The Program

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.

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 2023 Leadership Crisis Challenge has closed. Ross students will be notified via email when registration opens for the 2024 Challenge. Non-Ross students are invited to fill out the interest form below to receive the same communication.


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

  • Registration: 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


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.

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 cornerstone of the Michigan Ross experience, the Leadership Crisis Challenge has been replicated at institutions across the world. Interested in running your own Crisis Challenge? Reach out to us at

universities have hosted a Crisis Challenge
countries have hosted a Crisis Challenge




February 17, 2023 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Sanger Programs

Students Share Their Experiences Learning, Leading, and Connecting at the Largest Leadership Crisis Challenge

This January, the Sanger Leadership Center’s annual Leadership Crisis Challenge, garnered a record-breaking turnout. This program offers all U-M students the opportunity to delve into a hands-on crisis simulation, developing…
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September 16, 2022 in Leadership Crisis Challenge

Leadership Crisis Challenge Puts Students in the C-suite

In a recent Poets&Quants student profile, Adam Brewster (MBA ’24), named Sanger’s Leadership Crisis Challenge (LCC) as one of the activities he is most excited about at Michigan Ross. LCC…
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April 19, 2022 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Managing Teams

What Board Members and Journalists Take Away from Students’ Experiences in the 24-hour Leadership Crisis Challenge

The Leadership Crisis Challenge tests University of Michigan students’ ability to strategize through a turbulent situation, think on their feet, and demonstrate poise under pressure. But it’s not just the students who…
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