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 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, once for graduate students and once for undergraduates. Come prepared to engage intensely and practice navigating ambiguity, exercising good judgment,  adapting through turbulence, and performing under pressure.

You'll work on a small team of 4-6 students 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.

2018 DATES

Graduate Student Crisis Challenge

Thursday, January 11, approx. 5-10 PM
Friday, January 12, approx. 8-5 PM*


Undergraduate Student Crisis Challenge

Thursday, March 23, approx. 5-10 PM
Friday, March 24, approx. 8-5 PM*

* You do not need to be present the entire day. Your team will be assigned a 45-minute presentation time in the morning or early afternoon. The final round typically begins around 3 PM.


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. Prize amounts will be announced when registration opens; however, in the past the top prize has ranged from $3,000-$5,000.

participant requirements

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

To Register: Fill out our interest form to be notified when 2018 registration opens.