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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

MGTS 4481 - MBA 8411: Strategic Management for Sanjay Goel

Summer 2020, for Sanjay Goel

Research Guide


Suggested Sources for Company and Industrial Analysis 

Business Insights: Essentials
This is an excellent source for information in periodicals and it has a number of electronic business reference sources as well. Look up companies by name, see periodicals, company histories, company rankings, market share, some financials, company lines of business that are connected to excellent industry overviews.  Use the  Search Box option to find company histories, company rankings, market share, and industry overviews. Search by company name.

Business Source Premier
Search for periodical information on company name, industry, product, etc.
Search on company name in one box, and another word or concept in another box…. Concepts like “strategy” or “strategic” or some other word related to your research interests. Business Source Premier is the best place to search and browse popular, trade, and scholarly academic journals. Use the "company profiles" option to search for useful MarketLine company overview reports by company name.  Also, be sure to find the industry overview for you topic in this database. They will include the Porter's Five Forces.

Business Source Ultimate (on trial at UMD until June 28, 2020)  a larger version of  Business Source Premier.


Google Scholar
Indexes scholarly literature. Strong in the areas of medicine, engineering, the sciences, and business. Provides relevancy rankings based on the citation patterns of the articles.  Sources are linked to Library electronic holdings via "Find It."   This is your first best place to search for scholarly journal articles.  Look up industries, and related sub-topics,  products, or company names and sub-topics.


Hoover's Company Profiles
Hoover's delivers concise and current information on a company's location, summary financials, top competitors, top officers, strategy, and more. This database covers more than 40,000 public and non-public companies, as well as 225,000 key executives.


IBIS World Industry Reports

IBIS provides Industry market research reports on over 1,300 U.S. industries, plus Canada Industries, China Industries, and Global Industries, Each IBISWorld report includes:

  • An overview of the industry structure
  • The current industry performance and key external drivers
  • The industry outlook and lifecycle
  • Products and markets, including the supply chain, major markets and international trade
  • Competitive landscape and market share
  • Major companies
  • Key statistics and data.

You can find reports by browsing by industry sector, by SIC or NAICS codes, or or simply searching by keyword. This will be your main source for industry overviews. 

Mergent Online
Excellent source for 15 years of financial data, company financial ratios, annual reports and other financial data.  Be sure to locate company annual reports and download the "Mergent Report" for your company.  See the Compare Companies Video.


Mintel Reports
Database containing over 600 consumer product and service marketing reports. Most are US and UK based. They are full of amazing detail and analysis.


More excellent financial data, and make sure to look at current and archived Analyst Research.

Good company information, and be sure to look at the broad industry overviews. These are excellent.

ProQuest News
Proquest News is our best source for newspaper information with archives going back over 30 years. This contains the full text of the Wall Street Journal and the New York TimesUse ProQuest News to update the information you will find in your industry overviews.

Search for articles in these titles directly via these links:
Financial Times
New York Times

Wall Street Journal


How to get automatic news alerts

Google Alerts:
Here is where students can go to set up a Google Alert.  If they want to look for news, I suggest they change Result Type to News. 

For ProQuest News here are the basic steps:
1.  Go to the database ProQuest News from the UMD Library website  (Databases tab)
2.  Perform a search.  To search for a specific organization, enter in a search term and change the drop down menu to Company/Organization (ORG).
3.  After search results are returned, and you are happy with your search terms, click on Create Alert.
4.  Create an alert following the four easy steps.
5.  Wait for your alerts to arrive.


Passport Database (GMID) from Euromonitor
This is our best source for international marketing information. Here are narrative reports and statistics on consumer products, consumer lifestyles, and retailing structures of 50-60 major nations, including the United States. 4,000 international company reports can be found here too. Use the keyword in the search box located at the top of the web page.  Search for companies, products, and industries.

During this Summer, we have a trial of the Statista database!!

Search Statista for industry statistics. Look up companies too! 

Value Line
Provides the current relative rating for performance and safety together with estimated yields, the latest earnings, dividends and p/e data, guidance on current investment policy, analysis and forecasts of the national economy and the stock market. Value Line offers views on the economy and the stock market as well as on stocks of special interest. This is a highly regarded and unique source of financial information. Search by company name.


WestLaw News

Westlaw News contains more than 4,900 news and business information publications.  This is a major database for news and trade publications.   This is a key source of information.

