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Use this guide to help with research throughout the MBA program, including industry and company research, marketing, writing literature reviews, and citing sources in APA.

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Dan Hoiland

What to Think About Before Doing Industry Research

Sector - Your industry may fall under manufacturing, wholesale, retail, service, or a combination.

Classification - There are two systems of industry classification codes in the United States: SIC and NAICS. 

  • NAICS: North American Industry Classification System
    North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
    The standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
  • SIC: Standard Industrial Classification
    SIC:Standard Industrial Classification
    Four digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes were established in the US in 1937 and have been used to classify industry areas. In the US, the six-digit NAICS code has primarily taken the place of the SIC code, however, some agencies still use SIC codes.

Size - How many companies are operating in your industry? How many products are involved? Do public companies or private companies make up the majority of the industry? Is the parent company part of the same industry?

Geographic Scope - Is the industry local, national, or international? Does it rely on importing or exporting goods?

Target Market - Is the industry consumer-driven or business-to-business? Who is likely to purchase the product or service?

Regulation - How highly regulated is the industry? What agencies oversee regulations, if any? What types of permits, licenses, or professional accreditation are required in/of the industry?

Social and Environmental Factors - What world events, trends, or environmental conditions might have an effect on your industry?

Industry Reports

IBISWorld is the go-to resource to learn more about your industry. Information is organized into industry reports which contain information about the industry's current performance, future outlook, and key trends.

To find the correct industry report, try searching for general terms, such as "automotive manufacturing" or "women's apparel." Or, try searching for a major company that operates in that industry. For instance, searching for "Pepsico" will direct you to the industry report for "Soda Production in the US."

Other Sources of Company Information

Newspapers, Magazines, and Trade Journals