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Strategic Management - CBA - Oakland Campus

Resources for Part 2a (Business Unit Strategic Assessment - External)

Remember, you'll need to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources (listed below) to create your assessment. The external assessment focuses on the industry in which your product line or business segment operates. 

NAICS and SIC Codes

NAICS classification tree

NAICS and SIC codes help classify and measure industry activity. Knowing the code for your industry will help you find reports, articles, and other information on that industry.

The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) is gradually replacing the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

Even though the codes are standardized, different resources will assign codes differently. Additionally, many companies can have multiple codes because of their various business segments. Be flexible and cautious when using codes to search, and always check multiple sources.

Note: Sometimes there isn't a perfect or obvious code. If you have questions, please contact the business librarian.

Accompanying image from the Census Bureau's site.

To look up codes by keyword, use the following sites.

If you already have a company but don't know what code(s) are associated with it, try the following databases.

If you only have the SIC code but the resource you are using only provides NAICS codes, you might want to try and convert your SIC code to the NAICS code. You can use the following documents to help.

Another set of codes, the Global Industry Classification Standard, or GICS, was developed by Standard & Poors. The GICS classifcations were designed to "respond to the global financial community's need for accurate, complete and standard industry definition" and consist of 10 sectors, 24 industry groups, 67 industries, and 157 sub-industries.

Industry Reports

car and automobile industry report home page in IBIS World

Industry reports, available in databases, print resources, and websites, contain valuable analysis of an industry's operating conditions, driving forces, competitive landscapes, and more.

Be aware that many do not cover smaller niche industries and always check the date to see how current the information is.

Supplement these reports with information found in newspapers and trade publications.

Accompanying image is from the IBIS World database.

Industry Financials/Ratios

key ratios from IBIS World for the automobile manufacturing industry

Financial ratios, such as earnings per share, are figured by comparing two different elements of a company's financial statement.

You can determine a company's performance and strength within an industry if you compare that company's ratios with those of the industry.

Each of the resources provided here will cover different industries, include different companies in those industries, provide different data and ratios, and present the results differently. Using multiple resources will help you determine which one best meets your needs.

The accompanying image is from IBIS World and provides industry financials for the US car and automobile industry.

Industry News

business newspaper

Finding up-to date industry information and news can be really important when working on research projects, networking, and job hunting. Use the following resources to help.

Industry associations or organizations can provide a wealth of information about the industry. Many will also include recent news sections as well.
For how to find industry associations, take a look at the Industry Associations section of the Doing Industry Research guide.

Many databases offer alert services. Look for any button or link that says alerts or save search or something similar. Most databases will first require you to sign up for a free account. 

For further information about setting up alerts, RSS feeds, and other ways to get up-to-date company news more quickly, refer to the following guide.

Finding Lists of Companies

list of Ford competitors, like Toyota and GMCompany rankings lists for a particular industry or industry segment can help you identify key players or competitors within that industry. Several databases also compile competitor lists for specific companies as well.

Be sure to understand how any rankings or lists are compiled, and what companies are included. For instance, Mergent Online defaults to showing only public US companies as competitors.

Accompanying image is a list of Ford competitors in Mergent Online.

One of the easiest ways to find lists of companies is to locate a company's competitors in a company database.

These competitor lists are a great way to get started if you have one ideal target company. Keep in mind the competitors are chosen for various reasons depending on the source, so the competitors listed in the following databases might be different for the same company.

If you are looking for key players in a specific industry, industry reports will often help you start your list. The links and instructions below will help you find industry reports.

When doing industry research you often want to know the industry classification code (such as NAICS or SIC) for the industry you're interested in. Find out more about industry codes.

The Pittsburgh Book of Lists is helpful when looking for Pittsburgh-specific "top" lists. The most recent edition and some older ones are available online via BizJournals. Older print editions are available in the reference section of Hillman Library.

Some industries or popular topics will have their own lists of companies. Some examples are below:

For manufacturing firms, try searching ThomasNet.

For directories of specific types of companies, like broadcast and media, consultants, etc., try Gale Directory Library. Once in the database, use the first drop-down box to select the specific directory to use.

There are many places to get market share data. For a detailed overview, please visit this page on finding market share data.

Creating Custom Company Lists

These tabs will explain how to create custom lists of list from capital iq

You'll often be able to not only create a list of companies, but also choose which variables or data points to view or download.

Image is from a downloaded list of companies using Capital IQ.


Here are some tips:

  • Some resources provide rankings by SIC/NAICS codes, so be sure to know what companies fall within those codes. For more information, see the Industry Code section of the Doing Industry Reseach guide.
  • Companies are often listed under their primary code, even though they might have multiple secondary codes. This means that some rankings lists may be missing key performers who may be primarily involved in another industry.
  • Additionally, sales and employee figures provided may be for the overall corporation and not just for the segment represented by the given code.


The following is an example of one way to screen for companies in Capital IQ. The example creates a list of companies in the Pittsburgh area that currently employ a Marketing Professional or Head of Marketing affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh. Capital IQ is very complex with many features and options. Please contact us if you have questions!

View written instructions.

This video will show you the basics of creating lists in Mergent Online.

View written instructions.

This video will show you the basics of creating a company list in Nexis Uni.

View written instructions.

There are some additional resources available at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that might suit your needs better. You can access these either at a CLP location, or online if you have a CLP library card. Business librarians are only available at the Downtown & Business branch.

- Reference USA - has some really good list building features, sometimes including contact information.

- AtoZDatabases - also good for list/lead generating and getting contact information

See the full list of CLP databases.