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.
Leadership Crisis Challenge is made possible by the generous support of PNC Bank.
Our undergraduate program is run with the help of Net Impact, a student-run organization.
Crisis Challenge is open to all U-M students and is offered twice a year: once for graduate students and once for undergraduate students. To get involved, fill out our registration form, which is posted to this page a few months in advance of each program.
“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.”
Action-Based Learning, offered virtually for 2021
2021 Graduate Challenge
January 28-29, 2021
2021 Undergraduate Challenge
March 25-26, 2021
Approximately 10 hours over 2 days
* The time requirements for the virtual Crisis Challenge in 2021 may differ from previous years. More details will be sent via email when registration opens.
- Any U-M Student
- Ability to attend both days
Three finalist teams will receive a reward that is split between team members.
Teams will be formed at check-in. There may be an opportunity will be available for you to be on a team with a friend or someone you know. More information will be provided the week of the Challenge.
Skills You’ll Learn
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.