K-Dramas have always had a following in the West, but have become a sensation recently due to shows like Squid Games and Alice in Borderlands. Netflix, Hulu, and even Disney have started making their own original K-Dramas for the growing audience. While they make for great horror and thriller shows, they have a huge market in romance, as well. Notorious for being a little cheesy, they are nonetheless extremely fun watches and can lure you into reading subtitles until your eyes hurt.
One of the most common tropes in K-Drama romances is the Cinderella story, where a woman that is in a lower social class falls for handsome, rich man in a higher social class, like a CEO, Vice President, or Chaebol son. It’s a premise that’s difficult to get tired of, which is why there are so many options to choose from.
Here are some of the best Korean dramas about CEOs or other elite businessmen!
10 Lucky Romance
Lucky Romance follows Bo-nui, an extremely unlucky woman who strongly believes in both superstitions and fortune-tellers. Her parents died in a car accident and her little sister has been in a coma for the last two years. She believes that the only reason her sister is alive at all is that she met a fortune-teller, who told her to perform a ritual to save her sister, and, when she did, it was proclaimed that her sister survived. She’s been working far too many part-time jobs to pay for her hospital bills only to find out that her sister has taken a turn for the worse. She visits the fortune-teller again for advice, and they tell her that she needs to have a one-night-stand with a man born in 1986, the year of the Tiger.
This is when she starts to run into the CEO of a gaming company, Soo-ho, in a multitude of unlucky ways. When she sees him at the end of the day, after he botches a presentation, she drunkenly pesters him about his birthday. Finally, he admits that he was born in the year of the Tiger, 1986.
9 Master’s Sun
Master’s Sun revolves around Kong-sil, a woman who is able to see ghosts due to an accident that she was in years ago. She is terrified of the ghosts around her and isn’t able to function normally because of it. So, she lives in an inn and makes a living by doing odd jobs there. One day, she meets the ghost of an old woman that she can’t run away from, and agrees to do her a favor. She goes to the ghost’s previous home and gives her living son a bankbook full of money. On her way back, she attempts to stop a car for a ride.
Due to supernatural intervention, the cold and calculating CEO of a shopping center, Joong-won, pulls over for her. He sees her talking to something that doesn’t appear to exist and thinks she’s crazy When Kong-sil accidentally touches Joong-won, she realizes that the ghosts around her disappear. For her sanity, she tracks down Joong-won again.
Start-Up is the story of Dal-mi, a woman who lost her mother and sister when they decided to leave both her and her father due to his failed business. The two move in with Dal-mi’s grandmother and when her father passes, she remains in her grandmother’s care. The year of her father’s death, her grandmother takes in an orphan, Ji-pyeong, who Dal-mi bonds with and continues a correspondence with even after he leaves. However, Ji-pyeong writes her under the name of Do San, so she doesn’t know that it’s him. Ji-pyeong ends up being a successful businessman, and Dal-mi has a dream of being an entrepreneur, but hasn’t succeeded yet.
Dal-mi ends up meeting the real Do-san, still under the impression that he was the one that wrote her the letters. Because of Ji-pyeong, Do-san pretends that it’s true. Do-san and Dal-mi end up going into business together, as well as starting a relationship with each other. However, things become more complicated with Ji-pyeong enters the picture, too.
7 My Secret Romance
My Secret Romance starts with Yoo-mi meeting the young playboy, Jin-wook, at a resort. Yoo-mi is there to attend her mother’s second wedding while Jin-Wook is working there as a bellhop, a position his chairman father forced on him to teach him responsibility. Charmed by each other, they end up spending the night together, but Yoo-mi leaves him in the morning without a word or reason. Jin-wook is not only confused, but extremely insulted by her.
Three years later, Yoo-mi starts a position at Jin-wook’s company as a nutritionist, unaware of his presence there until she runs into him. He’s grown into a more responsible person in the three years they’ve been apart, but he still has some lingering feelings for Yoo-mi. The situation is exacerbated with Jin-wook’s chairman father sees Yoo-mi’s little half brother and assumes that it’s a child that resulted from Yoo-mi and Jin-wook’s one-night stand. He informs Jin-wook, who readily believes him.
6 Crash Landing On You
Crash Landing On You breaks the mold with CEO K-Dramas, revolving around a female heiress to a conglomerate, Se-ri. Her father was about to declare her his successor due to her entrepreneurial spirit when Se-ri becomes in involved in a paragliding accident. While originally starting in Seoul, South Korea, she is thrown off course by a tornado and lands in the DMZ, a forbidden section of land in between North Korea and South Korea. There, she meets Jyeong-hyeok, a captain of the North Korean Army.
