At HBS, Fernando Czapski, MBA 2019, was seeking an internship that would help him fulfill his career transition from engineering to product development. At Zillow, Melissa Tran, University Recruiting Programs Specialist, was responsible for escalating MBA recruitment from one to four internships a year.

Fortunately, their ambitions crossed paths in the best way possible. Their experience sheds light on how MBA candidates and enterprise recruiters can find each other for mutual advantage.

Czapski began his search by defining a narrow set of criteria. “I wasn’t concerned so much about industry,” he says, “but the position needed a strong technology component. I wanted to work closely with product development and management in a company that was competitively well-positioned, on a product with a lot of potential.”

Next, Czapski turned to research, using Crunchbase to identify later-stage VC-backed companies that fit his criteria. Through LinkedIn, he expanded his networking reach, then used company websites and HBS Career & Professional Development Office job postings to investigate specific job opportunities.

The HBS Tech Club proved invaluable, especially the Tech Trek to San Francisco and Silicon Valley in December 2017. “We visited quite a few companies I liked,” Czapski says. Not only did he make new contacts, but through TechCrunch, he found an HBS alum mentor who proved helpful.

Meanwhile, Zillow’s Melissa Tran was engaged in a new initiative “to engage in tech tracks and attract more candidates to our campus.” In October, she hosted a joint HBS/MIT recruitment talk that attracted Czapski.

“I really liked the types of projects they were working on,” says Czapski. “They have a huge database of real estate data that can be used to generate value. That really resonated with the kind of work I wanted to do.”

From there, the process unfolded along familiar lines. After a first interview via Skype, Czapski had a follow-up interview three weeks later, than a final set of three interviews in mid-January. “It was not only about them getting to know me, but me asking questions about their products and process structure. It was a great way to really understand what I could expect if I got the job.”

Tran will continue to develop more connections between Zillow and HBS MBA candidates. In the near future, “I want to partner with HBS clubs and build relationships; this is the best strategy for improving recruiting and diversity.”

Czapski begins his Zillow internship in early June. He offers a bit of humble advice to his HBS colleagues. “Start the year with a broad understanding of what you expect from an internship,” he says. “Knowing what you want means less stress -- you can interview for what you really want to do so that you can just speak the truth.”