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

Fill out our interest form to be notified when registration opens for the 2022 Crisis Challenge.

“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.”

Thomasina Camarda, GMBA ‘22
Interest Form

Program Type

Action-Based Learning

Key Dates

January 2022 Challenge
January 27-28, 2022

March 2022 Challenge
March 17-18, 2022

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.




March 2, 2021 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Managing Teams

Sanger’s Crisis Challenge featured on the Working for the Weekend podcast

Our center was thrilled to once again be featured on one of our favorite podcasts, Michigan Ross' Working for the Weekend. The podcast, produced by Ross Weekend MBAs, featured a…
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March 1, 2021 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Managing Teams

How We Won This Year’s Crisis Challenge

By Gamal Elbialy, WMBA '22; Natalie Juronoc, WMBA '21; Dennis Emmatty, Evening MBA '21; Elizabeth Fu, WMBA '22; Juan Suchon, Evening MBA '21 A crisis unfolded on the night of…
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February 15, 2021 in Leadership Crisis Challenge

Here Is What Made Our First-Ever Virtual Leadership Crisis Challenge A Success

A realistic company crisis; student teams thrust into C-suite roles; alumni serving as demanding board members and tough judges; and an intense press conference — the first-ever virtual Leadership Crisis Challenge…
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