What is the Leadership Crisis Challenge?

This program prepares you to lead in high-pressure, high-stakes environments. You engage with crisis management experts, receive specialty training, and compete in a qualifying-round contest. In the final round — a 24-hour crisis simulation — you test your ability to strategize through extreme turbulence, think on your feet, and demonstrate poise under pressure. Along the way, you receive personalized feedback from business leaders, communication coaches, and faculty experts.

Leadership Crisis Challenge is offered with generous support from PNC Bank, which is committed to enabling transformational learning experiences like this for students like you.


crisis challenge

Follow Along with Crisis Challenge:


Leadership Skills You’ll Practice


Your team will face competing demands from multiple stakeholders, and decisions that significantly impact the future of the company, community, and environment. Ultimately, you will leverage incomplete information to choose a path.


Your success will depend on whether your difficult decisions are framed effectively, informed by a clear point of view, rooted in rigorous analysis, and based on broad input. You'll need to cut through complexity and make a large percentage of good calls.


You will face a board of directors and the court of public opinion. The stakes will be high and the tolerance for missteps low. You'll have to communicate your strategy in a pressurized environment, while preserving cooperation, composure, and poise.


The situation will change; new information will emerge; new stakeholders will come to the forefront. Your team's ability to adapt will depend on the leadership and resilience of its individual members.

How to Participate


The Leadership Crisis Challenge is offered twice during the Winter semester. Each session is a two-day event. Come prepared to engage intensely and practice navigating ambiguity, exercising good judgment,  adapting through turbulence, and performing under pressure.

You'll work on a four-person team during the challenge. You do not need to have a team formed before signing up. Teams will be decided on the first night of the challenge. You can work with a group of peers you already know or you can choose to create your team the first day of the challenge by networking and using provided information about other students' goals and strengths.


2017 DATES
January Crisis Challenge
For all graduate U-M students including Ross MBA and MSCM programs

March Crisis Challenge
For all undergraduate U-M students and Ross MAcc, MM programs

Thurs., January 12, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
at the Ross School

Fri., January 13, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
at Michigan Stadium

Thurs., March 23, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
at the Ross School

Fri., March 24, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
at Michigan Stadium

View Alumni Attending as Board of Directors



The winning team in both competitions will receive a scholarship that can be split among team members. Winning students in their final semester will receive a reimbursement.

January Crisis Challenge Prize: $5,000
March Crisis Challenge Prize: $3,000 for 1st place and $1,000 for two runner-up teams


participant requirements
  • University of Michigan student (any academic year and school or college)
  • Ability to attend both days

To Register

March Challenge:
Registration is full! Should any spots re-open, we will post on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow us. Questions or comments? Contact the Sanger Leadership Center at rossleaders@umich.edu.