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Coast Guard Admiral credits Krannert School for developing skills

Rear Admiral Tom Ostebo (MSIA '93) realized he made the right choice earning his master's degree at Purdue's Krannert School of Management when he saw his study group.

"I had someone from Norway, someone from Hong Kong, and someone from Turkey," Adm. Ostebo says. "I was looking for a great program with an international perspective on business and culture, and the Krannert School was the ideal fit."

Currently the Coast Guard's Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics, Adm. Ostebo will take over one of the Coast Guard's largest commands in May. He’s transferring from Washington, D.C., to Juneau, Alaska, where he will serve as District Commander for District 17, which includes Alaska, Canada, the Arctic region, Russia, and the North Pacific.

He also will be Maritime Commander for the United States Northern Command, or NORTHCOM. In that role, he will lead homeland security efforts in the region, as well as serve as leader of natural disaster responses and search/rescue missions. In total, he'll have more than 5,000 Coast Guard members and their families under his command.

"My wife and I are excited about going back to Alaska," he says. "I was stationed there several years ago and my first daughter was born in the state."

A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Adm. Ostebo was looking to enhance his skill set with a master's degree in the early 1990s. In addition to the international component of Purdue's program, he was impressed by its approach to problem solving.

"For me, it was the perfect mix of analytical and business tools. That education played a huge role in developing my ability to multitask and to be reasoned and persuasive in my thinking," Adm. Ostebo says.

He calls a class taught by Professor (and current Interim Dean) Jerry Lynch one of his highlights at Purdue. "It was the first economics course I had taken, and it turned on a lot of light bulbs in terms of how decisions are made," Adm. Ostebo says.

He learned his lessons well. During his career, Adm. Ostebo has received two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.

He's one of many Coast Guard students to graduate from the 11-month Master of Science in Industrial Administration program, and he believes that Purdue's emphasis in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines makes it a perfect fit for military personnel.

"Military people like to earn what they get," says Adm. Ostebo. "At the Krannert School, the faculty pushes them harder than in many other programs. The education they receive is a rite of passage, and they leave with a nationally ranked degree that will serve them well throughout their careers."