I wonder if you'd be kind enough to provide some sound advice. I've been working as a consultant (business performance improvement) since 2002. I've worked for small firms - biggest was no more than 100. I've always been involved in the end-to-end process - hunting and farming if you like. About 5 years ago, I wanted to move my career on and attempt to enter the top tier or near as. The recruiters I spoke to were keen about my experience, background, portfolio, billings etc., but not having a degree killed every approach. So basically I just went to college, applied to Cambridge, got in, graduated last year. I've had a 6 month break with my partner & young daughter and now I want to get back to work, get mortgage (spent my deposit on financing my studies) and begin to build my career again.
My questions therefore are this: would the top tier entertain me - I am aware I have been out of the game for 3.5 years, despite the experience I had before I went to university). I need to earn a certain amount to move forward, would I be better off talking to recruiters about firms that are not Big 4 (they may be able to take more risk with someone in my position, may also be more open to salary negotiation etc.) - stay with them, and advance my career in another 3 or 4 years, hopefully with a top tier. Your thoughts and insight would be much appreciated prior to me starting the job hunting process. Many thanks