Baskar founded 2IIM and continues to head the parent company. He is a Mechanical Engineer from College of Engineering, Guindy, Class of 1991 and completed his PGDM from IIM Calcutta in 1994.
Post his Mechanical Engineering, Baskar joined the venerable Larsen and Toubro in Mumbai. Once in the job, he realized that for all its strengths, L&T was going to be a tough place to make a mark and threw everything into his CAT preparation. He cracked CAT 1991 and joined IIM Calcutta. Upon completing his PGDM from IIM-C, Baskar spent two years at Kotak Mahindra Finance living it up in an Investment Banking career. He soon got bored, and decided to take up the entrepreneurial route.
He started a number of ventures, with the most notable being a CAT coaching institute in Pune, a medical transcription company in Madurai and then a dotcom Company in Chennai (He has seen it all).
Among all this, the dotcom company is really the one that got away (the other two have helped in laying the foundation for future successes). He started the Company pre-boom, managed to keep external funding at bay for a short while; then finally consented to having investors bring in funds into the firm. As luck would have it, just as investors were preparing to go headlong, the dotcom bust happened, and things ground to a halt.
In many ways, this was a good result. If he had become one of those heady dotcom start-up success stories, 2IIM would never have happened. In hindsight, it is great for the rest of the world that the bust happened when it did. And knowing Baskar, I think he would have never been able to live it down if the bust had happened after he had collected his gazillions.
In any event, Baskar started Ascent Education in 2001. Ascent Education has been training students for the CAT exam ever since (although Baskar's teaching experience predates this). The brand 2IIM came into being a few years later. In the first few years, it was practically a one-man show, with Baskar the counselor, marketer, teacher, web-developer doing everything. Slowly, Ascent Education expanded, the company now has spread to two centers in Chennai, across five product categories.
Baskar has taken CAT more than 10 times and cracked it a number of times. He is probably one of the most experienced trainers in the country. In spite of all this experience, he retains his curiosity and his desire to spend maximum time with students. He probably clocks in the maximum hours in classrooms at Ascent Education even in 2020. In every calendar year since 2001, Baskar has spent at least 500 hours in classroom training students for aptitude-based examinations.
He has coached many of the faculty members at 2IIM and therefore has the license to take many liberties with them. I (Rajesh Balasubramanian) joined as 2IIM's first part-time faculty in 2003, and have learnt a lot about teaching from Baskar ever since.