Cansen Başaran-Symes graduated from the Istanbul University Faculty of Business Administration and joined Price Waterhouse (PW) Turkey when it was established in 1981. Cansen worked at the PW Copenhagen and London offices prior to being appointed as the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Turkey leader and senior partner in charge of country operations in 1998. She was a member of the board of directors of PwC - Central and Eastern Europe Region and and served PwC for 32 years until April 2013. Başaran-Symes serves on the board of numerous companies, as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Allianz Sigorta A.Ş. and the Member of Board of Directors of Alcatel Lucent Teletaş Telekomünikasyon A.Ş.
Başaran-Symes is an active participant in a number of NGOs. She is currently serving as the President of Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD). She is also a Founding Member and Member of Board of Directors of Endeavor Turkey, Chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Association (FODER), Senior Advisory Board Member to the British Chamber of Commerce Turkey (BCCT), and Founding Member and Advisory Board Member of the Independent Audit Association (BDD). She was also a Member of Board of Directors at YASED – International Investors Association, TEGV – Education Volunteers Foundation of Turkey, Business Council for Sustainable Development Turkey and Turkish Expert Accountants Association, among many others Cansen Başaran-Symes was named a "Global Leader of Tomorrow" at the 2000 World Economic Forum and one of the "Most Modern and Successful Turkish Women" by the Lions Association in 2006.From 2010 to 2012 Cansen was the topic leader at the St. Gallen Symposium. In 2014 she has been rewarded with the "Honour Management Prize" at the EDU Plus Management Summit. Cansen is married and has a son.