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MBA Business Research: Home

The MBA Business Research was constructed to help students in MBA classes with basic business research methods - topics covered include: company data, country research, and marketing information resources.

Business Research Class presentation


Welcome to the MBA Business Research guide 

This guide contains three sections. One section is on basic business and industry research, another section is a guide to locating financial and investment information and the last section deals with finding "narrative content" about a company. This guide is accompanied by a short video that covers all of these topics and demonstrates the resources. There are two more lessons like this; an MBA Marketing Research Guide and an MBA International Business Research Guide

Each lesson has a short quiz that will help you focus on the skills covered in the lesson. For instance, NAICS codes are used to codify business information. If I know a NAICS code it opens the door to a large amount of very focused data such as the number of employees in an industry and names of companies in that industry. The codes even provide a pathway to doing some unique market and marketing reports. To help develop that skill set, the quiz on business research has questions on how we find a NAICS code and how we go about choosing the right code for an industry of interest. The last tab includes a page with the answers to the quiz questions. 

In this class we will do an overview of using business data to profile a company. We will use four business resources. Here are the links to those sources but of course keep in mind that these can be found on the library Databases A to Z list along with dozens of other business resources. We are going to search for company listings in ReferenceUSA, find business and industry data in Business Insight, look for stock and ratio data in Morningstar, and finally we want to explore company narrative content as found in ABInform.  

Why are these resources important to the business researcher? We use these third party business resources because companies are careful about their corporate image as found on social media and web pages in general. Companies have staff that manage their social media accounts, responding to customer concerns but also to mitigate negative comments.

Let's get started! 

But first there are a couple of things that we need to know about company and company types. 

Sources to Consider: Profiling a Company                                          

  • Public companies issue stock that may be traded on one of the open exchanges. These companies are required to file financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the form of a 10-K report plus other documents. They also issue an annual report for their stockholders. In the US there are only around 20,000 public companies. That means that the rest of the companies are subsidiaries or privately held.
  • Private companies have a limited number of shareholders, do not issue stock, and do not have to publicly disclose financial information.
  • Subsidiaries are a part of a parent company. Separate financial information may or may not be available. 

NAICS Code (North American Industry Classification System) is a 6 number code provided by the government. Each code is linked to an industry. In most data resources, the primary code is the first code listed for a company. So as you start to look for the company of interest pay attention to that primary code. All other codes listed are secondary.


David L. Bryden - Business and Graduate Health

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David Bryden
Smith Library - main floor
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