The Program

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.

Get Involved

If you are an alumni or community member that would like to get involved, please email

Registration for the 2023 Challenges will open next academic year.

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.”

Kiran Veera, OMBA ‘22

Program Type

Action-Based Learning

Key Dates

To be announced for 2023 

Time Commitment

Approximately 10 hours over 2 days

Participant Requirements

  • Any U-M Student
  • Ability to attend both days


Three finalist teams will receive a reward that is split between team members.


Teams are randomly assigned.

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.


A new leadership skill development program for those who identify as women and their allies

We’re proud to introduce a new program, Women in Leadership, sponsored by General Motors (GM). Women remain underrepresented in top leadership positions around the world. We seek to provide space to increase agency, amplify women’s voices, and work with women and allies to overcome barriers.

Part I: Navigating, Negotiating, and Resisting Self-Doubt
Tuesday, March 15, 5-6:30 PM ET
Remote via Zoom
with Dr. Ijeoma Nwaogu, CEO of EVERLEAD, LLC, a leadership coaching and consulting enterprise

Pursuing new and challenging growth opportunities can trigger self-doubt—which can either lead you down a spiraling path of self-sabotage—OR—be repurposed as fuel to go after your greatest aspirations. In this talk, Dr. Nwaogu will equip you with an empirically validated mind shift insights and strategies to address self-doubt triggers to achieve your personal and professional goals with greater courage and confidence.


Part II: Leading through Crisis: Expert Insights
Friday, March 18, 1:45-2:45 PM ET
Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium

This panel discussion will take place during Crisis Challenge. You’ll learn insight into planning, preparing, navigating, and overcoming global and corporate crises. Reflecting on their own experiences, leaders from GM will share what they have learned from navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises, along with recommendations for how emerging leaders can manage crises throughout their careers.

Women in Leadership: Telva McGruder on DEI and Amplifying Women in STEM
Wednesday, April 6, 5-6 PM 

followed by a 30-minute catered reception
Robertson Auditorium at Michigan Ross
Open to the entire community




April 19, 2022 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Managing Teams

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