Affordable Online Business Degrees

If you want to lead sales teams, recruit within human resources, or manage a staff of business or marketing professionals, a degree in business can help you launch a successful and rewarding career. In an online business program, you’ll develop an effective combination of practical skills and business savvy, and earn a flexible degree that prepares you to work in a variety of industries. While completing a business degree online, you’ll develop the business acumen and know-how to find work in a wide range of settings, including internet startups, global corporations, non-profit companies, government agencies, and more.

By 2024, qualified professionals in business administration and business management will see an 8% increase in job opportunities.

An online business degree is affordable and flexible, and job prospects in the field are increasing — by 2024, qualified professionals in business administration and business management will see an 8% increase in job opportunities. With the world economy growing and new businesses launching every day, organizations from every industry are searching for experienced business professionals.

If you aspire to land executive leadership roles in marketing, sales, human resources, or something related, read on to learn more about how an online degree in business might be the right fit for you.

Did You Know?

Career options for business administration graduates are surprisingly far-ranging. From account manager to event planner to funeral director, a business administration degree can be applied to almost any field. Read on to learn more about how a degree in business administration can ramp-up your skill set.

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What Can You Do with a Degree in Business?

Budget Analyst

$71,590 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Required

Budget analysts are responsible for organizing the finances of entities in the public and private sector. Consider the similarities between a local businesses in your neighborhood and the federal government — both require a budget analyst to monitor spending, balance the books, and project future expenses. For example, U.S. defense budget analysts like Todd Harrison frequently contribute op-ed pieces on commercial space travel, military spending, and more to the associated press. Ideal candidates are detail-oriented and have exceptional communication, math, and writing skills. While a bachelor’s degree is widely accepted for most entry-level business management careers, a large percentage of budget analysts work in government jobs, which may require additional education.

  • Degree Required: Bachelor’s
  • Licensure Required: Varies; government budget analysts may require certification
  • Time Commitment: 4 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $41,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): $54,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): $74,000

Marketing Manager

$128,750 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Required

Marketing management is a popular career, and US News and World Report repeatedly ranks the position as the top job among sales and marketing occupations in the U.S. After all, marketing managers are responsible for bringing in company revenue through marketing, promotions, and advertising campaigns. Though marketing managers are not required to obtain special certification or licensure, ideal candidates for jobs in the field are creative and organized, with exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. Those aspiring to top jobs in marketing management or seeking advancement in their career should have work experience in sales, promotions, marketing, advertising, or a related field.

  • Degree Required: Bachelor’s
  • Licensure Required: N/A
  • Time Commitment: 4 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $40,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): $61,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): $97,000


$74,260 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Required

While many in the general public may not be familiar with logisticians, they play a crucial role in managing the supply chain of all types of businesses and organizations. Logisticians have a variety of responsibilities overseeing the entire life of a product, from supplier acquisition to distribution and delivery to the consumer. While an associate degree may be acceptable for some entry-level jobs, most employers prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree. For online business degree graduates, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are key for success in this industry. Job-seekers may also opt for industry certification, though not required, as well as work experience in business, logistics, or the military.

  • Degree Required: Bachelor’s
  • Licensure Required: N/A
  • Time Commitment: 4 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $39,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): $53,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): $75,000

Human Resources Manager

$104,440 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Required

While many in the general public may not be familiar with logisticians, they play a crucial role in managing the supply chain of all types of businesses and organizations. Logisticians have a variety of responsibilities overseeing the entire life of a product, from supplier acquisition to distribution and delivery to the consumer. While an associate degree may be acceptable for some entry-level jobs, most employers prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree. For online business degree graduates, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are key for success in this industry. Job-seekers may also opt for industry certification, though not required, as well as work experience in business, logistics, or the military.

  • Degree Required: Bachelor’s
  • Licensure Required: N/A
  • Time Commitment: 4 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $41,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): $62,000
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): $88,000

Business Careers by the Numbers

With a variety of career possibilities available for online business degree graduates, the salary and job outlook for graduates depends largely on their experience and additional specialty skills. Students who have a business degree and are interested in pursuing sales, management or tourism, for example, may seek a career in business administration in the following areas:

Top Criminal Justice Careers by Income and Growth Rate
Career Salary Job Outlook
Buyer/Purchasing Agent $59,620 + 2%
Management Analyst $81,320 + 14%
Meeting/Event Planner $46,840 + 10%
BLS employment projections data, 2014-2024

What Does it Take to Succeed in Business?

Effective business skills are so pervasive in the global workforce that they are often hard to define. Much like the daily operation of business varies for every company, corporation, and organization worldwide, the metrics of what makes a business “successful” also vary. However, successful business people tend to have select skills and personality traits in common, along with natural talent and a formal education in the subject.

Students completing a business degree online will study core business concepts, including communication, market management principles, financial analysis, and human resources management, among others. If you have a natural inclination toward leadership, social interaction, analytical thinking, and math, you may find that business is the perfect fit for you. Your business skills can be applied in fields like marketing, finance, or technology, among others.

  • Analytical

    While business and finance are closely related, most business careers require you to not only to process mathematical and statistical data, but also to analyze and compare all kinds of facts and figures.

  • Leadership

    Successful leaders in business have the ability to inspire and motivate others to act, often to participate in achieving a common goal or to help a vision come to life.

  • Communication

    Adaptable and effective communication skills are crucial to success in business, and are guaranteed to provide an advantage for those seeking advanced and/or leadership roles.

  • Communication

    This applies to both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. People should be comfortable speaking and sharing information with you, so listening and communication skills are both essential.

  • Teamwork

    Linked closely to communication abilities, effective teamwork skills show one’s ability to foster healthy peer relationships and to work together toward a common goal.

  • Problem-Solving

    Business people with acute problem-solving capabilities are well-prepared to address and resolve conflicts.

Associate Degree in Business: An Overview

Who should pursue an associate degree in business?

If you want an entry-level job in business, or are looking to continue on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, you may be interested in obtaining an associate degree. An online associate in business can provide a foundation in the core concepts needed to excel in the field, introducing students to basic business principles and practices. Coursework includes business law, marketing, accounting, economics, and human resources management. You may also pursue an business management degree or online business administration degree at this level.

How many years will it take to complete?

Generally, an associate degree requires a minimum of 60 course credit hours, or roughly two years, to complete. Students enrolled in an online associate program are able to complete the minimum course requirement up to six months sooner than their on-campus counterparts, though completion time varies from one student to another. Depending on individual requirements, students may also save time by applying transfer credits, if possible, and satisfying necessary pre-requisite courses. Pursuing an internship or professional experience while in school will help you enter the workforce as soon as possible upon graduation.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

While each program is different, many online associate degrees in business do require a capstone, seminar, or thesis project in the final semester. Some online degrees offer you the opportunity to complete your final project online, while others require you to attend campus occasionally. The thesis (or capstone) should demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a business issue of interest. Through documented research presented in the capstone project, you will summarize your mastery of core concepts in the field.

What type of jobs does this degree prepare you for?

An online associate degree in business can lead to a number of entry-level employment options in several professional settings. Students interested in business administration careers or business management may pursue entry-level positions such as business development associate, store associate, or facilities associate. Students who have completed an online business degree at the associate level may begin their career in one of these specialties to gain work experience while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. While the majority of early-career business occupations require a bachelor’s degree, some employers will accept an associate degree along with professional experience..

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary is $65,710.

Core Concepts

Comprising aspects of business, management, finance, and other practical competencies, an associate degree outlines the fundamentals of business, in principle and practice. The following are examples of core business concepts:

  • Leadership and Management: Students learn effective methods of motivating others, and how to develop and execute plans of action. They also explore effective management tactics through adaptive reasoning, interactive communication, and problem-solving.
  • Business Law and Ethics: Business students must learn best practices for operating ethically and with respect to the legal system.
  • Information Technology Foundation: Business professionals must be comfortable with IT. Core IT curriculum outlines basic Internet functions as they apply to research, communication, and marketing skills.
  • Accounting: Students develop the foundational mathematical skills required to balance a budget in business, including tracking and projecting expenses and reconciling losses and gains.
  • Marketing and Communication: Key to a successful business career, these core concepts are often combined to emphasize their shared qualities. Students learn how to tailor communication to a specific audience or cause, including using various methods of persuasive and/or provocative promotion.

