Hi Kate. I can tell you "hot off the press" that more hires from industry are expected this year than i) university graduate hires, ii) MBA hires or iii) hires from either the public sector or the City. We've just been surveying consulting employers about their hiring intentions (for our annual recruitment report) and whilst it's true that attracting hires from other consulting firms is their top priority for 2010, hires from industry are also seen as key. This undoubtedly reflects clients' increasing insistence on having consulting teams populated with team members who bring deep sector or functional expertise (which by the sounds of it you would certainly have).
So your aspirations are by no means unachievable.
In my experience, consulting firms' key concerns about bringing in hires from outside consulting are:
1) that they end up hiring people who didn't appreciate the demanding nature of consulting and so struggle to settle into the career and therefore have a short tenure with the firm
--> make sure you read up as much as you can on the consulting industry and leave your interviewers in no doubt that you understand the sector and the demands it will place on you
2) that they will hire people without the necessary drive and confidence to be immediately billable
--> every firm is looking to bring on board people who can be immediately billed out on client assignments. So make sure you convey the expertise you can bring to the firm and think through what aspects of your expertise are in great demand at present. The more you come across as a polished professional who a client would willingly pay to have on their team, the more you close the gap between yourself and experienced hire consulting candidates.
Hope this helps Kate and best of luck. If you'd like to investigate options with smaller firms you'll find 160+ company profiles in our definitive guide to UK consulting firms, downloadable from: