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BUSI 1301: Business Principles - Group Project: Home

Research skills for publicly traded companies

Group Project - Industry Research Assignment

Each group is to research an industry. Select at least two major companies within the industry to investigate, noting both the similarities and the differences of the companies.  The companies must provide a similar type of product.Example:  you might choose the oil industry and pick Exxon-Mobil and Chevron.  They are both major oil companies.  You might choose the Auto Industry and choose GM and Toyota.  Both are publicly traded companies on US stock markets.

Your companies MUST be publicly traded. There are a number of online resources that can help you find publicly traded companies.; Some of these are Yahoo Finance, CNN money, CNBC, Bloomberg and many more.  This library assignment guide will help you with your research.

Each group will turn in a written paper of five to ten pages.  The paper must to cover all 14 points, including the 12 points from the Required list and at least two from the additional list below.  Each paper must include a cover page and a works cited page in addition to the five to ten pages required.  Grammar and spelling are important and will be considered in your grade, but your paper will be assessed based on how well you explain the material.  Remember that all work should be in your own words - NO QUOTES. 

Each group should include a power point presentation of 5 to 10 slides that supports your paper with bullet points, graphs, or pictures – NO PARAGRAPHS.   If you do something creative and innovative in your presentation, you and your group can earn extra credit.

Your group should: 
  • Set a goal that is:
    • Realistic
    • Measureable
    • Specific
  • Develop a time frame for work due.
  • Develop rules for what to do if someone does not turn in work to the group on time.
  • Exchange contact information outside of the classroom.
  • Pick an industry with at least two publicly traded companies

You can use online meetings, discussion boards, email, Google docs and other online resources for this project. You may NOT require face-to-face meetings. Not all students are located in the Houston area. Not all students have transportation.

In order to make an A, groups need to do something creative or add extra value to the paper or presentation. All basic requirements for the paper and presentation must be completed before added value will be considered. See your instructor for more information.

Required for All Projects:

Briefly explain the importance of each item.   Some items can be covered in one or two sentences; some will require more detail. 

1.  An explanation of the industry and the companies within it as they exist currently

2.  A brief history of the industry and the companies you are investigating        

3.  The type of product/products that is provided by this industry/companies and the type of customers.

4.  What influence the industry/companies have on the US economy and conversely,  the influence of the economy on the industry/companies.

5.  How the industry/companies and their decisions have a bearing on the lives of the average American.

6.  The form of competition found in this industry (pure competition, monopolistic, oligopoly, monopoly)

7.  The published mission or vision statement of each corporation.

8.  The most recent fiscal year's sales, expenses, and net profit for each company and how those figures compare with the industry as a whole.

9.  The price per share of common stock for each corporation at the end of the fiscal year and for the quarters of the current fiscal year. 

10. Pick at least three financial ratios and compare each company to the industry standards.  Are the companies better or worse than the industry standard?  

11. A brief discussion of the amount of government regulation for this industry.

12. The types of jobs or careers most frequently found in this industry and the amount of education/training needed for those jobs/careers.

Add Two or More From the Following:

SELECT AT LEAST TWO OR MORE ITEMS from the following list to include in your presentation.  It is preferable to use those items that best apply to your industry or companies.  These items need to be discussed in more detail than in the previous section. 

1.  Any serious ethical problems/questions faced by the industry.  Explain how each company dealt with those problems/questions.

2.  Whether or not the industry/companies are involved in international trade and global business.  In what way?  And with which countries?

3.  Any major mergers or diversifications that have/had a serious bearing on the industry.

4.  A comparison of the levels of management within the two companies and the styles of management of the two companies.

5.  The use of a Total Quality Program or a Just in Time Inventory system within the companies.

6.  An overview of the production/operations process within the companies.

7.  The development and implementation of the human resource process.

8.  The presence and importance of unions in the industry.

9.  The presence and importance of small business in the industry and any use of  franchising.

10. The importance and use of technology within the industry and how each company uses technology.         

11. Marketing strategies used by each company and the industry including the research and development of new products, how each arrives at pricing decisions, and how products are distributed.

12. The importance and type of advertising and promotions used by the companies/industry.

13. The governmental agencies (other than IRS) that have a bearing on this industry and how each company deals with this regulation.

14. Any other major issue that applies to your industry.  (TO USE THIS CATEGORY AS ONE OF YOUR TWO, YOU MUST CLEAR IT WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR).


Groups who do something creative or add extra value to the paper or presentation will receive extra credit.  All basic requirements for the paper and presentation must be completed before extra credit will be considered.  See your instructor for more information.

Suggested Industries

  • Airline
  • Oil
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Auto
  • Computer/Information Technology
  • Steel
  • Retail
  • Entertainment
  • Agriculture
  • Banking/Finance
  • Health care
  • Trucking
  • Railroads
  • Communications
  • Defense
  • Internet

A list of publicly traded companies by industry, can be found in the Security and Exchange Commission's database, EDGAR. EDGAR contains most of the required reports and filings, including financial and annual reports.Go to the link for Companies & Other Filers and enter the SIC (Standard Industrial Classifcation) code (or click on the SIC link to see a list of SIC codes).


For more in depth research, use the library's business databases.

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