Simon, Michael

Mike Simon
Assistant Teaching Professor of Accounting
Program Chair, Accounting
Gaige, 335

I grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attained my bachelor’s degree in accounting from La Salle University.  I worked with a public accounting firm for two years, passed the Certified Public Accountants exam, and soon thereafter attained my CPA license.  Although I wanted to pursue a career with the FBI, my eyesight disallowed that, so I pursued an opportunity in Atlantic City, NJ in the casino business.  I began my 20-year career in the business as a Senior Internal Auditor with Showboat Casino & Hotel and was soon thereafter afforded the opportunity to manage the Casino Audit & Revenue Department.

After a great experience at Showboat, I began work as a Casino Controller at the Atlantic City Hilton, overseeing not only the Casino Audit & Revenue Department, but the Casino Cage where all of the casino, hotel, and restaurant revenues flowed, as well as the teams that managed all of the slot machine coins, tokens, and cash, in addition to accounting for the chips for all table games.

While working in Atlantic City, I attained my MBA from St. Joseph’s University.  Within a few years, my family (my wife and two young daughters) relocated to North Carolina to open the Harrah’s Casino & Hotel as Financial Controller for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  My time there was not only rewarding as an accounting and finance professional, but allowed me the opportunity to experience a culture I had never seen.  I developed a great appreciation for the tribe and began to better understand cultural differences to which I had never been exposed.

After a few years, I was presented with the opportunity to work for another casino company as Senior Director of Finance in Mississippi.  This was yet again another chance for me to develop myself professionally as well as culturally.  I never experienced this part of the country, but learned a great deal and appreciated an entirely new way of life, again.  I subsequently was recruited to work as the CFO for another casino company in Louisiana, and I don’t imagine the experience will ever be duplicated.  My education and experience in financial management helped me to apply everything I had learned over the years to my new position, and I enjoyed a world of critical and analytical analysis to support the company’s marketing efforts, while leading the executive team to be very exact regarding how we incurred costs to improve the company’s margins and profitability.

After many years in the casino business, it was time for me to take on new challenges.  With my daughters grown and finding myself in a new time of my life, I accepted a position as an Accounting Instructor & Director of Business Internships at Louisiana State University.  It was there that I had the opportunity to not only instruct undergraduate courses, but develop modules for the university’s Executive MBA Program.  Since I had always enjoyed teaching colleagues about casino accounting and finance for the past 20 years, instructing and sharing my experiences came very naturally, and most important, extremely rewarding.

During 2013, I decided to come home, and was afforded the chance to teach at Penn State Berks.  I began as an Instructor of Accounting, and soon thereafter accepted responsibility as Accounting Program Chair.  I was promoted to Accounting Lecturer, then Assistant Teaching Professor, and have had the opportunity to instruct every accounting course offered at our school as well as overseeing student accounting internships.

As of 2021, I see my career path and life very clearly.  My goal continues to be an educator for our Penn State Berks students, advising them about the opportunities available as a result of their education, and the presence of mind to live a happy and balanced life given their experiences and education.  I have no intention of ever “retiring” from my work, and although I plan to be a member of the Penn State Berks community for as long as I can contribute to the ongoing success of our school, I do look forward to the day that I can relocate to the beach, listen to the ocean waves, the seagulls, and help small business owners regarding their operations, financial management, and the accomplishment of their business and financial goals and aspirations.