Crisis Challenge

Leadership Crisis Challenge


Leadership Crisis Challenge prepares you to lead in high-pressure, high-stakes environments. You will be immersed in a simulated business and media crisis where you will test your ability to strategize through extreme turbulence, think on your feet, and demonstrate poise under pressure.

You and your team will play the part of senior executives tasked with responding to the crisis as it unfolds: you’ll receive emails, social media updates, phone calls and more throughout Thursday night. Then, on Friday, you’ll come to Michigan Stadium to present your strategy to your board of directors (made up of esteemed U-M alums), journalists, and the public. Along the way, you’ll receive personalized feedback from business leaders, communication coaches, and faculty experts.

This program is generously sponsored by General Motors and McKinsey.

reason why students chose Michigan Ross

awarded to first and second place teams since program inception

alumni, faculty, and staff engaged to support the student experience per year


Skills You’ll Learn

Thinking Strategically

As a crisis unfolds, you will face complex decisions and a range of competing stakeholders. Success will depend on your ability to effectively frame issues, rigorously analyze tradeoffs, and articulate a clear, coherent strategy. Ultimately, you’ll have to cut through complexity and find a clear path forward.

Managing Ambiguity & Uncertainty

Your team will make difficult decisions of consequence for your company, community, and other stakeholders. It will do so in an environment that is complex, dynamic, and ambiguous. You will practice navigating this environment and leveraging incomplete information to make a large percentage of good calls.

Working with Diverse Individuals

You will collaborate with a team of diverse students who speak different disciplinary languages. Despite your differences, you will practice exercising leadership together, embracing debate, managing conflicts, and supporting each other’s learning. This will require a high level of organization and activation of your diverse expertise and capabilities.

Developing Executive Presence

The second day of competition will challenge you to communicate your strategy in a pressurized environment, while preserving your message, composure, and poise. A communication coach will give you tips and feedback, while supporting robust learning from the experience and helping you enhance your presence.



January 10–21

Day 1: January 25, 2024
Day 2: January 26, 2024

Time Commitment
Approximately 10 hours over 2 days.

Participant Requirements
Any U-M Student
Ability to attend both days

LCC participants

Get Involved

If you are an alumni or community member that would like to volunteer at the event or contribute to the program in another way, please email

Registration for the 2024 Leadership Crisis Challenge has closed. Ross students will be notified via email when registration opens for the 2025 Challenge. Non-Ross students are invited to fill out the interest form below to receive the same communication.

Experience the Crisis Challenge


Two undergraduate teams and two graduate teams will receive a reward that is split among team members. Teams will compete against others of the same academic level.


Team formation happens at check-in on the first day of the event. Registrants are welcome to bring a friend (who has also registered) to the check-in session in order to be assigned to the same team. All other registrants will be randomly assigned to teams at check-in. Students will be placed on teams and compete against other students of the same graduate status, i.e. undergraduate students compete against undergraduate students, and graduate students compete against graduate students.


A cornerstone of the Michigan Ross experience, the Leadership Crisis Challenge has been replicated at institutions across the world (like Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics). Interested in running your own Crisis Challenge? Reach out to us at

universities have hosted a Crisis Challenge

countries have hosted a Crisis Challenge

LCC participants


Thomasina Camarda, GMBA ‘22

Thomasina Camarda, GMBA ‘22


"If you are questioning whether or not you should take the Sanger Leadership Crisis Challenge, the answer is yes. Everyone was either a little nervous or scared going into this experience. The teams, coaches, and feedback were all well worth the time. The experience with the board members and the press was nothing short of amazing. These people are all leaders in their industry and have given their time to develop future business leaders."

Matthew Serlin, LSA BS Economics ‘24

Matthew Serlin, LSA BS Economics ‘24


"The LCC is like being in a pressure cooker. It forced us to collaborate but also work on our own towards the common goal under immense pressure in a field that I had minimal knowledge on. I then got to practice my executive presence during the board meeting and press conference. You can't learn what you do from the LCC in the classroom. It forces you to think critically in situations that are so unique, but also so applicable to many other fields. The skillset you take away is unlike anything else."

Kiran Veera, OMBA ‘22

Kiran Veera, OMBA ‘22


"Crisis Challenge is a perfect opportunity to learn how to handle imperfect situations! The Sanger team did an extraordinary job to simulate real-world situations, involve the right people, and provide valuable guidance."

Esenam Dogoe, MBA ’21

Esenam Dogoe, MBA ’21


"I wasn’t sure what to expect. but this was an incredible learning opportunity. The challenge was relevant, and I appreciated Sanger’s commitment to making it a realistic and holistic learning experience, through the workshops, the use of real journalists, the live simulation, and more."

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Scenes from the Program


Related News



The 2024 Leadership Crisis Challenge was recently featured in an article by Poets&Quants, highlighting the complexities and real-world aspects of the 24-hour simulation. This year, the Challenge attracted its largest participant pool since its start in 2008. 416...



The Sanger Leadership Center’s 2024 Leadership Crisis Challenge (LCC) garnered a record-breaking turnout of 416 student participants and nearly 100 external partners and alumni. During the program, students from across the University of Michigan stepped into the role...