Course Highlights

Financial Accounting

Description Coursework introduces students to common internal and external systems for tracking the finances of an organization, including rules and regulations implemented by the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, and more. Through courses in financial accounting, online business degree students will learn to interpret the data and figures that comprise an organization’s financial profile, including fiscal budget projections, gross and net income, and overhead expenses, among other core concerns.
Job Skill
  • Analyzing

College Composition I

Description While a composition course may initially seem out of place in a business program, learning to write is a crucial part of developing effective communication skills. Today, with so much business conducted electronically, writing skills are still a reflection of tact and professionalism, even when presented through a web site or on social media. Some colleges may offer coursework that combines composition and IT skills.
Job Skill
  • Communication

Introduction to Marketing

Description Regardless of specialty or concentration, a marketing background is essential for aspiring business professionals and entrepreneurs. With obvious benefits to students pursuing a marketing career, introductory coursework in this subject provides an overview of marketing theories, strategies, and practices. However, students in other specialties can also learn about self-promotion, finding an audience, and improving communication through this course. Students with a creative side may find the marketing aspects of this career especially appealing. Beyond exploring communication and promotion techniques, marketing coursework students can hone their problem-solving skills.
Job Skill
  • Communication
  • Problem-Solving

Principles of Management

Description This course explores the basic systems of management and managerial structures within an organization. Coursework provides students with a comprehensive understanding of core principles of management, applicable to any formal organization, from small startup companies to nonprofits to federal institutions. This course is essential for all business students, especially those aspiring to high-level positions in management, human resources management, or logistics.
Job Skill
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Analytical Skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem-Solving

Affordable Schools With Online Associate Programs

Bachelor’s Degree in Business: An Overview

Who should pursue a bachelor’s degree in business?

A bachelor’s degree in business is ideal if you are interested in a career in business management or business administration. As the primary education requirement for most jobs in business, finance, and marketing, a bachelor’s business degree can lead to entry-level positions in a range of fields, from human resources to logistics and operations. Here, you can select a specialty and pursue work experience and optional certification to move towards your career of choice. Whether looking to enter a particular industry at the ground level or become an entrepreneur, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business can provide the comprehensive education you need to kick start your career.

How many years will it take to complete?

The time it takes to complete the bachelor’s degree in business depends on whether or not you have prior education in this subject. Those who have an associate degree may be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in business in 2-2.5 years, while those with no prior education typically complete the degree in 4-5 years. For students looking to begin their career as soon as possible and/or to complete coursework in their own time, many online business degrees allow you to satisfy requirements in an accelerated format or through a dual-degree arrangement.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

Yes. Most bachelor’s degrees in business require either a written capstone project or simulated capstone experience to complete the program. As part of this capstone, or final project, you are expected to demonstrate the communication, leadership, and analytical skills you have learned throughout the course of the program by developing, proposing, and presenting a project of your choosing to your professors. Written capstones may involve intensive research into a particular business model, for example, while a capstone business simulation allows you the opportunity to try your hand at managing strategic operations within a mock-business environment.

What type of jobs does this degree prepare you for?

Graduates leave school equipped with the core skills they need to excel in a range of occupations. Jobs in business, finance, marketing, sales, and management are a natural fit for business majors. Some graduates may have a particular interest in a concentration within business, such as human resources management or marketing, and pursue a career in business administration. Professionals in related industries including hospitality, tourism, and event-planning, just to name a few, may be eligible for advancement in their careers with additional business skills and experience.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary is $65,710.

