about some of the decisions you make. As CEO, you have no one standing over you telling you are doing a good or bad job. This award affirmed I was doing something right.”

Stooke also said his MBA has prepared him for his career. The same skills he learned while getting his MBA have helped him build Wisper to what it is today. When he was in school, Stooke had to juggle class, work, and being on the US National swim team. Today, he juggles work, family, and day-to-day life. The teachers have been replaced with clients and his classmates with employees. Now, however, he has more control over how things are done as a CEO. Instead of being responsible only for himself, he is now responsible for his family of five, and his 22 employees, many of whom have families of their own to support.

One of Stooke’s most important goals is being there for his family and he considers Wisper a means to that end. He enjoys the freedom that allows him to take off during the day to eat lunch with his kids at school, go to the zoo on his day off, or come home early to surprise his wife. The other goal that Stooke hopes to uphold is to help families with Dyslexic children. He hopes to be able to use his success with Dyslexia to show others they can succeed as well.

In terms of advice for current and future MBA students, Stooke noted”…the willingness to learn in all your required classes. Always try and get the most out of them because you never know when you will need to use the information you learned in those classes. As a CEO or upper management, you will wear many hats. Even though you are not interested in one particular subject, it will pay off in the end if you can gain as much knowledge about them as possible.”For Nathan Stooke, the payoff is becoming quite clear.