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Strategic Management - CBA - Oakland Campus

Resources for Part 2b (Business Unit Strategic Assessment - Internal)

Remember, you'll need to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources (listed below) to create your assessment. The internal assessment focuses on your specific product line/business segment.

Company Profiles and Histories

 first page of a mergent company profile

There are many places you can find information about a company and its history. Try the following approaches:

  • Company's website
    • Websites often include an "about us" section that sometimes detail their history. Remember, the company will explain its history the way it wants to be seen.
  • Annual report
    • Public companies are required to file an annual report to the U.S. government, known as a 10-K. These reports will often include a section on the company's history. Again, remember this is a self-reported history.
  • Find books/ebooks that contain corporate histories
    • Books about a company often include historical background.
    • Do a keyword search in PittCat to find any books in the University Library System which cover your company's history.
  • Search for articles
    • Newspaper, trade/magazine, and scholarly articles that mention or are about specific companies might provide some historical information.

Accompanying image is from a company report in the Mergent Online database.

Although it might take some digging and persistence, searching for articles that refer to your company can prove helpful. Try the below databases, along with Google and Google Scholar.

Company Financials

The following databases provide access to company financials and other finance related information (such as stock prices, analyst estimates, etc.).

The Annual Report to Shareholders is the main document public companies use to disclose corporate information to shareholders. It is normally a polished report including an opening letter from the CEO, financial data, results of continuing operations, market segement information, new product plans, subsidiary activities, and R&D activities on future programs.

Keep in mind that annual reports are written by the companies themselves and used as a public relations tool. You might need to read between the lines and consult other resources to obtain a more accurate view of the company.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations require companies that sell stock (public companies) file a number of financial reports with the Commission. These reports are made publicly available and provide a wealth of information. Below are some of the key reports used in company research. Check out the SEC website for more information about the SEC or descriptions of the many corporate filings and forms.

10-K: An SEC filing containing more detailed financial information than annual reports; text may include products, markets, distribution channels, research and development, patent, and environmental safety information. Available in Mergent Online, NexisUni, and EDGAR.

10-Q: Quarterly financial reports. Available in: Mergent Online, NexisUni and EDGAR.

Proxy Statements: A report to stock holders issued prior to the annual meeting or a vote on significant changes to provide security holders the information needed to vote informed. You often find ownership information and salaries of company executives in these documents. Available in EDGAR (labeled as DEF 14A), and on some company websites.

In addition to the resources available through the University of Pittsburgh, there are a number of companies and organizations that make some information available for free through their websites. Some of the information listed below will be completely available for free, while others will give you a preview in hopes that you will pay for more access.

Bloomberg Terminals are available in the Finance Lab (Mervis 201). Bloomberg can be a great resource for hard-to-find financial information including security pricing and customized analytics, in addition to up-to-the-minute business news.

To create your own account, click GO, then select Create a New Login. You will be asked for your email address and your cell phone number. Bloomberg will text you a validation code, which you will enter to confirm your account. You may also opt to do this through email.

For expert Bloomberg Help, click the HELP key twice to send an email to Bloomberg Help Desk. They will respond within 24 hours. When using the terminal, clicking HELP once will display a detailed explanation of whatever screen you have open.

We have provided you with two links to tutorials on how to use the Bloomberg Terminal below.  We strongly advise you to look over the Help Guides if you have not used Bloomberg before.

Below are some additional resources that contain company financials. These tend to be particularly good for historical questions.

Company News

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

Many companies are using social media outlets both to convey their message and to track what customers are saying about them on the web. Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can provide insight into your company and the responses of their users.

For example, searching Twitter for your company or product line can yield a bevy of marketing insight and customer commentary.

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 Company Analyst Reports

There are many resources that contain company analyst reports. Investext provides the best reports, so use that database if you can.



Use the video tutorials to learn how to find analyst reports for specific companies. Use the arrowto view the videos full-screen.