Supply Chain Graduate Student Simplifies Traveling to China
Faculty at Saint Louis University's Chaifetz School of Business teach a rigorous curriculum that equips students to succeed in the real world — including tools to start businesses. Shaojie Guo applied skills from his coursework in the M.S. in supply chain management program to found his own travel business, MMX Travel.
Planning a trip to another country can be difficult without the necessary research and tools to plan and budget effectively. Guo recognized this common issue and created MMX Travel, a service tailored to assist people in visiting China. His business solves common problems with planning by creating an itinerary distinct to customers’ individual travel preferences.
"The goal of MMX travel is to provide more people with the pleasure of exploration," Guo said.
Why Guo Chose the Chaifetz School
Originally from China, Guo was drawn to SLU for having one of the top supply chain programs in the U.S. He recognized the potential his home country could have in the tourist industry and how knowledge gained at the Chaifetz School would provide the tools necessary to achieve his goal.
Guo discovered a spike in tourism while living in Japan for two years prior to coming to SLU, initially sparking the idea for MMX Travel. He was fascinated by how structured Japan was in serving tourists by using administrative means to attract more visitors from overseas.
"In 2017, Japan attracted more than 28 million foreign visitors," Guo said. "In comparison, with more diverse tourist destinations and much larger land area, China only attracted around 27 million foreign visitors in 2017."
Building MMX Travel
The name of Guo's business, MMX Travel, stems from an ancient road built 2,550 years ago in China ( 孟门陉 Mengmenxing). The ancient road served as a bridge connecting people who were separated by Wang Mang Mountain. MMX Travel strives to become the bridge that connects its customers to local resources, he said.
"Our customers don’t need to face a million results from Google to decide where to book a hotel, rent a car or book a flight," Guo said. "All they need to do is click the mouse, and we will take care of everything for them."
The development of MMX Travel took place for over a year, officially launching in the fall of 2018. Perfecting the way users interact with the service is Guo's main priority, he said, considering credibility and efficiency before all other aspects.
"MMX Travel has advanced information and data analysis capabilities, ensuring that we can provide accurate and valuable information more quickly," Guo said.
Users of MMX Travel begin the process by filling out a preference survey. Afterward, the service compiles a travel plan with insider destinations, food recommendations, budgeting tips and suggestions for transportation. Each requested travel plan is tailored to the user's individual needs.
Applying Practical Skills
Guo applies the skills learned from the Chaifetz School's M.S. in supply chain management program to enhance his business. The knowledge gained from the program has encouraged him to maintain satisfactory customer relationships in building a positive outlook for the future of MMX Travel, he said.
"Dr. Kwon, Ph.D., professor of operations and information technology management, always talked about the importance of trust between logistics firms and customers," Guo said. "As a consulting company, we should do more to build a long-term trust relationship with our customers, considering it is the cornerstone for all companies."