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MBA Research Guide

Company Research

These are some databases to use when conducting company research. 

Be sure to use article databases like ABI/Inform Collection or Business Source Complete, located under the  "Sources for Articles" tab of this guide, to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.

When doing company research one should determine whether a company is public, privately held, or a subsidiary.  The databases below can help you determine this. If you are doing research on a local level where there are many small businesses, use a database like Reference Solutions to determine this.

If you have determined that a company is publicly traded, you will be able to find many sources that provide financial summaries, investment analyst reports (such as those provided via Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage), as well as their 10-Ks or 20-Fs.  The sources in this section will help you find this type of information. 

10-Ks are the annual reports that U.S. public companies must submit to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).  20-Fs are the annual reports that foreign companies trading in the U.S. file to the SEC.  Another good source for the 10-Ks or other annual reports is the company's website.   These reports are usually located in the "Investor Relations" section of a company's website. 

These sources will help you identify competitors.  They will also help you determine whether the competitor is public, private, or a subsidiary. 

Reference Solutions is a strong source for identifying competitors on a local level as well as helping you to determine the type of company. 

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

The database in this section provides company reports with SWOTS for selected public and private companies.  If your company is not in the database, or if a report doesn't have a SWOT analysis, you should use articles, annual reports (if it is a public company), and/or the company's website to find information.

In general you will not be able to find detailed financials for the majority of subsidiaries or private companies that exist in the U.S. Here are some tips for private company and subsidiaries research (databases are linked below):

  • Search PrivCo (link is provided below).
  • Use a database like Reference Solutions, which will provide estimated sales figures for these types of companies.
  • The Book of Lists is a good source when looking for top companies for an industry in a metro area like Denver and throughout the U.S. 
  • MarketLine Company Profiles Authority has selected company reports that include large, privately-held companies.
  • Most companies have websites, so examine them for information.
  • If the company is a subsidiary, identify the parent.  Then determine whether the parent is publicly traded or not. If the parent is trading publicly, information about the subsidiary may be provided in the 10-K, including revenue figures for two or three years.
  • Use databases like ABI/Inform Collection, Factiva, Nexis Uni, or others that are identified in the  "Articles" tab of this guide, to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.
  • Another strategy would be to look at credit reports for these types of companies. Brief Experian credit reports are available in Nexis Uni.
  • Information about a private company or subsidiaries may be included in market research or industry reports, so be alert when looking at these types of sources. In addition, an annual report for a publicly-traded company may provide some information about privately-held competitors.
  • Use industry financial benchmarks, which can be found in a subscription database called Bizminer. This source is under the "Industry Research - Industry Analysis / Financial Benchmarks" section of this guide.
  • If your company is incorporated in Europe, regardless of whether it is public, private, or subsidiary, use Orbis.