Core Concepts

The bachelor’s degree in business prepares graduates for introductory positions in the field. Whether completing a traditional or online business degree, students in a bachelor’s business program explore fundamental concepts in-depth, expanding on core concepts learned in an associate program or your first your or two of college:

  • Business Management: At the bachelor’s level, students continue to build management skills but also practice applying them in practical business scenarios. Through dedicated coursework specific to their specialty or concentration, students concentrate on strengthening their management and leadership skills in the workplace.
  • Business of IT: In today’s market, the need for tech-savvy workers in all industries cannot be overstated. Business students will come to understand how information technology has become not only a business in and of itself, but also a universal tool for marketing and communication, essential to business and commerce in the modern world.
  • Economics: Students develop a nuanced and informed perspective of microeconomics and macroeconomics at this level. They will achieve a deeper understanding how internal and external economic climates affect one another, preparing them to understand financial management operations at both large and small organizations.
  • Quantitative Analysis: This concept is essential to the decision-making process in business. Students will learn to conduct research, gather and interpret statistics, and apply their findings in a number of business scenarios.
  • Human Resource Management: Coursework in this management concept teaches students to cultivate human resources and maximize qualified human capital to mutually benefit both the employee and the company.

Course Highlights

Applying Leadership Principles

Description In any business concentration, learning how to apply leadership principles is key to advancing into an executive or management position. In this course, students will explore the ethics and principles of leadership strategies in context. Not just for students interested in business administration or business management, this course is also ideal for niche specialties, such as artist management or sports management.
Job Skill Leadership, teamwork

IT Systems Design and Management

Description Though programs vary from school to school, most bachelor’s degrees in business offer at least one comprehensive course in IT systems design and management. While essential for students looking to enter the field of IT or technology with their business degree, this course can be beneficial to students in any concentration of business or finance. IT systems design and management provides an overview of basic information technology systems, how they are constructed, and how they function to facilitate business and provide technological support to an organization. Aspiring IT managers, systems managers, and software analysts, among others, can gain invaluable experience combining high-level management and technical skills in this course.
Job Skill Communication, problem-solving, analytical skills

Microeconomic Principles

Description While core courses in business explore basic concepts in macro and microeconomics, this course focuses on providing students with a working knowledge of individual financial “systems” and markets, and how they affect commerce. By studying trade concepts, sales, marketing, and decision-making, students develop a holistic understanding of local, national, and global commerce. This course may be be especially beneficial to students interested in finance, or those considering a career as a budget analyst, benefits or claims adjuster, or financial advisor.
Job Skill Analytical, problem-solving skills

Legal and Ethical Issues in Business

Description Regardless of their field of choice, all professionals are expected to conduct business within appropriate legal and ethical boundaries. In this course, students explore some of the most common legal and ethical issues for business professionals, including government-regulated business laws, the environmental impact of certain types of business, and local governance laws in the community. Students will also discuss the duties and responsibilities of the individual as well as laws governing human behavior in the community and in the workplace.
Job Skill Problem-solving skills, leadership

Affordable Schools With Online Bachelor’s Programs

Master’s Degree in Business: An Overview

Who should pursue a master’s degree in business?

A master’s degree in business can prepare you for management positions. At the graduate level, you may choose from several specialty areas, including global supply chain management, analytics, or marketing, depending on your interests and career aspirations. Master-level study is ideal for students looking to intensify their knowledge and skills in a particular area of business, management, and/or finance in order to advance their career prospects.

How many years will it take to complete?

A master’s degree in business typically takes between one and two years to complete. Full-time students enrolled in an online business degree at the graduate level may be eligible for an accelerated course schedule or maximum transfer credits for prior education, allowing them to complete the program in less time, though programs vary according to specialty. Completion time also varies according to individual credit hours comprising the program, as well as internships and professional experience requirements.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

Yes, most online master’s degrees in business requires a capstone or thesis project. As the culmination of business and management skills learned in a master’s program, the direction of the capstone project is left to the student. Project ideas may include developing a business plan for a new company as an entrepreneur, or analyzing an existing organization, with strategic recommendations for improvement. The capstone is also designed to get you to use the advanced communication skills you’ve learned in school, through both written and oral presentations of the project.

