How Profound Works in a University Setting

College_students-2Profound is a premier business intelligence solution with more than one million market research reports from hundreds of global publishers. The platform allows users to stretch their research budgets by purchasing individual sections — such as chapters, tables, and charts — rather than having to buy full reports. 

Profound is used by many well-known consulting firms and banks, but it’s also a tool that’s helpful for students who need access to market research. 

Robert Berkman, the outreach business librarian at the University of Rochester, advises and consults with students to help them identify relevant research from reliable sources. When students need some hard-to-locate industry data and analysis, Berkman typically points them to Profound as a cost-effective option for obtaining market insights from leading market research providers.

I recently spoke to Berkman about how he manages his Profound subscription and the benefits it provides to students. Read the interview below to learn his perspective.

What need does Profound fill for your university?

I work primarily with graduate students who study business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and market research. They often need very specific data such as market sizes or market trends on narrow and obscure topics. Sometimes the only place to get this information is in market research reports.

We currently have one other market research subscription besides Profound, but the collection wasn’t enough to meet our students' needs. Profound provides a broader range of market research providers and gives access to more types of industry data than you could have with just a subscription to an individual market research provider.

Since Profound isn’t an open platform and you need to purchase individual pieces of research before viewing them, how do you manage usage?

I use two passwords. We give one password to students that they can use only for searches. Once they find a piece of research that fits their needs, they email me, and I consult with them to make sure Profound is the right source for the information.

I often help students identify the exact section they need. Other research providers don’t allow you to download by the section, so that’s something new to students.

Once we’ve settled on a specific piece of research, I use a separate password for purchasing and downloading the research and then email the student the section.

How do you manage the overall budget?

It was an estimate at first. I allocate about $300 for each student out of our entire yearly draw-down budget with Profound. Sometimes we will spend more if we are ahead of the game. I give students a range to work with, but I’ve never run out of a budget, and it’s working very well.

Are you happy with the platform so far? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I’ve recommended the platform to other business librarians in our region. We meet occasionally to exchange ideas and information. I was surprised to find that many business librarians hadn’t heard about Profound, but once I explained it to them, they were interested and intrigued.

I also work as an editor at a monthly journal Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, a publication that provides critical analysis of information resources and search strategies, so I became quite familiar with Profound years ago.

Profound fills a real gap. Schools can’t afford to have dozens of subscriptions to market research publishers, and purchasing individual reports is also very expensive. Profound allows you to access valuable, hard-to-find data from multiple publishers. Since we’ve had Profound, we’ve been able to answer a lot more questions than we were able to before.

Is there anything else you’d like to add your experience using Profound?

One feature that is helpful is the ability to call and speak to a support specialist if you aren’t sure if the content of a report is relevant to your needs. They can open the file and check it for you so you can increase your odds that the information will meet your specific criteria. The keyword in context feature is also helpful for that same reason.


Additional Information

Profound has been recognized for its advanced, proprietary search engine supported by one of the most comprehensive taxonomies of companies and industries in the market research industry. Profound searches return highly targeted, easily-viewed results from over one million studies. This affords business school librarians and students the ability to quickly and easily hone in on the exact research that will benefit their case studies. Students can easily find a chart or graph, detailed company analysis, or an entire market assessment.

A variety of universities use Profound in other ways beyond the business school setting. For example, the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina offers Profound as a resource to aid tech-based start-ups, and Harvard University provides Profound as part of its alumni services.

To learn more about this research platform, please visit our website or contact Lisa Raker at

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Topics: Academic Profound Market Research Provider