Other Suggested Websites

How to Compare the Financials of One Company to Another


Comparing Companies


Comparing Companies -- Financial Ratios
Sources of Ratios


SWOT Analysis

Sources of SWOT

Use these SWOT reports to guide and inspire the development of your own SWOT Analysis.
As you read the many articles and sources of your research, you will learn more and more
about your company and its current situation, and you will be able to compose your own SWOT
Analysis based on the large amount of information you have retrieved.  As you conduct your
research, look at the reliability of the sources you are reading.  Are they from well established
authorities, or, are they from sources with uncertain credentials?

Our featured Financial Ratio Database


BizMiner offers industry financial analysis benchmarks for over 5,000 lines of business and industry market trends on thousands more. Their market analysis reports are available at the national and local levels down to the zip code. BizMiner is a great resource to use when developing business plans, or for any sort of entrepreneurship initiatives where you need to measure peer performance in an industry. Types of reports:

  • Industry Financial Profiles
  • U.S.  & Local Market Research Reports (includes business failure rates)
  • Area Demographic Profiles
  • Sole Proprietor/Startup Profit & Loss
  • Local Market Vitality Profile
BizMiner Video Tutorials


Citing Your Sources.

Be sure to provide complete citations for your sources in your bibliography.  These links and services can help:

Launch Pad's How to Cite Electronic Information (APA)

Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide

UMD Writer's Workshop (provides one-on-one advice on citation.)


 Value Chain Analysis

business statistics

Doing a “Value Chain Analysis” begins with understanding the concept of the “Value Chain.”

Your textbook, or these links may give you some insight:

Strategic Management Insight
Mind Tools

“A value chain is a chain of activities that a firm operating in a specific industry performs in order to deliver a valuable product or service for the market. The concept comes from business management and was first described and popularized by Michael Porter in his 1985 best-seller, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.[1]

"The idea of the value chain is based on the process view of organizations, the idea of seeing a manufacturing (or service) organization as a system, made up of subsystems each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Inputs, transformation processes, and outputs involve the acquisition and consumption of resources - money, labor, materials, equipment, buildings, land, administration and management. How value chain activities are carried out determines costs and affects profits."

The concept of value chains as decision support tools, was added onto the competitive strategies paradigm developed by Porter as early as 1979. In Porter's value chains, Inbound Logistics, Operations, Outbound Logistics, Marketing and Sales and Service are categorized as primary activities. Secondary activities include Procurement, Human Resource management, Technological Development and Infrastructure.”  (From the Wikipedia)

As a student doing a Value Chain Analysis, you will be doing determined and extensive research in several of our key databases (listed below).  Before you do this you will want to read our company overview reports for your selected company, and our industry overview reports for your company’s industry.

In order to do this analysis well, you will need to be prepared to read many, many articles and financial reports.  Companies often treat their supply chain and value chain information as secrets.  So, you will have to work with secondary sources, reading what journalists and analysts have discovered about these companies.  Primary resources would include S.E.C. 10K Reports

When searching within these databases...

Google Scholar
Proquest News

you can try to restrict your search results to a specific company by typing its name into the search box and then do a topic-specific search by entering the following (sample) search terms or keywords:

  • "Value Chain"  AND  companyname  AND  (companyproductline)
  • Logistics  AND  companyname  AND  (companyproductline)
  • Operations AND  companyname
  • “Marketing and Sales” AND  companyname
  • Service AND companyname
  • "Supply Chain" AND companyname
  • Procurement  AND  companyname
  • Purchasing  AND  companyname
  • “Human Resource Management” AND companyname
  • “Technological Development” AND companyname
  • Infrastructure AND companyname

You may also want to try these keywords as well:

  • Cost Advantage
  • Differentiation Advantage
  • Design
  • Assembly
  • Testing
  • Quality Control
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Distribution
  • Dealer support
  • Customer’s value
  • Inbound logistics
  • Outbound logistics
  • Technology

You may want to try searching for other related words as well.

In addition, you should look up the company’s 10K reports, in this database: Mergent Online

Go into Mergent Online, search for your company by name or ticker symbol.
On the results page, click on the “Reports” tab, and then select “Annual Reports.”

Now you can view 10K and Annual reports in PDF format. Once you are in the PDF documents you can type  CTRL-F for a search box, where you can type in your keywords.

Keep in mind that you may find many articles and documents that contain your company name and keywords but they may not provide the information you seek.  In other cases, you may be able to piece together useful bits of information from several articles.

Good luck on your research !!!