What type of jobs does this degree prepare you for?

Graduates of a master’s degree in business may be eligible for their choice of high-level jobs involving business, management, and finance. While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for many business jobs, students aspiring to become financial advisors or financial analysts with a master’s degree are eligible for career advancement into senior positions. Many employers also prefer candidates with a master’s degree for budget analyst and financial examiner positions, or for careers within the federal government. By earning a business degree online, students can combine business skills with training in sought-after fields like S.T.E.M. and information technology, potentially leading to management positions within these fields.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary is $89,160.

Affordable Schools With Online Master’s Programs

PhD in Business: An Overview

Who should pursue a PhD in business?

The PhD in business is ideal if you are interested primarily in the research/analytic aspects of business and economics, or if you are aspiring to become an educator in this field. Coursework in a business PhD program is set apart from other degrees for its detailed conceptual and scholarly approach. The focus on this degree is centered on the study of economic theory, business strategy, and industrial organization, as well as providing educator training and experience.

How many years will it take to complete?

Business PhD programs typically take four to five years to complete. While all PhD programs require a high level of commitment and dedication, and most demand full-time study of each student, completion times may vary from one student to another depending on the student’s particular study track and/or area of specialty. For example, some schools allow business PhD candidates to select one major area of intensive concentration while others require the student to declare one major and two minor areas of specialty within the field.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

PhD candidates are required to present a dissertation to complete their degree. While completing a dissertation, you must also meet individual program requirements for teaching experience, general and field exams, and annual research presentations, or dissertation progress reports, as necessary. The dissertation is designed to represent your academic career achievements to date through the immersive process of developing a wholly definitive scholarly viewpoint on a relevant issue.

What type of jobs does this degree prepare you for?

Most students pursue a PhD in business to become teachers or increase eligibility for top-tier research and/or economics occupations. PhD graduates are qualified to teach economics and business administration, or a related subject according to their area of specialty, in colleges and universities nationwide. Students interested in research may be eligible for senior positions as economy analysts or financial advisors for global corporations and federal entities requiring additional security clearances and advanced field qualifications, including the U.S. government.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary is $75,370.

PhD in Business Overview

Like most doctoral programs, the PhD in business takes a different approach than a traditional undergraduate or graduate degree. Coursework in a PhD program teaches students to approach business administration conceptually and from a scholarly perspective, as opposed to simply building core vocational skills. You should be committed to extending your education for 4-5 years to conduct intensive research in business and economics. Though programs vary, the following is a sample timeline of what PhD candidates in business can expect during the course of the degree:

  • Year One and Year Two: Core and Immersion Coursework – PhDs in business typically require several core courses, which must be taken in the first two terms if not satisfied as prerequisites before starting the program. Core courses may include micro- and macroeconomic theory, advanced quantitative methods, and business history. These courses are typically followed by immersion courses in basic business concepts designed specifically to train educators in this field. A common example is the Business Education for Scholars and Teachers (BEST) series.
  • Year Three: Exams, Teaching Requirement, and Dissertation Development – PhD students are expected to pass both a general and field exam in their second/third year of study with at least a “B” grade. They can also complete a teaching engagement experience of at least one full term, usually requiring a specific combination of preparation hours, in-class observation, and front-of-class teaching time. Students should be simultaneously developing dissertation ideas and will present their research to a faculty committee for the first time at the end of their third year.
  • Year Four/Year Five: Progress Reports and Final Dissertation – After presenting their research in-progress in their third year, students will receive feedback and insights from the faculty committee. This will guide their research before the next presentation, which typically occurs at least once annually for the duration of the program. Most students complete their dissertation and have fulfilled all necessary field hour requirements within five years of starting their program.

