MBA Alumni Highlight: Robert Simonds

Robert Simonds MBA '96 is the director of controlling and CFO of Detroit Diesel Corp., a global heavy-duty truck powertrain manufacturer and subsidiary of Daimler Trucks NA and Daimler AG based in Detroit, Michigan. 

Simonds attended Virginia Tech, where he earned his BS in accounting, and Appalachian State University, where he received his MBA with an emphasis in financial management. Prior to his graduate studies, Simonds worked in finance and controlling positions at Thomas Built Buses, in High Point, NC. Simonds completed his MBA coursework on the nearby campus of Winston-Salem State University while working full-time for Thomas Built Buses utilizing Appalachian's satellite program.

Today, Simonds leads a team of finance professionals at Detroit Diesel that are responsible for all of the controlling and finance activities for powertrain operations, including planning and reporting, plant controlling, project controlling and funding. He is also the director of the Detroit ARN (Asian Resource Network) Employee Resource Group for Daimler Trucks NA.

Through his organization's Daimler Cares Program, Robert is active in the Detroit community with the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program (an afterschool program for at-risk children in the city of Detroit) and the Freedom House Detroit (a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the work who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada). He is also active in his church community in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Sarah Beth, and their two dogs, Hemi and Tucker.

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About Appalachian's MBA Program

Appalachian State University's MBA Program provides educational experiences to prepare our students for life-long learning and professional leadership responsibilities in a dynamic global environment. The program provides individualized attention through extensive student-faculty collaboration and offers frequent networking and team building opportunities. Flexible programming allows each student to receive the best educational experience possible through full-time or part-time tracks in two locations with the opportunity to complete the degree in as little as a year. Students can earn concentrations in: Sustainable Business, International Business, Economics, Business Analytics, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, and Interdisciplinary Business. In addition to giving students the technical skills and knowledge to be successful in the business world, the Walker College also provides students the soft skills necessary to be complete professionals. Through executive skills courses, students develop resumes, improve interview skills, and expand networking skills, and a career advisor offers support with job search and interviews. For more information, visit

Published: Dec 21, 2017 1:42pm