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Understanding Companies Course with Gary Hoover

Gary Hoover

Multiple Dates

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Do you REALLY Understand Big Companies?


I have spent the last 47 years studying and researching the economy, industries, and individual companies.  I find that very few business people really understand how this all works.   And even fewer are good, efficient researchers.  Those are the reasons I founded the business information company that became Hoovers.com in 1990.


If you sell to companies, work for companies, invest in companies, buy from companies, compete with companies, consult for companies, or partner with companies, my new course “Understanding Companies” is for you.  See the summary video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS2CKVcRrBI.  After completing the course, you should be able to talk to people at a company and know as much or more about their company and industry than they do.


Why am I qualified to teach this course?  I started subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12, studied economics under three future Nobel Prize winners, and picked stocks on Wall Street.  Then I looked at 400 acquisition candidates for a multibillion dollar company and have plenty of boardroom and corporate experience, including 5 years on the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors.  Lastly, I founded and raised the money for four startups.  Two years ago I was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UT’s McCombs Business School, and I now teach business and entrepreneurship on my own and speak on these subjects to entrepreneurs and executives worldwide.  Testimonials about my teaching are at the bottom of this note.


This new three-part course, which you can take all together or just one or two of the three parts, is meant to help you understand how the world of corporations (big and small) works.  Those who take the full three parts will be way ahead of the game – and their competition – because they will really understand companies from the top down, and the bottom up.  Each class builds on the prior one, although they also stand alone as individual classes. 


The course will take place on three successive Monday nights, February 13, 20, and 27, from 6 to 9 PM at the Acton MBA campus at 1404 East Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741, just northeast of the intersection of Riverside and I-35.  This is one of the best spaces for learning in Austin, so we are lucky to have its use. 


Each class is $99, or sign up for all three for $199.  Tickets are available at Event Brite.  If buy the $199 ticket but cannot make all three classes this time, you can buy tickets now and take the classes when I offer the course again, most likely in another 2-3 months. 


Here are the components of the course and the key ideas we will cover:


Monday, February 13, 6 to 9 PM at Acton MBA.  Understanding Big Business.  $99 or all 3 for $199.

What is a corporation?  How does it work?  How do the economy, industries, and individual companies fit together?  What are the critical questions you need to answer?  How can you tell good companies from bad companies?  The importance of knowing where they are on the company’s lifecycle, which I call it’s “arc?”  What are the types of corporations?  Who owns them?  How are they governed?  What are the key questions that investors and securities analysts ask about any company or industry?  Looking at change through time.  The press is so focused on the short term, they often miss the really critical underlying factors.  They report on economic and business earthquakes and tremors but not the “plate tectonics” which cause them.  Come to this class and get a whole new perspective.


Monday, February 20, 6 to 9 PM at Acton MBA.  The Numbers Made Simple.  $99 or all 3 for $199.

You cannot understand a company unless you can read its annual report and its financial statements, the ultimate report card on how a company has done in the past.  People spend years and lots of money learning finance and accounting, but the basic concepts are pretty straight forward, they are not rocket science.  In this session we will look at real annual reports, and learn the secrets of the pros – what is in the footnotes, what is in the proxy statement, the importance of the S-1, which numbers matter and which numbers do not.  The key role of debt vs. equity.  How the balance sheet and profit and loss statement affect each other.  How to think about expense structure.  This class is created so that any eager learner, of any age and background, can learn the important concepts.  I have had MBA graduates tell me, “No one ever made it this clear for me.”


Monday, February 27, 6 to 9 PM at Acton MBA.  How to Become an Expert in any Industry or Company.  $99 or all 3 for $199.

Back by popular demand, this class has been given to local company sales teams and to my many students in entrepreneurship. Knowing where to look for answers is more important than knowing the answers.  Learn the research tips and methods that I have developed over the last 40+ years.  Where to look, who to ask, how to use government resources and company websites.  We will pick a few industries you are interested in and use them as examples.  We will cover how to work your way down from an understanding of the economic and industry context to the specific company or division.  So you can be ready to talk to and impress any company you deal with, or understand your competition or investments. 


I hope you can join us for one or more classes. 

If you have any questions, email me at garyhoov@msn.com.



What People Say About Me and My Teaching

One of Austin’s 30 most influential people … Hoover has been sought after as a sage on how to think and act entrepreneurially – Austin Business Journal, December, 2011

Gary Hoover is a man of many, many talents, and I respect him dearly.  He is really a genius level business thinker.  You guys are super-lucky to have him as a teacher.  I had a lot of great professors at Wharton and when I attended Wharton it was rated the #1 MBA program 6 years in a row.  And none of them approached Gary’s level of knowledge about business history or entrepreneurship. – Brett A. Hurt, CEO and founder, Bazaarvoice, Inc., Austin, Texas (founded in 2005, now has over 600 employees).

I have known Gary Hoover for over 20 years. With that background, I can tell you that Gary Hoover is one of the most amazing entrepreneurs and teachers I have ever encountered. He is literally a walking encyclopedia of business history and his story telling is incredible. He is the most prolific reader I have ever met and his ability to not only speed read but retain information is incredible. I consider Gary Hoover one of Austin’s most valuable assets and recommend him without reservation. Whether you are a lifetime learner, an aspiring entrepreneur, or an academic, you will find Gary Hoover as one of your truly great resources and your time spent with him among your most memorable. – Jim Nolen, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Department of Finance, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin

As a businessman and a thinker, Gary Hoover is a true visionary. – Laurence J. Kirshbaum, former CEO, Time Warner Trade Publishing, now Publisher, Amazon New York

I’ve been teaching at the McCombs School of Business since 1989.  I have won every teaching award given by the students.  Gary is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever known.  He knows his subject cold and has a God given gift of being about to reach students in a way that is just awe inspiring.  When you add his passion for teaching and helping people, he is priceless.  – John Doggett, Harvard MBA, Yale JD, Senior Lecturer in Management, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin

Gary Hoover is one of the smartest and most creative people I know. – Leonard L. Berry, Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Texas A&M University

This is one of the finest teachers and courses I have taken – and I have taken a lot (BA, MPH, PhD, MBA) and I have taught at several universities. Gary Hoover is a fantastic person, instructor, and mentor. – Blair Carter, Educator and Entrepreneur

Gary is a truly inspiring speaker and teacher and I highly recommend any of his courses or talks (or even just chatting with him at lunch!) His unique experiences and his genuine, open nature create a great an ideal atmosphere for the flow of ideas and introspection. Taking his course on Entrepreneurship last fall was the penultimate push towards me finally starting my own business. – Elayne Crain, Entrepreneur

I walked away from Gary’s classes each week feeling that I had been shown the other side of the curtain. Gary’s passion for both his subject, and for communicating it in a clear and engaging manor has led me to suggest that each student be given an AHA degree. Alumnus of the Hoover Academy is one obvious meaning. But in my, and many other cases from my class, we had an ‘Aha!’ moment. Something that either had not occurred to us, or that we had previously wrestled with needlessly, once Gary described it differently. I believe anyone thinking of starting a business would be well advised to add one of Gary’s classes to their curriculum. – Allan Clark, Entrepreneur



Have questions about Understanding Companies Course with Gary Hoover? Contact Gary Hoover


Acton MBA Campus
1404 East Riverside
Austin, TX

Multiple Dates

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Gary Hoover

Student of Business, Serial Entrepreneur, and Teacher of Entrepreneurial Thinking

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Understanding Companies Course with Gary Hoover
Austin, TX Events Class

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