Next Steps: Certification

Though not required in every occupation, there are several professional certifications available that can enhance your career prospects and demonstrate your skills in a particular specialty or concentration. Below are just some of the broad, business-oriented certifications available to job-seekers looking to gain an advantage over other candidates in the industry:

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional The Professional Business Analysis certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI-PBA) is ideal for project managers and program managers whose job responsibilities involve product development or project management. Pre-requisites for this certification include a secondary or bachelor’s degree and experience in business analysis and project-based teamwork.
  • Certified Business Manager The CBM credential is designed to enhance the broad business and leadership skills learned in an MBA program. Students complete the CBM certification in four parts, encompassing both knowledge and application of advanced skills in five different sectors of management and foundational business concepts. This is ideal for managers and aspiring managers in fields including operations, marketing, and HR.
  • Certified Business Intelligence Professional The CBIP certification is ideal for business professionals and managers working in data-heavy niche areas involving intelligence and/or analytics. The CBIP credential may be especially helpful to students with a combination of business and IT experience, enhancing skills not only in management, leadership, and analytics, but also in data design and integration.
  • Certified Professional Manager The certified professional manager credential demonstrates to employers that a candidate has met stringent standards for management and leadership education, and that they are prepared for a managerial role in business. Through a series of tests to complete the certification process, students prove their competency in foundational concepts, including management, leadership, and planning/organization.
  • Accredited Management Accountant The Global Academy of Finance and Management offers an Accredited Management Accountant (AMA) certification, designed to demonstrate advanced, executive-level competencies among candidates with an accounting degree. Applicants must also have at least three years of experience in asset management and financial planning. The AMA tests advanced skills in finance, accounting, laws, taxes, and other financial services.
  • Master Project Manager The MPM certification is designed to promote advanced collaborative, problem-solving, and leadership skills among project managers across all fields. Rooted in core leadership concepts, this credential provides broad, high-level team-leading competencies that can be applied universally in finance, IT, healthcare, and other fields.
  • Accreditation in Public Relations The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is ideal for those seeking a competitive edge in the professional world of public relations and communications. In addition to strengthening the student’s knowledge of crucial PR principles and competencies, the APR certification increases the student’s awareness of innovative industry practices and promotes mentorship and networking opportunities within the industry.
  • Certified Finance Specialist The CFS certification is intended for practicing and aspiring finance professionals in all areas of budgeting, management, and advising for corporate and private clients. Specialty areas addressed as part of the certification process include corporate finance, capital budgeting, and management and risk management.

Sites You May Also be Interested In

Business Job Boards

  • Quintessential Careers: Executive Jobs Specializing in matching executives, senior- and mid-level management professionals with the perfect position for their skills. The site offers resume- and cover letter-writing advice and interviews with top professionals, along with a job board.
  • Highlights jobs in various industries tailored to HR professionals seeking coordinator, recruiter, or management positions in major cities across the United States.
  • With a section geared toward executive-level jobs, caters to job-seekers in specific fields of management including technology, consulting, and sales.

Business Blogs

  • PandoDaily Created by four Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs, PandoDaily now features blog posts on a range of topics, from politics to tech-business news, delivered with a quirky, op-ed-style twist.
  • Both Sides of the Table The brainchild of Mark Suster, two-time entrepreneur and founder of Upfront Ventures, Both Sides of the Table offers “startup lessons” from Mark himself, as well as professional insight into venture capitalist business strategies and entrepreneurship.
  • Brazen Careerist Created by Penelope Trunk, founder of four startup businesses and occasional contributor to CNN, NPR, and the BBC, Brazen Careerist offers personal insight on a range of business-related topics, from increasing productivity to changing careers to professional coaching.

Professional Organizations

  • American Society of Association Executives Supporting several conferences, expos, and training programs, the ASAE promotes professional development and community advocacy for practicing and aspiring business, finance, marketing, and tech workers.
  • Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals This member site is designed to provide resources to professionals in executive and administrative roles through job bank postings and resume services, conferences and seminars and low-cost training opportunities.
  • Senior Executives Association This non-profit organization supports public resources, including professional coaching, mentoring and legal advising, for active and retired senior executives in the federal sector, spanning a broad range of high-level management and administrative positions within numerous government agencies.