It is that time of the year again. Students of AEM 220 form groups and get their first taste of company research. The following process has been developed out of the project assignment. But it serves as a good guide for any undergraduate student trying to research a company for a class project or for an interview. Although there is no strict formula, some good guidelines are given below:
1. Select your company: If your group is having trouble deciding, then use Hoovers to break the impasse. Use Hoovers Online to ensure that you have adequate information available for the company. Thus Hoovers should have a full-blown financial data section including value engine analysis and comparison data. If such information is not available, choose another company. If in doubt, contact a librarian.
2. Background Information: After you have decided your company, then review all sections of Hoovers thoroughly using all the possible relevant information you need for your project.
3. Visit the company website. Comb it thoroughly especially for its diversity and sustainable development policies and practices.
4. Financial Data: Then begin collecting all financial data you need for the various sections of the project. Use Primarily Mergent Online and supplemented with Hoovers. For extensive research, use Market Insight.
5. Search for news, magazine and scholarly articles: Use resources such as Factiva , Business & Company Resource Center and Business Source Premier for analyzing the five environments of the company.
6. Industry reports: Articles and news magazines may not be adequate. You will also need relevant industry reports for the industry the company operates in in order to do the best job for the five environments of the company . You can use Business & Company Resource Center or Market Insight for industry data.
7. Strategy: You will need to use resources such as Factiva , Business & Company Resource Center and Business Source Premier yet again for news about its product, promotion and distribution strategies, recent mergers, acquisitions, and international operations.
8. SWOT reports: Use Business Source Premier You will need this information to analyze the competitive position of the company using Porter’s five forces framework. If SWOT reports are not available, do not worry. You will need to use the rest of the sources to get enough information about the company.
9. Sustainability ratings are always hard to find. Check out the source called Innovest iRatings: for analyzing companies’ performance on intangible value factors such as environmental, social, and strategic governance management, and how such factors impact competitiveness, profitability, and share price performance.
10) Googling throughout your process is great for generating ideas. But keep in mind you are going to never be sure whether you found exhaustive, systematic, credible or diverse information. Ensure you conduct the above systematic search using intelligent business information seeking.
If you cannot find the answer you are seeking, ask a librarian.