Jyeong-hyeok decides to take Se-ri in and hide her from the other North Korean soldiers. Despite the fact that they belong to divided countries, the two of them begin to have feelings for each other. Jyeong-hyeok takes on the dangerous task of protecting Se-ri and trying to get her back to South Korea.
5 Protect The Boss
Protect the Boss centers around a physically and mentally strong woman, Eun-sul, who is in a desperate search for a job. Because of her record for starting fights when she was younger, she was only able to get into a third-rate university and has a poor resume. When she finally gets offered a job, it ends up that it’s from loan sharking firm that is less than reputable. This becomes very clear when, after her first day, she goes out with her co-workers to a bar, and her boss sexually harasses her and another female co-worker. Angry, Eun-Sul ties her boss’s tie to the sink in the restroom and leaves him there.
Ji-hun, the agoraphobic son of the chairmen of his company, also happens to be at the bar with his co-workers. When Eun-sul bumps into him, and he drops his phone, he begins to berate her until her employers come after her. She manages to beat them up and escape, leaving Ji-hun with all of their wrath. This causes a lot of media issues for his company and leads to Ji-hun needing to hire a new secretary. With a stroke of luck, Eun-sul is offered the position, much to the chagrin of Ji-hun. However, his feelings begin to change when she protects him from his abusive father at work.
4 Business Proposal
Business Proposal follows a single, working woman named Ha-ri. She’s best friends with the daughter of a chaebol family, Yeong-seo, who is constantly being set up on blind dates by her father despite her complete lack of interest. Yeong-seo asks Ha-ri to take her place on one of her blind dates and force the suitor to reject her, offering her money for the favor. Ha-ri agrees and attends the date with who turns out to be the CEO of her company, Tae-moo. Fortunately, he doesn’t recognize her and Ha-ri follows the plan, acting as obnoxious as possible. Unfortunately, Tae-moo already had his mind made up that he was going to marry the next person he had a blind date with to get his grandfather off of his back.
Tae-moo calls up Ha-ri the next day and asks her to marry him. Ha-ri is horrified, but tries and fails to keep up her disguise as Yeong-seo. When Tae-moo finds out that she’s not who she says he is, he offers a huge sum of money for her to pretend to be his fiancé in front of his grandfather so that he doesn’t have to deal with any more blind dates. Ha-ri agrees, but doesn’t still doesn’t give him her actual identity.
3 What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is the story of Mi-so, the amazingly savvy and capable secretary to Young-joon, the vice president of his family’s company who’s not as great at his job as everyone thinks that he is. Finally fed up his with arrogant behavior after nine years, Mi-so suddenly quits, leaving Young-joon absolutely helpless. Realizing that he needs her in his life, Young-joon attempts to win his secretary back. As she is growing close to his brother and is happy with her freedom, this isn’t an easy task to achieve.
In the meantime, Mi-so is attempting to find a mysterious man from a traumatic experience in her past and finds that he may be closer than she thinks.
2 Strong Girl Bong-soon
Strong Girl Bong-soon features a woman with super human strength that is inherited from the women in her family, Bong-soon. Her dream has always been to create a video game that’s about her, and she has a huge crush on her police officer friend, Guk-doo. She knows she’s not his type, as she’s not elegant and feminine like the women that he likes. Despite this, she tries to help him solve a case involving women going missing in her area.
She meets Min-hyuk, the CEO of a gaming company, when he stumbles upon her protecting a bus driver from a group of thugs. When she’s taken to the police station, he follows and lies to the police officers to get her out of the situation. After, he offers her a position as his bodyguard, as well as the possible opportunity of her working in the planning department of his gaming company. Bong-soon agrees, finding herself involved in another case of tracking down who has been threatening Min-hyuk.
1 Secret Garden
Secret Garden centers around Ra-im, an independent stunt woman who excels at her job. When she gets mistaken for the actress she was stunting for, she meets the spoiled CEO of a department store, Joo-won. At the request of his famous musician cousin, Oska, he picked her up and took her to a hotel so that Oska could try and stop her from leaking information about their relationship to the public. Oska quickly realizes that Joo-Won brought the wrong woman, but Joo-won is instantly infatuated. So much so, that he tracks her down when she wins a trip to Jeju Island with Oska, someone she’s always admired.
Ra-im tries her best to ignore Joo-won’s presence as she’s very aware of their class difference, but when they both end up stranded a tea house named the “Secret Garden” in the rain, it becomes impossible. The owner seems to know the pair, and offers them two bottles of flower wine to take back to the hotel with them. When they’re back to their separate hotel rooms, each take a drink of their individual bottles of wine. In the morning, they find that, somehow, they’ve switched bodies.