It is true that many firms are elitist regarding their candidate selection process, but many others are not. I for one am not Oxbridge but have managed to get myself an analyst (graduate) position at Accenture. I particularly liked the broad spectrum of backgrounds found there.
I know many other big-5s that select in a similar fashion to Accenture; PwC, CGEY and Andersen (sort of).
You will find that the more traditional strat. consulting firms are elitist.
My advice to the both of you is wait a year before applying so as to circumvent the "hitting the economic rock bottom". Within this year, think about doing a further degree such as an MSc/MA in a field that is related to your career goals/ambitions. You also have the opportunity to "beautify" your CV by doing unusual extra curricular activities that will make you stand out amongst the other potential candidates and give you solid examples of leadership, working within teams, supervisory etc etc scenarios.
I hope the above helps!